I’m obsessed with Google. (I mean, you kind of have to be if you’re in this industry.) But sometimes, you need a break from the hand that feeds. There’s no denying the power of advanced search queries, but you’d be surprised how many other and different prospects you can find without using the search engine at all.
OK, I lied. You do have to use Google for this, but not nearly in the capacity you would with normal searches.
With lists, you have less sources to sift through but the value of the sites far outweigh normal SERPs.
My favorite searches — thanks to SEOmoz — are:
- Top/best lists, ie “top 10 Atlanta music blogs”
- Curated lists, ie “list of Atlanta music blogs”
- Twitter lists, ie “site:twitter.com inurl:lists ‘music bloggers’”
The best part about starting with lists is that someone has already done the work for you. Once you have a good stack, save them to the project that you’re working on. Then, save them in your Bookmarks or Evernote according to category type so you can use them across multiple projects.
Blogrolls & Recommend Sites
Ever landed on a site wondering how you got there in the first place?
That’s Internet surfing at its finest, and the best way to go from link prospect to link prospect. When I find an potential site, the first thing I look for is who else they find interesting by going through their blogroll. Not only does it plug me into the industry, but it brings me a pocketful of other prospects.
Heads up: If none of the sites are related or they’re overly keyword optimized, more likely than not they’re paid links and won’t bring you as high quality prospects.
Facebook Likes & Twitter Tools
On the same note as bouncing through blogrolls, Facebook Likes are a great way to find more sets of related sites. I already check out the social pages of a site I’m interested in to get a better idea of how much influence they have, so when you’re on their Facebook Page, see what other Pages they Like. They’re usually partners, friends, people they’ve worked with before, or other sites the company owns.
For example, I was looking for wedding websites for a limousine company I was working on and went through The Knot’s Facebook Likes and came up with other wedding sites, vendors, florists, bridal shops and more.
In addition to Facebook, Twitter has an abundance of tools that you can use to find the people you need to talk to first. I use Listorious to find a list of people tweeting on a certain topic. You can search by either Twitter lists or people.
Tweet Adder is another great tool to find related Twitter users. You have to pay for it, but you can a working version with the free trial. Once you have the Twitter user, export that data into an Excel file with their website and stats.
Like Twitter, LinkedIn is a great way to find the people you need to contact first rather than finding the source. Using their various search filters, you can par down sources based on keywords and location.
Look for the actual content curators for your keyword; let’s stick with “music bloggers.” To do this, search these without the quotation marks:
- “music writer”
- “music” filtered by location and/or writing and editing professions
- “music blog” or “music blogger,” filtered by location
- “music editor,” filtered by location
You can also use LinkedIn if you have the website or the company but can’t find a person or email address outside an firstname.lastname@example.org, which rarely get you anywhere. You can read more about how to use LinkedIn specifically for SEO on this article on Mashable.
Guest Blogging Communities
It’s a shame I didn’t find these earlier because they are probably one of the best ways that I save time when finding opportunities for guest blog posts. Guest blogging communities are sites dedicated to helping bloggers who are looking for guest posts get in touch with people who can provide those guest posts (and vice versa). Blogger LinkUp and My Blog Guest are two of my favorites. You will need to put in your due diligence and check the quality of the blogs as some of them are sub par.
On the same lines, I also swear by H.A.R.O. I’ll subscribe to topics related to my clients and if one matches up, I’m able to get my client interviewed for these publications, which typically includes a link back to their website.
What are some other ways to find link prospects without using Google, Yahoo or Bing?
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.