Email Deliverability for Link Building: How to Get Your Messages Delivered and Read

Sending link building emails that nobody opens is a sure way to lose money and time...
Published on 
May 27, 2024
Updated on 
May 27, 2024

Link building is one of the most time-consuming, mission-critical and, if you don’t approach it correctly, the biggest money pit when it comes to search engine optimization. 

A solid link building strategy includes not only knowing what kind of links you are looking to build, to where, and developing your prospecting list, but also, critically, your cold email outreach. 

You can have the content in place, you can have a list of ideal link building opportunities for your site and its pages, and you can have a list of viable outreach candidates, but if you drop the ball during outreach, it is all for not. 

In this article, we’re going to share with you some of the tips and tricks that we use as a professional link building service to execute that penultimate step in the link building process: the pitch or link request. 

Sending your email to the right person

Before you even think about sending a cold outreach email, ask yourself: is this the person most likely to open my email?

You can have the best subject line, opener, wonderful personalization and a great pitch, but if you’re doing cold email outreach to the wrong person, you’re wasting your time. 

Finding that right person

There are a couple of ways to find the right person for your email:

  • Manually
  • Using an email tool 


There are two ways to manually find the right email recipient, and which one to use depends on the size of the company. 

If you’re trying to get a guest blog post published on a small niche blog where the site owner is clearly doing everything for the site and is, therefore, really the only person you can contact, then using the general site admin email or filling out the contact form is fine. 

If, on the other hand, you’re reaching out to a website/company with several (or more) employees, and it is clear that there are distinct departments that handle different things (e.g., marketing, sales, accounting, etc.), then you’re going to need to make sure you’re reaching out to the right person. 

This is where you actually need to spend some time browsing the company directory. 

You’ll have to find whomever you believe would be the most likely person to handle guest blogging requests or want to know about broken links etc. 

Using an email tool 

Carrying out an outreach campaign at scale usually requires the use of an email marketing software with an email finder tool. 

The way these work is quite simple. You provide the tool with a list of websites (that you have collected during your prospecting), and the tool scrapes the internet for email addresses associated with those domains. 

Popular tools include ones like Snov


And Hunter

These tools have different functionalities, but essentially all do a variation of the same things: find contact information and automate email campaigns. 

The catch when using these tools is that they don’t guarantee to find you working contact information for all of the websites you ask it to. 

They are also much more effective when you are using them in conjunction with something like the Ahrefs site explorer to prospect websites and link building opportunities. 

Sometimes site owners and the people you are trying to get in touch with don’t want you to be able to. People do all sorts of things to hide their email addresses from cold emailers. 

Sometimes the information it finds will be out of date and any email you might send will likely be bounced back to you. 

Sometimes it just gives you a general info or admin email address when you would probably want something more specific. 

Usually, these tools will give you a reliability rating for each email address they collect, so you can choose which ones to pursue and which to ignore. 

At a certain point, if you are doing serious cold outreach, then an email tool like the ones listed above will become a necessary part of your cold email outreach and overall link building campaign.

Making sure your email gets there

Now that you’ve done the hard work of figuring out the correct recipients for your emails, the next important step in the link building process is ensuring that your emails reach their intended targets. 

If you are new to link building, you may not be aware of just how much of a science simply sending emails can be. 

We’re not talking about the actual content of the email, or subject lines or anything stylistic. 

We’re talking about a few things here: 

  • Proper warmup
  • Email frequency
  • Settings and technicalities  

Doing these three things will help ensure your cold emails aren’t some of the billions that are sent spam every day. 

Proper warmup

Warming up an email refers to the process of gradually increasing the number of emails sent from a new account. 

The idea is to methodically build a positive reputation with email providers so that you don’t end up getting caught in spam filters. 

There are a few ways to warm up an email account. 

Manual warm up

Manual warmup is usually considered the safest bet because it gives you the most control. 

The way to do this is to start sending emails to “friendly” accounts–friends, family, other accounts you own. 

Ideally, you will be sending emails to as many accounts and as many email service providers as possible. 

Engagement is an important part of establishing trust and legitimacy with email service providers, so you want to encourage people to actually open your emails, read them, reply to them and mark them as important. 

If an email ends up in a friend or family member’s spam folder, ask them to remove it and mark it as safe. 

Again, this type of manual warmup is the safest, but it requires that you have a list of people that would be willing to help you out. 

Automated warmup

Your other option (if you don’t want to dedicate the time to manual warmup) is to use a warmup tool to automate the process. 

All you have to do is connect your email account to the tool, and it will do the work for you (typically for a fee). 

If you’re going to use a tool, make sure it:

  • Uses real accounts to build your reputation (not free/temporary accounts)
  • Sends real messages, not unintelligible gibberish
  • Ensures proper engagement (messages are opened, saved, etc.)

Generally speaking, it takes around two-three weeks to get a new email sufficiently warmed up and ready to start doing cold email outreach. 

If you stick to a schedule and aim for positive recipient engagement, you will build your reputation and set your email up for outreach success–which is an important part of any link building strategy. 


There is no science as to the frequency with which you should be sending emails while warming up an account, but the below table from Sales Engagement company Reply is a safe bet. 

Of course, once you start talking about 40+ emails per day, you are likely going to want to invest in a tool that will automate the process for you. 

Settings and technicalities

Assuming you are using G Suite (G Suite offers better deliverability than a simple Gmail account), there are a couple of things you should do during setup to ensure email deliverability. 

Firstly, make sure the email address is pointing to a website (your website), as this will help add legitimacy and credibility. 

Bear in mind that every new email address created has a neutral reputation–nither good or bad. It takes time to forge your reputation, whether it’s a positive one or a negative one. 

Domains that end up with bad reputations can be hit with penalties that will affect deliverability, which could end up sabotaging your link building efforts. 


It’s important to authenticate with both SPF and DKIM. 

SPF allows you to set up which IP addresses can send emails, while DKIM uses both a digital signature and an encryption key to verify an email. 

Essentially, what you are doing by setting these up, is stipulating which IP addresses are allowed to actually send emails on behalf of your domain (SPF) and “signing” each outgoing email with your unique signature so that recipient email servers can easily verify that the message did, in fact, come from you (DKIM). 

Setting up both of these will help eliminate a lot of the backend confusion or mistrust that results in an email ending up in the spam folder. 

Here is a good YouTube tutorial that will walk you through each. 

Subject line 

Assuming your email has been sufficiently warmed up and you have your prospect list of the correct people, the next step is to understand the importance of subject lines. 

Successful link building is predicated on good cold email outreach, and good outreach requires an effective subject line. 

Subject line personalization

Personalization is an important component of a successful link request, but a lot of link builders fail to realize that personalization starts with your subject line. 

It’s often a good idea to mention the recipient’s name in the subject line. 

Even something as simple as seeing their own name in the subject line is often enough to prompt an open. 

Be descriptive

Being descriptive is related to personalization, but it also overlaps with legitimacy and credibility. 

So many link building campaigns either have subject lines that try to trick the recipient into opening the email or generic requests. 

Here’s an example of a trick

Here’s a generic request

The first one is clickbait. Someone’s going to open that (if they don’t just ignore it completely) and see that this super secret knowledge is the AMAZING guest post the sender is going to write for them. 

The second one lets you, the recipient, know that the sender wants something from you. 

Neither is likely to get much engagement. 

What to do instead

What you should do instead is tell the person something about the content of the email in a way that entices them to open it. 

You’ve personalized the subject line, you’ve let them know what the email is about and you’ve stimulated their interest by informing them of a potential issue you’ve noticed. 

You’re not just asking for something, and you’re not overpromising anything. 

Whether you’re after broken links or a link exchange, or a guest post, you need to be descriptive. 

Keep subject lines short

People are busy, and attention spans are low, which means long subject lines that try to do too much might get your emails ignored. 

Outreach tool provider, Mailchimp, states the following: 

You want someone to be able to read the entire subject line without anything getting cut off by ellipses. 

Within those 60 characters, you want to summarize what the email is about and why they should open it. 

No small task, right? 

The art of writing a good subject line is something that needs work and comes with time. 

Opening sentence 

If you’ve managed to get your email to the right person and your subject line has been compelling enough to warrant an open, you’re halfway there. 

Now you need to draw them in even further. 

Your opening sentence makes the difference when trying to secure those high quality links. 

Cold emailing is all about communicating to the reader that they are not just a number in a massive, impersonal outreach campaign. 

In addition to a personalized subject line, a personalized opener is also necessary. 

You’ve addressed the site owner by name, which, let’s face it, isn’t that impressive anymore, most email tools let you customize the names that appear in the templates you create. 

More importantly, however, you’ve let them know that you have actually spent time thinking about what would be of use to them. 

You’ve already established a value proposition right away, which is really the only thing that is going to get someone to read further. 

Why would they give your email the time of day if there isn’t anything in it for them, outside of a few specific scenarios?

Personalize by going the extra mile

A lot of new link builders are, unfortunately, under the false impression that personalization refers to the bare minimum of including someone’s name in a cold outreach campaign. 

That, magically, upon reading their own name, the recipient will be so emotionally overwhelmed and taken aback by the immense effort, they will gladly provide that link. 

Email outreach for link building can be so frustrating because a lot of the time, when you send that cold email, you are actually offering a site owner something of value. 

Whether it’s broken link building or a great guest post idea that you are going to put your heart and soul into, a lot of the time, when you are rejected, it really is the site owner’s loss. 

Unfortunately, in order to be given a chance in a market that is so saturated by link builders and marketers, you really do need to go above and beyond to be given a chance. 

This means that if you’re doing broken link building, you can’t just let them know about the single link you have a replacement for, but a list of other broken links on a page or (or perhaps multiple pages). 

It means that when you’re suggesting a guest post, you suggest ways that the page might benefit them through internal linking or mention Google Trends data backing up the worthiness of the topic. 

The follow up

Ask any long-time link builder and they will all have stories of the links that were built in the follow up. 

There are plenty of good reasons to send a follow up email after your original message, including: 

  • To ensure deliverability
  • To remind someone
  • To reach them when they are more receptive

Ensuring deliverability 

Sometimes an email ends up in spam for reasons that don’t have anything to do with the trustworthiness of the email itself. 

This reason alone is a good enough one to send those follow ups. 

Digital marketing, especially when you’re after those high authority links, requires persistence (but just the right amount). 

Reminding the recipient

People are busy. Someone may have seen your email in their inbox, liked your subject line and told themselves they would open it, or perhaps even read it and said they would respond later, and then simply forgot about it. 

This happens more often than you would imagine. We’ve been able to capitalize on great link building opportunities because we have sent that follow up email that functioned as a reminder. 

You never know when the right time to be catching a person is, which is why it’s always worth hedging your bets with a second prompt. 

The importance of the opt-out

While follow ups are important, equally important is the opportunity you give people to stop receiving communication from you. 

Part of the outreach process is knowing when to call it quits and, importantly, when your persistence is bordering on harassment. 

That is why you need to give people in your contact list an easy way to say “no thanks.”

The opt out or “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of your body text is a good practice to get into because it lets people know that you don’t want to force anything they aren’t interested in. 

Ensuring deliverability and readability as part of your link building strategy

If you want to move up that search engine results pages, you’ve got to perfect your email outreach and deliverability. 

Building links means making contact with other human beings in a way that is attention grabbing, developing a rapport, conveying important information as concisely as possible, negotiating, and developing mutual understanding. 

You need to get good at these if you want to increase your inbound links via link building. 

It also means knowing how to find the right people, making sure your email actually gets there, how to follow up tactfully and when to stop. 

Of course, all of this takes a lot of practice, a lot of trial and error and, even when you have it down, the time to put it all into practice. 

At dofollow, we’ve been perfecting these processes and building our contact lists for years. We know what it takes to get an email not only delivered but opened. 

Get in touch with us today and find out more about how our contract-free, transparent, user-centric link-building can help you build links, skyrocket your traffic and increase revenue. 

Why Trust Us On SEO

Eric Carrell & Sebastian Schaffer have been working in SEO for over a decade, building their own projects - understanding and testing SEO strategy, along with building hundreds of white hat links per month for our projects. They take their learnings and experience and apply them to the strategy that drives our link building strategy for our clients.

Eric & Seb have always believed in quality over quantity, doing things the right way so we future proof our client’s websites against future Google updates and the evolving industry of search.

While Seb handles the company strategy around culture, processes and structure, Eric is constantly working to improve our service offering, customer experience, and following the industry in parallel with Google’s Quality Guidelines so that we are always one step ahead of our competition and aligned with what Google wants to see for your site to rank higher.

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