The Inbound Marketer's Guide to the Link Prospector

by Calin Daniel June 14th, 2012 

link-prospector

As any inbound marketer will tell you, finding engagement targets for links and referral traffic is hard work! That said, creating engaging content that will attract links to your website organically is equally as challenging.

Enter the Link Prospector, a tool that has eliminated much of the monotony of link prospecting while simultaneously creating a platform for content discovery. In this post Im going to explain a few ways I use the Link Prospectors report type, query filters, and research phrases to find some amazing inbound marketing opportunities.

1. Find Bloggers To Review Products Or Services

As a graduate of a public relations program I find it interesting how traditional public relations has trickled into the inbound marketing industry. Bloggers " some with thousands of RSS subscribers " collectively have more influence online than many of the traditional media juggernauts and as an inbound marketer it is our job to connect with them.

To find bloggers to review a product I start by selecting the reviews report type. This query string returns results that are only related to reviews.

There are 7 query filters that can be customized based on your specific needs. Below are the ones Ive found to be the most useful for this query.

Search Scope: I start by selecting blog results from the to search scope. This filter restricts the URLs to blog results only.

Safesearch Filters: I apply strict filtering to my Safesearch filter to remove any adult results.

TLD: I select any TLD from the TLD filter so that I dont miss out on any obscure blogs hiding under .org or .edu TLDs.

Depth: Lastly, I choose a depth of 20 from the select depth filter. I like to keep my lists loose and refine them later in Excel. You never know what is hiding deep within the SERPs.

The last thing I do is select my research phrases. I like to separate my keywords into category level and granular keywords. I prefer to separate the results so that when I export the lists as CSV files they are more organized (Ill explain more about this later).

With these filters and research phrases the query will return a list of websites that can be incorporated into an outreach list. If the list is quite daunting, and the prospect of diving into each website to locate the contact information unrealistic, Id also recommend running the list through the Citation Labs Contact Finder. The Contact Finder, much like the Link Prospector, takes care of much of the heavy lifting for you. It spiders a list of URLs returning email addresses that are located on the sites. This saves an enormous amount of time!

Finally, for tracking purposes I export the lists as CSV files using the export paths feature. I then open it in an Excel spreadsheet and arrange the websites based on their PageRank, working through the list in descending order. The export feature is really useful because in addition to providing the URL, PageRank, and Link Target Score it also displays the website title and description for at-a-glance analysis.

2. Find Experts To Interview

Interviewing your industrys best and brightest is a surefire way to get your website noticed. Dont believe me " take the example of SEO prodigy Jon Cooper, who in less than 12 months has gone from a relative unknown to one of the link building communitys foremost experts. Its no secret that his expert interviews played a role in building his credibility and notoriety in such a short amount of time (well that and his awesome blog posts). The following is how you can use the Link Prospector to find some of those juicy expert interview opportunities for yourself.

I start by selecting the expert interviews report type. This ensures the results I receive are related to, you guessed it, expert interviews.

The second step is to set my query filters. Here are the ones I apply for this query:

Date Range Filter: I like to select and query multiple date ranges. By selecting the date range past week, for example I can highlight individuals that are rising stars and likely looking to capitalize on their recent success. Additionally, for inbound marketers, publishing interviews with experts that are hot can lead to quick traffic wins by capitalizing on that persons notoriety.

Search Scope: I typically choose to include web & blog results as experts can be featured on blogs as well as media, association, and resource websites.

TLD: Much like the reviews example above, I select any TLD so that I dont miss out on potential interview opportunities.

Next, I separate the research phrases into groups and create multiple reports. In my experience, prospecting for industry experts can be productive with both category level and granular keywords.

For example " if my client is in the dentistry field I add category-level research phrases such as:

Dentist

Dental

Dentistry

DDS

This query provides you with a great eagles eye view of the leaders in the industry before you do some additional digging.

To drill a bit deeper I also like to focus on granular keywords. A few examples include:

Root Canal

Oral Health

Endodontic

It may be funny to think that a person could be an expert in root canals but you would be surprised what you discover at this level. The result is a list of hidden gems that would have otherwise flown under the radar.

Finally, I export the results as a CSV file and import the information into Excel for further analysis. These lists tend to be more contained than other reports so I like to take some additional notes on the prospects including their number of RSS subscribers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

3. Guest Posting For Links & Authority

As I alluded to before, building links is hard work. However, guest posting has been the one saving grace for true white hat SEO and inbound marketing consultants. Guest posting is a Win-Win-Win situation. The bloggers get free content, you get exposure and the search engines get fed.

In my opinion the guest post feature is the shining star of the Link Prospector tool set. It eliminates a tremendous amount of research time by automating the prospecting process and documenting the URLs.

To find guest post opportunities I start by selecting the guest posting report type and apply the following filters.

Select Region: Depending on the geographic nature of the campaign I select the region that works for my campaign. Ive found this filter to be extremely useful for country-specific SEO campaigns as well. In addition to attaining backlinks it is also an opportunity to discover blogs that may be prime for local citation.

Search Scope: I select only blogs from the Search Scope. I tend to target blogs, as opposed to standard websites. Blog owners typically dont have the same restrictions as corporate webmasters, so having your content published to a blog is much easier than having it published to a corporate website. With that being said it will really depend on the type of industry you are working in.

When selecting the research phrases I apply the methodology explained in the expert interview query. I separate my keywords into groups starting at the category level and slowly making my way down to specific products, services or industry terms.

Once the reports have processed I export a CSV file and import it into Excel. The reports will supply you with a healthy list of blogs to include in your guest posting campaign. Whether it is for links, or for building your online authority, you will save a tremendous amount of time and have some amazing prospects at your fingertips.

Taking Things A Step Further

If you would like to take things a step further Buzzstream and the SEOMoz API integrate nicely with the exported CSV files. A CSV can be imported into Buzzstream, which will spider the URLs for contact information and social media profiles " this saves a lot of time in manually collecting information. The SEOMoz API can be used to collect additional information about the URLs such as Domain Authority, Page Authority, MozRank, and MozTrust.

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Calin Yablonski

Calin is the founder of Inbound Interactive a Calgary SEO and Inbound Marketing Company specializing in SEO, PPC and Social Media Marketing.

Inbound Marketing Blog

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3 Responses to “The Inbound Marketer's Guide to the Link Prospector”

  1. [...] The Inbound Marketer's Guide to the Link Prospector, Search Engine People [...]

  2. Andy Kuiper says:

    Great advice Calin :-)
    I especially like your 3'd point: "Guest Posting For Links & Authority"
    If you've got something to say, someone will likely be interested in posting your info :-)

  3. Todd Mumford says:

    Great post Calin. Citation Labs is a fantastic tool. Potentially a bit overpriced, but worth it.