Guest post by James Agate, founder of Skyrocket SEO, the content-led link building agency and a Link Prospector Power User.
My team and I are pretty heavy users of the link prospector tool. Combined with a couple of other sources, Link Prospector helps us to find a large number of guest posts consistently every month for our clients.
Today, I just wanted to share a few of the little tips and tricks we’ve uncovered after several months of heavy usage of the tool:
1) Don’t just use the “guest posting” report type
Garrett and his team have undoubtedly created a useful feature by allowing users to generate lists of websites that specifically accept guest posts however if you JUST use this feature then you are almost certainly missing out on link and guest post opportunities.
One of our favourite types of report within Link Prospector is the “topical blogs” option as this allows you to generate lists of relevant blogs for you to contact and discuss the possibility of guest posting (believe it or not, there are bloggers and website owners out there who don’t know what guest posting is).
We’ve found this report type the best way to find high-authority websites that are really deserving of investing your time in, in terms of carefully devising a pitch and attempting to secure a long-term relationship with for example as a regular contributor.
2) Take advantage of the targeting options
The beauty of Link Prospector is that it can be as broad or as granular as you want.
The option to select the country and the TLD of the guest post opportunities is really superb and although we’re probably shooting ourselves in the foot by revealing this, we have found MUCH higher response rates by prospecting very specific guest post opportunities for example just UK blogs.
If you leave the standard targeting options in place and run the guest post opportunities report then you are potentially seeing the same opportunities that 5, 10 or even more other Link Prospector users have already seen today. This means that in some cases you no longer just have to convince the blogger of the content you are pitching but you also have to convince them that you are the one guest blog they should accept this week (if they set a limit for example).
Leverage the ‘location’ of the site you are working on by targeting geographically similar guest post opportunities and highlighting this in your pitch e.g. “A fellow UK business, we have local knowledge etc etc etc.”
3) Build a list of lists
I’ll never understand how people can claim they can never find lists of blogs easily because in nearly every industry there are complete published lists of topically relevant blogs usually in some kind of socially curated or scientifically ranked display.
This is gold-dust for the avid link prospector and with the help of the Link Prospector tool (and the Outbound Scraper, also from Citation Labs) you can pull together hundreds of blogs ready for evaluation.
- Navigate to the relevant campaign
- Hit ‘find prospects’
- Under report type, select ‘custom’
- Use the keyword combiner (located just above the big white box to the right
- In column one; add as many variations of list style keyword phrases you can think of e.g. Ultimate List, Top 10, Top 5, Top 50 and so on.
- In column two; add as many variations of the category level keywords you are targeting. Don’t forget to utilise the tilde (~) as well to target synonyms and ensure maximum diversity
- In column three; you can further improve the quality of your results for example years (2011), locations (USA), or additional criteria (To watch…e.g. [Ultimate List | SEO Bloggers | to Watch] would yield rising stars who might be more open to guest posts and the value of that link and placement will rise over time!!)
- The keyword combiner will then create dozens of variations of these keywords
- Let Link Prospector work it’s magic
- In the report, pick out the best looking lists
- Head to tools.citationlabs.com, login and navigate to the outbound scraper
- Plug in your URLS (we’ve usually do 10 URLs where the lists are located at a time)
- This will generate a CSV list, de-duplicate the list and then use your favourite method of batch checking to create a more manageable and effective list ready for outreach.
4) Go granular with the keywords
Garrett recommends making the research phrases category level and whilst I would largely agree with this sentiment, we have also had really good success by going really granular with the keywords in order to identify really niche keywords.
It goes back to what I discussed earlier in this post about digging a little deeper to find the most relevant opportunities and more importantly the opportunities that your lazy competitors may just have missed.
We’ve found going granular grabs the really niche and often smaller blogs which heightens your chance of securing a regular or even exclusive contributor spot – imagine that, a link that is completely impossible for your competitor to get their hands on.
I’d love to give you a specific example but you’ll have to find one of those for yourself! :-)
Here’s an example based on a real one, only the location, industry and target market have been changed!
We were recently doing guest blogging for a healthcare provider in Canada, their target demographic was over 65’s (the “senior citizens”) and they were offering a free eye health check up. We could have used the keywords “health”, “healthcare” etc but instead we used Google to find semantically similar keywords as well as longer tail phrases such as “Free Eye Tests for Over 60s” which, when we plugged into Link Prospector, yielded a few very juicy opportunities, one of which is quite literally the PERFECT fit for our client and who have agreed to a blog post from us.
5) Go past the first couple of pages of the report
Without a doubt there are plenty of juicy opportunities which are at the top of the list (i.e. the first couple of pages) but by not digging further you will undoubtedly be missing opportunities.
Link Prospector does a superb job of surfacing the tip-top opportunities in the first few pages, but it is worth at least scanning the list right until the end of the report to ensure you aren’t missing a website which is for example a rising star but has relatively low authority or a blog which might be slightly below your usual target from a link strength perspective but is a really strong fit from a relevance point of view.
Anyone else got any tips or tricks for using Link Prospector? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below…