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Deeper Prospecting with Backlink Analysis

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If you’ve built links before, then you know about the inevitable brick wall that you hit once you’ve run out of link prospects.

One of the two main ways of finding prospects, backlink analysis, yields some really low hanging fruit, because you’re finding pages that you already know are linking to the same / similar thing as you. But the well runs dry far too quickly.

However, a spark lit in my head recently that completely changes how I look at this part of prospecting; not in a way of improving what I’m already doing, but instead, being able to do more of it.

The Concept

The reason you look at your competitors first when prospecting for pages is because you already know they link to someone who does the same thing. That same reason is why most of us don’t look at broader industry resources, just because if they link to them, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll link to you.

But what if you knew that a page linked to two general resources, that are equally distant in relevance that you are to them? That would mean their scope of relevance would allow for you to also qualify for that page.

So let’s give an example. Let’s say you were a niche eCommerce retailer that sold truck parts. You might come across other retailers that sell Jeep parts, but if you look at all their links, there’s a good chance that a lot of them might be linking to them because they’re Jeep-specific.

But you also come across those who sell SUV parts, and you run into the same issue. Sure, you could look through ALL their links, but what if you wanted to more quickly find the ones that you know have a high chance of linking to you? Or what if you wanted to do this with sites that have MUCH more links than a few niche eCommerce retailers?

Here’s what you’d do:

  1. Find all the links to all retailers who are specific to Jeep parts. Combine them into a single spreadsheet, and remove duplicates.
  2. Find all the links to all retailers who are specific to SUV parts. Also combine them into a single spreadsheet, and remove duplicates.
  3. Use a COUNTIF formula in Excel to see if any of the Linking From pages are found in BOTH ranges (meaning: they link to both a SUV & a Jeep parts retailer).

What you find is that these will be much more likely to link, because you know they’re not linking specifically for SUV, or specifically for Jeep parts on that page.

But even if they’re not already mentioning anything Truck parts-related, there’s a good chance that they’d be open to it given the scope of relevance of what they’re currently linking to.

Taking It Further

The above was just a simple illustration, and chances are, you may want to look through all their links anyways, given how closely related those sites are to you. But in much more broader cases, this becomes a practical way of finding tons of new opportunities, especially ones that your competitors don’t find.

Just think broader. Go up & up the hierarchy that your site falls in, and do this with sub-niches that are equally distant in relevance. No, these pages won’t be super-relevant to your business, but using link metrics you can easily sort out the ones that are still going to have a huge impact.

Did that make any sense?

I hope it did. This isn’t a typical post here, just because I usually like to lean on longer, more in-depth pieces, but I thought this concept was worth highlighting for the more advanced crowd.

Thoughts are appreciated in the comments below! I’m traveling this weekend for a conference, so I may or may not get back right away, but I almost always do eventually. Thanks for reading!

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