Finding quality sites to target is at the heart of any effective linking strategy. ‘Quality sites’ are not the ones that are easiest to get links from but those that will drive most relevant traffic to your site. In our last newsletter, we looked at how to maximize your link value to make your site more attractive to link targets. In this issue we’ll explore how to find quality link targets.
To find quality sites, you’ve got to do methodical research before you start - lots of it.
But before you begin, here are two important tips:
- It’s easy to get lost when trawling for target sites, so bookmark interesting sites immediately: at the end of each research session, sort your bookmarks into categories immediately - don’t leave it till later.
- When you do find an interesting site, always look at its inbound links Yahoo Site Explorer.
So here are six powerful ways to identify quality sites:
1. Mine your referrer logs
Check your referrer logs every day (if you don’t know how check with your ISP). Cut and paste that day’s referring websites into an Excel spreadsheet, then review once a month. Take the sites that refer most traffic and do a backwards link search looking for similar sites that you could also approach.
2. Find out who links to your competitors
Logic says that if sites link to your competitors, they could also link to you. This is a good start. But don’t stop at just sending ‘me-too’ link requests. Look carefully at the sites that link to your competitors. What market sectors do they come from? Are there any surprises? Is there a niche market that you haven’t thought about. Again for every useful site do a backwards link search.
3. Drill down through directories
Start with DMOZ, Yahoo and Looksmart. Look specifically for information sites or industry specific directories. Be comprehensive and explore as many relevant categories as you can.
4. Scan the blogs
Search engines love blogs because they are full of fresh content and extensive links. They’re useful for linking because:
- Blogs are great pointers to useful interesting sites
- When you make a comment, you often get a link back to your site
- You get a feel for the real news of the day.
One of the best places to look is Google Blog Search, which is a specialized search engine that crawls more than 59,000 news sites, weblogs and RSS feeds at least once a day (and some once every 3 hours).
5. Look for ezines
Great ezines generally provide more in-depth content than blogs and are published less often. I’ve yet to find an ezine directory that I’m entirely happy with but you could try cumuli. Usually, I’ll just do a Google search. If I’m looking for ezines on photography, I’ll just enter the search term, ‘photography ezines’.
6. Cultivate journalists
Get to know the traditional media in your market sector and watch what they do online. Start to keep a record of key journalists and the type of stories they cover. Do some searches on Google News - and note the latest news in your industry. If you find this useful, sign up for Google’s news alert service.
This methodical approach takes time but results in a long list of highly relevant link targets and an important overview of your market online.
Now you’ve got the list, go get the links.
'Six Powerful Ways To Find Link Building Targets' was first published on Linking Matters, the link building services website.
About Ken McGaffin
Ken McGaffin is an experienced internet marketing consultant and has worked for major pharmaceutical companies, advertising agencies, government bodies and non-profit organizations.
Ken unveils the secrets of successful link building in his 384-page e-book, Successful Link Building
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