Rand Fishkin’s (Founder of MOZ) Guide to SEO Outreach

In 2018, effective marketing campaigns always have a common ingredient: OUTREACH

The challenge is that it is not only time consuming, but very competitive.


Because bloggers / influencers / people receive too many emails! It’s hard to stand out when their inbox, DM’s and notifications are flooded.

Rand Fishkin, Founder of Sparktoro and Moz, has a process to help you take calculated steps to doing outreach effectively.

This 11 step process walks you through how to find your ideal outreach candidates with quantifiable data.

1. Create a spreadsheet

The web has come a long way since VisiCalc, the first digital spreadsheet that was released in 1979 – we can now create and access spreadsheets from anywhere with apps like Google Sheets.

Here’s 3 ways to create a new spreadsheet in Google Sheets:

  1. Click the red “NEW” button on your your Google Drive dashboard and select “Google Sheets”
  2. Open the menu from within a spreadsheet and select “File > New Spreadsheet”
  3. Click “Blank” or select a template on the Google Sheets homepage

2. Google “top blogs in X”/”most influential X blogs” etc

Search for the most influential blogs in your industry by replacing “x” with your industry / target keyword.

Outreach is an important part of the link acquisition process and SEO in general. We identify the best opportunities on Google and reach out to them individually.

Scottsdale SEO company, Lifted Websites

PRO TIP: Use Google Dorks like the site operator (site:.com.au) to get Geo specific results.

3. Sort through pages of results, adding names+URLs to spreadsheet

Add the names and URLs of the best blogs to your spreadsheet.

PRO TIP: You can use a handy tool known as SEO Quake to export all search results to a CSV file.

SEOquake is a free plugin for browsers that provides you with key SEO metrics for a specific page, along with other useful tools.

Image result for seo quake

Qualify the outreach candidate by asking yourself these questions:

  • Does the site look good?
  • Are they frequently updating their blog?
  • Do they have a lot of engaged followers?

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for podcasts, news publications, people, events, websites, forums, etc

Here’s some examples:

  • best seo “podcasts”
  • seo events 2018
  • top seo case studies
  • most popular seo forums
  • most influential seo people

5. Go to YouTube & repeat steps 2 and 3

When you search for videos and other content on YouTube, you can refine your search by using filters.

PRO TIP: After typing your search query in the search box at the top of any YouTube page, click the Filters drop-down menu below the search box.


6. Go to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, and other relevant social networks & repeat steps 2 and 3

PRO TIP: Don’t start watching funny viral videos – you’ll inevitably end us wasting the next 20+ minutes 😀

7. Research every line on your spreadsheet w/ estimated reach numbers, contact info, etc.

Good info to collect here is email address, Twitter username, etc

PRO TIP: Label the line based on the type of outreach you’re doing

For example, a one contact may have a very engaged following on Twitter, but has a lacklustre blog – label it so you know to focus on Twitter when you’re contacting them later.

8. Use competitor analysis tools such as SimilarWeb, Jumpshot, Comscore, or Alexa to get relative traffic numbers for sites

The most reliable tool I’ve found in this process is Similarweb. Here’s a handy video to get you started:

The Chrome Extension may help expedite things in this process.

9. Add quantifiable metrics to your list such as DA/PA/ Social Authority/other influence metrics

Make sure these metrics are focused on each label you input in step 7. For example:

SEO focused outreach:

  • Moz’s DA / PA
  • Ahrefs URL & Domain Rating
  • Majestic’s Citation & Trust Flow

Social Media outreach:

10. Filter spreadsheet by best guess criteria based on your objective

This will prioritise your outreach efforts for you

PRO TIP: spend the most time on the most valuable outcomes 😉

11. Create outreach plan

Time to EAT


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The Author

Blake Smith

Blake Smith

This post was written by Blake Smith. Blake has 10+ experience as a digital marketer and SEO consultant.

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