You have a link building strategy ready, so it’s time to test it out! Make sure you’re ready for the most important part of link building – the prospecting.
Identify Your Link-Building Prospects
If you’ve chosen a link-building strategy, you should already have an idea of the type of prospects you’re looking for. Depending on your target prospects, you can find them in various places around the web.
Find Your Prospects Using “Traditional” Methods
To find prospects, you don’t necessarily need access to online tools. In fact, if you know exactly what kind of websites you’re seeking, browsing the web might be enough.
A great first step involves finding directories for businesses that you’re interested in working with. Usually, these listings contain certain information about the listed businesses so you can research them further if you think it might be a strong prospective collaboration.
If you’re looking for specific topics covered by blogs or news sites, Google Search will help you find the right articles. Use quick advanced search queries, which are easy (and sometimes tricky) search commands that can speed up the process and get the exact results you need.
- Inurl Search: (Example inurl:blog/Example inurl:com/ca/au, e.t.c.)
- Intitle Search: (Example intitle:guest post/Example intitle:Advertise)
- Exact Phrase Search: (Example “Guest post”/Example “Write for us”)
Link Prospecting Tools
Link-building prospecting can be challenging and extremely time-consuming. There are multiple link-building tools that can save time and ensure that you’re not missing on easy opportunities.
Dead Link Checker (Broken Links)
Require a free registration for multi-site checker feature
The Dead Link Checker crawls broken backlinks on any domain. In most cases, you can find great prospects who can be outreached for link replacements.
Ahrefs Content Explorer
Trial: 7-day trial for $7
Price: Plans start at $99
Whether you’re searching for specific covered topics or bloggers who might be interested in guest blogging, this tool is absolutely worth checking out.
SEMrush Link Building Feature
Free Trial: ✅
Price: Plans start at $99
Like Ahrefs, SEMrush is an SEO tool with a handy link-building feature. If you’ve already used SEMrush for content marketing or SEO audits – and created lists of keywords that are relevant to your website – the link-building feature will automatically generate a list of potential prospects for you.
Buzzstream Discovery Button
Free Trial: ❌
Price: $24/mo for one user (starter plan)
Buzzstream is a link-building tool that offers countless convenient features. One of them is the “Discovery” panel where prospects can be searched for.
Once you enter a search term, Buzzstream generates profiles of influencers that can be filtered:
Any profile reveals an influencer’s social followers, social engagement rate, activity, and even their network of connections (on Twitter). Use this feature for influencer marketing or link building by looking for bloggers, journalists, or content writers.
Free Trial: ❌
Price: $99/mo (starter plan)
PR Leads connects journalists and content writers with businesses that can provide resources in exchange for link mentions (once a piece is published).
The usefulness of this platform depends on your industry. For example, if you can provide valuable industry knowledge, becoming a source for others’ articles is a good strategy, as well as a method to connect with content writers.
Qualify Link Building Prospects
Qualifying your future link-building partners is the most important part of the prospecting process. You can’t collaborate with everyone on your list, but you need to make sure that prospects will justify your efforts.
Decide on the Domain Authority Range
A website’s domain authority (DA) is a metric used to evaluate a website. The higher the DA, the more SEO value you’ll receive from the domain’s link.
If you decide you want links from websites with a specific DA (above 10, 20, etc.), you’ll fine-tune your list of prospects significantly.
Consider the Value Growing in Time
It’s true that high DA websites will boost your site quicker (as they’re passing more link juice to your domain). Website DAs grow over time, so if a domain has the potential to grow substantially over the next few years, link building partnership is worthy.
The Most Authority Domains
There are major differences between .com, .edu, and .org domains. The most authoritative domain is .gov, and the SEO value generated from such a domain is high – no matter the DA.
In fact, a link from a .gov domain with DA of 10 is more valuable than a link from a .com domain with a DA of 50+. If you happen to have a .gov domain prospect with a low domain authority rank, don’t hesitate to pursue a do-follow link.
Always Check for Do-Follow Links
Many websites and bloggers don’t publish do-follow links on their sites. Some of them even mention this in their contact pages, indicating that they’re tired of receiving emails asking for do-follows.
If your goal is to win do-follow links, always check if a website publishes external ones.
Don’t Forget the Spam Score
If you’re using directories or tools to prospect, you can easily bump into a penalized website without noticing. Using the MozBar tool to check a website’s DA and spam score can easily save you a lot of headaches.
If a website has a high spam score (above 10%) but otherwise looks good, this metric might not be the most accurate.
This may sound subjective, but after researching different websites, you’ll start to strengthen your intuition and identify fake websites (even if they don’t have high spam score).
Some things you need to pay attention to are:
- Too many advertising banners/pop-ups
- Clickbait content
- Lack of brand identity/generic content
- Bloggers using stock photos instead of unique photos
Even if these websites have organic traffic and high DA today, Google may penalize them and you’ll lose the value from their link tomorrow (since Google ignores spammy backlinks).
Feeling Ready to Start Doing Link Building?
It’s time to send some emails! Read our guide on how to outreach for links efficiently – start boosting your rankings today! 🚀