When you start working with a new client, sometimes you have to educate their internal marketing teams about the value of link building. If done correctly, there is potential to create a link building machine inside the core of a savvy marketing department.
It’s key to educate your clients moving forward, but what about all that press from before SEO became a priority? There may be sites out there that have interviewed your clients, hosted them for events, written about their products – and they aren’t all linking over.
This methodology, although intricate, will allow you to:
- Automate prospecting for all unlinked brand mentions and any C-level write ups.
- Automate determining which prospects are most likely to link over.
- Track high level influencers who have featured your client before and are likely to do it again.
- Reach out to mid level sites that are likely to link over.
If you’ve ever picked up a client that has previously earned press coverage you’ve probably used this advanced query:
“brand name” -site:clientdomain.com
This is the exact same tactic, but automated.
Step 1) Create Campaign Exclusions in Link Prospector
Block all social networks, it cuts down on the signal versus noise ratio.
You can find campaign level exclusions in the top right hand of the screen under the “Exclusions” tab:
Step 2) Create the branded advanced query & advanced queries for leadership.
- Garrett Camp
- Travis Kalanick
- Rob Hayes
- Oscar Salazar
- Steve Jang
- Timothy Ferriss
- Stephen (Steve) Russell
- Ryan Graves
Just because someone wrote about one of these executives doesn’t mean it’s worth asking editors and webmasters. These guys get written up all the time. If you are working with a similar start up – try to only look for relevant and recent opportunities that mention the brand to ask for links – that’s where I’ve seen the most success.
Branded Advanced Queries:
- Uber AND car OR service -site:uber.com
- Garrett Camp AND uber -site:uber.com
- Travis Kalanick AND uber -site:uber.com
- Rob Hayes AND uber -site:uber.com
- Oscar Salazar AND uber -site:uber.com
- Steve Jang AND uber -site:uber.com
- Timothy Ferriss AND uber -site:uber.com
- Stephen (Steve) Russell AND uber -site:uber.com
- Ryan Graves AND uber -site:uber.com
Step 3) Throw these into a Link Prospector Custom Report
In the Advanced Options of Link Prospector you can select “Depth,” meaning how many results you want the app to scrape for you. You can also direct Link Prospector to scrape from regular Google results, Blog Search Google results, or both.
Depending on how much press your client has received in the past, you may not need to go very deep, but Uber has been written about by everyone and anyone, so I am going to go all the way to 1000 and use web and blog results.
Step 4) Isolate Blogs
Depending on how much press your client has received in the past, it may be a better use of your time to only prospect with sites that have an RSS feed. Could this possibly cause you to miss out on a few link opps? Yes, but what’s that compared to the amount of time you will be saving by not trudging through irrelevant sites? Blogs are easy to update, hard coded sites that don’t have an RSS feed usually aren’t.
This is a slight twist on my process for finding blogs that link to competitors.
Step 4.1) Concatenate the LP export
- Take the full list of links from your Link Prospector Paths Export
- Paste them into a new excel sheet and concatenate a “http://” infront of the URL
Screaming Frog needs the “http://” and Link Prospector exports don’t have them.
- Save this new list of full URLs into a .txt file or a new .csv file.
Step 4.2) Upload the new file into Screaming Frog using “List Mode”
Step 4.3) Create the following custom filters:
Save Custom Filter Export 1.
Step 5) Find Unlinked Mentions
Open the export and copy and paste just the URLs into a .txt or .csv file.
Upload that file as a list into Screaming Frog and create the following custom filters:
So for this example I am using
Save Custom Filter Export 2.
Now you have a list of (mainly) blogs that have not linked to your client but written about them and their c-suite.
Step 6) Get Title Tags and Meta Descriptions from Screaming Frog
Open the most recent export, once again, copy and paste just the URLs into a .csv file, or a .txt file. Run those URLs through Screaming Frog again (no custom filters this time) and save the export as a .csv.
Step 7) Getting the Root Domain
Open this .csv file and delete every column but the URL, Title Tag and Meta Description column.
Copy all the URLs and paste them into a different excel sheet.
Use [Text to Columns > Delimited] in excel to get the root domain.
Paste the root domain into the main data set.
Step 8) Get Page Rank
Use the =GooglePageRank function from SEO Tools for Excel on all of the root domains of your link prospects in column E…. this could take awhile.
If you are partial to Domain Authority, feel free to use NetPeak, it’s free and quick.
Step 9) Follow the Link Prospecting Pivot Table Process to Eliminate and Prioritize your Link Building Prospects
Example Opportunities Found with this Process
- Unlinked Gigaom article by Kate Fehrenbacher – @katiefehren – Long term opp
- Unlinked Mashable article by Emily Price – @Emily – Long term opp
- Unlinked Tech Crunch article by Colleen Taylor – @loyalelectron – Long term opp
- Unlinked Tech Cocktail article by Zach Davis – @zrdavis – Long term opp
- Unlinked Mention for the Harvard City Law Blog – A very long shot, but worth a try – Immediate follow up
- Unlinked Built in Chicago guest post by Ryan Graves, Uber’s GM – Immediate follow up
- Unlinked TechnoBuffalo article by Brandon Russell – His personal site with contact form – Immediate Follow up
- Unlinked interview on Startup Minds Blog – Immediate follow up
- Unlinked mention on DXCN Blog – Immediate follow up
- Unlinked AgainstCronyCapitalism.org article – Immediate follow up
These were found after 20 minutes of prospecting.
Step 10) Track long term opportunities in BuzzStream.
Step 11) Reach out to the smaller and medium sized blogs
If you have a bunch on unlinked write ups from decent sites – reach out to them and ask for a link. Here’s an outreach template that has worked for me:
Get a good feel for the site before you send any outreach, you don’t want to rub the blogger/editor the wrong way. Sometimes it’s better to try and create a connection and offer yourself as a future resource rather than asking for a link, especially if they publish frequently.
This is a quick quick win strategy for startups. It’s for the very beginning of a campaign, when a client may be skeptical of the value your services can provide. This process takes almost no investment from their side – so it’s a great tactic to help build trust and showcase the value that you bring to the table.