Link building is an important phase of marketing and optimizing a website, to make it prominent on search engine result pages.
Links are one of the value indicators used by search engines in order to rank web pages’ importance, popularity and relevancy, in which the more pages from other websites that are citing your page as a reliable and trusted source of information, the more it gets popular and, eventually, the more it is able to be returned to their users as a result for their search queries.
This process of search engine optimization is composed of two parts – link prospecting and actual link acquisition. Link prospecting is a crucial stage of a site’s link development, given that search engines only give value to high quality links these days. The procedure for identifying good link prospects for your site has two major parts: finding link opportunities and determining the value of those link opportunities.
6 Ways to Find Link Building Opportunities
There are plenty of ways to find topically relevant websites and web pages where you can try to get a link:
1. Advanced Search Queries
The use of advanced search commands on Google Search (e.g. “site:domaintype + keywords”, “intitle:keywords”, “inurl:keywords” “link:domain -site:domain”, “related:domainname” and “define:keywords”) will allow you to retrieve more relevant results, which you can use in listing sites that you might be able to acquire high quality links from.
2. Studying your competitors’ links and relationships
There are a number of tools that you can use to scout out the links that are pointing to your competitors’ websites, but I am going to focus on Majestic SEO’s Site Explorer tool and SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer tool. Both of these tools need to be paid for in order to get the best out of them but they will definitely prove their worth over time. You can also study their linking relationships by checking their blogrolls or list of recommended sites, which can expand the reach of your link building campaign as you are able to track other linking opportunities from their relationships’ link profile.
3. Web Directories
Large web directories such as Dmoz, Best of the Web and Yahoo Business Directory can also help you mine more thematic link opportunities, given that most websites listed on this type of directory are well established. You can also choose to scale your link prospecting campaign by mining the pages linking to the sites you have found listed on these directories (through Yahoo Site Explorer).
4. Twitter Search
In this age of marketing, where Social Media has been emerging, it’s almost certain that most websites on any niche have Twitter accounts integrated into them. Use your targeted keywords to find influential people in your industry.
5. Google Alerts
You can also keep your link building campaign updated by setting up an alert for your site’s targeted keywords via Google Alerts. It’s a free email service from Google, which sends new related results from their index based on your targeted search terms (on daily, weekly or monthly basis).
6. Link search through related foreign websites
Most link builders tend to focus on global and local search when searching for link prospects and sometimes fail to spot a whole lot of opportunities from other channels. Finding and exploring link opportunities through localized Google Search (e.g. Google.de, Google.com.ph, Google.kr, etc…) or country-based web directories will enable you to extract more diverse link opportunities from topically relevant websites, as well as to get ideas on how you can elevate your own strategy by evaluating their link building efforts.
Did I miss any? If you can think of any other link building techniques, share your recommendations in the comments section below.