Back in ’96, Larry Page and Sergey Brin began to design the search engine that would become Google. The project was named Backrub as a nod toward the significance of backlinks. Links were – and remain to this day – a key pillar of SEO.
In the beginning, search engines relied heavily upon pure link volume as a ranking factor. Marketers quickly learned that more links generally meant a better ranking. In response to an increasing number of tactical links being built (that did not represent genuine editorial endorsement), Google implemented a quality control mechanism via various algorithm updates designed to only promote content with high-quality links (rather than just pure link numbers).
Let’s look at how to find high-quality links.
Competitor Backlink Analysis
Websites that rank for highly relevant industry-specific keywords are also likely to contain high-quality inbound links. Tools like Moz and Majestic allow marketers to export entire link profiles as a .csv file, meaning links can either be analysed on a site by site basis, or in bulk using time-efficient analysis tools such as Kerboo’s investigate. In fact, Kerboo allows users to import .csv files from Moz, Majestic, AHrefs, and Google Search Console. From there, you simply open an ‘Investigation’ project which will then allow you to visually audit thousands of links at once. The five-button system is simple to use and allows users to select sites for link profile analysis.
Feedspot is a great resource. It provides detailed lists and descriptions of blogs in a whole host of niches. Typically, these are formatted as “Top ___ Blogs” lists.
The way the page is laid out allows users to view the site URL as well as a description of the blog. In regards to mining for links, users are presented with what seems like an infinite number of potential high-quality links. All the work required from this point is manual, though, as users must go into each site individually to find any information needed to decide whether they are worth outreaching to.
Google is a brilliant link mining tool, it really is. I probably don’t need to go into too much detail about how great Google is, as you most likely already know. Unless of course, you use Bing (known by some as “But It’s Not Google”), but I imagine that will be a small minority of readers!.
In regard to using Google for link mining, there are different methods you can use to find links. One method is reasonably basic, while others are more advanced.
The most basic method is to search for the sort of links you want. For instance, if you’re working for a car company that specialises in selling pre-owned cars, search for auto-related blogs (e.g. search for “auto blogs” or “car blogs”). You will find blogs dedicated to your chosen niche in the SERPs.
Another great method is to use advanced search operators If you’ve not come across search operators before, you’ve been missing out. One operator that I find particularly useful is the “must contain” operator. Essentially, if you perform a Google search like the one below, the SERP displays results containing synonyms for that word (as well as the one phrase you were looking for). As you can see, this rather generic search brings up almost 50 million results.
Now, if you were to do the same search using the ‘must contain’ operator, you get wildly different results – just 1% of the number of results, in fact. This helps you to narrow your search and find more relevant link opportunities for your site.
Another great use of Google search operators is the ‘site:’ operator, which allows you to search the indexed pages from the site specifically for certain keyword (s).
Let’s say, for instance, that you want a link on Site A (a high authority site in your market) but you are unsure as to how you can make the link and anchor text relevant to your site. One option is to do a Google search that looks like the one below.
This will bring up any page in the Site A that has the keyword you want to rank in its text. From there, you can outreach to the site owner about getting a link
Looking for the best link opportunities for your site? In this blog post, we detail the ways in which you can find more link opportunities using both free and paid-for tools.