Link building is becoming tougher as Google tightens its noose on link networks and improves its algorithms to detect quality. Finding fresh, high quality link opportunities is important now more than ever. We’ve put together this guide – a cheat sheet that you can use as reference when trying to figure out how to find viable link opportunities using Majestic SEO. This guide we’ve compiled based on our own experience using the platform.
Prelude: What Should You Look For?
Before discussing the different ways you can find link opportunities, you need to know exactly what to look for first. These things differ based on what aspect you choose to focus on, but generally you need to look for the following:
- Before looking at the links, look at your own content first. How many of your pages are evergreen pages – inner pages that can be used as landing pages for your link building campaigns because their content stays relevant for extended periods?
- Look at the types of links that appear, especially when examining your competitors’ profiles. What types of content are they producing, and how are they linking these back to their sites? How can you use these to push your own campaign further?
- Check for any broken links in your backlink profile. This will be discussed later in detail.
- Find out which of your published works need an update. More on this in a bit.
- At all times, use Google’s accepted guidelines as your basis. When deciding what links you want to build, what links you want to clean up, and what opportunities you’d like to experiment with. Don’t engage in activities that have already been deemed by Google as spam, or those that are at the borderline – you’ll likely be penalized for those during their next updates.
Now let’s move on to the different ways you can find link opportunities.
Examining Broken Links
I’m sure you’ve seen some form of it before, but it’s important to include this in this cheat sheet because it’s one of the easiest ways to find link building opportunities.
Why You Should Do It: The resources are already there – you’ve got a domain with your target keyword, and you have an idea for what should go on it, and you can easily source the contact information of the website owner. All you need to do is to pitch your content, and if they agree, you get a link while helping them fix their broken link problem.
How to Do It:
- Prospect high-authority websites. You can do this on Google by keying in your prospect keywords and getting the high-authority results that appear, or if you already have a list, then you’ll use that.
- Go to Site Explorer and enter the URL of each authority website. You’ll need to do this one at a time.
- Go to the pages tab. You’ll see a list of pages the website has, and a “Crawl Result” status below the URL. You’re looking for pages with the HTTP 404 Not Found crawl result.
- Prioritize the broken links you find by checking which of the broken links have the most referring links. You can do this by using the Bulk Backlinks tool under the Link Maps Tools. Just paste the URLs of the broken links (or upload your Excel or CSV file if you have one), download the results, and sort the results according to referring links.
- Contact the website owner with your content proposal. Make sure your topic is related to both the URL of the dead link you want to post your content on, and your own industry. If the site owner says yes, you accomplish two things: you help them fix their broken link problem, and you earn yourself a valuable link.
Competitive Link Research
We do competitive link research to see what other brands are up to and one-up them, but you can also use it to find potential link opportunities and new strategies.
Why You Should Do It: It’s a great way of using your competitors’ resources for your own gain. If they’re getting links from sources that you didn’t think you could try before, it’ll tell you to go for it. Besides, your competitors are most likely doing it too.
How to Do It:
- List the competitors whose stats you want to track. You can start with your top three competitors and analyze the others as you go along.
- Use Majestic SEO’s Site Explorer to get information about your competitors. Go to the Backlinks tab to view the full list of links in their backlink profile.
- Download the data – Majestic SEO lets you download this in Excel, CSV or TSV formats.
- Organize the links in the spreadsheet. Sort the items first according to Link Type, then according to Source Trust Flow. This will allow you to prioritize what sites to build links on.
- Examine the sites they are building links on. Which of these are sites you haven’t reached out to? Check what kind of value they can offer and how relevant they really are to your industry.
- Look at the types of content they are building. What techniques are they using? Have you done this kind of outreach before? Are they following a specific ratio for the types of content they are releasing? Be careful when applying these techniques to your own strategy – some of the things your competitors are doing may be outdated already and frowned upon by Google, so watch out for things like posting to link networks or probable link buying.
- There’s another tool you can use to quickly find the authority linking domains your competitors have built links on. Go to the Clique Hunter tool of Majestic SEO and enter the domains of your competitors. You’ll have a list of the authority sites that contain links to your competitors, and you can do #s 5 and 6 using this list.
Once you have this data, you can start planning better content and link building strategies with these new opportunities in mind.
The methods of finding link building opportunities using Majestic SEO will be more effective when paired with other ways of finding opportunities in other areas – for example:
- Setting up alerts on Google for whenever your brand name is mentioned by someone online
- Regularly checking social media alerts and feeds for potential link opportunities
- Building real-life relationships with industry influencers and website owners relevant to your industry
- Answering questions about your industry in forums, blog comments, social media, etc. and communicating with people to establish your leadership
- Guest posting (though overused lately) when done right
The trick here is to think outside the box, qualify websites using Majestic SEO’s tools and quantify your ideas with the numbers that these tools present. Now you’re ready to start mining link opportunities