Link building undoubtedly is the core of SEO (search engine optimization) — not on-page or technical. It involves careful research and outreach to REAL people.
The “interesting” part of link building (research and identification) is “link prospecting.” And without the latter, the former’s result will be null.
In short, your link prospecting game must be top-notch for your website to rank high on search results.
So, how can you get the game on track?
This detailed guide will help!
Here, we will discuss and show you all there is to know about link prospecting:
- The steps involved
- Tested strategies
- Sample outreach templates to adopt and much more
That said, let’s delve into the details!
What Is Link Prospecting? Getting Started With The Basics
At mere thought, link prospecting seems like a task you can brush aside or something best left to your virtual assistant. If you think like that, you need to know this:
Link prospecting is the foundation of link building.
Can you build a house that will survive storms and termites without a solid foundation?
Likewise, link prospecting determines the success of your link building processes (and SEO objectives). It prepares your site to cope with any Google algorithm update.
So, what then is this “link prospecting”?
Link prospecting is the first step in link building that involves identifying the RIGHT link prospects and targets.
Often, prospecting and qualification are interwoven. Regardless, you must understand that the former is strictly for identifying prospects and targets.
On the other hand, qualification focuses on prioritizing links based on metrics such as DA, DR, and traffic.
Either way, we’ll focus solely on link prospecting. Nevertheless, we’ll include tips for qualification and outreach campaigns.
Up next, we’ll discuss the steps involved in effective link prospecting.
5 Steps Involved In Effective Link Prospecting
To understand effective link prospecting, we will combine the research steps with (a bit of) link qualification and outreach. We’ll show you how below.
Here’s a sneak peek of the steps to be discussed — should you want to jump to a later part:
- Define your link building strategy
- Define your target metrics
- Create a list of targets
- Find contact information
- Create an email sequence and launch your campaigns
Define Your Link Building Strategy
To start, you must choose a strategy to build your links. And be careful with your choice; it will determine the types of sites and personnel you can work with.
So, what should you consider?
There are generally three strategies to consider:
- Guest posting
- Skyscraper content
- Niche edits
Guest posting is the most straightforward link building strategy. Here, you will write an article for others and then place a link within it.
However, you shouldn’t guest post on just any site. Check if the website is in a related niche. Are the design and content high-quality?
More importantly, the site must be open to guest posting.
So, how would you know if a site accepts guest posts?
- Look for pages with “write for us,” “guest post,” and “become a contributor” titles.
- You can use Google search. Type [your niche] + guest post
- Also, look out for sites with authors outside of “the team.”
Skyscraper content generation involves scouring the internet for top-notch articles on a specific subject and then crafting something even more exceptional for link building opportunities.
Naturally, this enhanced content will draw in valuable link targets.
However, you can expedite this process through link prospecting efforts. Identify those who would gain from your skyscraper content and make your pitch accordingly.
It’s important to note that this strategy is relatively commonplace. Frequently, the so-called skyscraper articles tend to have a uniform appearance.
If you opt for this approach, strive to differentiate your content strategy. Incorporate visuals, conduct interviews, and include insights from experts.
So, how can you discover ideas for developing skyscraper content?
We’ve produced an extensive guide on how to analyze your competitor’s links and competitors’ backlinks. The necessary instructions can be found in the provided guide!
When considering a rewrite, keep the following terms in mind: guest blogging, resource pages, spammy, low-quality.
Instead, you’ll ask the website owners, an author, or a blogger to add your new link to a piece they’ve already written.
You should make sure to target relevant sites during the prospecting process.
Because of the nature of the “ask,” niche edits often require some payments. And because you’re paying, it is crucial to choose the right websites.
What are the RIGHT websites for niche edits?
- Websites in your niche
- High-quality links and websites
- Sites with around 30 DA/DR ratings
- Websites with an about page or contact information
- Sites that attribute their articles to an author
Now you know the “strategies” to use. Let’s discuss your target sites. We’ll start with how to pick them.
Define Your Target Metrics
When picking your target metrics, there are three crucial factors to consider:
- Domain authority,
- Traffic, and
Let’s look at the factors individually.
Remember we talked about sites with 30 DA/DR ratings (at least) being the right ones. But does it matter?
Should you focus on metrics determined by tools?
Short answer: yes!
Domain authority is not just “authority.” It represents Google’s trust in a website and its content.
In other words, the higher your target sites’ domain authority (and domain rating), the better your SEO results.
In essence, the authority of the target sites will drip down to your website and increase its ranking on search results
We can’t ignore how important it is to have websites that attract a lot of visitors. This is similar to valuing websites with a Domain Authority (DA) or Domain Rating (DR) of 30 or more. When more people visit a website, the links on it reach a bigger audience.
But is this really important? Absolutely!
In the world of marketing, we use something called a “funnel” to understand how people go from just visiting a website to actually doing something, like buying a product.
Usually, not all the people who visit a website end up buying something or doing what we want them to do. Many times, a lot of people leave before they get to the final steps.
So, the more people visit a website, the more chances there are for them to do what we want them to do, like buying something.
This idea is very important when it comes to building links on the internet. The main goal of link building is to get more people to visit your website. That’s why it makes sense to put your links on websites that have a lot of visitors.
But here’s a question: What kind of websites should we focus on?
It’s a good idea to target websites that have at least 1,000 people visiting them without any paid promotion, and these websites should be worth at least $1,000.
When selecting a target destination, the primary consideration is its connection to your website. Are the destinations you’re aiming for closely aligned with your website’s niche?
Consider whether your website would benefit from attracting visitors from these destinations and engaging with their followers.
In simpler terms, the influence and traffic of related destinations significantly impact the visibility of your website in search results.
So, what comes next?
Integrate all the discussed factors to formulate a roster of potential targets. The process of doing so will be elaborated below.
While reevaluating, also take into account broken links, relevant sites, individual pieces of content, and high-quality sites.
Create A List Of Targets
At the start of this article, we promised to show you tested strategies for link prospecting. Well, we’ll do that in this section.
So, get ready for some action!
Now, there are 2 tested strategies for creating target/prospect lists.
- Using Google’s advanced search
- Using Ahrefs
Using Google Advanced Search
This method is the easiest way to build a prospect list. All you need is Google and Excel.
So, let’s begin!
- Head to Google, then type your [search term] + “guest posts.”
For example, here is a search result for [skincare “guest posts”]
- Outside “guest posts,” you can use the following search terms:
- “Guest author”
- “Guest contributor”
- “Partnership opportunities”
- Now, go through the search results and handpick the best opportunities.
- Now, compile the prospect on an Excel sheet.
There are two ways to use Ahrefs for link prospecting.
- You can use “content explorer” to view active websites that accept guest posts.
- Use “site explorer” to find the referring domains of your competitors.
For the content explorer method, follow these steps:
- Head to Content Explorer, input your keyword into the search bar
- Change the search drop-down to “In content,” then click search
- Next, change the “Platform” from the filter bar to “Blogs.”
- Comb through the search results and pick the sites with 30+ DR ratings
- Add them to the Excel sheet
For the site explorer method (for skyscraper content), follow these steps:
- Pick an ultimate guide in your niche, like below:
- Copy the link into Ahrefs site explorer
- Filter the search results by “Dofollow.”
- Pick the top referring domains for later use (outreach)
Now, we’re done with link prospecting and qualification. The following steps are for outreach. So, we’ll keep it brief.
Find Contact Information
Remember the Excel sheet we created for the target/prospect list. It is time to revisit it; add a new column for “contact.”
So, how do you get the contact information of the targets?
- You can use the author line on the post
- Follow through on the guest post submission rules
- Tools like Ahrefs and Respona can help.
Create An Email Sequence And Launch Your Campaigns
Now that you have the “contact information,” plug it into outreach tools like MailChimp or Respona.
After doing that, create a 3-email sequence.
- Warm up your prospect,
- Introduce your offer, and
- Follow up
Here’s a sample template you can adopt:
Additional Tips For Effective Link Prospecting
Factor In Link Prospecting In Your Content Plan
High-quality content takes time to create, undoubtedly. So, understandably, you would want to start the process as early as possible.
But while that is the case, wait until your link prospecting is successful. Why?
If you’re writing a post for “link building,” your content must wait. Your target sites might nudge you in a different direction.
Pitch To Prospects With Better DA Than Yours
For fledgling websites new to digital marketing, adhere to the common yardstick of “DA/DR” 30 benchmarks. Yet, once you’ve crossed that threshold, directing your pitch towards platforms with such ratings won’t yield advantageous outcomes.
In actuality, you’d merely squander your time.
As a guiding principle, exclusively approach platforms boasting superior domain authority, backlink profiles, and organic traffic compared to yours.
However, what about the challenges posed by securing relevant links from platforms with loftier DAs and traffic volumes?
The procedure remains consistent, irrespective of the site’s remarkable authority and web traffic. Initiate by delivering value and cultivating a rapport with your prospects.
This approach will undoubtedly yield favorable results.
When embarking on a link building campaign, channel your link building efforts while leveraging SEO tools to optimize your strategies for higher visibility in SERPs.
Best Link Prospecting Tools To Use
Getting high-quality backlinks is still one of the best ways to boost a website’s search engine ranking and exposure online.
Link prospecting tools are now a must-have for marketers and SEO experts who want to speed up this process.
These tools are like virtual prize maps that help you find places on the web where you could build links.
The best link building tools have a lot of features that make it easier to find useful linking prospects.
Here are some of the best tools to get a list of prospects:
Focus On Relationships
The core of link prospecting is building a relationship with real humans. So, focus on that and not just the backlink you crave.
If you’re desperate to acquire backlinks, you’d never get one — unless you use link farms. Instead, build relationships with site owners, authors, bloggers, and influencers.
Again, offer value first, and the backlinks will come. In fact, you’ll attract more links than you had plans to onboard.
FAQs About Link Prospecting
What Is Link Prospecting?
Link prospecting means identifying sites with desired authority and traffic where you can get high-quality backlinks.
Is Link Prospecting Important?
For a successful link building strategy, link prospecting is non-negotiable. It sets the foundation and framework for success.
More importantly, link prospecting weeds out unqualified target sites. In other words, it will help you save time and money.
How Do I Find Link Prospects?
There are generally two ways to get link prospects:
- Google advanced search, or
- Tools like Ahrefs
Afterward, design a strategy to work with the results from your research. You could use guest posts, skyscraper content, or even niche edits.
Link Prospecting Is Crucial To Your SEO Efforts
It (link prospecting) sets the foundation for successful link building and search engine optimization. So, it’s not something to overlook or delegate to a virtual assistant.
If you need help with link prospecting, you’re best served with a pro link builder. Otherwise, do it yourself.
Fortunately, this guide covered all you need to know about link prospecting. But say you need further assistance, reach out!