Link Prospecting: A Detailed Guide for 2022

105,495 is the number of searches Google is processing every single second. This simply means for your website to be visible to users, it needs to rank on page one of Google search results (SERPs). Ranking on page one has more benefits than just being visible to users. Websites ranking on page one get more organic traffic, and the enhanced visibility helps in establishing brand authority. Read on to discover how to rank your website on page one by implementing a proper SEO strategy.

Link prospecting is one of the strongest SEO actions that can help you gather high-quality links from authoritative websites. This article will explain link prospecting, gathering high authority websites, establishing relationships with them, and the most effective link prospecting tools.

In this article

  1. What is Link Prospecting?
  2. Steps involved in Link Prospecting
  3. Things to look for during Link Prospecting
  4. Google Search Operators for Link Prospecting
  5. Top 4 Tools for Link Prospecting
  6. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  7. In Summary
  8. Related Reads

What is Link Prospecting?

Link prospecting is the process of finding new relevant sites for link building. Link prospecting is the very first step of a link building outreach campaign. Link prospecting is a very crucial step in your complete SEO strategy; without getting proper backlinks, your website’s authority and ranking can fall apart. The process of finding the right website in any industry is time-consuming. The process is long because finding the right website by different means, contacting the webmasters, establishing a relationship of link building, and successfully getting backlinks is a multi-tiered process.

A few years back, ranking your website on the top page was relatively easy. Back then, Google would rank websites based on how many backlinks they had without judging the quality of the links or content. But after Google announced their Penguin update, websites that were doing manipulative link schemes and other black hat SEO techniques  (keyword stuffing, for example) were given a sharp warning. Websites employing these techniques were said to violate Google’s Webmasters Guidelines. After 2017, Penguin updates became a part of Google’s core algorithm. According to the Google core update, the following things can negatively affect your website ranking:

Today, to rank your website as one of the top ranking pages, you must implement white hat SEO strategies. Link building, as mentioned earlier, is one of the top 200 Google ranking factors. And the first step of the link-building process is to reach new websites. There are three major steps in every link building campaign:

  1. Prospecting new websites
  2. Quality qualification
  3. Outreach

Prospecting: the process of finding new websites to get backlinks from. You prospect for new backlinks and link targets for your link building campaigns. In order for your link prospecting to be a success, you should have a great link building strategy and have all link prospecting tools in hand to start with.

Quality Qualification: Qualification is merely sorting all the prospects you have gathered based on the various criteria you’ve set for your campaign success. These criteria may be generic ones, such as ranking, authority, and organic traffic. But sometimes, you might have to focus on specific ones such as a number of outgoing links, Domain authority, and such.

Outreach: the process of reaching out to business/website owners for links through email campaigns. It works on the basis of mutual respect, where site owners agree to place links in guest posts and similar forms of link building methods. Personalized emails are used in outreach to get the attention of site owners and establish rapport.

Email templates can make all the difference when it comes to outreach. Well-crafted emails grab attention when seen by your prospects. It helps set the baseline when it comes to rapport with website owners. These templates can be generic for some. But adding specific details to emails can give you definite responses from website owners.

Now that we have seen the three steps in link building let’s dive deeper into the link prospecting stage.

Steps involved in Link Prospecting

Steps Involved in Link Prospecting

Set up your strategy

To start any link prospecting process, you need to have a defined strategy on how to acquire the best links. If you perform blind link prospecting, you will end up with only spammed and weak websites that provide no value.

With a proper strategy or tactic, you will be able to focus on high Domain Authority (DA) sites that can benefit your campaign requirements.

Maintain a Repository

Categorize, file, record, and list out all the prospects that you find. First and foremost, link building is an organized list of your prospects. Name and label every category and keep them updated on a regular basis. This will help you connect with your prospects on appropriate business needs and maintain rapport with your connections in the future.

Since you will be running multiple campaigns, such methods help you stay on top of your processes.

Create Email Templates

Once you have your repository sorted, you should have the list of email templates that you can use to reach out to your prospects. Though this goes way beyond link prospecting boundaries, it can still affect your campaigns.

Create effective email templates based on the business niches you are targeting and reach out based on those specific templates.

Things to look for during Link Prospecting

While link prospecting can be hazy and random at times, the moment you find a potentially viable website, there are certain things that you can do as a preliminary check to understand whether you have hit the proper gold mine.

  • Is the content on the site relevant to what it claims to be?
  • Does the content seem artificial?
  • Is the content regulated by humans?
  • Are the outbound links relevant?
  • Does the page have proper addresses and human involvement?

Once you have analyzed all these criteria, and if it has good authority, you can probably add it to your list.

Moreover, while link prospecting, you should look for relevant and meaningful keywords inside such websites that will help you find keywords that you yourself can use.

Without relevance, you cannot request backlinks to the site. It is harmful to everyone if you get backlinks from a site that is not relevant to your campaign. Using the right keywords to search for prospects is the next important step. To find relevant prospects, your keywords should accommodate whatever business niche you are focusing on.

As a side note, always check when the site is updated. Regular updates mean that the site has good maintenance activity going on, and this is a very essential criterion.

Finding Contacts and Addresses on Web Pages

Sometimes, you may stumble across a great website suitable in every way for your campaign, but it might not have any contact addresses that you can use to reach out to its owners.

What do you do in such cases?

Such occurrences have become common due to the increase in the number of spammers. People get contact details from a webpage and flood their inbox with spam emails targeted for various purposes. This has made website owners cautious about the details they put on any web page.

These days, websites provide online forms that users can fill out, after which they will be contacted individually by the website owners. This prevents spammers from reaching out to such websites.

There are many methods, such as social media searches, search engine queries, and so on, to find addresses. But none of these are surefire methods to find a website owner’s contact details. Usually, the web forms yield marginal success in such cases.

Google Search Operators for Link Prospecting

While searching for good websites to link to on Google, your searches may be limited to the keywords that you enter. To reduce this dependency, Google has advanced search operators that can be used to filter results as per your needs.

The most common Search operators used in Google are:

  • Inurl
  • Intitle
  • Site

If you use the ‘inurl’ search operator, you get a list of websites that have in their URL the keyword you’ve specified. For example, if you enter the search operator inurl:digitalmarketing, you will get a list of sites that have the word digital marketing in their URL.

Note that these URLs can be of any page containing this keyword. The page can be a blog, landing page, sub-pages, and so on. 

Similarly, the search operator ‘intitle’ gives you a list of pages that have the keyword in their titles. This operator is particularly useful as you expand your list of keywords.

The third search operator, ‘Site,’ helps you find trusted websites with the keywords that you enter. These can be sites that end with ‘.gov,’ ‘.edu’, ‘.org’, which are government, educational, and organizational websites, respectively.

Also, for country-level searches, the ‘site’ search operator helps you find websites with TLD (Top-Level Domains) in any country. This can be further expanded using specific keywords to narrow down your search.

Top 4 Tools for Link Prospecting

Usually, link prospecting involves a lot of Google searches. It is an effective method of finding data and getting addresses for your outreach, but it can be slow and labor-intensive. However, there are tools out there to help you get such data in one place. Here’s a list of top link prospecting tools:

All the above websites provide individual link prospecting software that provides you with huge lists that contain website addresses. You can use the features provided to parse through the data or do it manually.

Though Google search offers data that you need, these tools provide much more extensive and raw data that you can use for your campaigns. However, these are paid options, and you should consider which one would suit your business the best.

Some of these tools offer categorized results in which you can get data as per your business niche. This is further granularized into the type of web pages you are looking for. They work based on the number of credits/Search Queries that you use up.

Using these tools, you can generate link reports based on the below link types

  • Link pages
  • Guest posts
  • Content research
  • Giveaways
  • Comments
  • Forums
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Blogs
  • Directories
  • Interviews

If you are new to link prospecting, these four tools will help you organize your data using their data management capabilities and also offer easy contract retrieval methods.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a link strategy?

Link strategy is a method whereby links are organized, tracked, and measured for success. It is a part of SEO where you analyze your ongoing campaigns and make modifications wherever necessary.

Are backlinks still important?

Yes, backlinks provide websites with a much-required reputation and authority, which is considered to be a great ranking factor by Google. Backlinks are considered a ‘Vote of Confidence’ by Google and can greatly influence your site rankings on the search engine.

What is prospecting in SEO?

SEO prospecting is simply the process of acquiring new clients and positioning a digital marketing agency as its trusted advisor. This helps track regular growth and increase a website’s potential through ethical practices.

In Summary

While link prospecting might seem to be a tedious process, it is a very ground-to-earth method that sets the base for your link building campaigns. Very similar to gold prospecting, link prospecting needs a lot of research and patience to strike it right. 

The general and most important idea about link prospecting is relevance and quality. Without relevancy, your links could be useless and may get you deindexed in the long run. Without quality, the amount of link juice you get will be low and will not affect your ranking positively.

Be cognizant of the reputation of the sites that you reach out to since you will have to work with them to build links, and it should not result in a fall in your rankings.

It is always good to get a second opinion while performing link prospecting. This can be done using agencies that offer digital marketing and link building services. This can really make a difference when you start your link prospecting process. To work with experts on how to find quality links and improve your campaigning methods through ethical practices, the trusted professionals at LinkDoctor can help you with that.

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