What is link prospecting and why is it important?
In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about link prospecting and how to use it to improve your website’s traffic.
We’ll cover the basics of what link prospecting is and then provide you with five unique guidelines that professional link builders use to identify quality prospects.
By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to start using link prospecting in your own campaigns.
What is Link Prospecting?
Link prospecting is the process of finding potential links to your website. This can be done through various methods such as using search engines, social media, and directories.
By finding high-quality dofollow links, you can improve your website’s ranking and visibility on Google.
A successful link building campaign consists of 3 parts:
The first step in link building is to find potential links to your website.
The prospecting process is usually done manually by researching blogs, websites, forums, etc.
Your goal during this process is to identify prospects that have the authority and relevance needed to help improve your site’s rankings.
We like to automate this process by using Ahrefs to:
1. Find websites that are relevant to our niche
2. Find the top pages on these sites that already have high rankings for keywords related to our website’s business/niche
3. Identify external links pointing to these top-ranking pages using Ahref’s backlink profile checker
4. Export this information into an Excel spreadsheet where we can identify each site’s Page Authority and Domain Authority scores
After identifying a group of prospects, the next step is to qualify them.
This usually involves adding each prospect into a spreadsheet with columns for their Page Authority and Domain Authority scores.
You’ll also need to collect information such as:
- Site contact information (name, email address, phone number, linkedIn etc.)
- Additional Link prospects (URLs pointing to their site)
- Relevancy Score (how relevant is their website to yours?)
- Are links on their website dofollow or nofollow? (Y/N)
By collecting and scoring link information using a spreadsheet, you can easily prioritize the links you want to pursue.
For example, if a prospect has a low relevancy score, you can prioritize building relationships with other prospects instead.
The purpose of the qualification process is to narrow down your list to relevant websites that are most likely to link back to your website.
After compiling this list of prospects, it’s time to move on to the outreach phase.
The final stage in link building is outreach.
This is the process of contacting your prospects and asking for a backlink to your site.
There are countless ways to reach out, but our favorite method by far is using the skyscraper technique.
Prospecting Guidelines Used by Professional Link Builders
Now that you have a better understanding of link prospecting, let’s take a closer look at the 5 most important factors used by professional link builders.
These are the guidelines we use to identify high-quality prospects during our own outreach campaigns.
Find Prospects with Market Relevancy
Market relevancy is the most important metric to consider when link prospecting. The more relevant a website is to yours, the better.
If a website’s relevancy score is too low, it doesn’t matter how authoritative it might be. It isn’t going to help your site increase its rankings on Google.
As a general rule of thumb, try to find prospects that have at least a 50% match with your own website’s topic or niche.
In addition, the more relevant a website is to yours, the more likely it is for them to link back to your site.
For example, let’s say you’re a dentist in Houston and you want to increase your local rankings on Google. It would make no sense for you to build links from a furniture design blog.
Instead, you should use Ahrefs to find related websites that have a high ranking score related to the term “Houston Dentist” or “Dentists in Houston”
Look at your competitor’s backlink profile and figure out which of these sites have a high relevancy score related to dental practices.
The higher the relevancy score, the more market relevance that site has. This makes it more likely for your top prospects to link back to you as they’re already linking to similar pages on other authority sites.
Sidenote. Having a high relevancy score doesn’t always mean that the prospect will link back to your website, but it’s an important step in building relationships.
Stay away from irrelevant sites
In some cases, you’ll find irrelevant links pointing to your competitors while prospecting for backlinks.
This doesn’t mean that these links are any good, but rather that the website’s owner may be using black hat SEO tactics to try and boost their rankings.
This could work for them in the short term, but it won’t last. As Google continues to update its algorithm, these spammy links will become less and less relevant.
This is an important link building mistake you should avoid while prospecting.
Check for Organic Growth
Before reaching out to a prospect, you should look into a websites history to check its organic growth.
Is this website’s organic traffic on the right path? Has it taken a penalty at some point?
It is very normal to see some traffic fluctuations but if you notice that the website’s traffic is decreasing, you should find another prospect.
This decline in rankings could be caused by a Google penalty or simply because the website isn’t producing content anymore.
Try to avoid any sites that use unnatural link-building methods for their website. Chances are, the website is going to receive a penalty at some point, and you don’t want to be caught up in it.
By avoiding this mistake, you’ll be able to save your time without investing too much of it into linking out to low-quality websites.
Do Outreach Like A Human
When reaching out to a prospect, you should always try to be more personal and treat them like a person.
Gone are the days when you could send a template and spam everyone on your list. Today, building relationships is the key to getting links fast.
Sending out these automated emails can work in some cases, but more often than not they will receive lower response rates or no response at all.
Be personal and write to them like you would in a normal conversation. Ideally, you should make your outreach email a win-win for both parties.
Don’t be afraid to build rapport with the website owner and ask them for their opinion as well as a link back.
A good example of this would be:
I recently came across your article on xyz.com about [relevant information to them]. Your website is really amazing!
I’ve been looking at dental practices in Dallas for a while now, and I found your guide on picking the right dentist very helpful.
I thought of reaching out to you as my website has a lot of information for people looking to find the right dentist in Houston. I think this information could be helpful for your audience.
Could you possibly add a link to my content in your resource section? I will also add a link to your website on my resource page as well.
Let me know what you think and if this is something we can work with.”
Don’t make it sound like an order, stay personal and mention something they wrote about. This way you’ll get better response rates and more backlinks.
Most successful link building campaigns are the ones that offer value.
Offering value is a good way of building relationships with other marketers or bloggers. It can also help you get featured on websites which will drive traffic back to your own blog
The key is to make sure that you have something valuable to offer in return for a backlink. This can be in the form of a link, but it doesn’t have to be.
You could offer to write a guest post for their website or even just send them some of your content to check out.
If you can provide value, the prospect is more likely to respond and possibly even give you a link.
If you play your cards right, you should be able to improve your outreach efforts.
Follow Up But Don’t Spam
Sometimes it’s hard to get a response from someone, but you should always try to follow up with them.
A common mistake among beginner link builders is not following up with prospects.
Don’t be afraid to remind the prospect that you sent them an email or ask if they got a chance to check out your website.
Sometimes, your prospects may just be busy and forget to respond.
On the other hand, you don’t want to be a nuisance and spam people, so always try to be cordial in your follow-ups.
A better alternative would be to look at your outreach emails as a conversation instead of an order.
Be friendly, provide value and try not to come across like you’re trying to sell something or get something for free. This way they will respect you more and might even reply if it’s something they’re interested in.
Although this shouldn’t be done too much, it’s always better than to do nothing at all.
Link building is a time-consuming and frustrating task. Today, it takes more than just creating content to rank well in Google.
You need to be proactive and take the right steps to promote your website.
The best way of doing that is by sending out compelling outreach emails or guest posts to your prospects.
It takes patience and persistence, but if you do it right, your efforts will pay off.
Once you get started, you’ll notice that the task is not as hard as some people make it out to be. It’s just a matter of keeping at it until you start getting results.
Although this guide on how to find prospects for link building might seem simple, it’s still a very effective way of promoting your website and getting free backlinks.
I hope you enjoyed this article and I’ll see you in the next one!
Ps. If you’re in need of an expert to do SEO link building for your site, make sure to get in touch for a free consultation with me.