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Analyzing a magazine website for link prospects (Link building course part 4)

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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.)


Part one: How to find great link prospects

Part two: Finding link building prospects by analyzing links to ‘personality websites’

Part three: Discover your competitors' link building secrets

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 with Link Builder it sorts the results into categories so that I can view, for example ‘media links’ ...

1 Inc. Media

And ‘blog links’ ...

2 Inc. blogs

Let’s look at a selection of the 751 media links pointing to When you do this, always try to figure out why the link got there:

3 Inc. CBS

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.

4 Inc. WSJ

The WSJ quotes an article from Inc. explaining how small businesses are trying to cut travel costs.

5 Inc. Bloomberg

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,2933,212754,00.html

Fox News also links to that Inc. 500 list in a story

And many top bloggers also link to Here’s a selection from the 598 we found:

6 Inc. Fox

7 Inc. Bruce Clay

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.

8 Inc. Debbie

Tom Peter’s speech at the Inc. 5000 conference drew the attention of Debbie Weil.

9 Top Rank Blog

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 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 and (the numbers) how many sites in turn link to them):

10 Inc. blogs that link to detail

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

11 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:

12 Legal marketing blog search

This brings up three mentions and I’ll look at each in turn. The third one turns out to be the best editorially:

13 Legal marketing blog Wordtracker

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.


14 Toilet paper entrepeneur

I again do a search site on Google:

15 Toilet paper entrepeneur Wordtracker

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’:

16 Toilet paper entrepeneur 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’?

17 Toilet paper entrepeneur 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 to get an idea of how influential the writer is:

18 Toilet paper entrepeneur klout

And here’s a useful summary of what Klout thinks about Toilet Paper Entrepreneur:

19 Toilet paper entrepeneur klout 2

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.

(You can read more on this approach in 13 Ways to evaluate link prospects and How to make a link request.)


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.

Build links to boost your search engine rankings - with Wordtracker's Link Builder tool

Using Wordtracker's powerful Link Builder tool, you'll be able to:

  1. Find hundreds of top quality link prospects – instantly!
  2. Uncover your competitors' linking strategies (and beat them at their own game)
  3. Analyze sites that rank well for a particular keyword
  4. Plan and create your own high impact linking campaigns
  5. Drive more traffic, sales and revenue for your business

YES, please tell me more about Link Builder.

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 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.