Improve Your Link Prospecting With Reductive Queries

When we search for websites to link to us, we often use inputs on Google in order to return results  such as “KEYWORD resources”, “KEYWORD links” , or simply just “KEYWORD”. The problem with this process is that what we input is not what we are looking for. There is a fundamental disconnect between what SEOs frequently input into search engines for link prospecting and what results they actually want to see when they hit enter.

The difference between “KEYWORD” inputs and what we actually want as SEOs, can be summarized as follows:

  • Input: KEYWORD
  • Actual desired result: KEYWORD pages that will link back to my site

These are frequently not the same thing. The reason is that Google doesn’t care that you want a link back to your site – Google cares about returning the results that are most relevant for your search query. Very often, keywords that are relevant for “KEYWORD” are not the same ones that will ever link back to your site.

While we can never really know the psychological tendencies of many webmasters that may or may not cause them to link back to our sites, we can pick up on page-level tendencies that allow us to avoid most sites with fundamental concurrencies, that won’t ever link back to us. This depends on the query and the intention, but there are many patterns that we can lean on to eliminate websites that won’t ever show us the hyperlink light of day.

By sticking to these and using them frequently when link prospecting, we can eliminate a lot of wasted time scanning through domains that aren’t ever a real consideration for acquiring links.

Common Business Website Structures

Each business vertical is different. E-commerce verticals will always have shopping carts of some form, so it makes sense to eliminate those without adding many other queries. The ideal reductive add-on to your queries eliminates as many bad results as possible without also eliminating potential good ones. The more you add, the more likely it is that you are also removing good results from your searches.

  • -”shopping cart”
  • -”add to cart”
  • -cart
  • -”privacy policy”
  • -”privacy”
  • -”terms of use”
  • -”terms of service”
  • -”FAQ”
  • -”frequently asked questions”
  • -”legal”
  • -”careers”
  • -”jobs”
  • -”investor relations”
  • -”customer service”
  • -”free quotes”
  • -”free KEYWORD quotes”

Example queries:

Outbound Content

Sometimes, you have outbound content such as an infographic or time-sensitive material which simply won’t fit on static pages or educational type resources, and will rarely be linked to there. Or, maybe your content simply isn’t good enough to be linked to by the Internet’s best domains.

Sometimes, modesty is often a very effective linking practice, especially when you can’t completely control the content quality you’re promoting – which can unfortunately occur frequently in an agency-type environment.

  • -.edu
  • -.gov

Example queries:

A Best Practice For Link Prospecting

There is more to a link prospecting query than just the semantics of a query. There are page-level modifiers which you must use if you want to be your most productive self, and obtain as many links as is possible over time.

To make sure the act of adding these reductive add-ons to your searches don’t add more time to your searches than they reduce, I suggest creating a notepad document with a list of these queries so you can quickly cut and paste them into your search browser. This way, they’ll definitely be beneficial ( and not detrimental) when searching for link prospects.

Adding this to your SEO toolset can add a few more links to your base per month, and on a long enough timeline – when instilled as an ideology on a large enough part of your team – that can add up to a few thousand more links.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Link Week Column

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About The Author: is the SEO Manager at Full Beaker Inc, a Seattle online media company. Ross is accomplished link building expert with a history in a diversity of roles, from in-house, consultant, agency, to a hybrid of all three. His strengths are in content creation, and also, rambling on link building strategies and theories over at his SEO blog.

Although he originates from Southern California, he is not a reasonable surfer, nor a model, and most certainly, not a reasonable surfer model. You can follow him on Twitter @RossHudgens.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter



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