Advanced Search Queries
Advanced Search Queries
There are a number of ways to search Google that are not immediately obvious to us as users. We are accustomed to searching for strings of keywords and this is how 99% of Google users search too. But, there is a set of search tools available to us that can make our results a lot more focused and specific to what we need. For link building, this means we can filter out websites that may not be useful for us and spend our time looking through ones that are. Here are a few examples using different advanced searches:
Notice the “inurl:resources” bit? This tells Google to only show results that have the word “resources” within the URL. Here is an example of one result that Google gives us:
This is a good potential link target, because your definitive guide to cupcakes is a resource that could be of interest to visitors to a cupcake blog. Therefore, contacting the owner of this blog and asking them to list your guide as a resource could result in a link for you.
Let’s take a look at another example:
We have combined two advanced searches here. First, we used the “intitle:resources” modifier, which tells Google to only show results that have the word “resources” within the page title. This is useful because sometimes the word may not be used in the URL, so our previous advanced search (with inurl:) would not find them.We have also used quotation marks around the word cupcakes. This tells Google to only return results that mention cupcakes on the page. This is useful in this case because searching for “food blogger” would probably be a bit too broad and we’d have to dig through a lot of websites that may not be relevant to the topic of cupcakes.Now you have three solid methods for finding relevant link targets and, at this point, you will probably have a nice big list of them in a spreadsheet. But, we need to do a bit more work before contacting the site owners.
Finding Out More About the Personas We’re TargetingIf you want to have a high response rate with your outreach, you need to spend a bit of time making sure that the websites you’ve found are as relevant as possible. food blogger “cupcakes” intitle:resourcesYou can do this by spending time learning about your target bloggers, Visit their websites, read through their content, try to get a feel for what they like and what they don’t like. Take a look through their social networks, such as Twitter, to see what links they have shared recently.In particular, pay close attention to whether or not they share other people’s content or if they only promote their own. Ideally, you want to find some evidence of them sharing external resources, because that’s what you’ll be asking them to do.As you go through each website, make some notes about what they’ve shared and what interests them. This is crucial because you’ll need this information later when you contact them. Otherwise, you’ll just be sending them a generic, templated email that won’t be personalized to them at all.A nice little trick you can use here is to put the blog’s URL into a tool like Tagcrowdwhich will analyze the content of the page and show you which words are mentioned the most.
Finding Contact DetailsOnce you’ve decided that the blog is within your target audience and seems relevant, you’ll need to find contact details. This is usually pretty straightforward, but here are a few tips that may speed things up a little.
Check the Header and Footer FirstMost of the time, you will find a link to a contact page in the header or the footer of a website, so check these areas first. If you can’t see a contact page, try an “about” page which often list contact details.
Install ToutApp For Google ChromeToutApp is a small Google Chrome plug-in that will actively try and find an email addresses on a page for you. When it has found one, it will be highlighted in your Chrome toolbar and you can click on it to find the email address.
Prioritizing Link TargetsBy this point, you probably have a big list of link targets, and you need to prioritize them and group them into buckets so that you can customize your message to them with greatest efficiency.
There are a few ways to prioritize link targets for outreach:
By domain metrics, i.e., PageRank, Domain Authority•By blogger influence, i.e., number of Twitter followers•By the likelihood of linking, i.e., a cupcake blogger vs. a generic food blogger
For now, all you need to know is that these metrics can measure the value of link targets just as well as they can measure the value of individual links.There are two main domain metrics to use when filtering and sorting your link targets: PageRank and Domain Authority. You could, of course, gather the domain metrics for each website one by one, but that would take far more time; there are tools available that let you gather the data in bulk.You can get the PageRank for your targets using Excel and the SEO Tools for Excel plug-in.You can also get Domain Authority into your Excel spreadsheet by using the Links API plug-in by SEO gadget.
Once you have these metrics, you can do a simple sort in Excel from highest to lowest and, if you choose, you can remove link targets that do not have high enough domain metrics. This particularly helps if you have a very large set of websites and you don’t feel that you have the time to contact them all. I tend to sort by PageRank first and get rid of anything that is below a score of 1. If I have a very large set of results, I may also get rid of anything below a score of 2.
I then sort by Domain Authority and will generally get rid of anything below DA30 or DA35, if I have a very big list. This isn’t an exact science, however, because a new website that may be very good and relevant may not have accumulated enough PageRank or Domain Authority yet. However, if you have a large list of potential link targets, you do want to be quite aggressive in narrowing it down so that you have a good quality set of remaining websites to work with.