find better keywords link prospecting

9 Ways To Find Better Keywords for Link Prospecting

find better keywords link prospecting

Research is not “good research” until it is seasoned with all the right keywords. We cannot simply uncover prospects that are relevant as well as insightful if we do not employ the correct strategies. Having said that - keyword generation is, in my opinion, the heart of every campaign. After all, how can we ever expect to reach our audience without first wielding a well-thought-out string of words?

To help us navigate the waters of “keyword inception”, let us first go back to its root. A keyword is commonly defined as a word or concept of awesome significance. For us to come up with a great blog roster, we need to make sure the phrases we use in research will coincide with those utilized by our target prospects.

Another, looser translation of the term is “password”. Personally, I very much like the concept of decoding a password in relation with finding the most effective words to use for link prospecting. Not unlike our search queries, passwords unlock a bunch of possibilities.

As you probably understand, there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to choosing your terms. In our industry, the most commonly used keywords are categorized under three types: generic, specific, and long tail.

Let’s first take some time to understand these keyword types better before we go on.


generic keywords

As the term suggests, “generic” keywords are unspecific and all-encompassing. You can expect to get thousands, even millions of results using this type of keywords. An example is using the words “food processor” in your search query.


specific keywords

This type of keyword is obviously a lot more particular than the former. In relation with our previous example of “food processor”, a specific example would be a branded version -  “SharpRocket Food Processor” 


Lastly, long tail keywords are most commonly phrases or even a complete sentence typed into the search bar. Now, a perfect example for this would be “best way to operate a food processor”. Basically, a set of four or more keywords is considered “long tail”.

Going back to the main point of this article, how do we come up with the best possible keywords and/or keyword combinations for maximum results? Of course, this all leads back to a rather popular answer: common sense.


The most obvious way to come up with a fresh set of keywords is by making use of the thesaurus. This tool has, no doubt, been introduced to all of us way before we started messing around with computers. Simply put, it gives you a little index of words in groups of synonyms and related concepts.



The Glossary of Industry Terms is a comprehensive list of words and expressions used by experts or trade specialists that may be difficult for others to comprehend. When you’re targeting bloggers who write specifically about your client’s niche, the most useful thing you could do is to familiarize yourself with their jargon first so as to come up with accurate results.

Industry Glossary


Sometimes the greatest things in life are right in front of you. The same holds true for keyword generation. The best ones may just be under your nose. Pay attention to how bloggers construct their post titles and what words appear in their respective URLs. This might come in handy when you want to target articles that tackle the same topics or have roughly the same content. Using the same keywords but coming at it from different angles might just make the biggest difference to your research.

Case in Point: Instead of just using “online shopping” as your keywords, consider a different perspective - “pros and cons of online shopping”, “advantages of online shopping”, etc.

Sample Search Queries

  • allintitle:pros and cons of online shopping
  • inurl:pros-and-cons-of-online-shopping

Blog Post Title



Since we’re on the subject of words, it’s also advisable to scrutinize the kind of language content writers commonly use. Some bloggers endeavor to answer the biggest questions about their niche with their posts. Incorporating the Wh (who, what, when, where, why) and H (how) question words in your queries will help you discover who those bloggers happen to be.

Getting links from these kinds of pages can be quite advantageous as a lot of potential customers tend to look for these types of informative articles before actually coming to a decision. Having your product or service presented to readers immediately as a suggestion can drive valuable traffic to your website.

Example: “What can you do with a food processor?”

Wh and H


What’s easy is not necessarily wrong. For other possible keywords, simply check other Google searches related to your query. A list of phrases can be found below the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) whenever you do a Google search. Though not all of these can be helpful all the time, we do stumble upon a few golden nuggets every once in a while.

Google Related Searches


Don’t restrict yourself to just one set of keywords. If you find you’ve exhausted all concepts directly related to your client’s niche, try looking at the bigger picture. Don’t always work from the outside going in. Try the opposite.

If your client specializes in leather belts, don’t get stuck on keywords like “buckles”, “straps”, and “tongues”. Instead, visualize the belt as a little island in the middle of the ocean. The ocean symbolizes what niche encompasses your client’s (e.g fashion). Look for possibilities outside of what has been handed to you.

San Blas Islands of Panama


Ever notice how people choose to dwell on another person’s faults rather than his successes? Well, the same thinking can be used for our benefit when it comes to blog prospecting. Articles that focus on mistakes, misconceptions, or myths that people believe about certain issues or topics may sound totally negative, but can present real possibilities for building links.



The Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keyword Generator is a tool that comes up with a list of terms and phrases related to your current keyword in a matter of seconds.

“In a nutshell, they are keywords that are semantically linked to your main keyword. In practical terms, Google has confirmed that by using more LSI keywords, your page will typically rank better.”

LSI Graph


Keyword Planner is a Google  AdWords tool that can be used by new and experienced marketers for free. According to Google itself, “Keyword Planner is like a workshop for building new Search Network campaigns or expanding existing ones. You can search for keyword and ad group ideas, get historical statistics, see how a list of keywords might perform, and even create a new keyword list by multiplying several lists of keywords together.”

Keyword Planner


Always keep in mind that as the digital market grows, so must our creativity flow. At the risk of sounding corny, remember never to limit yourself. In life, as in link prospecting, an option is never truly an option if you only have one.

blog prospecting

How to Use Competitor Links in Blog Prospecting

blog prospecting

Link prospecting is not just some simple research you conduct to look for prospects. It is the initial and critical step in building links which involves creative ways to look for quality links that is relevant to your campaign. Just like what our CEO says:

Link prospecting is one of the critical and first initiatives in the link acquisition process. Every link building tactic always starts with finding links in a particular web place using free SEO tools and sorting those links in a spreadsheet based on the brand's link standards.

- Venchito Tampon, CEO of SharpRocket

We need to find techniques that will help us garner prospects in a more convenient way. Blog research itself is already hard enough because of the thousands of ways to look for prospects.

Another way to find new link opportunities and not just by Google search results, is through competitor links.

Having a competitor, may it be content or direct competitor,  is not always a bad thing. It may seem to be futile, yet we can get a lot from it especially in generating new keywords and finding link opportunities to add on your list. One way of using this is through the search operator “links:”.

links screenshot

Our team tried this Google command “links:” when we were looking for resource pages and we found websites that were later on listed as possible prospects. However, there are also disadvantages. In this article, we note the pros and cons of using the Google command “links:”



  • Since your competitors are already linking to those websites, there is a great chance that the site or blog post is relevant to your industry.
  • Websites shown in the search engine results page will give you other niches to tap as you visit them.
  • Usage of “links:” operator is easy and convenient unlike when you are using backlink checker tools.


  • There is a chance that you can’t find a related topic connected to your industry to link from because your competitor already beat you to it.
  • In checking for competitor links, you just tend to follow the blueprint instead of standing out. Being number one sometimes requires looking for other websites that are competitor-link-free!
  • Not all websites linking to your competitor are based on their preference. There are times where a blogger links to another blogger or a company just because they know the person who owns it.


“Links:” search operator points out web pages that are linked to the domain you used. SERPs will, however, give you random results from its internal links and even web ranking review that’s why we have to be selective.


1. Target a specific competitor link you want to use. For example, you are looking for a resource page and saw as one of your competitors. Go to Google search box and key in the search operator + the domain name of the competitor. links photography

Note: Make sure that there is no space after the colon.

2. Choose a url in the search engine results page that  you think can be a possible prospect.

links suss photography screenshot3. Use the “site:” command and type the keyword you are looking for, only if needed.  In our example,  we need not to use the search operator “site:” since we are looking for a resource page and’s resource page already appeared on the SERP. Therefore, we can possibly link our website to this blog, too.

suss photography resource pageWe can also use competitor links in generating keywords and phrases for our Google queries. Visiting related blog posts on their websites  can somehow give us fresh ideas.


When we do research, we sometimes tend to write words based on how we formulated it in our mind and fail to simplify terms then find ourselves easily falling into the same thinking pattern. Before we jump to the tips link builders can apply to find new niches to tap or keywords to use, below are things to consider when typing in the keywords you will use for blog research:


We can use words that are short and to the point as a substitute for lengthy words without changing its meaning.

Wordy: Newly Developed or Most Common

Concise: Trending or Popular


Choose words which form a sharp and clean meaning to eliminate confusion as to what you are really looking for.

General: My first Investment

Concrete: My First  Car Investment (stocks, bonds,house,equipment, bags etc)


Choose precise, concrete and familiar words.

Familiar words: coupon

Pretentious Words: statement of due interest


Lateral thinking is a technique that uses uncommon approach to solve problems or to stir up fresh ideas. Yes, being concise is one smart thing for us to generate keywords for our research. However, in developing link building tactics, one must dare to think outside the box to be able to come up with new niches to tap or keywords to use.

Lateral thinking

1. Who will benefit?

Ask yourself who would be interested in the products and services  you or your client has to offer then list them down. We may review the possible prospects according to their age, gender, and needs. Think of other potential customer and reader. Let’s say you’re selling skincare products and you want to advertise these, you automatically look for beauty bloggers. Aside from the obvious people who might benefit in what you have to offer, try going beyond, like mommy blogs, health blogs, and senior blogs.

who will benefit

2. Who are the experts?

You may also consider people who are experts on your particular topic. In our example, we may choose to search for dermatologists and estheticians  who specialize in skin care.

who are experts

3. What are the problems encountered by niche?

There are times when you finally used up all the tricks up your sleeve and caught yourself at a loss for thinking new keywords to use. You can then try searching for the problems encountered by a certain niche. There are many terms or jargons associated with skin problems that only those knowledgeable in that field or those that already experienced it knows of.   

skin problem glossary search results

skin glossary page




Not all links will be counted with the Google link command. Some pages that will be displayed on SERPs are not all important or relevant to what you are looking for. Yet checking websites connected to your competitors will give you an idea of where to build your links. It will provide new ideas and broader networks to associate with. You just have to embrace every opportunity that comes your way to get links or new set of keywords to use, even if these are from your competitor.

personalize blog search prospecting

How to Personalize Search Queries for Blog Prospecting

personalize blog search prospecting

Blog prospecting can, at times, prove to be a pretty daunting task. While you may have a ton of tricks already at your disposal,it wouldn’t hurt to consider taking another step towards developing a less time-consuming method.

At SharpRocket, I’ll admit we have grown quite fond of utilizing search operators allintext and allintitle (both of these are useful for productive search engine queries). While both are far from being revolutionary, they definitely help make life just a little bit easier.

These search operators are plenty useful by themselves. When paired with the right keywords, however, they can work wonders. 


In our experience, when it comes to blogs - there are always two “firsts”.

1. Firsthand Experience - Bloggers most commonly talk about their own lives. They share valuable insights and opinions which are purely personal.

2. First Person Point-of-View In relating these firsthand experiences to their target readers, it is only logical that authors use First Person P.O.V.

Key Pronouns: I, me, my



It would only make sense, then, to incorporate this concept into blog research. After all, who would ever say no to better filtered results?

Note that while this process may not totally eliminate company sites from the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), it will definitely minimize the time spent looking for prospects. And in the fast-paced world of digital marketing, I’m sure we all understand that every second counts.

Formula: allintext/allintitle  +  keywords + key pronoun/s

For example, if your client happens to be in the business of home improvement - consider adding one or more of the key pronouns to make your search even more specific. In this case, the more clear-cut your query is, the better.

allintext:I painted the walls

allintitle painted the walls

allintitle:remodeling the house


As you have probably noticed from the examples shown above, Google generated more results when I utilized the search operator allintext than when allintitle was used. Each have their individual advantages when it comes to blog research.

While allintext may offer you a wider range of possibilities to choose from, allintitle gives you a brief,  condensed list of candidates. Keep in mind that allintitle is a bit harder to calibrate as  you have to choose more precise keywords.

For even more explicit link targets, try using quotation marks (“,”) in your search query.

allintext:“I painted the walls”

allintitle painted the walls

Though this may provide you with noticeably less options, it does help narrow them down to the most relevant. Incorporating quotation marks into your queries can also spew out results which are miles more accurate than the alternative.

The obvious downside to this tactic, however, is the fact that not all bloggers speak the same way. Though you may still get a considerable number of prospects, consider how many more blogs are out there discussing the exact same topic using completely different terms or nuances. At some point, we have to think about how our ability to produce quality results may be directly related to our creativity.



Commonly known by most bloggers as blog hops or blog parties, roundups are an integral part of building your network of friends and readers. They can be updated weekly, monthly or even annually. The websites mentioned in these lists, in contrast with blog rankings, are hand-picked based on content.

Chances are, most of the blogs listed under these posts are just that - BLOGS. The reason behind this may be that the blogger who compiled the roundup has at one time or another, had an interaction or two with the people he cited. I, personally, have yet to come across a blog roundup that cited company journals. The major sentiment behind these roundups seem to be, “for individuals, by individuals.”

This can also serve as your assurance that the blogs you will unearth are of good quality, content-wise. Being mentioned in these lists can be considered a nod to a blogger’s impressive work. Although you cannot expect all these websites to turn into prospects, the results you will get would still be of great significance.

Basically, our main goal here is to steer clear of blog rankings/blog directories that are based solely on website statistics (e.g Domain Authority, Alexa Ranking, etc.). As you know, these types of lists do not discriminate between corporate and personal blogs. Instead of wading around an enumeration of 100 or so top blogs that may or may not be run by individuals - try looking for blog roundups by individual bloggers.

Though the terms blog hop, blog party, and link party may sound like big no-no’s to digital marketers, it is actually what the average blogger uses in reference to what we call “blog roundups”. It is therefore advisable to use terminology which is more commonly used by content creators to generate the most results.

Saturated results can be attained by using quotation marks and/or search operator “allintitle” in your query.

Formula: allintitle (optional) + niche + blog hop/blog party/link party

allintitle:”DIY link party”

allintitle diy link party


Hard as it may seem, there are always new methods we can come up with to maximize productivity and minimize the time spent for blog research. Just remember that, in the end, our purpose is to establish valuable relationships with real people. Noticing small details such as the words and terms used constantly by bloggers may seem a tedious and unnecessary task, but they can sometimes lead to the best results.