Analyzing the links to top magazines in your market can be a great source of high quality link prospects. Here, Ken McGaffin shows you how to do it and what to do when you find them.
Magazines, newspapers and online news sites often quote and link to each other, so analyzing links to one magazine will reveal many other media outlets. This helps you build lists of target publications and identifies journalists and editors who could be interested in your company.
Furthermore, bloggers will comment upon, link to and share any interesting article or news piece they come across. A link analysis will also reveal the best of them.
(This is part four of a 5-part series on link building by Ken McGaffin, co-author of Wordtracker Masterclass: Link Building - How to build links to your website for SEO, traffic and response.)
Let’s take an example and show how analyzing a magazine for link prospects works.
I’m a big fan of Inc. Magazine and have been since I studied Entrepreneurship at Boston College back in the early nineties. Inc. focuses on growing businesses and so should reveal many blogs and journalists that will be of interest to us at Wordtracker.
When I analyze the links pointing to Inc.com with Link Builder it sorts the results into categories so that I can view, for example ‘media links’ ...
And ‘blog links’ ...
Let’s look at a selection of the 751 media links pointing to Inc.com. When you do this, always try to figure out why the link got there:
CBS reports on a story on office parties in Inc. that says, of more than 100 businesses surveyed nationwide, 94 percent said they were planning some kind of holiday bash, up 7 percent from 2005.
The WSJ quotes an article from Inc. explaining how small businesses are trying to cut travel costs.
Bloomberg writes about Visible Technologies who appeared in the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies in the US (note that this list brings a lot of links to Inc.com.)
Fox News also links to that Inc. 500 list in a story
And many top bloggers also link to Inc.com. Here’s a selection from the 598 we found:
The Inc. 500 list and their prediction of the best performing and worst performing industries for the decade ahead drew the attention of Bruce Clay.
Tom Peter’s speech at the Inc. 5000 conference drew the attention of Debbie Weil.
A study of how quickly Inc. 500 companies are adopting social media gives inspiration to Lee Odden.
The same is true for Decanter magazine.
Here are just a few examples of the links I found:
So there you have it, media of all kinds link to other media.
What does this mean for your link building?
The sites I picked out above are all well known publications and blogs but of course there are many more smaller blogs that may have the potential to give you valuable links. We identified nearly 600 blogs pointing to Inc.com. You can often find real value further down the list of results – blogs that may not be as popular as others but which still command a respectable following.
Here’s a screenshot from page three of the results showing us sites linking to Inc.com and (the numbers) how many sites in turn link to them):
If you’re as interested in small business as we are at Wordtracker, you can see that many of the results will be of interest.
Let’s look first at Legal Marketing Blog
Next (because I’m link building for Wordtracker) I’ll want to know whether or not these sites mention or link to Wordtracker. So I’ll do a site search on Google:
This brings up three mentions and I’ll look at each in turn. The third one turns out to be the best editorially:
The site links to the free Keyword Questions tool that helps users come up with great content ideas.
Now you might think that I’m most interested in sites that DON’T link to Wordtracker. But that’s not so. I have strategies both for sites that already link to Wordtracker and those that do not.
Why am I interested in sites that already link to me?
Sites that already link to mine have probably shown that they’re favorably disposed to Wordtracker, otherwise they wouldn’t link. So a relationship already exists that I could build on.
Here’s my approach:
i) I’ll check my analytics to see how much traffic their link brings.
ii) I’ll note why they linked.
iii) I’ll look for opportunities to build on the relationship:
I’ll want to find out who is behind the site and what their interests are.
Is there a great article, product or news story on their site that I can tweet or link to?
Will they accept a guest post or article?
Would they write a guest post for Wordtracker?
Have they something interesting enough to interview them?
Would they be suitable for an affiliate or partnership arrangement?
Next up, I’ll look at a site that DOESN’T mention or link to Wordtracker.
I again do a search site on Google:
So they don’t link to Wordtracker. My next question is whether they are interested in the things we do for our customers.
So I’ll do a search on ‘keyword research’:
So there are five articles that at least show some sort of interest. I’d probably want to do another couple of quick searches to further check the site out.
How about ‘SEO’?
So with 112 results for SEO, I can see that the site might be interested.
The next thing for me is to find out more about the person behind the site.
I’ll look for their twitter username and use a service such as www.klout.com to get an idea of how influential the writer is:
And here’s a useful summary of what Klout thinks about Toilet Paper Entrepreneur:
My thinking on sites that don’t link to Wordtracker goes something like this:
Have a good look at their site and the type of content they create
Find out more about the person behind the site
Think about what Wordtracker could offer them and their readers
Make an approach once I’ve done my preparation
Possible tactics to use when approaching include:
Tweet or comment on their site
Write a review of the site or blogger (then contact)
Ask to interview a writer, editor or blogger from the site
Review the site’s products or services
Suggest a guest post from them on your site (it can be the other way next time
Ask if they want to review any products you sell.
All sorts of media link to each other so analyzing a magazine site can give you many hundreds of quality link prospects Spend time finding out about the people behind these link prospects – the editors, journalists and bloggers who write about and link to external sites
Develop strategies not only for sites that do not link to you but also for sites that do link to you – seek to enhance your relationship.
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About Ken McGaffin
Ken McGaffin is a writer, speaker and trainer in online marketing. He provides webinar and video training in link building, online PR and content marketing on his site at LinkingMatters.com You can join him at Google+ or on Twitter
He wrote The Definitive Guide to Successful Link Building with Mark Nunney, and has created two in-depth online courses, 'Get Links: 7 Weeks to Link Building Mastery' and 'Broken Link building Video Course', both with Garrett French.