SEO Cold Email Templates that Actually Get Responses

by | Backlinks, Clients, Guide, SEO

Emailing people of interest without any prior introduction or notice is just as necessary in the world of SEO as it is in pretty much any other industry.

While cold emailing can have massive potential for unlocking the doors of opportunity, the large majority of people do not have much luck with it – or a lot less than they could.

First, we’ve outlined the basic concepts of cold emailing that will help generate interest and responses rather than dead silence – whether you are using templates or not.

After that, we’ve included 5 SEO cold email templates that we’ve had lots of success with over the years to help generate SEO leads and get guest posting opportunities and other types of backlinks.

Getting next to no replies to your emails stops now.

What is Cold Emailing?

Cold emails are emails to people that you don’t already have a relationship with. You don’t really know them, and they don’t really know you.

The purpose of cold emailing is generally to get something you want from somebody else – whether that be business, help, or whatever else.

According to Mailchimp, the average open rate of cold emails is about 20%. A good response rate to shoot for is 5-10%, with many people closer to the 0% mark.

In the SEO industry, these emails are often the only way to reach somebody of importance. They can help to expand your client base, get backlinks, and open up new business opportunities.

Even if you’re not sending any cold emails, if you have any websites live chances are you’ve been receiving quite a lot of them.

And 99.9% of them are complete crap.

How NOT to Write a Cold Email

Here is an example of a horrible cold email we received just a few days before writing this article that was crafted from a template:

Do you think we replied to it? Would you?

To give this one a little credit, the bit about making a “long-term business relationship with you forever” actually gave us a chuckle. Biswajit could be the overly-attached business partner we never wanted.

Here’s one more bad example of template use:

Both of these emails are more spam emails than cold emails.

Horrible grammar/punctuation/structure aside, some things that make them spam are:

  • No personalization
  • Immediate commerical offers
  • Lack of credibility or proof
  • Overly generic
  • Fake names
  • Lack of company/contact info

Using email templates shouldn’t mean sending the same generic spam over and over like these, which you can guarantee are getting close to a 0% response rate.

One way that you can quickly tell the difference between cold emails and spam emails is to ask yourself this question: “Would I walk up to someone I’ve never met and say this?”

If the answer is “no”, there’s a good chance that your email is either spam or an example of a cold email that isn’t going to generate the type of results you are expecting.

Writing Effective Cold Emails

While crafting cold emails that actually get responses will take more time than copy/pasting the same generic spam message, it’s not very difficult to do.

Here are some guidelines to follow when using email templates or crafting your own from scratch:


In a study by Propeller, personalization increased the response rate of a company’s emails by 100%.

Personalizing the email shows the person that you know and care about them, their company, and their goals.

Some ways to personalize cold emails are:

  • Using the contact’s first name
  • Mention or congratulate them on recent news/accomplishments
  • Bring up details about their business
  • Mention recent blog posts of theirs that you enjoyed
  • Establish common interests or goals

No one reads or replies to spam, but people do read and reply to emails that are clearly directed to them by someone who has obviously done their homework.

Headers and Subject Lines

Your name and subject line are the first things that the recipient will see.

Don’t use spammy, keyword filled text for your name. Using a real name has the highest chance of success. People like to talk to people – not to brands or obvious marketing emails.

Concerning the subject line, a study by Prospect.io had some interesting results.

According to their data, there are two ways to go about crafting a subject line: Either something very short or something quite long that is very personalized.

For short subject lines, you could use something like “Quick Question” or “Hey [First Name].”

For longer subject lines, you can include things like their name, recent product launches, recent posts, referral names, and industry terms that relate to their business.

Content and Length

Like the length of your subject line, your email length can be:

  • Short and sweet emails that get straight to the point
  • Longer emails that contain lots of highly relevant, personalized information

The longer emails tend to get more responses than the short and sweet emails, but you might not want to spend the amount of time that that would entail.

Regardless of which you choose, here are some more things to keep in mind about the content:

  • Keep the fluff to a minimum
  • Use text in small blocks – no more than 3 lines of text in a paragraph
  • Don’t copy/paste too much – people can tell and this will drastically decrease responses
  • Keep the tone friendly, light-hearted, appreciative, and even humorous
  • Make it actionable – the recipient should have a clear idea of what you want them to do
  • Don’t make it too “salesy” or pushy

Following these guidelines will keep people reading and decrease bounces.

Make it About Them

Everyone likes to talk about themselves, but this is not the time for you to do so.

Keep the email relevant to the recipient and offer them value. You can do this by addressing their pain points, goals, needs, what they want, and how you can help them.

Spam emails like the ones above don’t address the specific needs of the recipient – they just send the same email to everyone regardless of who it is, what they do, and what they want or need.

Provide Proof of Yourself

While the email should largely be about them, you still need to prove that you are a real person and someone worthy of their precious time.

You can do this by:

  • Using your real name in the email header
  • Mentioning your social status, credentials, or authority as it’s relevant to them
  • Providing examples of previous work (guest posts, rankings)
  • Establishing common interests or goals
  • Full contact info in signature along with your company and title
  • Establishing a shared contact

When establishing a shared contact, it’s best to mention it in the introduction of your email. If you don’t have a shared contact, it’s best not to talk about yourself in the intro. Start the email about them, and when it comes time to establish yourself, keep it to 1-2 lines at the most.

Following Up

According to the results of a study by Woodpecker, writing more follow up emails to your initial cold email can triple your reply rate. They found that sending 1-3 emails got a 9% response rate, while sending 4-7 emails got 27% response rate.

This makes following up an absolute must.

When sending follow-up emails after they initially don’t reply, don’t just remind them that they didn’t answer you. Try to provide some kind of new value or information for the conversation you may have with them.

It’s recommended that you space out your replies irregularly – try different times, different gaps between the emails, etc. Don’t send a follow-up every day at the same time. Then you’ll just come off as annoying.

Using Cold Email Templates for SEO

We don’t advocate filling out a template once and using the same email over and over.

If you’ve read the previous sections of this article, you should be aware by now that doing that would go against almost everything that we’ve said.

Instead, use the following templates as guidelines for your email structure and things to include, and be sure to be tailoring your emails for each specific target using all of the points mentioned above.

The results more than justify the extra work involved.

If you have more information about your target that can help you add more content to the email that is focused on their company, goals, and needs – add it! More is always better as long as its relevant and not just “fluff.”

These sample emails to bloggers and site owners can act as your starting point, although they will do a great job as they are.

Template for Getting SEO Clients

The premise behind this cold email is to get a lead on the hook by offering a free video audit showing why their competition is outranking them.

Some opt to send the video audit immediately in the first email, but this method can save you lots of time creating videos for clients who were never interested in the first place. Both have their strengths, and you could modify this template to include a video if you want.

Here is the template for your first email:

Subject: [First Name] – Why [Competitor] is out-ranking you for [Keyword]


Hey [First Name],


I searched for [Keyword] today on Google and noticed that you aren’t on the first page (you are currently #[Current Rank]).


[Positive thing about their site or SEO], but you are missing out on a lot of calls and business by being back on [Current Page Rank].


I’ve had lots of success ranking and generating additional leads for other [Niche/Business Type] in [City] and [City]. You can see [Proof of ranking].


Because [positive thing about their site or SEO], you are a prime candidate to outrank your competitors like [competitor 1] and [competitor 2], and I’ve made a video showing how you can do that.


If you’re the right person to send this video to, just respond to this email that you’re interested and I’ll get it sent over to you right away.


If I need to be talking to someone else, please let me know! I’d hate for [Company name] to miss out on this opportunity.


Thanks [First name]!



[Full Contact Information]

Remember to follow up properly if the recipient doesn’t reply.

After you receive a reply, you’ll need to create a video audit for their site and competition. All you need to do this is some free software like OBS, a microphone, and a tool like Ahrefs.

Check out our video tutorial about analyzing websites for SEO if you aren’t quite sure how to do it already.

Guest Post Email Template

Guest posts are one of the most powerful ways to get backlinks for SEO.

After you’ve found some guest posting opportunities, it’s time to send them an email.

The goal of this guest post outreach template is to start a conversation with a site owner about the possibility of you writing a guest post for their site – thus earning yourself a high-quality backlink.

Here’s how it goes:

Subject: Your Post about [Recent Post of Theirs]


Hey [First Name],


I just recently found [Their Website] and wanted to let you know that you are doing a great job! Your recent post about [Recent Post Topic] really helped me with [How the post helped you]. Keep up the great work!


I’m also a writer in the [Niche] niche and wanted to reach out to you about some ideas I have for articles I could write for [Their Site] that I think your readers could get a TON of value from.


Based on the content on [Their Site], here are some ideas I came up with:

[Article Idea 1]

[Article Idea 2]

[Article Idea 3]


You can see some examples of recent guest posts I’ve done for [Website 1] and [Website 2] here:

[Article URL 1]

[Article URL 2]


If you have any other article ideas that you think would be a good match for my expertise, let me know! I’d love to be featured on [Their Site].


Thanks for your consideration, and I look forward to your next post!



[Full Contact Information]

This simple guest post email template is sure to land you guest posts and give you a good idea of how to ask for backlinks.

It’s proven to work time and time again. All that’s left for you to do is deliver!

Be sure to check out our article guest post footprints. Used in conjunction with cold emailing, you’ll be getting tons of links!

Broken Link Outreach Template

Another way of earning free backlinks is finding broken links and notifying the site owner that you have an article that would be a good replacement.

You can find more information about broken links in our article about getting free backlinks.

Here’s the template that’s helped us:

Subject: Broken Link on [Article Name] on [Site Name]


I was reading your article about [Article Subject] and noticed that your link to [Site Name] isn’t working any more:


[Link URL]


You can find the link [Location of link on their page].


If you’d like, I think this article on [Your Site] would make a great replacement because [Reason it’s a good fit]. Your audience should get a lot of value from it:


[Article URL]


Just thought I’d let you know! Keep up the good work, [First Name]!



[Full Contact Info]

Short, sweet, and to the point. Enjoy your free backlinks.

Resource Page Email Template

Resource pages are pages where the author has compiled lists of resources (other pages or articles) that their users will find useful for learning about whatever subject.

This outreach template will help you get your article added to these pages:

Subject: Question about Resources on [Article Name]


Hey [First Name],


I came across your awesome article about [Article Topic] which contains a lot of helpful resources for your readers:


[Article URL]


I recently wrote an article for [Site Name], a site that [What benefit your company provides], here:


[Article URL]


I think it would make a great addition for your resource page because [Reason why it’s a good fit], and I’d be honored to have it listed there!


Regardless, thanks for your time and keep up the great work!



[Full Contact Info]

Like always, be sure to follow up properly.

Brand Mention Email Template

Our last template will help you earn backlinks from finding articles that have mentioned your site or brand without linking to you. You can find more information about this method here.

Here’s the email template to use once you’ve found your targets:

Subject: Thanks for mentioning [Your Site]!


Hey [First Name],


I recently came across your article on [Article topic] where you mentioned us, [Your Site]:


[Article URL]


First off, we really appreciate it! It’s an honor to be published on [Their Site].


I wanted to reach out to you because we recently [Wrote or Updated] an article about [Article Topic], and we thought that your audience would get a lot of value if you included [Your Site]‘s mention as a link to it:


[Article URL]


Thanks for the mention again, and keep up the great work, [First Name]!


[Full Contact Info]

The key for this one is all about appreciation.

SEO Cold Email Templates Wrap-Up

Throughout this article, you’ve learned the basics of writing effective cold emails that get you what you want for SEO – clients and links.

You’ve learned how to craft effective cold emails for SEO yourself for any subject that will actually get responses and set yourself apart from the thousands of spam emails that get sent out every day.

We’ve also given you 5 blogger outreach email templates that have proven highly successful for our own lead generation and link building needs.

With all of this, you now have the ability to use cold emailing as a powerful new weapon that can transform the way you do business – so use it wisely!

If you’re interested in taking your email template to the next level with a personal and controllable narrative that draws from classic soap opera motifs, then check out our article on using the Soap Opera Sequence for email marketing.

Got anything to add? Leave us a comment below.

Chris Tzitzis

Chris Tzitzis


Chris Tzitzis is an SEO and a Co-Founder of SirLinksalot.co. He has extensive experience with Affiliate SEO and running an SEO Agency.

Chris Tzitzis

Chris Tzitzis


Chris Tzitzis is an SEO and a Co-Founder of SirLinksalot.co. He has extensive experience with Affiliate SEO and running an SEO Agency.

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  1. Xavier

    One of my biggest obstacles is writing an effective subject line for cold emails… simple I know. I like you example because you are making it personal which shows you actually read their content, so they are more likely to open.

  2. Jack

    Very well written article! I think this post provides very valuable information.Thanks for great idea explanation about email templates!

  3. Stacy

    Surprised to see sending out 4 -7 more emails had a bigger response rate, I would think this might turn people off from getting bombarded with so many emails… good to know.

    • Kinsley

      I thought the same, Stacy! I get nervous when I sent out like 2 extra emails if they don’t open the first one, lol.

  4. Lucas

    This will be fun to experiment with once I get more contacts in my email list.

  5. Eva

    Ha, that example you showed of what not to do made me laugh because EVERY TIME I sign one of my dummy email addresses up for one of those “make money online” free pdf just submit email type of thing, they send tons of emails, at least once a day, and they all start out with “I’ll keep this brief” LOL. Who really sits there and reads all those emails every single day my God!

  6. tdatgseo

    Cold emails work like charm if you build your database by authentic marketing efforts and send content which provides value.


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