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How to build relevant and targeted links using bloggers part one: building your list

written by MO.com SMR Subject Resource Max Holloway

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past 15 years you know that link building is one of the most important SEO activities you can do.

What you might not know is that with the recent changes to Google’s algorithm – specifically the Panda updates – means the types of links you build matter more now than ever before.

Google recently released Panda version 3.4 (14 versions on from Panda 1.0 released in February 2011) the purpose of Panda is to eliminate low-quality content on the web. Originally focussed on low-quality articles and content, these updates now target low-quality links as well.

What is a low quality link

Generally if a web-page isn’t relevant to your web-page, or has low domain authority it will be a low quality link.

For example if your website is about cars then links from a Koi Carp fishing blog are going to be pretty irrelevant.

Similarly if you get a link from another website about cars (so it’s very relevant) but the website only has links from other low-quality websites or just very few links itself, then it would also be a low-quality link.

How do I find relevant links?

There are many tools out there that let you look at the backlinks of other websites. My personal favourite link analysis tool is Wordtracker’s Link Builder which uses the Majestic SEO dataset of over 3.7 Trillion URLs to show you all of a website’s backlinks.

There are some free alternatives but they don’t offer as much as this tool, or have such a large database of URLs.

There are two ways to find links; either enter your target keyword in the “Keywords” box or you can enter up to ten competitor URLs in the box below.

All URLs entered should be in the root format i.e. mo.com and not businessinterviews.com or http://businessinterviews.com

Max Holloway

Then select your target country and make sure you have “let me edit my sources before building” tagged.

Clicking “Include Historic Index” will give you more results, but they may be quite old and possibly out-dated. For the purpose of finding bloggers you would want this turned off.

The tool will then search Google for your keyword and take the top 10 results.

 Max Holloway

You will now be able to look at the URLs which will be used as the sources for your campaign. Here you want to de-select any irrelevant websites.

For example www.wikipedia.org is irrelevant but http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrepreneur *is* relevant and will have links from bloggers talking about Entrepreneurs.

Now enter a name for your campaign then hit “create”

 Hax Holloway

You’ll see this screen for a bit while the link building tool collects all of the links that link to the URLs you selected, which in this case is several tens of thousands!

The tool will then select what it thinks are the most useful links and display them in order of number of linking domains from high to low.

The number of linking domains is a fantastic indicator of a sites authority and “linking power”

 Max Holloway

The link prospects will also be put into lists depending on what kind of website they are. So we will be clicking on the “blogs” list on the left to find all the blogs.

These lists are not perfect, and you will find websites that don’t belong in there, but it is still a monumental time-saver.

From here you can look at the URL; how many linking domains it has, which of your original set of URLs it links to and whether it already links to you.

From here I usually choose to export the whole list to Excel to make pruning the prospects and recording information easier, however you can manage your list within the tool if you like.

To do that just click the tick-box next to “prospect” then click export.

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