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AI-Powered Link Building: Why I built BacklinkGPT

Explore the journey of leveraging AI for link building and backlink outreach. Learn about the 4-step SEO process, the challenges of manual link building, and how BacklinkGPT automates this process, making it efficient and less time-consuming.

Felix Vemmer
Felix VemmerJanuary 2, 2023
AI-Powered Link Building: Why I built BacklinkGPT

My SEO Indie Hacker Journey

When I started my Indie Hacker journey, like every other developer I love building things more than marketing them. But I quickly realized that building a product is only half the battle. The other half is marketing it.

My approach to marketing was significantly influenced by an Indiehacker Podcast episode featuring Jordan O'Connor.

Taking inspiration from his insights, I chose to concentrate on SEO as a primary marketing strategy. I was able to grasp the concept of SEO quickly, thanks to an exceptional course provided by Ahrefs:

Personally, I find SEO appealing for its analytical nature. It allows you to identify high-volume keywords with low competition and precisely estimate the effort required to rank first.

Moreover, the traffic it generates is consistent and, in a way, free. While it does require an investment of time, it doesn't necessitate a significant amount of money upfront like ads do. It's not a one-time process, but a repeatable strategy that can consistently drive traffic to your website.

In a nutshell, SEO is about creating great content for the right keywords and building backlinks to it.

The more backlinks you have, the higher you rank in Google:

  1. Find a keyword with a decent search volume and low competition. I use Low Fruits for this to find easy niche keywords that I can rank for quickly with a fresh domain.

  2. Create a great piece of content around it. To speed this up I use ChatGPT to generate a first draft of the article and then edit it manually.

  3. Build backlinks to it. This is the most time-consuming part of the process. I manually searched for relevant websites and then reached out to them via email.

  4. Repeat

Using this strategy, I achieved remarkable results for cryptoneur.xyz, my crypto website. Leveraging a single free tool, I managed to elevate the domain rating to an impressive DR 50:

Ahrefs Domain Rating BacklinkGPT

While steps 1 and 2 are relatively straightforward, step 3 is a real pain. It's a tedious process that requires a lot of time and effort.

To avoid common pitfalls, check out my post on beginner link building mistakes to avoid in 2023:

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Beginner Link Building Mistakes to Avoid in 2024

Link building is vital for SEO. Yet, many beginners stumble into pitfalls. Discover prevalent link-building errors and sidestep them to solidify your SEO.

January 2, 2024

Finding Relevant Websites

First, you need to find relevant websites that might be interested in linking to your content. This can be achieved by performing a keyword search on Google and manually reviewing the top results. To streamline this process, I frequently use a search query with the intitle:blog modifier to pinpoint relevant blogs:

keyword inurl:blog

For example for BacklinkGPT I would search for link building inurl:blog.

Evaluating the Website

Once you've identified a relevant website, you need to evaluate it. I mostly went through the following checklist:

  • Is it a good fit for my content?
  • Does it have a high enough domain rating (e.g. DR 30+)?
  • Is it a spammy website?
  • Will it be easy to get a backlink from it, e.g. how popular and well-known is it?

Finding Contact Information

Once you identified a relevant website, you need to find the contact information of the person responsible for content. This can be a real challenge, especially for smaller websites.

Also most of the time contacting the author of the article is not the best approach. They are usually not responsible for the content and don't have the authority to link to your website. Instead, you want to reach out to the editor or the person responsible for content.

Normally I would use a tool like Apollo.io to find the email address of the editor. Alternatively, I went on LinkedIn and tried to find the person responsible for content there.

Writing the Email

After obtaining the contact information, the next step is to compose an outreach email. This step can be quite time-consuming as it requires creating a personalized and relevant email for the recipient.

  • Start the email by addressing the recipient by their name to add a personal touch.
  • Compliment their website or content to establish a positive tone.
  • Clearly state the purpose of your email and explain why your content would be of interest to them.
  • Propose a value proposition such as a guest post or a link exchange.

Ahrefs has another great video on how to write a great outreach email:

Follow Up

Finally, you need to follow up. Most of the time you won't get a response on the first email. So you need to follow up with a second and third email.

As you can see, link building is a tedious process that requires a lot of time and effort. So I thought to myself: Why not automate it with AI?

I had already used ChatGPT to generate a first draft of the article. So I thought: Why not use it to optimize the process.

Here's how the current flow of BacklinkGPT looks like:

Automated Keyword Extraction & Content Summarization

Simply input the url of your content (1) and BacklinkGPT will...

  • scrape the content of the article
  • classify the content/website (2)
  • summarize the content (3)
  • extract the keywords (4)
BacklinkGPT Campaign Creation

Next, with the extracted keywords, BacklinkGPT will automatically search for relevant websites:

You can then review the results and select the websites you want to reach out to:

BacklinkGPT Campaign Creation

Personalized Outreach Emails

Finally, BacklinkGPT will automatically generate personalized outreach emails for each prospect. All you need to do is select a value proposition and select backlink prsopects:

Upcoming Features

The tool is still in its early stages and I'm planning to add a lot more features in the coming weeks, such as:

  • Email Account Integration
  • Email Tracking (Open & Click Tracking)
  • Automated follow up emails
  • Backlink Monitoring (Track new backlinks)

You can track the progress and request new features on the BacklinkGPT Roadmap.

Comparing BacklinkGPT to Other Tools

There are already two strong established competitors in the space: Pitchbox and Respona. So why did I decide to still build BacklinkGPT?

Existing Tools are Too Expensive for Small Businesses

First, the existing tools are too expensive for small businesses. They are priced at almost $200+ per month, which is too much for a small business or Indie Hacker, especially if you're just starting out.

Respona's pricing starts at $197 per month:

Respona Pricing

Pitchbox's pricing starts at $550 per month:

Pitchbox Pricing

Existing Tools are Too Complex

Second, when I tested the existing tools I found them quite complex. Both Pitchbox and Respona are packed with features, which are aimed at large enterprises. But for a small business or Indie Hacker, you don't need all these features. You just want a simple tool that automates the tedious process of link building.

Pitchbox Capterra Review Summary:

Pitchbox Capterra Reviews

BacklinkGPT tries to streamline this process with simple tables and a clean UI, just requiring a few clicks to get to your first outreach email.

Existing Tools are Not Fully Leveraging AI

Finally, the existing tools are not fully AI-powered yet. Respona and Pitchbox both started implementing AI features, but they are still in their early stages. BacklinkGPT was built from the ground up with AI in mind. It uses AI to automate the entire process of link building, from keyword extraction to content summarization to outreach email generation.

I hope you found my journey of leveraging AI for link building insightful and inspiring. The process of building BacklinkGPT has been a challenging yet rewarding experience.

My goal with BacklinkGPT is to not just build another link building tool. It's about making link building accessible, efficient, and scalable for everyone, from small businesses to large enterprises.

To get a taste of the future of AI-powered link building, you can test our free tools available at BacklinkGPT.

Join us on this exciting journey and transform your SEO strategy with BacklinkGPT today!


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