25 Search Queries to Help You Find Link-Building Prospects

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Link building isn’t an inherently easy process – at least, it isn’t an easy process when you focus on building high quality links over paying for low value spam backlinks!  However, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be done.  With a little elbow grease and a few hours spent on Google, it’s possible to find plenty of different people to email regarding possible link creation.

The following are a few of the specific search queries you can enter into Google in order to find new link-building prospects.  Once you’ve amassed a list of email addresses, building links may be as simple as sending out a template email requesting that a new link be added to point back at your website!

Guest Posting

Guest posting is one of my favorite ways to build backlinks right now, although it’s important to keep a few guidelines in mind.  In too many cases, guest posting is being abused as the latest “hot link building strategy,” which has resulted in plenty of webmasters being spammed by freelance guest posters trying to ram through low value guest posts in the name of creating backlinks.

Instead, a good guest post results from a partnership between both the guest author and blog owner.  Webmasters should only reach out to those blog owners for whom they can deliver high value content in a timely manner, and whose blog audiences will best complement their own business pursuits.

To find these opportunities, begin by looking for guest author information on the blogs you already frequent.  In addition, enter the following search queries into Google to identify other potential guest posting sites that you may not already be aware of:

  • [Industry] guest article
  • [Industry] guest post
  • [Industry] guest author
  • [Industry] inurl:contributor
  • [Industry] inurl:guest
  • [Industry] write for us

In the examples above, replace the “[Industry]” term with your own broad field keywords.  For example, if you run a dog training tips website, you might enter the search query “dog guest article” or “pet guest article” into Google.

Link Reclamation

Another great opportunity to build backlinks is to contact webmasters who have referenced your company, your brand, your name or your website without providing the appropriate link attribution.

To identify these opportunities, try entering any of the following search queries into Google:

  • [Brand Name]
  • [Brand Name misspellings]
  • [Tagline]
  • [Company URL]
  • [Your Name]

This process of link reclamation is often most effective if your site is old, or if you’ve moved your site from one URL to another (potentially resulting in dead links that no longer pass PageRank to your new content).  It’s also a good idea to set up Google Alerts for the search query terms you identify in this section in order to identify new link building opportunities as they arise.

Press Contacts

Depending on your company’s business goals, press mentions can be an extremely powerful way to generate both brand recognition and website traffic.  However, to secure these rare opportunities, you’ll want to start building relationships with members of the press that cover your industry as quickly as possible.

To find the email addresses for these professionals needed to begin the networking process, give the following search queries a try:

  • [Industry] trade publications
  • [Industry] trade pubs
  • [Industry] news
  • [Industry] reporter
  • [Industry] coverage

Once you’ve identified a few potential press outlets, you may need to do some further research in order to identify the reporters who are most likely to be interested in your company’s story.  It may take time, but this effort will likely be rewarded down the line when it comes to building a buzz about your company.

Interview Candidates

Conducting and publishing interviews with thought leaders in your industry is another great way to build website links, as doing so leverages the existing audiences these authority figures have already built up.

Of course, in order to set up these interviews, you’ve got to find people to email in the first place – and the following search queries can help:

  • [Target Keyword] interview
  • [Target Keyword] intitle:”experts interview OR talk OR discuss OR answer”
  • [Thought Leader Name] interview
  • [Competitor Name] interview

As you conduct these queries, pay attention to the industry leaders who have given interviews, as you may be able to find contact information on these peoples’ websites.  If you aren’t able to determine how to request an interview using this information alone, you can also try contacting the webmaster who originally conducted the interview for recommendations on how you can do the same.

Social Media Influencers

Finally, when building your company’s social media marketing plan, keep in mind that one of the easiest ways to quickly generate interest and backlinks on popular social networking platforms is to connect with existing power users on your site.  While it’s certainly important to work at building up your own following on sites like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, earning a single mention from a leader who’s already acquired hundreds of thousands of followers will be a much faster way to get your company out there!

To find these existing power users, try the following Google search queries:

  • [Target Keyword] twitter list
  • [Target Keyword] twitter users
  • [Target Keyword] Twitter follow
  • [Target Keyword] on Facebook
  • [Target Keyword] Google+

Uncovering these social media power users won’t necessarily lead to links right away.  However, by making an effort to connect with these users and build relationships based on mutual value, you increase the odds that one of these authority figures will eventually make mention of your website or content marketing pieces to his or her followers.  The result could be significant additional brand exposure, not to mention dozens of quality backlinks.

Finally, as you run these search queries and begin compiling your list of people to email regarding backlink creation, don’t forget your manners!  Emailing a new contact with a demand that a link be created to your website won’t get you as far as sending polite correspondence requesting that your desired action be taken.

While it’s unlikely that all of your emails will result in new links being created, the search queries listed above should help you to identify at least a few promising opportunities.  By taking the time to make email link building a regular part of your SEO campaigns, you should ultimately see an improvement in your natural search results performance that’s sustainable throughout whatever future algorithm changes Google throws at you.

Image: rachaelvoorhees

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