How to Find Relevant Link Targets

by Jon Quinton June 3rd, 2011 


One of the biggest factors determining your link request success rate will be how you go about finding link targets. It's no good sending out emails randomly; you have to find websites that actively link out to websites like yours. If they are already linking to other websites there has to be a possibility that they can also link to your website. My first step in this process is to run a few custom queries in Google to try and find some potential websites to approach.

To find websites in your niche with links pages try running the following search queries:

your-keyword intitle:links inurl:links

your-keyword intitle:resources inurl:resources

Replace 'keyword' with an appropriate keyword that describes what you are looking for.

As an example, let's assume you run a children's gifts ecommerce website and you want to find children's entertainers websites. Simply search for:

Children's entertainers intitle:links inurl:links

By running this search in Google, you should end up with a nice big list of children's entertainment websites that have links pages; and the ability to link back to your website.

Now you have to find out why they are linking to other websites. Most webmasters have one of a few reasons to link to other businesses; they could be friends, partners, or perhaps they have exchanged links. Finding out the answer to this question is one of the biggest steps towards gaining a link. I personally wouldn't advise you exchange links en masse; you need to find some other reasons for them to link back to you.

If you have enough time available you could offer to provide them with some new content for their website. Perhaps they could benefit from a few guides or an FAQ's page. If they are local then you have the opportunity to offer them recommendations and business leads. The real trick is to find something that will genuinely benefit their business; something that means linking to you makes perfect business sense and is an opportunity that shouldn't be missed!

Jon Quinton

Jon Quinton works as an SEO, running his own consultancy Go Search Marketing. In addition he also runs an ecommerce project; The Jewellery Boutique.

Go Search Marketing

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11 Responses to “How to Find Relevant Link Targets”

  1. You're on the right track but I would say that looking for "links" and "resources" pages is not the right way to execute this strategy. Chances are pretty good that those pages are being used for search marketing — which means the links will be suspicious. No one should be associating their site with suspicious links.

    It's better to spend MORE TIME reading the blogs in the topic area from which you want the links and counting up which ones link out. You become more familiar with their own points of view that way and can write a better, more focused communication by responding to what they say.

    Link acquisition should not be treating other Websites as cattle to be herded into the PageRank corral. They should be treated with the same dignity and respect we want people to extend to our own Websites.

    • Jon says:

      @Micheal…I think you're right here, there are many ways to go about building links. I didn't mean to come across as 'corraling' websites; but surely there's a benefit to finding relevant websites that do actually link? I did maintain the fact that relevant is key here; not just approaching any old website with a links page…

  2. Jim Rudnick says:

    @Michael….thanks…sanity prevails once again….OP…you need to research more…and I'd think a lot more, eh!



    PS no offence meant…just that as Michael says, there are MUCH better ways to find good, relevant links than the 'corraling' method outlined herein, eh!

  3. Jon says:

    Thanks for your comment; do you mind me asking why I need to research more? Of course there are many ways to find links; but surely this could be seen as one piece of a large set of techniques?

  4. Ruud Hein says:

    @Jon Not talking for the other commentators, but I think the specific searches for "links" and "resources" pages you do is what's being hinted at. These type of pages generally don't carry a lot of weight with search engines and thus the links coming from them don't really help all that much.

    I like the queries but would use them with other phrases, looking for valuable sites to build relations with. See: The Power of Search Queries for Link Building: The Basics and Beyond & its part two

    • Jon says:

      @Rudd thanks for the comment. No I do agree with the point, and would very much like to stress that these aren't the only queries I ever use. I've found this idea particularly useful when looking for content opportunities, local business, review sites and so much more.

      Like the post that you've linked to states; the basic theory can be extended to anything:) I have found links from RELEVANT resource pages to work, like I've pointed out…relevant is the key. It's also worth adding that it's important to keep good company, and make sure that you're only looking at a good proposition (not a spammy resource page).

      If a resource or links page on a relevant website has five carefully selected and relevant links, how can that do you any harm? In fact I'd stand by my point and say that it would be a great link to get! Just because it's a 'resource' or 'links' page doesn't mean it should be avoided.

  5. We all want links from helpful Websites. Like Jim and Ruud pointed out, the research into potential linking sources can be better focused.

    I find that writing about good blogs, responding to the points they make, encouraging them to make more good points, often leads to people linking to my own blog.

    Those links send visitors and hence I find those blogs in my referral data. That validates my choices. But I also discover other blogs in my referral data that I wasn't aware of before. I wait until I find good content on those sites that I feel I can say something relevant about and then I write about them.

    The process is rather self-sustaining, although clearly a well-known, popular blog benefits from this method more than a newly created blog. However, that is how I build traffic and links for all my blogs. I'm willing to take the patient route. I feel it's more productive and efficient.

  6. Jim Rudnick says:

    what Ruud & Michael said here…can't be improved on at all…except to say that yes, if you "become" a part of a community rather than just dropping by for a link — you end up not only being in that community but your own online rep grows too. Yup, I know that this thought is not new, but as Michael said above…if you wait for that good content to comment on i.e. the patient route, it's about the best way to grow not only that online rep, but your blog as well!

    Go over to Ross's blog post of today and read what he has to offer up on his POV on this – well sort of as Ross is very tough to point to in a few words or less….and this piece still has me thinking on it too!



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  8. Karthic says:

    Jon, that's a nice post. Along with finding the relavant websites that has links/resources page, we should see that they don't have more than 20 links. Although purpose of links page is seo, still, some websites do it genuinely to give details about their potential competitors(maybe partner in future). It's no harm trying this method. Thanks, Jon!

  9. […] best place to start gathering a list of relevant sites will be through modifying searches or using customized searches in Google. A lot of SEO research programs offer site finder tools as well but the easiest and most […]