The Link Prospector takes your research phrases and combines them with tactic-specific footprints. This is what we use to find prospects for you. Your research phrases determine how useful and relevant your prospects will be. What’s tricky about research phrases is that what works for one tactic may not work for another. Productive research phrases for donation opportunities may not be productive for guest posting opportunities. That said, there are only three set rules for selecting your research phrases: try but don’t rely solely on your SEO KWs, test research phrases in Google before adding to the prospector, and EXPERIMENT!

1) Try But Don’t Rely on SEO KWs
Many SEOs start prospecting with their target KWs. Those are the terms they want to rank for, so why not use them for prospecting? I used to tell people to NEVER use their SEO KWs, but soon realized that there are cases where they CAN yield good results. So now I simply say – test them, but don’t rely on them solely for every report type.

If you read through the tactical report overview, you’ll notice that the research phrases I reccommend the most are “category” keywords that define a vertical. If I’m selling defibrilators I’d use “heart health” as a starting point for research, for example. Alternately, the “big head” phrases in your vertical can prove productive.

2) Test Research Phrases in Google
It’s easy to test research phrases in Google – and it’s a great way to find other potentially-productive research phrases too. To test a research phrase, simply type it into Google and then add the tactic or report type you’re prospecting for. So if you’re pursuing guest posting, type [Test KW guest post] without brackets into Google. If you see 4-5 “maybes” there in the top 10 results then you’ve got a winner. If you see none, then dump it.

And do watch those SERPs closely as you test – that’s where you’ll notice new potential research phrases. The beauty here is in how simple it is to test. And what you’ll find when you test your research phrases first before adding is that you spend less time qualifying your prospects. More of them will be useful.

When you DO find a productive word, you can try this query to shake up new phrases: [~kw -kw]. This is essentially asking Google to return phrases to you that are synonyms to your productive phrase, but NOT your productive phrase. The tilde and the minus sign are both advanced operators.

Lastly, if you find productive 2-3 word phrases I suggest adding them to the Link Prospector both with and without quotes as this will help to float up new potential domains.

3) Experiment!
There’s no substitution for testing, experimenting and just plain “seeing what happens.” Everytime I make a rule for myself I find that it can be overturned in certain cases or for certain report types. Though it takes longer, and will cost you a bit more in terms of credits, I suggest trying out as many variations as possible and never stop questioning what you know. This does admittedly make training tricky. That said, I find that when I ask contractors to prospect before training and THEN ask them to explain what they’re looking for and the research phrase decisions they made along the way I am surprised by what I learn.

Research phrases are a tricky and slippery subject. Keep testing and experimenting and you’ll find your results get more and more productive!

Here are more link prospecting resources that touch on research phrases:

More about the Link Prospector:
The Link Prospector Help and FAQ Page

Leave a Comment