Six powerful ways to find link targets
Finding quality sites to target is
at the heart of any effective linking strategy. ‘Quality sites’ are not the
ones that are easiest to get links from but those that will drive most relevant
traffic to your site. In this
article I’ll explore how to find quality link targets.
find quality sites, you’ve got to do methodical research before you start –
lots of it.
But before you begin, here are two important tips:
It’s easy to get lost when trawling for target sites so bookmark interesting
sites immediately: at the end of each research session, sort your bookmarks
into categories immediately – don’t leave it till later. Get to know how to
organize your bookmarks in Explorer or (as I do) use a handy bookmark program
like Acqurl, (http://www.acqurl.com).
When you do find an interesting site, always do a backwards link search on
Google. Say I’m looking for ezine sites and come
across Zinos.com, http://www.zinos.com. I
like the site and want to find more like it. I press ‘backward links’ on the
Google Toolbar or do the search: link:http://www.zinos.com/. This returns about
346 web pages that link to Zinos. Scan through these
quickly - about 10 seconds per page and on page 16 (yes, 16 pages, that’s under
3 minutes) I strike gold. The editor at http://homebiztools.com/article-banks.htm
has compiled a list of over 40 sites like Zinos.
Finding those sites on my own would have taken a lot longer than 3 minutes.
So here are six powerful ways to identify quality sites.
1. Mine your referrer logs
Check your referrer logs every day (if you don’t know how check with your ISP).
Cut and paste that day’s referring websites into an Excel spreadsheet, then
review once a month. Take the sites that refer most traffic and do a backwards
link search looking for similar sites that you could also approach.
2. Find out who links to your competitors
Logic says that if sites link to your competitors, they could also link to you.
This is a good start. But don’t stop at just sending ‘me-too’ link requests.
Look carefully at the sites that link to your competitors. What market sectors
do they come from? Are there any surprises? Is there a niche market that you
haven’t thought about? Again for every useful site do a
backwards link search.
3. Drill down through directories
Start with DMOZ, Yahoo and Looksmart. Look
specifically for information sites or industry specific directories. Be
comprehensive and explore as many relevant categories as you can.
4. Scan the Blogs
Search engines love blogs because they are full of
fresh content and extensive links. They’re useful for linking because:
• Blogs are great pointers to useful interesting
• When you make a comment, you often get a link back to your site
• You get a feel for the real news of the day.
One of the best places to look is DayPop.com, http://www.daypop.com
which is a specialized search engine that crawls more than 59,000 news sites, weblogs and RSS feeds at least once a day (and some once
every 3 hours). You can find more blog search engines
in The Search Engine Journal, http://www.searchenginejournal.com/index.php?p=235
5. Look for ezines
Great ezines generally provide more in-depth content
than blogs and are published less often. I’ve yet to
find an ezine directory that I’m entirely happy with
but you could try http://www.cumuli.com/ezines/
or www.ezinedepot.net. Usually, I’ll
just do a Google search. If I’m looking for ezines on
photography, I’ll just enter the search term, ‘photography ezines’.
6. Cultivate Journalists
Get to know the traditional media in your market sector and watch what they do
online. Start to keep a record of key journalists and the type of stories they
cover. Do some searches on Google News - http://news.google.com/
and note the latest news in your industry. If you find this useful, sign-up for
Google’s news alert service.
This methodical approach takes time but results in a long list of highly
relevant link targets and an important overview of your market online.
Now you’ve got the list, go get the links.
McGaffin provides link building services to
established and newly launched websites. He is the author of the highly
acclaimed 'Linking Matters Report'. You can download your free copy at http://www.linkingmatters.com.
Article reproduced with Ken McGaffin’s permission.