We're all familiar with the Google search results. As SEOs, we're constantly monitoring the SERPs to see how our site is faring. As human beings who live in the 21st century, more likely than not we visit Google at least once a day to get more information on a given topic.

Usually, however, our attention is limited to the Universal search results - what we see after we type in our search query and press enter. It's a mixture of pure webpages, blogs, forums, videos, images - whatever Google deems best answers our query.

It makes sense to look at that when you're checking how your site is doing (after all, that's what most people see) or when you want results yourself. But when you're trying to find linkbuilding prospects, the first page of the Universal search results is often likely to return disappointing results. Is Amazon really going to give you a link? Is The New York Times? Is that high-authority site in your niche who's been putting time and money into their own SEO for that keyword?

That's not to say you won't find any decent prospects - but let's look at two other "specific" Google search types that may give you better results.

We're going to pretend that you're a dog trainer, and you'd really like to rank your site for terms like "dog training tips." So you go to the Google homepage and type in "dog training tips".

instead of focusing on the universal results, click More in the sidebar

You'll get the following expanded list:

more options to narrow down google search

That's a lot, no?

So click on "Discussions."

Lots of forums, Yahoo Answers on dog training tips

Hmmm... more options to show my expertise, and often include links also. Now, this doesn't mean "spam the forums!" Debatable whether it was a good idea in the first place, and since Penguin it's definitely not recommended. Instead, it means - actually answer the question, put links that are meant for PEOPLE to follow and get to your site - and Google may well appreciate them also.

Now, you may notice that some of these are a little outdated. It may not be recommended - or possible - to add a comment or answer to a post from four years ago. To get only more recent discussions, scroll down in the left sidebar, and you'll see:

can limit to show discussion in past hour, past day, past week...

Pick whatever you think is a reasonable range - and check it out!

One other option, beyond discussions, is "Blogs." If you click on "Blogs" for "dog training tips," you get:

blogs and blog posts for dog training tips

Like Discussions, you might be able to leave a relevant, helpful comment on a blog post, if the readership and community seem active. Otherwise, this could be a great resource for finding guest post opportunities.

So - expand your horizons, narrow down your Google search - and get those links!

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