Once you’ve defined your most effective keywords, it’s time to hunt for how they’re being used effectively online so you can find the best link-building opportunities for your site.
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The following excerpt is from the Garrett French and Eric Ward’s book Ultimate Guide to Link Building, 2nd Edition. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
Once you’ve compiled your list of market-defining keywords (MDKWs), it’s time to create queries and search for them in your favorite search engine. The following are a few ways you can do that.
Related: Do You Know What Linkable Assets Are Hiding in Your Website?
1. Look for blogs, news sites and trade publications
The existence of blogs, news sites and trade publications are all indicators of a healthy “expert publication” stratus within your market space. If these kinds of sites exist, especially in large numbers, your campaign design can and should include expert engagement and content creation and promotion, to name a couple.
Check for these kinds of publishers with queries such as:
- MDKW blogs
- MDKW “blog list”
- “top MDKW blogs”
- “MDKW news”
- MDKW “Trade Publication”
- MDKW conference or convention (You’ll have to track back to the trade organization that’s hosting the convention.)
How many results in the top 10 are relevant? Are you finding lists of bloggers? If not, make sure your MDKWs are broad enough! If so, then make note of “expert engagement” and content creation/promotion as a solid direction for your link-building efforts.
2. Look for niche directories
Niche directories are almost always worth submitting to. Consider them a “covering your bases” link-building effort. Some keyword spaces have niche directories, and some don’t.
Find niche directories with queries such as:
- “MDKW Directory”
- “MDKW Websites”
- MDKW “suggest * URL”
3. Look for interviews with subject-matter experts
The presence of interviews signifies there’s an “expert class” within your keyword space. If there are a number of interviews, then you should do two things. The first is to get thought leaders in your organization interviewed. Second, you should conduct a group interview of all the experts who were interviewed. Gather the experts’ contact information, then brainstorm five to 10 great questions and send them out. When they’ve responded, aggregate their answers into one article and let them know when it’s published.
Check on the presence of interviews with queries such as:
- MDKW intitle:interview
- MDKW intitle:“q&a with”
- MDKW intitle:“tips from” OR “advice from” OR “chat with”
4. Look for niche forums, social networking sites and Q/A sites
What is the online community like in your keyword space? Remember, there are hundreds of thousands of people perfectly happy with forums as their platform for web interactions. Find them! This will help you determine whether it’s worthwhile to put resources into online conversations.
Find niche forums and social networks with queries such as:
- MDKW community
- intitle:MDKW forum
- MDKW inurl:blogs
- MDKW answers
5. Look for professional associations
Finding professional associations related to your business indicate a high level of business organization within an industry. This could result in some great opportunities for link development. First, you should consider joining as a means of connecting formally with your industry. Second, many associations have online newsletters and publications to which you can submit content.
Find professional associations with queries such as:
- MDKW association
- MDKW associated
- MDKW intitle:“of america” (or other locale)
Related: 6 Elements Your Link-Building Campaign Must Include
6. Look for company profile listing opportunities
Company profile listings — often earned through submitting specific content types to aggregation sites — are a fairly simple way to build links. There are usually paid and unpaid opportunities.
Find company profile listing opportunities with queries like:
- MDKW add job
- MDKW submit software
- MDKW submit pdf
- MDKW add coupon
- MDKW submit contest
- MDKW events
- MDKW free tools
7. Look for resource curators
Resource curation has, until recently, been the task of librarians. These days, it’s far more likely that industry expert participants and publishers will build lists of resources either on a one-time basis with continual updates (that’s what we mean by “curation”) or on a weekly/monthly basis in the form of roundups. We’ve seen some resource aggregation in the form of exhaustive how-tos that link out to the best industry tools and information as well, so be on the lookout!
Detect resource curators with queries such as:
- MDKW roundup
- “Useful MDKW links” library
- MDKW resources list
8. Look for content placement opportunities
Guest content placement has been the work of PR departments for years. Times are changing, and it’s up to link builders to help lead the company toward content placements that will improve rankings, sales and brand recognition.
Check your keyword space for content placement opportunities with queries such as:
- MDKW “guest post”
- MDKW inurl:category/guest
- MDKW “guest article”
- MDKW “write for us”