Case Study: How We Grew Pixelied from 0 to 24,000 Monthly Organic Traffic in 8 Months [Step-by-Step Blueprint]

Hey Indiehackers! I’ve recently published a case study on how we were able to grow Pixelied (a SaaS company) from 0 to 24,000+ organic traffic in only 8 months building backlinks from high authority websites. I’ve documented the entire process step-by-step on how you can replicate the process and get backlinks for your website.

When we started a couple of months ago, we had a completely new domain, zero backlinks, zero domain rating, and no organic search.

There are many guides out there that teach you how to build backlinks using hundreds of different methods. What makes this post so special, you might ask?

The answer is dynamic personalization. This is what will give you an edge over your competition. Since, it is something that is still not being used by many people in the industry.


Our Results Using This Strategy


We rank for lots of competitive keywords leaving behind companies like Canva, Snappa, and Crello.


The full post with screenshots is down in the comments, but here’s a tl;dr:

Here are the main steps involved in the process:

Step 1: Create Link Worthy Content

It may seem obvious but to earn backlinks, you need to create good content.
Your content must provide value to your readers. It’s incredibly important that you do not take this step lightly as the success of this strategy depends on your content.

We used the skyscraper model which is a tried and tested inbound marketing strategy.

In the skyscraper strategy, we’ll essentially look for our target keyword’s SERP on Google. Let’s say you want to rank for the keyword ‘‘how to lose weight”. Go through the top 10 results carefully.

Make a note of the format, tone, and style of content ranking on the first page. Essentially, we’re spying on our competition.

After doing our research, we’ll simply create much better content than our competitors such as adding more content, visuals, questions, video, data in a structured manner, easy to read content, etc.

Tip: I would highly recommend creating at least 2000+ word blog posts to have a chance at ranking your content.

Note: You don’t always have to follow the skyscraper technique. Creating a high-quality post that provides unique and new insights can also work.

Hiring Content Writers:

If you’re good at writing and don’t have a budget. Then that’s perfect! But we outsourced the content creation part to an agency where they published 5 blog posts every month.

Platforms like Upwork, Reddit and Facebook groups are great places to find quality writers.

I was able to find several great content writers on Reddit that had been creating blog posts for SaaS businesses. The subreddit on which I posted the job description was HireaWriter.

You can generally find good writers in the US$0.08–0.1/word range. If you want to have a 2000 word blog post, then that would cost you about $160-$200. If you’re working with individual content writers, then I would send them a content outline of the post they have to write on. Details like the main keyword, your target audience, SEO guidelines, headings, etc.

Twitter is another great place where you can create posts using hashtags like #hiringawriter to reach potential applicants.

Step 2: Get Domains (That Will Backlink To You) From Ahrefs

With your high-quality content ready, it’s time to look for backlink opportunities.

In this step, we’ll look for websites that have provided a backlink to our competitors and most likely will include our blog post as it is the most comprehensive post on the subject matter, recently updated and fresh.

To do that, we’ll use Ahrefs to analyze link profiles of the top 20 websites ranking for our main keyword. We’ll open the backlinks page of each of those 20 websites while selecting these filter types:

link type = blogs only
language = english
link type = do-follow backlinks

After doing this, we’ll export the backlinks from all these 20 websites in one single sheet. With this information, we’re almost ready to contact these websites and ask for a backlink.

Step 3: Finding Contact Information Of Target Websites

For finding leads manually, we’re going to use Snov.io and Hunter.io.

You can use other similar services such as FindThatLead, Anyemail Finder, Skrapp, etc. But from what I have seen and tested, Snov.io and Hunter.io are the best tools for this purpose.

The first thing we’ll do is look for the author’s name by opening the blog post. This information is usually at the bottom of the post.

Paste the link of your blog post in Snov’s “Domain Search” page.

Since we know the author's name, we’ll most likely be able to find their details there. For example, if the post is written by Dawood Khan, then in Snov, most likely you’ll find my contact details such as [email protected]

Once you have repeated this process for all your prospect websites, we’ll now have to verify the leads using an email verification tool. We used Thechecker for this purpose.

If you can’t find the lead in Snov.io, then you can cross-check on Hunter.io, which is another great tool for finding leads.

Note: If nothing works, you can roll the dice and contact a generic company email ID such as [email protected].

Using Hunter’s Author Finder Tool:

Hunter.io recently launched a new tool named ‘Author Finder’. The tool has an accuracy rate of 60–70% so it’s pretty reliable. I haven’t used it much but the results have been great so far.

Outsourcing Lead Generation Process:

If you have a budget you can outsource the lead generation process and save yourself plenty of time. Back when I was starting a few months ago, I had to do this whole process manually and it was a pain in the a**.

Upwork and Freelancer.com have plenty of lead generation freelancers who can find contact details for you.

We pay $0.2 for each deliverable lead they find. This is a great way to scale this whole process quickly.

Tip: I would recommend giving the freelancers a test list of 20 people with their website links. This way you’ll be able to assess which freelancers provide quality work and that you can work with.

Step 4: Using Personalization in Your Emails

This is the secret sauce that we use to get high quality backlinks from our outreach campaigns. It can truly differentiate you from everyone. The reason why it works so best is because not many people are doing it.

Personalization is basically sending dynamic images and gifs at scale without doing the work manually for each prospect.

Here’s an example: https://imgur.com/a/jOvmQtK

Once you’ve filled your prospect list with names and emails, it’s time to finally reach out to them. You’ll be sending each person a personalized email.

For dynamic personalization, you can use Lemlist or Personilli. With Personilli, you can practically use it with ANY email software out there.

The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than plain text.

For personalization, there are endless possibilities that you can try. You can use funny memes, pictures with your dog or cat, or using a picture of you or your co-workers holding a laptop with a screenshot of their blog post.

You don’t have to follow this format but the idea is to be creative!

Follow Ups:

Most people are busy and may not reply right away. So, it's important to have a follow-up email sequence that sends reminders after two to three days.

Subject Lines:

Generally, short and simple subject lines such as “quick question” or “quick question + name” or “hoping you can help” are effective.

Email Body:

Keep the email short and sweet. Don’t add paragraphs of text explaining who you are, what you do, and all the unnecessary information.

Using humor is a great way to break the ice and cheer them up before they form an opinion of you.

Don’t ramble in your introduction.

Use 3-4 liner words along with personalization. Don’t use words like great or awesome. These can be seen as empty compliments.

Now that you have their attention, it’s time to close the deal.

Instead of paying a fee for a backlink, we provided them with a lifetime access to our Pro plan and a shoutout on our social media channels. This allowed us to secure backlinks for free.

To put things into perspective, we sent 129 cold emails to prospects asking for a backlink. Out of these 129 prospects, 46 people provided a backlink to our site. (A whopping 36% success rate)

Responses We’ve Gotten Using Personalization

Response1 Response 2 Response 3

Some Personalization Examples

Response1 Response1 Response1

Step 6: Tracking Your Results

Limit the number of emails you send to 50–100 emails every day. Otherwise, you will burn your email and domain reputation.

If you want to scale this process, hire the help of virtual assistants or freelancers.

Also, test sending emails at different times of the day.

Usually, the best time to send emails is between 10–12 am EST. When you do get a response, reply as fast as you can.

While the best backlinks are free, some people will still ask for a fee no matter how good your outreach is.

Only consider this for special cases such as for sites that have growing organic traffic, no sudden drops in traffic (most likely site has been penalized), good domain rating, etc.

Getting high quality backlinks can be tough but it isn’t impossible.

If I can do it, so can you.

I would be more than happy to answer your questions.

LIKED OUR RUN-DOWN? HERE'S THE COMPLETE GUIDE WITH STEP-BY-STEP SCREENSHOTS: https://dawoodkhan254.medium.com/high-quality-backlinks-f00d12d0edb

  1. 3

    Love it mate!

    Exactly process we're following ourselves, adding more to your point is that we're also making sure with the keywords we target, the pages that rank for that have at par if not lower DA than us, which always helps

    We have a personalised outreach software, not for graphics like yours but using AI to create hyper-personalised messages

    So using your software / lemlist + our personalised outreach is going to be solid approach for us!

    Thanks :)

    1. 1

      Cool product! Might use it for personalised lines

      Is it gpt-3?

      1. 2

        Kinda...GPT3 + CTRL + Custom models

  2. 3

    This was a good read, but keep in mind that giving away free products or services in exchange for a link is against Google guidelines and could result in a penalty... 🤫

    1. 1

      Who cares about Google guidelines really ... let's stop getting directed by a 3rd party company on how to publish things on internet, please.

      1. 4

        The moment you want their traffic you have to follow their rules, seems fair to me.

    2. 1

      Are there other incentives that can be used that don't go against Google guidelines?

      1. 1

        In that case, I would recommend doing guest posts on other websites.

        When we reach out to people some of them don’t provide a backlink but are more than happy to add a guest post from us. (These are authority sites I’m talking about)

        The only problem with this method is you need to produce lots of content and a good budget.

      2. 1

        There are many ways to build white hat backlinks. For example the domain authority of my side project went from 0 to 34 in less than a year just by pitching it to other websites in my niche.

    3. 1

      Yes you're right but when we started, we had a new domain, no backlinks and zero DR. People were reluctant giving us a backlink as soon as they saw our metrics. That is why we had to come up with some sort of incentive.

      But if its an established brand, then getting backlinks is more easier. People are more willing to add the link.

    4. 1

      Agree but a lot of people still do it, so worth it? Not worth it? Some people say, better ask for forgiveness than permission...

      1. 1

        I personally wouldn’t do it but everyone is different.

  3. 2

    Hey Dawood!
    Great article and great result! Love it!

    Do you accept new clients? I'd like to hire you to coordinate this same kind of activity for my SaaS: content creation, outreach, link building. If you've already been there and have all these connections, I'd love to work with you and get a quick result too.

    1. 1

      Thanks Alex!
      Let's hop on a quick call and discuss further

  4. 2

    @dawoodkhan97 Great process and tips! Thanks for writing this article, I will make sure that I will try this out. How do I signup for your beta?

  5. 2

    Thanks for sharing. I have been analyzing a lot on semrush and thinking about backlinks so your piece was just at the right time

  6. 2

    great content, thanks for sharing

  7. 2

    @dawoodkhan97 Thanks for sharing the method. We follow a similar process and it works greatly.
    For the topic and competing content research, outlining and optimisation workflow, we are building Postpace.com It's a productivity platform for content teams with end to end workflow automations. It will fit perfectly in your workflow :)

    1. 1

      Cool product!
      Will see if it fits in our overall workflow

  8. 2

    Great post! Thanks for the tips.
    Who did the graphics/illustrations on your website? Love the characters and style!

    1. 1

      Our design head did all that

  9. 2

    @dawoodkhan97 Thanks for the tips! And love the look of your product 👍 Totally agree with the targeting and personalization parts (I wrote about this in a post the other day in fact)! If you get time check out our prospecting tool Coldlytics - would really value your feedback 🙏

    1. 1

      Sure! always open to try a good tool

      Hit me up at [email protected] and let's hop on a call

  10. 2

    Nice product! What tech did you use to build it ?

    1. 1

      Mean js and editor is built with Fabric js

  11. 1

    Awesome write-up mate. Kudos for building an amazing product.
    I have a blog, https://boxpiper.com/, and is currently clocking more than 10K page views on average from Jan 2021.
    Happy to add your app blog/article to my blog without any cost.
    Why free? Two reasons: First, the app looks great and second we are Neighbours. 🇮🇳🇵🇰
    Happy to connect.

  12. 1

    How can create backlink for news website<a href="https://www.hindulive.com/">website</a>

  13. 1

    Hey @dawoodkhan97, would you be interested to repurpose this post as a contribution to "My SEO Journey" on seobuddy.com (DR43)? We already published the first 15 episodes: https://seobuddy.com/blog/my-seo-journey/

    You can reach out to me by email: [email protected]
    Or WhatsApp/Telegram: +1 (242) 421-5464

    We're not greedy when it comes to backlinks and you can find all perks/guideline here:

  14. 1

    Tell us something about the revenue - MRR, ARR, no. of paying customers, cancelation , MoM growth etc.

    Traffic is just useless if you NOT earning a dollar out of it.

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