Link prospecting is the art of prospecting internet pages that can link back to your site. There are a number of different strategies and methods that you can use to find new links, improve existing links, and increase your overall site backlink profile.
Link building is one of the most important and impactful aspects of search engine optimization. If you learn how to do it correctly, then you’ll be able to massively improve your site’s overall SERP ranking and authority. This, in turn, will lead to more traffic, a higher conversion rate, and contribute to the success of your site!
If you’re ready to take your SEO to the next level, then you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ll break down everything you ever wanted to know about link prospecting for your site. We’ll explain the various methods you can employ, show you some great tools to help you, and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about link prospecting and building.
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When it comes to link prospecting, there are several different strategies that you can employ to find new places to link your site to.
The old-fashioned method is to manually search for top-ranking sites within your niche and see if they’re willing to link back to your site with sponsored posts and articles. If you’re willing to invest in some SEO tools, then tools like Backlink Checker and Ranktracker’s SERP Checker can speed up the process considerably by algorithmically searching for great backlinking sites.
In this section, we’re going to present you with the top tried, tested, and proven strategies for prospecting new links. From finding potential link sites to pitching their webmasters on sponsored content, you’re about to get a complete crash course!
The first method we’ll discuss is link reclamation. As the name implies, this involves “reclaiming” your links from places that should link back to you.
For example, let’s just say a random blogger mentioned your product or service in a post but forgot to embed a hyperlink back to it. You could reclaim the link by messaging the owner of the blog and asking them to insert a link in that post mentioning your product.
This link prospecting strategy is especially effective for brands and sites that have already established a solid online presence. If you’ve sold thousands of products/services already, then the chances are that at least somebody has written a post or made a YouTube video about them, even if it was just a passing reference.
By reclaiming these links, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently build your backlinks at little to not personal cost to you. One of the easiest ways to see if your site was mentioned by not linked back to is to do a quick Google or YouTube search of your site name or a product/service you sell.
You can also use Google Alerts to find unlinked mentions of your brand. This a free service that will notify you every time that a new post or article is written about your product. You can then double-check to see if they linked back to your site or not.
Then, scroll through some of the results that mention your product and check for links. If the site doesn’t link directly back to your site, then add it to a spreadsheet that lists everywhere that you need to reclaim links from.
Once you’ve built a list of places where you’ll need to reclaim links, you’ll need to find a way to get in touch with the webmaster of each site. Then, send them a simple, professional email or message that provides them with the link to your site (or a main parent article on your site) and ask them if they’d hyperlink the unclaimed link back to your site.
In most cases, they’ll link back to it with no problem, as you and your brand helped them build a quality post. Sometimes, they may request that you provide them with some type of compensation.
One of the best ways to find new places to build your links is by using the Backlink Checker tool. This awesome new tool is one of the highest-rated backlinking tools on the market and allows you to get a complete link profile on both your site and your competitors.
In a nutshell, Backlink Checker allows you to:
Find every backlink directed at your site.
Check your competitors’ backlinks.
Analyze the quality of each backlink (based on 50 different factors).
Audit link results, to ensure that you don’t add any adult/low-quality links to your link building strategy.
And best of all… The software will allow you to identify the best link building opportunities for your site based on your niche and top Google results.
This revolutionary new tool can save you hours of research and traditional analysis methods, allowing you to quickly build the best link building strategy possible!
One of the most popular methods of link prospecting is to buy sponsored links. For example, let’s say that you just started your own business selling small bags of single-origin coffee and you want to build some links for your site.
Using the results generated from your own research or generated by tools like Backlink Checker or Ranktracker’s SERP Checker, you’ll be able to generate a list of high-ranking, authoritative blogs within your coffee niche. Then, you’ll just need to reach out to each one and ask them if they’d be willing to post some content on their blog reviewing or mentioning your brand and linking back to your main site. Pretty simple, right?
While some blogs may opt to write their own post reviewing your site, brand, or service, others may prefer that you do the hard work and send them your own pre-written content. If you’re up to the task, then you can write your own blog post; if not, then you can hire a copywriter from somewhere like Fiverr or Upwork to write a simple high-quality 1,000-word post for around $50.
If you do hire another writer, just make sure that you double-check their work to ensure there are no obvious spelling or grammar errors. Also, you’ll want to insert a couple of backlinks linking back to your main site or pillar content on your site.
Within around a month of your sponsored post being listed on their site, you should have some good data informing you whether or not the post is bringing you good traffic or not. Using tools like Backlink Checker will allow you to analyze the quality of each backlink as it changes over time.
If you find that the sponsored post is doing well and has positively contributed to your own site’s ranking (or just increased your traffic and conversions), then you may want to consider paying for more sponsored posts in the future.
In this case, you can reach out to the webmaster and ask them about their rates for monthly or quarterly posts mentioning your brand. Most blogs won’t want to over mention your site on a weekly basis, as it makes them seem a bit scammy.
Guest posting is a similar strategy to buying sponsored links but it takes a different approach. With sponsored posts, you’ll be purchasing space and links on a reputable blog within your niche. These are often higher-quality backlinks, which come with more authority behind their name.
Guest posting, on the other hand, focuses on generating free links back to your site by exchanging free content in return for a link. Essentially, you’ll focus on finding mid-level blogs (although you might be able to find some high-level blogs too) that are in need of new content for their own sites.
You’ll approach them with a pitch, telling them that you’ll provide them with a high-quality niche-related post for their blog. In return, they’ll allow you to insert a backlink to your site in the guest post!
The best way to find guest posting opportunities is to use Ranktracker’s SERP Checker tool to look at the top Google SERP results for your site’s niche. For example, if you’re selling handmade wallets, you can look for the top-ranking results for keywords, such as “fine wallets” or “handmade leather goods.”
If you find a couple of mid to high-level blogs that write about the leather or fashion industry, then you can contact them about guest posting opportunities!
The Backlink Checker tool is another great tool that can accomplish similar results. Once you enter your site, it will automatically analyze SERPs results to find the best potential backlink opportunities for your site!
You can also find guest posting opportunities manually by running your own Google searches for keywords relating to your niche. As you scroll through the results, you can make a list of potential blogs to contact about guest posting. This will take significantly longer than using paid SEO tools, but it’s still possible if you’re running on a low budget.
Periodically, you may realize that some of your backlinks just disappeared. This can be a bit troubling and can be the result of several different factors, including:
The site shut down (or was sold).
The link became broken.
The site performed an update that messed up links.
The webmaster deleted your post.
If you happen to notice that a sponsored post or guest post that previously linked to your site is no longer appearing in your SEO Spyglass backlink report, then go to the blog in question and check to see if the post is still there. If it is, but it isn’t linked to your page anymore, contact the webmaster and ask if they can resolve the issue for you.
Last but not least, you can use link roundup sites to link back to your own site’s blog posts. Link roundup sites are kind of like news sites that have revolving lists of weekly or monthly “featured posts.” Many of these link roundup sites happen to have a high SERP ranking in Google as well, which makes them a great place for quality backlinks to your pillar content or smaller posts.
According to a recent study by Insider Intelligence, the number of podcast listeners is set to increase by over 10% in 2021 alone. That means that by January 2022, there will be over 110 million more podcast listeners than there were in January 2021! This number is expected to continue growing exponentially year by year.
What does all of this mean for your site or business?
It means that podcasts are an excellent resource to build backlinks to your site.
Overall, podcasts are a relatively untapped market. Compared to social media ads, Google Adwords, sponsored posts, etc., the number of advertisers on podcasts is fairly low. Sure, a few big brands and niche companies are doing it here and there, but there’s tons of opportunity to grow!
There are two main ways that you can backlink to your site using podcasts:
You can sponsor a podcast episode and get linked in the description.
You can contribute to a podcast and get linked in the description.
The first method is a decent way to build some publicity. The host will usually mention your brand on-air and thank you for being a sponsor of the podcast, linking to your site in the podcast’s description.
The second method typically involves more work and may cost more, but can generate some great results in terms of overall brand awareness. Basically, you’ll reach out to podcast hosts and tell them that you want to be a part of one of their podcasts.
Perhaps they’ll do an entire episode with you, or maybe they’ll just feature you in a brief segment. Either way, you’ll get a link in the podcast’s description along with you having a chance to speak about your brand publicly!
Your first step is to find podcasts that are in or related to your niche. For example, if your site is selling a new type of protein powder or sports supplement, then you’d want to search for podcasts related to health, fitness, bodybuilding, sports, nutrition, or holistic living.
The best places to find good podcasts are:
After creating a list of potential podcasts, you’ll want to create a well-written, authentic pitch email. This pitch email should detail some basic info about yourself and your brand, what you hope to achieve (sponsorship or involvement in the podcast), why the host should consider you and your brand, and what the price points are.
You should just make a single template for your pitch email. Then, slightly adjust it for each podcast host that you reach out to. This will make your life a lot simpler!
As podcast hosts respond to you, keep a detailed record of it, along with possible dates, prices, times, etc. You want to be as professional as you can about this, especially if you get a big-name podcast to respond back to you. Basically, be prompt with your responses and don’t keep them waiting.
If you plan on being actively involved in a podcast episode, make sure that you have a lot to talk about. You should have a solid understanding of your brand and what you're selling. You should also be informed about the latest news regarding your industry, and have some interesting facts to talk about on the podcast.
If you run a local business and have a business website that you're trying to generate some traffic and ranking for, then local link building is an excellent strategy that you can employ. If done correctly, it will help you become an authority site within your town or city and will also help with your overall site ranking.
Essentially, this process involves finding other local businesses or publications within 50 miles of your city. You’ll want to reach out to them and ask them for guest posting opportunities or sponsored post opportunities. Nine times out of ten, though, you’ll be able to get a free link in exchange for writing some guest content for their site!
For example, let’s say that you run a local chiropractor business in your city. You could reach out to other local businesses that are somewhat related to your niche, such as sports nutrition shops, college athletics shops, local news websites, etc.
You would be offering them content for their website in exchange for a link back to your site. The more authoritative the local site you’re prospecting is, the greater effect that it will have on your own site’s ranking. Plus, you may also be able to generate some local traffic and conversions along the way!
If you live in a really small town, then you may be able to prospect local links manually without much difficulty. All you need to do is drive around or do a quick Google search. However, if you live in a mid to large-sized city, then using Ranktracker’s SERP Checker tool is, by far, one of the best ways to do your prospecting and research.
Going with our example above about the chiropractor business, you could open your SERP Checker tool and type in keywords for local related businesses. These could include:
Local [x city] news.
Nutrition shop [x city].
Sports medicine [x city].
Athletic clubs [x city].
Remember, the idea is to find related businesses, not direct competitors!
Put yourself in their shoes. If you ran a chiropractor business and other local chiropractors wanted to advertise on your site, you’d probably give them a hard NO. However, if a local vitamin shop contacted you about advertising on your site, you’d be a lot more agreeable as they wouldn’t be taking away any of your hard-earned customers.
The SERP Checker will show you all of the top-ranking local results in Google. As you scroll through, check for sites that appear to be an authority and have some type of blog on their site. Make a big list of them, along with their contact info.
Once you’ve built a list of potential local links, you’ll need to figure out the best way to pitch them on linking back to you. The idea is to offer them free blog content. Continuing with the above example, you could pitch a local vitamin shop on writing a blog post for their site on a topic like, “The Best Supplements To Take After A Chiropractic Adjustment,” or “Natural Supplements + Holistic Healing.”
The vitamin business would benefit from having some free, high-quality, relevant content written on their site; you’d benefit from being able to mention and link to your chiropractic business within the post.
This same strategy can be replicated for just about any local business that you could think of! If it goes well, you can even arrange for monthly or quarterly contributions to their site, which would solidify your business website’s local ranking authority.
One of the best tactics to up-rank your site is to create a high-quality resource page that you can share with other sites as a referenced resource. Let’s start with a quick definition…
- Resource page: A web page that provides high-quality, relevant information on a specific topic or niche.
For example, if you have a long, in-depth guide for how to care for palm trees on your site, then this would be a resource page. It’s a long article where somebody can get a full understanding of how to take care of their own palm trees.
Resource pages are less focused on selling the reader something and more focused on providing them with valuable content. The main reason for creating a resource page, to begin with, is to build trust in your brand. It shows that you’re not all about sales and that you’re willing to go out of your way to help your readers.
Resource pages are also a great tool for backlinking!
For example, using the example of the palm tree care resource page from above…
Since your guide contains tons of valuable niche content, you could share it with webmasters who run general blogs on gardening, home improvement, or landscaping. Since your page is actually a valuable resource (not a sales-driven page), it actually contributes to the value of their page!
Let’s just say that you find a landscaping site with an article on ‘how to improve the look of your front yard.’ You notice that one of the headers in the article mentions ‘adding trees by the driveway.’ So, you think to yourself, “This would be a great place for the article to link back to my guide on caring for palm trees!”
So, you contact the webmaster of the site and write them a nice email complimenting them on their article and how it was valuable to you. Then, you insert a little pitch about your niche resource page, and how it would make for a valuable addition to their general article…
… and BINGO! You’ve got yourself a great backlink.
The other webmaster benefits because they’ll have a high-quality link to an external authority site. They’ll also be providing their readers with a resourceful, non-sales-related page where they can learn from.
Pretty nifty, right?
Another approach is to contact webmasters about getting your resource page listed on their resources list. Most blogs have a section that’s titled something along the lines of:
Our favorite blogs.
If you can show the webmaster that your site has valuable resource pages and guides, then they may be willing to list it on their list of recommended links and resources. Sometimes they’ll do it for free; other times, they may request a small payment or request that you also backlink back to their site in one of your articles. Just be willing to negotiate and come up with an agreement.
The best way to find sites that offer resource lists is to use the SERP Checker tool. First, use Ranktracker’s Keyword Finder tool to discover similar keywords related to your own niche site. Then, make a list of some of the most relevant keywords you discover.
Next, you’ll want to run each of your chosen keywords through Ranktracker’s SERP Checker tool. This will show you all of the top-ranking sites and blogs that show up in Google results for these keywords.
Visit the blogs and sites that look promising. Check and see if they feature resource lists or links to their “favorite blogs.” If they do, contact them with your value proposition.
While you’re on their sites, check to see if the site has its own resource pages and give them a read. If you see any sections that would benefit from a link back to your own resource page, then send an email to the webmaster explaining how a link back to your resource page would benefit their article.
Leaving a comment that links back to your site is one of the oldest time-tested methods of link building on the internet. Although it doesn’t produce the results that it did in the early days of the internet, it can still be a helpful tool for building links and maybe even getting some high-quality, motivated traffic on your site.
Generally speaking, comment-based backlinks don’t have the same quality or authority as backlinks from high-ranking sites or resource pages. However, it’s good link building practice to spread your links across as many mediums as possible, including the comments section.
The two best places to leave comments are on forums and blog posts that allow comments. Your goal with this link building strategy is to find reputable forums and blogs relating to your niche and provide well-written comments with a small link back to your page.
First things first, we need to talk about how to leave a good comment on a webpage. The idea is to add value with your comment, not be scammy or spammy. This means that you’ll need to actually read through the topic, and create a short, relevant comment on the post.
What you don’t want to do is just spam your backlink in the comments section. Nine times out of ten, this will result in your comment being deleted. It may also trigger the Google algorithm to red-flag the link as spam, which will actually take away from your site’s overall ranking!
For example, here’s a good example of a quality comment written in response to a blog post on how to cook the perfect steak:
- Thank you so much for this post! I read it last week and just had the chance to try it out last night. I got a great deal on a New York strip and seasoned both sides with sea salt and coarse black pepper just like you said. It made ALL THE DIFFERENCE and was one of the best steaks I ever tried. I have a food blog detailing my cooking journey for anybody who may want to follow my progress as I learn!
You see how that was written? It was straight to the point, thanked the poster, engaged them on what was written about in the blog, and then linked back to the commenter’s own food blog at the end. It was relevant, thoughtful, and non-scammy.
This is one area where you may want to consider hiring others to write your comments for you. For comment link building, you’ll need to generate volume. Just writing 5 or 6 comments here and there won’t really do much for your page. Optimally, you want a large number of comments spread across numerous forums and blogs.
Thankfully, it’s a relatively easy job that most people can do. You can pay them in piecework, offering a couple of dollars for each 75-word comment that’s made. As they move along, you can double-check their work by using the Backlink Checker tool. As each comment is approved, you’ll see a new link appear in your site’s backlink analysis.
Joining Facebook groups relating to your niche is another great way to build quality links and garner some motivated traffic to your site. Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform and features over 2.8 billion users. That’s around a quarter of the world’s entire population!
Facebook groups are essentially sub-forums on Facebook that are related to specific topics, niches, locales, etc. Just as you can build links by participating in forums and blogs (see above), you can participate in Facebook groups relating to your product or service.
For example, let’s say that you own a site that sells car accessories. You could join a bunch of different car groups on Facebook, become active in the groups, and slowly insert links to your online store as they’re relevant.
Obviously, you don’t want to be spammy about this, either. The idea is to become a reputable and trustworthy contributor to the Facebook group. The more trustworthy and authoritative you seem, the better people will respond when you occasionally post a link back to your site.
Quora is one of the top-ranking sites in Google search results due to its efficient question-and-answer design. The concept is incredibly simple:
User asks a question (could be ANY topic).
Other users answer the question.
The most relevant answer is upvoted and received the most attention.
One of the cool things about Quora is that they allow commenters to leave a link in their answer to the question! The idea is to find questions relating to your site’s niche, provide a detailed, accurate, and thoughtful answer, and then leave a link at the bottom of the comment saying something along the lines of, “learn more here.”
Since Quora ranks quite high on SERPs results, there’s a good chance that other Google users searching for the same question will come across the Quora post and your answer. This means that not only will you have a good backlink to your site, but you’ll also create a valuable traffic funnel!
One of the oldest methods of print marketing is the press release. The press release is a great way to generate buzz for your brand and receive a quality backlink at the same time. The trick is to find a high-quality press release or media site that’s somewhat related to your niche. Once you do, you’ll need to network with contributors and give them a value proposition.
Here’s how to go about the process.
First, you’ll want to identify some high-quality PR and media sites in your niche. One of the best ways to do this is with Ranktracker’s SERP Checker tool! Simply input some keywords relating to your niche, followed by the text “press release,” and you should be presented with several top-ranking sites that offer press release services for sites like your’s.
Make a list of each one, and prioritize the ones that you want your press release to be mentioned on.
As you make your list or spreadsheet of the top PR sites that you want your link to be featured on, you should also try to identify the top contributors and writers on each PR site. If possible, look them up on social media and try to network with them.
Spend a couple of weeks liking their posts, commenting on them, and interacting with them in a non-spammy way. Then, once the ice has been broken a bit, reach out to them and give them your value proposition (aka, why a press release article on your brand is worth their time).
In some cases, PR and media sites will have a set fee that they charge for sites looking for a press release. These sites are generally mid-quality, mid-ranking PR and media sites. Often, the higher-ranking, more authoritative media sites tend to be more discerning about who they post press releases for (which is where your networking skills come in handy).
If you want to get your press release posted on a high-quality media site, then you’ll need to have a good value proposition. Remember, the PR site’s reputation relies on them recommending high-quality sites and brands. If they just started writing press releases for low-value sites and companies, then their reputation would quickly go down the toilet.
So, you’ll need to have a detailed explanation on why your brand is important, the benefits offered by your product or service, and what’s unique about it. Here, you’ll really want to pitch yourself as if you’re talking to an investor.
One great way of getting traffic to your local business is to reach out to local blogs centered around your town or city. Unless you live way out in the boonies, there’s a solid chance that you’ll be able to find some good-quality blogs that make posts about your city. Perhaps they review local businesses, comment on events in the city, or showcase local stories.
The readers of local blogs tend to be very targeted. They’re local-centric individuals who want to be “in the know” and who usually want to support local businesses. If said local blog mentions your business, then there’s a good chance you’ll get some traffic out of it. Plus, you’ll get a nice backlink as well!
First, you’ll need to find some local blogs. Here, you can use Ranktracker’s SERP Checker tool once again! Open the tool and type in the following keyword: “[city, state] local blog”.
After a minute, SERP Checker will show you a detailed list of all of the top-ranking local blogs in your city and state. Take a few minutes to visit each one and give it a look over. The first thing that you’ll want to check for is that the blog is updated regularly. There’s really no use getting a link or a guest post on an outdated blog that nobody reads or posts on.
Secondly, you’ll want to search for user interaction. Try to find a blog that has comments enabled and receives a fair amount of interaction and comments from readers. This indicates an active blog.
Lastly, you’ll want to run the blog through Ranktracker’s Web Audit tool. This tool will show you valuable metrics on the website, informing you how much traffic the blog gets, and letting you know how authoritative it is.
If the site looks good, then it’s a good opportunity to reach out to the blog. Most local blogs have a contact form or email address that you can use to reach out to the editors. Let them know that you’re a local business looking to get some exposure, and ask what options they offer.
Some blogs may offer paid banner ads, a promotional post, or may allow you to give them a guest post in exchange for allowing them to do the same thing on your site. Every blog is different, so just be willing to weigh your various options.
The strategies we listed above are, by far, some of the best link prospecting and building techniques in the book. They’re tried and tested, and most of all, they work. If you’ve invested in SEO tools like Ranktracker’s toolkit, the whole process is relatively simple and easy. If you can combine research and analysis with a bit of good old-fashioned networking, you’ll be able to build an excellent link profile for your site that will help your SERPs ranking.
However, before we finish up the guide, there are a few other link building tips and tricks that we’ll leave you with! Let’s take a look.
If you operate an e-commerce store that retails a certain manufacturer’s products, then you can reach out to the manufacturer and let them know that you’d like your e-comm store to be referenced on their site.
Since many manufacturers and distributors don’t sell their own products, they reference some of their online and brick-and-mortar retailers who do sell their products. If you can get your site listed, you’ll have a quality, authoritative backlink from an established manufacturer site!
One of the easiest ways to build some high-quality backlinks is to make informational or instructional videos on YouTube. For example, if you own a site that specializes in selling car parts, you might consider making some instructional videos on how to perform routine car maintenance using your parts and tools.
Then, in the video’s description, you can link back to your site. Since your video was informational, there’s a good chance that it’ll receive a high number of views, thus boosting the authoritativeness of the video’s link, and giving your site some motivated traffic.
One of the most underrated methods of generating high-quality backlinks is to write LinkedIn articles. First, you’ll want to create a business page for your website. Then, fully complete and optimize your profile.
Once your profile is all set up and ready to go, then you’ll be able to write full-fledged articles which will be available for the public to read on LinkedIn. Throughout this article, you can insert backlinks to your site.
This does two things:
Increases your cross-platform authority ranking with the Google algorithm.
Gives you backlinks to a professional business site.
Sometimes, it can be hard to hand over the responsibility of writing about your business to other writers. After all, nobody knows your brand better than you do. However, finding a good freelance writer is a great way to take some of the responsibility off of your plate.
You can handle all of the link prospecting and in-depth research by using Ranktracker’s toolkit, while your writer handles writing all of the guest posts on other sites. Remember, work smarter not harder!
One of the best ways to get a leg up in any niche is to hijack your competition. By using a tool like Backlink Checker, you’ll be able to analyze your competitors' sites for backlinks. You’ll be able to see every major backlink they have and add it to your own list of potential link prospects.
Let them do all of the hard work and link prospecting… you can use the same high-quality links they do. If you’re more consistent and stay on top of your link building, you may even be able to surpass your competitors using this method!
Link prospecting and building is, by far, one of the most important aspects of on-page SEO. Without a good backlink profile, your site will be down-ranked by the Google algorithm as being low-quality and having low authority.
Today, Google’s algorithm primarily ranks sites based on three factors, otherwise known as E‑A‑T:
One of the most crucial ways that the algorithm determines your E‑A‑T score is by how many high-quality backlinks you have to the major pages on your site.
If you want to speed up your link building process, then having a good set of SEO tools is a must. Tools like Backlink Checker and Ranktracker’s SERP Checker and Web Audit tool allow you to perform in-depth research on your competitors, what keywords they’re using, where their traffic comes from, and what sites link back to them.
When you combine all of the research and analytics gleaned from your tools with good networking skills and outreach, you’ll be able to build a high-profile network of links to your site in no time!