Link Building for Car Rental Companies

Today, I'll cover link building ideas for a transportation niche - car rentals.


There are a lot of link opportunities you can dive in this vertical besides those common directory and citation links. Let's start with a strategy with the most plenty of link targets.



Airport websites normally have pages dedicated to passengers looking for transport options such as taxis, bus, car rental and even bicycle rentals.

This is a great link acquisition methodology if you are pursuing high-quality backlinks to your category page ( or a sales page dedicated for bookings or reservations.

transport options pages

You start this approach by sourcing out available link targets. With a few simple Google search queries listed below, you can find transport options pages.

  • inurl:"transport options" [CITY or LOCATION] ~"car rental"
  • intitle:"transport options" [CITY or LOCATION] ~"car rental"
  • "to and from" [CITY or LOCATION] ~"car rental"
  • intitle:"public transport" [CITY or LOCATION] ~"car rental"
  • "public transport" [CITY or LOCATION] ~"car rental"

You have to qualify these pages by understanding the purpose and context of the resource page. For example, there are pages that will give you a hint that they only link out to major car rental brands (i.e. "here are major car rentals"). So if your car rental company is new, you are less likely to get a link from the links page.

Next thing, be cautious when doing outreach and make sure you use a corporate email from your car rental company (e.g.

When reaching out, craft a short email of who you are, what you represent and why do you deserve the link. If you can include customized discount codes in your email, (which you also normally give to your active customers), you would have a high likelihood of acquiring the backlink from transport options page.


Besides airport websites, there are tourism blogs and even non-travel sites that publish hire a car or transport in [LOCATION]. If you can refine your Google search queries and find them, they can be added opportunities in your outreach list.

places to hire a car page

For email outreach, you can apply the similar discount code strategy to get a better conversion rate.


We all use the same old opportunity phrases for search queries, i.e. inurl:links OR inurl:resources "niche"). So if you're in the transportation industry, you replace niche with the word "transportation".

But there are common niche-relevant phrases that are used as titles and on-page texts on linking pages that aren't universal.

In transportation niche, for example, "getting there" is a common on-page title for related resource page opportunities.

getting here page

getting here page 2

If you can use the exact phrase or any of its variations to find some relevant transportation resource pages, you'll have better more suitable link targets for your campaign.

Below is a list of transportation search queries you can utilize for Google prospecting:

  • "getting around" [CITY or LOCATION] ~"car rental"
  • "getting here" [CITY or LOCATION] ~"car rental"
  • "getting there" [CITY or LOCATION] ~"car rental"
  • "getting to" [CITY or LOCATION] ~"car rental"
  • inurl:"getting around" [CITY or LOCATION] ~"car rental"
  • inurl:"getting here" [CITY or LOCATION] ~"car rental"
  • inurl:"getting there" [CITY or LOCATION] ~"car rental"
  • inurl:"getting to" [CITY or LOCATION] ~"car rental"


I've covered this strategy in my previous link building guide for hotels, but I'm constantly fascinated with this link building strategy because it also works well for other niches such as transportation.

Educational institutions publish pages for alumni benefits and discounts which you can take advantage by reaching out to them and offering of your own kind of student discount.

alumni benefits discounts page

Please note that some pages are only dedicated to alumna while others are for current students of the university or college. Ensure you have some remarks in your spreadsheet to only offer a particular type of discount.


In the context of building more backlinks to your blog content, you first have to identify what topics are mostly being linked to in your space.

There is another option to massively create new content assets that aren't limited to the specific car rental niche. You can produce tangential content that has a believable tie-in your brand.

Here's a recent slide deck of Danielle Boone at Confluence 2018 that covers about leveraging tangential content.

Here are some topics you can craftily publish on your blog or as a guest content on other related publications.

1. Saving Money on Travel

saving money on travel page

2. Travel Guide

travel guide example

3. What to do or things to do in [LOCATION]

things to do in location

It is best to use Ahrefs' Best Pages By Links to spot on topics of pages with the highest number of referring domains and use Best Pages By Links Growth to see content assets that get links consistently over time. 

Need help with your outreach campaigns? Check out our link building services here.

link building for hotels

Link Building for Hotels

So far, we have published six link building guides that will help you unlock potential link building ideas for your campaigns. If you haven't seen them yet, you can check out the following links:

Today, we'll cover another industry that demands ideas for link building - the hotel industry.

This link building guide is mostly applicable for brands looking to get more visibility on search by properly acquiring links for their hotel SEO campaigns.

link building for hotels

Continue reading:


If there's one hotel link building technique that doesn't require content to be published in order to get links from other sites, it is, leveraging nearby hotels or area hotels resource pages.

Here's an example of that. As you can see in the image below, it's a resource page that lists down hotels within the location - helping visitors get the exact information of nearby hotels from the page, including the address and their booking contact details.

area hotel pages

Whether you're in New Jersey, Florida or other cities in the U.S. or in other countries, there are available nearby hotels links pages.

You can do a Google search using any of the following queries to find those link type opportunities:

  • "nearby hotels" [location]
  • "nearby hotels" [location]
  • "area hotels" [location]

If offering discounts for customers is part of your marketing campaigns, you can couple your outreach with a customized discount code or any other offerings to get increase the likelihood of getting links from your outreach targets.


In your hotels, you normally have restaurants and bar sections or lounges where you sell popular products such as beers or wines.

You may create a list of all of these products or get a product inventory from your hotel brand. Research and see if manufacturers or sellers of your products have their own websites.

You'll find that they have pages dedicated to how to purchase or finding their [product]. These pages include external links or sources of exact stores where products can be bought.

Curators or webmasters of "how to purchase [product ] pages are receptive to outreach of direct partners/retailers, given it's an added value for their visitors looking for specific products.

How to Purchase

Find Our Product [Location]

find our product page

You may use any of these Google search queries to find available how to purchase or find our product pages.

  • "how to purchase [product]"
  • "find our [product]" [location]

This link building strategy is a low-hanging fruit in acquiring links directly to your bar/restaurant page or to your homepage.


Earlier, we discussed giving discounts to nearby hotels page curators. Now let's look at another type of hotel discounts.

If you're doing link building for hotels, it is best to come up with a specific campaign that offers discounts for alumni of universities. There are a handful opportunities of this link type that you can leverage to get not just links, but assisted conversions from visitors clicking your links.

hotel alumni discounts page

For link prospecting sake, here are useful search queries that will benefit you in finding hundreds of hotel discounts pages (lesser number if you're too specific with your location query):

  • intitle:"hotel discounts"
  • "hotel discounts"
  • "hotel discounts" [location]

You may also localize your link search by targeting hotel alumni discount pages from universities and colleges within your region (check the third Google search query above).


Aside from hotel discounts, universities, and colleges also have specific pages just for accommodations.

The page is dedicated for families, friends and guests of students looking for nearby accommodations either for regular or for occasions (e.g. graduation).

A lot of these pages are easy to find with a couple of search queries in hand. Below are some of them:

  • intitle:"accommodations" "hotels"
  • intitle:"accommodations" "hotels" [location]
  • "accommodations" "hotels"
  • "accommodations" "hotels" [location]

One note to make is to qualify pages with section or category title of "preferred hotels". Preferred hotels, as implied are ones picked by the university and may not be receptive to outreach that ask for inclusion of hotels without any prior connections with them.


Travel enthusiasts want easy guides or simple itineraries for their trips. Therefore, a lot of bloggers and link curators started to create pages just for that - plan your visit pages.

One addition to your hotel website's link building plan is to pursue links from these pages. Those link opportunities also have their own categories for hotels, giving you the confidence that they link out to hotel pages.

You can use any of the following search queries to collect a list of "plan your visit" pages:

  • intitle:"plan your visit" "hotels" [location]
  • inurl:"plan your visit" "hotels" [location]
  • "plan your visit" "hotels" [location]

Location matters for this link type so ensure that you only look out for plan your visit pages that are within region scope of your hotel brand.

Once you've scoured the search for this type of link target, find your contact persons, and reach out for link inclusion of your hotel pages.


Let me give you some more link building ideas for your hotel link building campaign.

Attractions - acquire links by contacting local attractions in your region or city. Local attractions like museums, zoos, and theme parks have their own websites that you can get links and potential assisted conversions (visitors looking to book accommodations in your hotel site).

Pet-friendly hotels pages - Does your hotel welcome pets? Be cited on websites like and plus other resource pages that link out to pet-friendly hotels.

Venues in [Location] - if you provide rental offerings for venues during weddings, birthdays, and other occasions, you can search for listing pages that link out to hotels people that have rental venues.

You can use either of these Google search queries: "event vendors" [location] or intitle:"venues in [location]". where [location] should be replaced by your city served by your hotel brand.

Need help with your outreach campaigns? Check out our link building services here.


Link Building for Dentists

If you own a dental website and is struggling to build links for a local dental SEO campaign, this guide is for you.


We'll cover untapped link building ideas for content outreach in the dental field, which interestingly can also be used in other health niche verticals.

Let's start.


I'll never argue if content is king or queen. What's more important is that you need to publish a content that an audience will link to organically and manually.

In most dental business owners that I talk to and work with, they often wait for organic links. Organic linking or link earning (a common term for it) doesn't have a definite time when and predictable source where other publishers will see your content and link to it.

So if a writer wants to publish a post on "helping your kids overcome their fear on dentists" and is researching for additional references for his post, you hope that he ends up on your page after a Google search and considers your content as a supplementary reference to his future content piece. That's how natural linking works.

On the other hand, when I say manually, you need to do outreach to publishers and link curators and persuade them that your content is good and that it deserves a link. You publish the content but you need to do due diligence to let your audience know of your newest post.

One manual link acquisition strategy for dental clinic websites is creating a solid content that touches an audience ready to link. It's a mission-driven approach in content marketing given that you are serving a particular need of an audience.

For example, one core audience I've seen not all dental blogs tapped onto in content creation is kids. Even if they do, I don't see them promoting their content piece massively to this audience type.


We all know that kids need to overcome their fear of the dentist. You rarely find a kid who is so confident to face his or her tooth doctor. Teaching them about dental cavities will help them overcome fears and enjoy a dental experience.

You can capitalize on that topic by creating a guide for kids and parents to help their children understand dental cavities.


A  guide about "Kids Guide to Dental Cavities" is one example of content piece that best suits that.

kids guide to dental cavities

Of course, you won't stop just by creating the content. You need to do manual outreach to promote what you've published.

And you won't start your outreach with prospects on hand. From scratch, you start your campaign by finding suitable link targets.

The right prospects for this specific dental guide are resource pages of elementary websites about kids’ health. These are pages not typically being pitched by link builders and one you'd probably have to take advantage of.

So in order to find them, you can do a Google search for this search query: "kids health" ~resources.

You may also use these other search queries for Google search:

  • "elementary school" kids health ~resources
  • intitle:school district "kids health"
  • intitle:school district "useful websites for parents"
  • intitle:school district useful websites for parents
  • inurl:"kids health" ~resources.

kids health resource page

What you will find then is a set of kids health link opportunities that can potentially link to your Kids Guide content.

Your next step is to identify who to contact for each resource page (should be the person who manages or edits the page). Collect their email addresses and execute a proper outreach campaign to get links from them.


Another elementary education guide you can create and publish is a dental anatomy piece.

dental anatomy guide

There are several science-based pages for kids waiting to link to anatomy guides.

You can find those link opportunities by doing a Google search for, intitle:fun science sites.

educational links page 1

educational links page 2

Here are other useful search queries you can also try out for link research:

  • intitle:"fun sites" "kids"
  • intitle:links educational science kids
  • intitle:"kids links" science
  • intitle:"educational links"

Similar with Kids guide to dental cavities, you do an outreach for resource page curators.

For our last linkable idea for dentist websites, there is another audience that Brian Dean considers "shoulder niche" - not the specific audience in your industry but is more likely to provide you with links--that audience is anthropologists.


You'll find that there are hundreds, if not thousands of pages about anthropology of any kinds.

So if you can create a historical and comprehensive guide about "Dental Anthropology and Bioarchaeology", it would be another link acquisition campaign you can leverage on.

You can do a Google search using any of the following search queries to find anthropology-specific resource pages:

  • "Archaeological Links" ~resources
  • intitle:Archaeological Links ~resources
  • inurl:links.html "archaeological"

anthropology resources

For outreach, below are some several guides that I've written in the past specifically to doing outreach for resource page curators.

Further Resources:


Not all of your link building efforts for dentist websites can be tied to content creation. One link building idea can simply be about maximizing your existing relationships.

I've covered this section on leveraging existing relationships for links in my link building post for drug rehab centers.

But that tactic can also be executed for other niches like dental industry.

Check any of the current relationships you have right now based on the following categories and see which one you can leverage for links.

  • local charities you've supported (habitat, religious groups, little league boosters, etc.)
  • local business initiatives (tourism & merchant association, "buy local", etc.)
  • chamber of commerce and local service organizations
  • dental suppliers and manufacturers

I recommend you read this entire guide on building links via existing relationships.


This section covers customizing content to different types of pages/sites to get the maximum impact of conversions of links.

Here are some assets you can think of and get to used consistently for your dental clinic website:

  • regular columns for top-tier dental or health-related publishers
  • local online newspaper
  • publications for trade associations
  • guest content for parenting websites
  • coupon codes for employees and students

One last thing. You may submit your dental business information to dental directories to win some good links at the start.

dental directory

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link building edu websites

Link Building Ideas for .EDU Website

Identifying your strengths as a brand is critically important in securing backlinks for your website. There are under-utilized resources you have to see and maximize to get the optimal results for your link building campaign

link building edu websites

In doing link building for education entities, for example, there are pages that only such kind of website can create. These under-promoted web pages are only waiting to be amplified to its intended audience to gain some more links.

So the question is, "what are these solid pages and how you can best use them to get links to your .edu website?".

Before we reach into the nitty-gritty on how you can build links in the education space. Let's first answer the question.

Do universities hire link builders or do they really need link building for their marketing campaigns?

In our current experience working with a couple of educational institutions and colleges, we've found two reasons why outsourcing to a link building service provider is one of their options to execute a link building campaign for their website.

First, new course programs and offerings need immediate traction.

Though educational entities can resort to paid online marketing means to get eyeballs for their new course offerings, they always look for organic means that will result to long-term effect promotion for their new pages.

Second, educational entity or college produces a lot of link-worthy pages but aren't earning their deserved promotion.

With link building, it's not only pursuing backlinks for the .edu site, but goes beyond than that - additional branding opportunities and maximizing exposure for under-promoted assets.

With the help of new incoming links built from intentional manual link building efforts, it wouldn't be impossible for some pages to rank, earn some links, and receive more exposure.

Now let's discuss pages in an .edu website that are already or could possibly be link-worthy.



The homepage of a .edu website is itself a linkable asset, given its nature of being linked to on quotes and mentions on different web sources such as blogs, news, and even curated listings like resource pages.

It is best to setup alerts to monitor regularly any mentions of your brand name. You can identify websites that have mentioned your brand but haven't credited you with links.

Reach out to webmasters of these sites and ask for an appropriate links for your page.

Another way to maximize the authority of a .edu homepage is to find specific resource pages that list down colleges or universities.

I recommend that you start with a macro view of lists pages (i.e. Australian colleges) before going to prospect for geo-specific links pages (e.g. Melbourne colleges).

Here are some key phrases you can use to search for relevant resource pages to get homepage links:

  • list [country/city] college
  • list [country/city] school
  • listing [country/city] i colleges
  • listing [country/city] school
  • list “[country/city] colleges”
  • [country/city] colleges list
  • listing [country/city] college
  • [country/city] school list
  • [country/city] school listing

Reach out to point persons of these curated listings and ask to be included on their pages.


While you can already build relevant links with the first asset, this second linkable page can give you a more category-specific link equity that can boost your educational degree programs.

The deeper the page is in its category, the more relevant a link should be acquired.

There are a lot of factors that come into play when we build links to online degree programs.

The first one is specialization. How unique your page is can impacts its linkability in outreach. For example, we've had a .edu client who recently offered a "Leadership Master's Degree online program". It is more specialized compared to masters degree programs we all know. That specialization in online degree program allows us to get valuable links from certain pages about a clearly defined topic - leadership in business.

Here are a few examples of niche-specific resource pages for degree programs:

UX Degrees

Design Degrees


engineering online degree programs


nanotechnology online degree program

Chiropracticchirophatic online degree program

You can find these pages by using any of the following keyphrases (for Google prospecting):

  • Engineering degrees in [country/city] list
  • listing of ux degrees [country/city]
  • inurl:links design degrees [country/city]

Replace niche degrees (engineering/ux/design degrees) with each of the specialized degree programs of your .edu website. By using them for Google search, you'll find a couple of prospects for one degree program and a few for the other pages.

The next step requires groundwork filtering resource pages that match relevance of your degree programs. You won’t get hundreds of pages listing specialized online degree programs all the time, especially if you're targeting country or geo-specific pages. But those few prospects you've found for a specialized degree program are worth pursuing in outreach if you can get just a handful of high-quality links.


One of the easiest verticals to gain advantage in link acquisition for .edu websites is career space.

With all of the career blogs publishing job searching articles, there is always a room for very-specific content.

how to get a job article

Instead of submitting generic guest post pitches to these career blogs, why not give them a very unique content they haven't published yet? A "how to get a job in [niche]" is a topic they won't hesitate to publish, especially if you have crafted an expert-oriented content on the topic.

how to get a job project management

In addition, you can also maximize your guest content in career blogs to acquire contextual links to your sales pages - your online degree programs.

When appropriate in context, those sales external links can justifiably be inserted in guest articles.

Further Reading:


When maximizing link opportunities for a given website, you have to identify pages that aren't linkable at the first glance, as it doesn't have any much information to offer. By searching for Inurl:"resources" "TOPIC PAGE", you could be possibly find an opportunity that could result to 10s if not 100s of links.

One example of this type of opportunity are apprenticeship links.

When you have an "apprenticeship" page on your site, try to look for useful resources pages that links out to universities who offers apprenticeship, traineeship and even pre-apprenticeships programs.

A pre-apprenticeship program basically you basic skills in your interest area and readies you for an apprenticeship.

pre-apprenticeships resource page

You can do a Google search using any of the following queries:

  • "apprenticeship" inurl:links
  • "traineeship" inurl:links
  • "pre-apprenticeship" inurl:links

Reach out to persons who manage those pages and get your site or apprenticeship page be included.


Here are just a few pages you could take advantage and explore more link opportunities. One could result to another linkable idea that will help you earn more links to your educational entity.

  • Newsworthy events (faculty changes, new building constructions, new program creation and development) International and local awards and certifications of students and teachers
  • Literary and academic researches of professors, researchers and other knowledge workers
  • Speaking engagements and opportunities
  • Student blog section
  • Visual assets and how-to guides
  • Informative and comprehensive health and wellness, counseling and safety pages
  • Library guides sections
  • External works (involvement in charities, scholarship opportunities, local and community events, etc..)

Need help with your outreach campaigns? Check out our link building services here.


Securing Backlinks for Drug Rehab Centers

The addiction space is one of the easiest vertical we've found to build links in. With a couple of scalable link building strategies to execute on, you'll be able to generate high-quality backlinks consistently to your site.

Side note: In case you don't own or work with drug rehab centers, I've covered niche-specfiic link acquisition strategy for other industries like fashion, real estate and lawyers.


If you're looking to get links to drug rehab center websites, here are link building tips you can play around and maximize for your campaign.


Let's start with low-hanging fruits: relationships.


One of the common obstacles in link acquisition is creating rapports with potential link partners who don't have any idea of what your business is all about. Whether you contact them via phone or email, you don't have any control of the possible conversions and the timeframe of actual link placements.

Leveraging existing relationships is one of the most commonly cited but rarely explained link building advice in the local scene. Reaching out to your existing contacts and pleading them "they link to you", will not work.

There are seven easy-to-follow steps to ensure you're getting the most out of your existing relationships:

  • Identify who you know who can potentially link to your website
  • Determine what kind of online asset will appeal to each individual
  • Reach out to every individual about the asset you can provide
  • Create the online asset
  • Send a compelling email with a clear call-to-action
  • Follow up and ensure quality with kind persistence,
  • Handwritten thank you card

You can read more of each step in ZipSprout's article on, "Local link building via existing relationships",

It is best to have proper inputs and specific actions for each existing contact. One proper way to do that is to create a spreadsheet to organize them all. Here is a sample spreadsheet from Ziprout.

spreadsheet link building via relationships

One example of an existing contact you can leverage with is production events you've partnered with for media purposes.

They have a dedicated page for media partners where they list down and link to each of their media partners.

rockers recovery above the fold

recovery resource page

If you've had this kind of partnerships in the past, better to gather their contacts and reach out to them for adding links to your site.


Another two low-hanging fruits in link building for drug rehab centers are submitting business information to local citation sites and getting links from business and local directories.

Both are quick wins in your first-month link acquisition campaign.

Here are websites you can submit business information and/or create business profiles from:


Business Profiles


We heavily relied on two link sources in collecting resource pages: search engines and Citation Labs Link Prospector.

You'll have to use both methodologies to know which one would yield better results for your link prospecting campaigns.

What I've found is that there are a lot of noises one has to remove in filtering Google search result pages, even if they have used proper advanced search operators and addiction industry keywords.

While in Citation Labs Link Prospector, there is less noise one will be able to avoid by creating a Global Exclusions list to ensure specific websites will automatically be removed in the sourced out lists.

customize exclusions citation labs link prospector

I've shared a step by step process on how to prospect for resource pages using Citation Labs Link Prospector in this broken link building guide.

Pro tip: When running out of best industry phrases or keywords to use for link prospecting, you can use TagCloud to generate new keywords you haven't used for your past link prospecting initiatives.

We input Page Titles of our first set of resource pages (we use Page Titles inputs to customize our email templates in outreach, making it more relevant to end recipients).


You'll be surprised by how many keywords you can generate using the said approach.


If you're starting from the ground or middle-level, you have to look and analyze how your competitors (from a national or local-centric approach) are creating linkable assets and generating manual or natural links to their sites.

By doing that, you'll be able to see patterns of approaches you can replicate and innovate to even get better results than what they did.

One pattern is a similarity in audiences they're tapping on.

Look at your competitors' top pages and see where most of their inbound links are pointing to. When you scale that to different websites, you'll see a pattern of audiences that they normally target for linkable assets. That's when you can start creating content pieces that have a high likelihood of generating links.

Pro tip: You can analyze on a resources or blog section level to specify top-of-the-funnel pages that are getting links.

ahrefs best pages on resources section


As you go along with your search, you'll find new competitors along the way that are still building their brand from scratch. Got a low authority level and is entirely new in the drug rehab industry.

I often dive in to their links and top pages reports to see if they're doing amazing tactics I could replicate to my client's campaign.

Pro tip: If you have landed in a page that links out to different linkable audiences, go a quick link profile analysis on each of the website and see if there are any linkable ideas that could be generated from their linking behavior and patterns.

Need help with your outreach campaigns? Check out our link building services here.


How to Get Editorial Links to Your Website

Editorial links are the most powerful type of links given that it signals Google that the brand being linked to is a trusted resource/reference (either it is targeting the homepage of the site or its inner pages/contents).


There are three primary elements that can intensify your chances of getting in-content links for your website:

  • Strong direct relationships with bloggers and content publishers in the industry.
  • Content seen has a uniquely useful information and unexpected hook, which edges the content piece over pages hosted on competitors’ sites.
  • The brand has a large influence over its community through its published high quality content and coverage/mentions from popular news/media outlets – which makes it easy for the brand to be remembered by top media/content publishers when writing posts for their blogs/sites.

Acquiring contextual links editorially from content creators requires extensive amount of effort and time especially for websites who’re still starting out to build their influence and authority from scratch.

Tactics that aim to consistently attract editorial links to your content/site would usually take 4 to 6 weeks or even months for brand new websites. Though they’re all time-consuming, these tactics that I’ll be sharing to you are not impossible to do.

1. Trust marketing

Without trust, it is almost impossible to earn and editorial links, simply because content creators are keen to choosing credible sources/pages that they’d like to mention in their future works.

Trust marketing brings edges to new brands without enough to content to compete in the industry. With proper engagement and content development, new websites can now attract in-content backlinks from industry-related publishers with trust as its main component of link attraction.

Personalize your brand by choosing one team member (prefer it to be your site’s content creator) to spend most of his/her time producing high quality content pieces that’ll be published inside and outside of your company website.

Leo Widrich


Get him/her engage in niche-specific community platforms like forums and Q&A sites by providing direct and useful answers to topical questions in your industry. Spend at least hour every week for community engagement, because you’ll learn great insights from this activity – i.e. understanding the deepest needs of your target users, which you can use to create a user-generated content that targets a specific group of users (mostly potential linkers).

Wil Reynolds shared a very interesting presentation on conversion-oriented forum link building. He specifically discussed one ecommerce client who generated $11,000 revenue from a simple one-hour a week forum engagement.

Trust marketing can also yield contextual links from brands (with pre-existed relationships) through interviewing one of your brand publishers in their own blogs.



2. Invest in scholarships programs

For brands with big marketing budgets, setting up a scholarship program and publishing a page on it is one of the effective ways to earn reputable backlinks nowadays. Educational institution sites and government pages tend to link to scholarship programs that provides intrinsic value to their target visitors and users.

Though most of the time there’s only link that can be built from a single domain using this link acquisition technique (scholarship link building), still the relevant traffic and assisted conversion it can bring to the website are very much promising for the business.

This client of mine in the education niche acquired 62 .edu links through its scholarship program – which adds hundreds of referral traffic to his website and helps the site rank for relevant industry keywords.


You can request for a profile section from your target linker to explain more details about your program. This will entice users from other sites to visit your scholarship page and contact you for future partnership programs (this might get you additional editorial links from potential linkers).


3. Do secondary-competitor reverse engineering

Competitor backlink building is not just creating a huge list of backlinks earned/built by competitors but also understanding the relationships of linking pages and the page/site being linked to.

Reverse engineering (other term for competitor backlink building) can provide you an easy way to earn your first set of links (without need to prospect for targets from scratch).

The most common reverse engineering method is finding websites that currently rank in search results for your target keywords (either these keywords are commercial, transactional or blog-related).

Though this approach is pretty much powerful for local-based businesses, adding a few more ways to improve your reverse engineering process is definitely worth to try out in order to lessen footprints caused by building links also gained by your competitors.

Target links seen in resource pages as your secondary competitors when doing reverse engineering activity.


You can build a larger list of link prospects using this approach given that most of the time, links in those resource pages are not visible in search results.

Use Ahrefs, OSE or other third-party link analysis tools to track existing links of those secondary competitors. You can apply any of the following link tactics to acquire those editorial links:

  • Pitch webmasters who have resource pages with broken links in them and ask if they’ll be interested to replace their defunct links with hyperlinks pointing to your website and to your other suggested resources (choose non-competitor links as your other suggested links, so as not to help your competitors gain the same amount of links your brand is getting).
  • Contribute on industry blogs that have high search share and engagement level to build recurring links to your content(s) every week/month. Ask their content managers if you can apply to become their regular content contributors.
  • Understand how your primary competitors (prospected from search results) and secondary competitors (other links in your target resource pages) acquired their current editorial links. They may have used any of these tactics: moving man method, press pitching or social link building.

Once you’ve created a giant list of link prospects through reverse engineering, you can now create a link strategy/plan to build those in-content links.

4. Profile editorial links from content contributor/speaking opportunities

A brand ambassador with a superb expertise in an industry often receives speaking and content contribution opportunities because he is recognized as one of the top influencers through his valuable contribution on top industry blogs and his non-profit social and community engagement.

Target corporate speaking and authority blogs for speaking and content contribution opportunities since most of the time, they allow individual profile pages for each of their contributors/speakers which’ll make it easy for target participants and readers to know more about their authors/speakers.


Other opportunities to earn editorial links from profile pages include:

  • Sponsorship and exhibit programs for local and international events, which allows sponsors to expose their brand to a wide variety of potential customers/clients both offline and online.
  • Local or international volunteerism on popular events with an opportunity to be mentioned in a volunteers’ list (specific brands) in a separate page of their website (there are cases that they also publish profile pages for brands who volunteered to the event).

Invest in networking with other brands in your industry (should be non-competitors) to earn unexpected in-content links from voluntary events in industry-related events and seminars.

5. Quoted insights

In today’s digital marketing, content creation is now a requirement for every brand who wants to build and earn non-manipulative links from reputable websites/blogs.

When producing high quality content, it is imperative to add unique insights/quotes coming from your brand ambassadors and content creators in order to make your content comprehensive to read or to consume.

This approach allows you to earn voluntary-given backlinks from bloggers and researchers who want to use your content creator’s quotes/insights contained in your content.


Make a consistent effort to produce high quality content on your website that have information that is found nowhere else (this element is commonly called unexpected hook).

6. Optimize your pages for natural language optimization type

Natural language patent was released last November as a method for Google to extract data from an authority page listed in search results in order to provide a direct answer to a specific search query.

This allows many authority pages to be seen by new search users as a recommended answer for a specific questions/query.

Add information to your page that is straightforward and that suits a specific search query or keyword phrase (e.g. symptoms of diabetes).

You can link to your page from other related internal pages in order for your new visitors to see your main target page. This will also help the page to increase its page authority and rank for that specific query.

This approach may help your page be seen by researchers or bloggers in that specific area, which will eventually help your content to earn editorial links from their blogs/sites.


Here are other resources that you can check out for more information on this topic:

More Resource: How To Promote Your Latest Blog Post Like A Boss


12 Link Search Tactics to Prospect Thousands of Link Opportunities

Link search is a phase in a brand’s link building campaign wherein most of the building efforts will highly depend on. This is where the success factors of link acquisition are noted, including:

  • Obtainability of links, considering the types of links being built (contextual/site-wide, local/international, homepage/deep link, etc..)
  • Standard or quality of content existed in various blogs/sites

When done right, link search will provide you thousands of link opportunities that your competitors may haven’t search for.

Below is a list of 12 link search tactics that you can use to create a giant spreadsheet of link prospects that you can later on reach out for link acquisition.

1. Advanced search query

There are many advanced search queries that you can use to prospect link opportunities based on the link building model you’re working on, but there’s only a handful of them that can help you find high quality link targets.

Thanks to Garett Brown that he took time to create this link search query builder. It is a very useful tool to semi-automate link prospecting targeting very niche-specific pages/sites, which are yielded from the keywords, search type, TLD and link type used in searching.


This is the most basic link search tactic that every new link builders must know. If you’re going advance, then you can read the following resources for more knowledge about link prospecting.

Useful Resources:

2. Topical blogs

If most of your efforts revolve around building relationships with bloggers, then finding topical blogs is the best link search method for you.

Simply do a Google search (“industry” blog) for niches that are not directly connected to your brand but have a community of bloggers who might be interested to link to your page(s).

For instance, this link building blog is focused more on content marketing and link building topics than other internet marketing themes. But even though, I got high quality links from related sub-niches such as CRO, blogging, web design, affiliate marketing and student blogs.

If I would want to expand my link territory, then I can use the following search terms when prospecting for link opportunities, knowing that other niches might find my posts useful for them and probably link to my blog from their own content:

  • “CRO” OR “conversion rate optimization” intitle:blog
  • “Web design” intitle:blog OR “blog”
  • “affiliate marketing” intitle:blog OR “blog”

In this link search method, you have to find the relevancy point between these niches and your brand, i.e. when you do outreach, you must be confident that they’re going to respond to your pitch because they are interested to what you offer.

3. List of lists

List posts are everywhere. And creating a list of these lists will give you hundreds of blogs that you can take advantage of for link building.

Searching for these list posts is easy. You can use the following search queries:

  • Top 10 “industry”
  • Top 50 “industry”
  • Best of “industry”
  • Ultimate list “industry”

If there are no list posts in your industry, then create one for your blog. You will have both a list of blogs/bloggers (that are potential linkers) and an added-value content that you can use for your pitch (telling bloggers that they’re one of your followers, as such, you included them in your latest content).

4. Brand partners

Putting brand partners in a list of link targets, for some marketers, would only be applicable for big companies who already had an opportunity to engage with other local and niche brands in the past. Since they had a database of existing partners, there’s a high chance to involve them into the company’s link development campaign.

However, for small to medium sized enterprises, there are still partners that they might consider for link acquisition such as the following groups of people:

  • Suppliers / manufacturers who are connected to the brand.
  • Local non-profit organizations where the brand had engaged in the past (i.e. sponsorships).
  • Local educational institutions with specific courses directly aligned to the company.
  • PR companies or news reporters who had just covered the brand for some good stories.

These groups of people can become your list of brand partners, wherein you can easily earn their trusts because of pre-existing relationships with these institutions.

For an ecommerce client, you won’t go anywhere else finding those brand partners. Just look at their website, find a page that says, “List of suppliers/manufacturers”. Start prospecting from there and add all potential link targets to your spreadsheet. However, if there are no existing pages like the example earlier, then simply do a Google search to find you brand partners.

5. Market-centered keywords

One of the key ways to collect profitable link prospects in your database is to understand your market and what your target audience is really looking for online.

For instance, if you’re working for a travel agency, you might consider industry phrases that’ll identify your market needs, such as:

  • Travel list
  • Travel guide in 2015
  • Travel guide in [city/location]
  • Best places to see in [location]
  • Travel blog with pictures

As you can see, these are the exact phrases people are searching for online to find relevant resources or content about travel, “why” and “what” type of search terms (what is travel) is insignificant to the market needs since people are more likely interested with how’s (map of going to specific location) and when’s (dates/times of best attraction in the city).

6. Search dependent on content contributors

Showcasing your brand’s expertise through blogging (i.e. regular contribution on other related blogs) can drive traffic and referral visitors to your website. When using this approach, the common way to find prospects for guest blogs is adding the terms (“write for us” or “guest post”) to search query, “industry”.

Though you can already find a handful of blogs using that link search method, it won’t guarantee that those blogs are high quality and could provide value to your site (referral visitors and potential conversions).

One profitable approach to prospect for content contribution blogs is finding the best author/blogger in the industry or determining the most active content manager/marketer of your competitor.

Adding the name to the following search queries will end up having a bunch of blogs where the author had contributed his content to:

  • “[Name] is a content contributor for [Competitor Domain].com”
  • “[Name] is the author of”
  • “[Name] is the blogger at”
  • “[Name] is the owner of”
  • [Name] “author” OR “blogger” OR “marketer”


So if you’re targeting 50 high quality niche-specific blogs, then using that link search approach above could easily help you achieve your goal.

7. Footprint prospecting

Finding footprints of your competitors can quickly help you search for low hanging fruits in link building. However, to some extent, if it is done in a regular basis and this is the only approach you’re executing, then you shouldn’t expect a higher competitive advantage over your competitors (since obviously, you’re just following what others had been doing in the past).

If you’re still building your brand from scratch, you can use footprint prospecting to find bloggers that you can connect with through blog commenting. This traditional link building technique still works when used as a pre-engagement activity before actually pitching bloggers for link requests or other content-led outreach methods.

A quick search query ([keyword] “leave a*” “comment”) could yield a good list of blogs where you can regularly check new posts and add useful and relevant insights in the comment section (to get into the radars of your target influencers).

You may also want to seek footprints of your competitors to find new link opportunities for your brand. Do Google searches for the following search strings:

  • [competitor] “interview”
  • [competitor] “news”
  • [competitor] “press”
  • [competitor] “author”

Then click “Search Tools” – Anytime – Past Month.

Here are a few things you can see in the search results:

  • Author updates in the blog posts (i.e. editing texts and/or adding internal or external links to improve the page’s ranking potential).
  • Text-based and video interviews.
  • Webinars, podcasts and press releases of the brand associated by the author/owner.
  • Social profiles of the author or the company.



Don’t just follow the brand and its existing authors/owners. You may also want to track the following brand elements and eventually track their future mentions in other blogs/sites.

  • Future staff members
  • Brand partnerships with relevant brands (supplier to manufacturer relationship)
  • Books names or other content assets published by the brand (i.e. whitepaper “author” OR “whitepaper” author).
  • Prominent interviewer always pop up in the search results when the search string (“competitor” OR “author” is used).

This link search method requires constant changes in search strings as it would need to adapt to updates happening in competitors’ brands and its industry.

8. Customer Defining Keywords

Customers when finding products or services in search are commonly using terms/phrases that define a target audience or their colleagues (fellow members) in the industry.

So gearing your link search towards what customers are defining their group members will help you discover highly qualified prospects instantly.

For example, if you own a running blog, you can use audience terms like:

  • Runner
  • Marathoner
  • Sprinter
  • Jogger
  • Trackman

You can add more customer-defined keywords to your list by going to Thesaurus and searching for available synonyms.


You can also try visiting glossary pages in your niche and looking for specific terms that define groups of audience.


Instead of using the head industry keyword to prospect for link opportunities, you can use those customer-defining keywords to build a large database of link targets. In our given example, you can have the following search strings:

  • Marathoner “blog”
  • Marathoner “resources”
  • Marathoner “guide”
  • Marathoner “links”

Changing the given customer-defined keyword to other industry audience groups (sprinter, trackman, jogger, etc..) will give you another hundreds of opportunities that you can’t find  by simply using the head term (running) in link prospecting.

9. Industry Thought Leaders

This is pretty much the same with footprint prospecting wherein you use names of authors from your competitors’ brands and add them to your advanced search operators to prospect for pages/sites where those authors had been mentioned.

Industry thought leaders do not only represent companies they’re working for but media outlets, content sites, branded pages and communities where thought leaders participated and are credited for their works (by linking to their brands using names as anchor texts).

Take note of brands with attached multiple authors and personalities since partnering with them can help amplify your content assets to a larger audience list (considering the number of followers each of the author has).

Consider Moz for example. The brand doesn’t just have one thought leader (Rand Fishkin) but three or more authors that are active in the community but represents one same company (Cyrus Shepard, Dr. Pete, Jen Lopez, etc..).


In this case, learning from what the thought leaders are working to build their own personal brands will best help your campaign to identify opportunities that will give good impressions for your company as well.

You may also try to determine what topics each industry leader is focusing on. Then try to invest in certain themes (one content theme at a time), then reach out to certain thought leaders who might be interested to consume and share your content.

With Moz, authors have their own themes when creating content:

  • Rand Fishkin – videos, webinars and podcasts on advanced SEO and marketing topics (e.g. Whiteboard Friday).
  • Pete – data-based content with graphs/illustrations (e.g. Google Answer Boxes)
  • Cyrus Shepard – ultimate guides and curated content on advanced SEO topics (e.g. Advanced SEO Concepts)

Pro tip: Adding expertise phrases of authors to search strings (e.g. “guide” “Cyrus Shepard”) would give you pages/sites where content assets of authors had been mentioned.

10. Product/Category Keywords

One of the under-utilized approaches in searching for link targets is adding brand’s categories to search strings. This method will uncover hundreds of opportunities target each and every type of product your brand is able to sell.

Start by talking to your client on what types of products they are selling or simply go their website and look for brand categories.

In our earlier example, you can have these types of products:

  • Flat feet running shoes
  • High-arched feet running shoes
  • Neutral running shoes
  • Normal running shoes

Add your favorite keywords (reviews, forum, blogs) to categories (example above) to find loads of pages/websites that can potentially link to your content.

11. Local-specific Keywords

Making your search strings tailored to a local audience helps you discover and participate with local press outlets that have high chances of driving local traffic, resulting in an increase in sales.

Combine your favorite keywords (reviews, resources, blogs) and local areas (e.g. Brisbane) to find local pages or sites. You can also be specific with cities by adding region or state, as well as Zip Codes to prospect for easy link opportunities.

12. Resource Page Terms

Seeking for link opportunities especially resources/links pages requires creativity in brainstorming for new search strings. This is true for industries that don’t have many pages for resources.

In this case, you need to understand what industry terms webmasters are using or targeting in their existing links/resource pages.

In running niche, you can be as specific as possible when doing link search (to find resource pages).

Here is an example of using very specific search terms for resource pages:

  • intitle:resources OR inurl:resources “trail running”
  • intitle:resources OR inurl:resources “kids running”
  • intitle:resources OR inurl:resources “mountain running”


The more specific your search is, the easier for you to filter out irrelevant pages in search results and only qualify those sites that are high quality.

Pro tip: Always check out related verticals as you go looking for link prospects. This might uncover opportunities that could otherwise be undiscovered. In our example, adding these keywords “fitness resources” or “personal training” resources will help you build a large database of link targets.

Other Useful Resources:

If you’re looking for a high quality link building service, then you can contact our team to help you create a link strategy that fits your brand and industry.


Mastering Link Research Campaigns

Link research is perhaps the most critical phase in link building as this is where your initial link building efforts will come into play.

Building a long list of link opportunities requires the use of search engines, link prospecting tools (e.g. Ahrefs/OSE) and creative mind – as you have to think outside of the box in order to pop up new link research methods that are more effective than your previous ones.


This post is my presentation from last week’s MORCON (Master Online Rankings Conference) at Pampanga, Philippines, where different agency marketers, SEOs and managers had gathered to learn basic and advance strategies and tips on link acquisition, SEO and PPC.

Let’s get straight to the technical part of this post.

Advanced Search Operators

If you’re an advanced link builder, you are already familiar with common search operators (inurl and intitle) that filter page search results based on pages’ URLs and meta titles. This helps you prospect for pages closely related to your keyword and/or to content you’re likely to recommend to industry bloggers.

You may want to check out this guide on Google search operators, if you’re newbie in the industry.

These search operators (inurl and intitle) are commonly used in blogger outreach and resource page link building approaches.

But there are two search operators you may haven’t use for your link targeting campaigns or at least heard/read on other SEO and link building blogs.

Inanchor and tilde

Let me explain inanchor search operator first.

This search operator returns pages that have your target keyword as the anchor text.

In our internal research, we’ve found out that using inanchor search query may give a higher number of relevant pages than a simple inurl search query.



Here are some tactics where the inanchor search operator is highly useful.

Content contribution using inanchor

Finding niche blogs to target for content contribution is easy if you’re just working on a few campaigns but scaling it to around 10 or 15 or even more requires additional and effective link prospecting methods. That’s where inanchor search comes in.


Adding inanchor search operator to your current search phrases (write for us, become a contributor, submit a post, etc..) would help you gather new blog opportunities that aren’t discovered through inurl queries.

Ready to outreach opportunities

Response rate doesn’t only rely on how convincing your outreach templates and what details have you personalized for each specific link target, but in many cases, it depends on how ready the blogger/webmaster to respond to your pitch.

Inanchor search operator plus “contact me” allows you to find bloggers with high intent to respond to pitches. If you’re looking for quick blog prospecting, (e.g. 50 niche blogs in less than an hour), then maximizing the inanchor search is a good choice.


inanchor and inurl combination

Combining inanchor with other search operators gives you relevant link opportunities. For instance, you can use both inanchor and inurl search operators in one search phrase (see the image below).

Inanchor:”start your own blog” inurl links OR inurl:resources returns niche-specific resource pages with the blogging anchor text.


Link sourcing

If you plainly search for a target keyword/phrase with the inanchor search operator, you won’t get exact link prospects from the search results, but it would reveal new links pages of your competitors – which you can somehow consider for competitive link research analysis.

Head over to your favorite link building tool and look for pages/sites that are linked to resource pages of your competitors. Identify some footprints in URLs to initiate more link research phrases (useful-wordpress-links.html can turn to inurl:useful-wordpress-links.html).


inanchor and minus site combination

If you’re looking to build high quality links to your branded pages (about me/us, our team, press page, etc..) from interview and roundup pages, then getting straight to mining those opportunities is a good place to start.

Use inanchor search operator to find branded linking pages (best if you can indicate the name of the industry influencer to populate more search pages). Make sure you add a minus site search operator to remove pages of the influencer’s website from the search results.



Tilde is a search operator used to find synonyms of a particular keyword.

Tilde (~) and Minus ( - ) Search Operator

Combining tilde with minus search operator can pop up new pages targeting synonyms of a keyword, but doesn’t have the exact target keyword. But with our internal research, using this search operators combination would give you the opposite – Google will still reveal pages that include the keyword even if you use the minus search operator.

Even if that’s the case, I’ve found out that tilde search brings pages that are laterally related to your niche.

A tilde search operator for blogging phrase would reveal sites/pages about web writing, communication and wordpress.

Resource inclusion for general bloggers

Tapping into other niches aside from your main industry is critical since you don’t want to go too far away from the root theme of your brand.

However, there are products or tools that could be targeted to general bloggers of almost every numbered industry.

If you own a Wordpress plugin, theme or hosting, then it is likely to be included in the recommended resources of travel, fashion, health, beauty and entrepreneur blogs.

You can use the search query, [recommended resources for NICHE bloggers ~guide] to find this type of links pages. Change the niche with the industry of your choice, and you’ll mine new link opportunities for your website.


Pro tip: If you have an affiliate program, then prioritize in outreach resource pages that have external affiliate links.


Tools speed up the process at some point, particularly when doing link research campaigns. They would help you to filter link opportunities based on set metrics as well as bring undiscovered link targets.

Here are two link prospecting tools you may want to check out for future research: Linkminer and Brandmentions.


This link building tool is mainly used for broken link building, its features are catered to resource pages, such as:

  • Finding broken links (404s) on specific pages
  • Seeing the number of external and internal links right on the search results (which minimizes the time you spend landing on pages with low linking potential). Pages with low to zero external links indicate that webmasters won’t consider linking to other references or resources.


If you want to effectively use Linkminer, you can check out this link building tutorial on PointblankSEO.


Mentions on the web, whether they are on forums, social or blogs, are proofs of your site’s branding, especially if they are actually earned.

Looking for those sites/blogs who recently mentioned your content (unlinked or linked) does help in analyzing the status level of your brand. Being top of the game means that you need to see which of your competitors are producing quality content (audience-targeted) and to identify new platforms where their content pieces are promoted.


Some cool benefits of using Brandmentions:

  • Allows you to spot influencers using the topical mentions research, which helps your content ideation process run smoothly, as you are able to target the content to these influencers - which increases the shareability of your page.
  • Notifies you of any mentions of your brand, staff member or page that you can leverage for relationship building – simply sending “thank you” messages to those who mentioned you makes a lot difference than pitching cold emails.
  • Helps you compare the number of web and social mentions between your brand and your competitors.



Setting standards for your link development campaign helps you not only in filtering out low quality domains from your list but most importantly, in providing real value to your website or to your clients’ sites.

We're not using domain authority as our sole metric.

Let’s talk about some of the metrics that aren’t being used by link building firms today.


What engagement does is that it validates the readership of a particular blog/site. The more engagement it receives (i.e. number of comments per post), the higher is the number of readers for each post (99% this is true).

When looking for blogs, try to set a benchmark for engagement. For instance, you would only want to consider blogs that have the average of 5 comments per post. This will help you ensure that you’ll absorb additional readers from the blog once you acquired a link from it (for newly contributed content).



Social Shares

Numbers don’t lie. The same is true with social shares.

Using social shares as one of your base metrics give you the assurance that there is a community ready to read your content, once it has been published on other blogs.

This also amplifies links to your content, as you can build additional links from bloggers who would have read your content or see your link and cite you as one of their references from their own blogs.


SEMRush Traffic

With Penguin 4.2 coming up at the end of this year, content creators and link developers should set organic traffic and link analysis as quality metrics/factors when performing link prospecting.


SEMRush is a great tool of analyzing whether the site has been penalized in its recent years by simply looking at the organic traffic data (blue lines). Recovery that exceeds its latest drop should be considered, but those that have a steady downfall won’t be a good choice to add to your list.

One bonus tip… Create your own checklist

One of the agency hacks that will certainly develop your overall link building campaigns, which we’ve been using internally in our link building team is the use of checklist.

A checklist for every campaign removes inefficiencies in link research as well as it guarantees quality links in your lists. This is definitely you have to try for your company. Let me know in the comments if this works for you.


How to Make Your Link Building Effective

The value of every marketing practice lies on its ability to generate results. Same goes to link building.

Engagement, social shares, referral visits and assisted conversions are some key results of an effective link building campaign.

However, there are websites that don’t necessarily require links to become major sections of the brand’s deliverables, as those sites could easily gain its own recognition (visits and conversions) using any of the following simple methods:

  • Fixing the basic on-page elements of key pages, as this is very beneficial for a site to let Google understand the context or theme of every individual webpage as well as the overall domain.
  • Offline marketing activities brought into natural online engagements could drive additional direct visits to the site, particularly if the brand has a huge following in the offline scene (brand sponsorship and appearance in industry seminars/conferences).
  • Websites that have diversified sources of visits/conversions (e.g. social, email, etc..) doesn’t require much of link building work, especially if their main visit-driving source isn’t organic.

At SharpRocket, we choose the clients that we work with. Here are some types of potential clients that we don’t usually entertain:

  • Clients whose websites that don’t have strong on-page elements won’t see much results in their organic traffic, even if we’ve built multiple links to their pages (improper keyword targeting, usability, coding issues, etc..).
  • Clients in industries that have low number of niche blogs and couldn’t tap other sectors because of its narrowed site/brand theme.
  • Clients who are primarily interested in building contextual links with commercial-focused anchor texts.
  • Clients whose main goal is to solely rank its homepage with no other interests to build links to its non-promotional pages.
  • Clients in illegal industries (gambling, porn/adult, etc..).

I firmly believe that link development should be an investment to every company, SEO agency and direct client, as they have to spend at least 6 months in order to see improvements in their organic traffic which will later on translate to conversions.

We’ve been working on several clients coming various industries, some invested in long term. Others just want to test the results for one month.

Below is the screenshot of the organic traffic of one of our clients (we’ve signed an NDA agreement so I can’t share the site’s URL, sorry guys!).


The client is in the beauty niche and had outsourced their link building work to us for 6 months.

Another graph is from a legal client whom we’ve helped to build links to its key pages from customer-based blogs (parenting and finance).


Today, I’ll be sharing to you actionable tips on how to make your link building work more effective for your brand.

  1. Set up valuable metrics

With so many big SEO tools out there, most search marketers couldn’t easily identify which metrics are worth looking at, and are worth to use for their site’s or clients’ link building campaigns.

These metrics shouldn’t just help set the benchmark for reporting purposes, but should also bring the real value to the clients.

At SharpRocket, we define metrics that best suit our clients based on what they need as a brand

We’ve realized that we can’t just rely on one metric, as using one SEO tool to qualify a certain link prospect isn’t a wise decision. No SEO tool is perfect.

There are websites in various industries that have high Domain Authority, but receive low search traffic every month (~100 to ~200 organic visits per month).

Journey to Millions (DA 43)


Money Reasons (DA 43)


Take a look at this website (Happy Schools). It has Domain Authority (DA) of 29 but is earning ~20,000 search traffic every month.


It’s up to what you and your client had agreed on the metrics, but as a company, it is better to understand and apply the real metrics that can certainly give real value to your clients.

  1. Target practical pages for better ROI in outreach

We’ve been contemplating recently on what made some of our projects perform better than other projects (with respect to the verticals they’re in, as some niches like fashion, travel and finance have higher response rates than others).

One thing we’ve drawn from our data is the higher link ROI in practical pages (how to’s, tips, tricks, strategies and related terms) than theory-based and news type pages (what, when, etc..).

The reason behind this is that bloggers/webmasters could easily insert an additional resources or mention a post in a practical type of page, compared to giving you a link from a “what” or “when” page as it would take more time in contextual editing.

Here’s one sample of data from one of our campaigns (marketing vertical).


So if you’re targeting existing pages/posts of blogs as potential link opportunities, then it would be better for you to find practical themes than simply any type of blog posts.

Practical pages could be any of the following:

  • List of “Topic X”
  • Getting, attracting, learning “Topic X”
  • Ultimate guide, definitive guide or minimalist guide to “Topic X”
  • “Topic X” strategy, techniques, tips or tricks
  • Solutions to “Topic X”
  • Ways to improve, gain or other related terms “Topic X”
  • Top 10 “Topic X” resources
  • “Topic X” ideas to use
  1. Identify linking audiences through topic analysis

When you executed a plan for a site’s link development campaign, you already know its target audience by looking at the site’s products/services pages or simply asking your client/manager/CEO or any person in charge in the overall management of your website.

However, when you use the site’s customer base as your search query, you are not guaranteed that the bloggers/webmasters of pages revealed from that particular keyword phrase are highly linkable audiences.

One of our client projects is working in the online store/sales niche, where we previously targeted verticals: ecommerce and social media.

After one month, we’ve tested another batch of prospects to target a related niche – money making - not primarily the target audience but is still part of the customer base of the brand (and was approved by the client himself).


An increase of 9% in the placement rates from last month’s link acquisition rate of 13%, which we couldn’t achieve if we would be focusing on plain ecommerce and social media topics.

The point here is that as a link developer, you’ve got to strategize not only in thinking of additional search queries for link prospecting and creating email templates for blogger outreach, but in analyzing the right theme/topic/keyword that have high linking potentials.

If you're looking for an agency to outsource your link building work, you can contact us for an inquiry.


7 Penguin Proof Link Building Tips

In 2012, after Google released its link-spam filter Penguin, many businesses started cleaning up webspam signals in their backlink profiles to be able to recover from the tragic site demotion by Google (which is just a product of marketers/bloggers’ unnatural link practices).


However, not all businesses had fully recovered from their previous downfall due to logical reasons, such as:

  • The website had other technical issues that pulled it down to the bottom of rankings.
  • Waiting for Google to refresh/re-ran its algorithm which will release sites that had previous link-related issues but were fixed thoroughly.
  • The website’s good rankings are highly dependent on the power of links to move it up to higher rankings – the site is obviously not deserved to rank.

Probably this year Google will release its algorithm refresh, which can help sites that have already cleaned up their link profiles and demote websites with newly discovered spam.

Whether it’s a Google Penguin refresh or update that is coming this month (or probably next month), search marketers, particularly those who are specialists in link development (link builder, link marketing consultants, etc..) should be able to constantly create quality controls in their link building processes/activities/tasks in order to sustain and grow their sites’ backlinks.

Link audit is one example of a necessary quality control process in link development.

The basic foundation of a link audit system, which are also possible elements of Google Penguin filter are the following:

  • Link source quality. This is best identified by looking at spammy and irrelevant sites, link networks, sites that contain artificial links and blogs with content that have low user activity.
  • Ratio of the number of good vs bad links.
  • Thematic relevance of linking sites/domains.
  • Amount of links with exact match anchor texts (over optimization of anchor text)
  • Positions of links in the linking pages (sitewide or non-sitewide such as contextual)..

Understanding deeply the said link-centric elements could help you properly execute a link audit process and/or build a link building campaign that can stand against any future Google Penguin updates.

In this post, I’ll be sharing to you 7 Penguin-proof link building tips.

1. Proper prospecting with advanced search operators

Link prospecting is the initial phase in link development where you collect a certain amount of link opportunities (blogs, sites, web communities, etc..) based on the industry’s competition level and demand.

One common way to gather a bunch of link targets is by using advanced search operators.

Search operators are phrases that can be added to searches to help narrow down the search results. They are highly useful tools in finding highly targeted domains/pages in search, as you can easily filter the pages based on opportunity types (blogs, .edu, .org, etc..) and based on thematic relevance.

For a full list of advanced search operators, you can check out this resource page on Google Guide.

In link development, there are only certain search operators that can help you pre-qualify backlink prospects in the link prospecting phase and they are as follows:

  • intitle
  • inurl
  • site
  • related

Let’s dig into each of these search tools.


The advanced search operator: intitle helps qualify pages based on thematic relevance.

On-page keywords (“swimming”) would only reveal pages that have the word, “swimming” in the body/context of the page, whereas if the intitle is added to that keyword, you would see topically-relevant pages with meta title “swimming”.

Bloggers or content creators would normally use the main topic of the article as the meta-title - giving us an idea that the whole page is highly relevant to the brand’s page/content.

Proper intitle: usage also helps you find specific audience types (swimmers, fitness instructors, etc..).


This advanced search operator is primarily used when looking for opportunity type footprints that only occur in the urls of pages.

You would normally see inurl usage in broken link building when finding links/resource pages that are relevant to the site’s content (e.g. inurl:links.html “driving safety” to find backlink prospects for a “senior’s guide to driving” content asset).


Site search operator should basically be used to filter the page results based on TLDs (.us, .edu, .org, .gov, etc.).

This allows you to prioritize types of audience that you’re looking for. For instance, you want an audience of highly respected dentists in your local city, you would want to use to only find dentist organizations.


Related search function leaves you pages that are similar to the word(s) or domain after the colon (e.g.

There are two methods that you can use related search operator:

  • Finding similar websites of your brand and of your prospected site.
  • Researching for synonyms of search queries/keywords.

Advanced search operators isn’t only useful in filtering pages/content in search results but also in ensuring that prospect backlinks are topically relevant to the brand /site you want to build links to.

2. Build 10x content assets to attract editorial links

Rand Fishkin shared the principle of 10x content in one of his Whiteboard Fridays at Moz. He provided actionable tips on how to create or improve a content piece to make it 10 times greater than other brands’ similar pieces.

Here are some of his useful points:

  • Examine the quality of content piece based on its relevance to the search query – does your content answers a specific question by the user?
  • Improve your content in terms of site speed, mobile friendliness, rendering, layout, navigation and design quality – identify industry benchmarks regarding those technical sides to check the content’s performance on the web.
  • Thoroughness and details of the information provided in the content (credible sources, backed up with data, etc..).

There are a few reasons why I believe producing 10x content is a viable tactic in ensuring a Penguin proof link building campaign.

  • Data-driven and expertly-made content have higher possibilities of earning editorial links from bloggers and researchers who’ll be referencing useful references in their works (blog content). This will help diversify the site’s link profile, as you would have no control on the elements of the links earned (anchor texts, referring pages, link placements, etc..).
  • A 10x content asset produces hard to replicate links from websites/blogs only in primary industry and semi-niches. This maintains the thematic relevance of the site/content towards other pages, as you won’t get any irrelevant mentions/links if they are actually earned.

For the past two years, I’ve been constantly delivering quality content assets (10x content) on my blog that somehow marked my expertise in the link building scene.

Here are a few examples of content pieces that gained some traction in the past even up to now, as they have been ranking highly in search results for multiple keyword phrases.

43 Experts Share Their Most Actionable Link Building Tip

This post from 2013 is a compilation of different link building strategies, tactics, processes and tips coming from the well-known link building experts in the world.

It currently received 45 linking root domains and had been earning several mentions in blog roundups, interviews and forums.

One example of a forum mention is from this blog of Matthew Woodward, where someone had reference the 10x content to support his answer to the user’s question.


One benefit of producing 10x content piece is its ability to amplify links and social shares even after seasonal periods (weeks/months after publication).

The said linkable asset earned an authority link from Neil Patel’s blog in his latest post on building powerful links with images.


Further Reading: 24 Untapped Ways to Get Ideas for Your Next Blog Post

This 2014 blog post caters to the huge audience of blogging (blogging newbies and practitioners) on the topic of blog ideation.

Few weeks after it was published on my website, it earned several contextual links (first tier links) from niche-specific posts of bloggers in the local and international scene.

Given that linking pages have been receiving direct and organic visits, the likelihood of getting potential linkers to mention the linking page from their own content as well as linking to my site’s content piece becomes higher.

Up until now, my blog ideation post is still receiving social shares and high quality backlinks from blogging-centric sites . A good example of this is a referential link from Blogelina, an authoritative website in the blogging industry.


One advantage of a link earning activity of 10x content (or content pillars) is its ability to diversify the site’s link profile based on the location of the links on linking pages (or commonly referred as, “link placement”).

Given that links are earned, there would be a variety of link placements. Some links are located at the bottom of the content. Others would come the footer section of websites or best, links are located on the body of the page – contextual.

Google has an idea of where each backlink is located on the page. This allows them to target a lot of websites that have backlinks from a single page location (e.g. footer or widget links). On other behalf, Google also evaluates links placed higher up in a HTML code as powerful votes to the page it is referring to, for the obvious reason that they are likely editorial and are actually earned by the brand.

Producing 10x content assets on the blog doesn’t just help the site to attract hard to replicate links from niche relevant pages but also ensures that links earned/built are indeed, beneficial to the page’s performance on search (they add value in terms of relevance and authority).

Here are some useful resources on building 10x content assets:

3. Balance recency-based link building tactics

For the past several years, we’ve seen and heard various link building tactics that had been a common toolset for search marketing agencies today.

But the real question stands, is there any link building that would remain effective after a decade of use?

Link diversity is the key in content marketing, even in at using tactics to acquire links from industry sites.

There are two basic types of content based on the recency of the acquisition of links: new content and existing content.

Broken link building is a solid link acquisition tactic that simply involves reaching out to webmasters about broken links identified on their existing pages, with the hope of getting those defunct links replaced with links to the site’s content/page.

Guest blogging, alternatively, is focused on writing new articles with links placed in the, submitted to editors of blogs for publication review and hoping to build links from those content pieces when published in due time.

These two powerful link development tactics have different target pages, broken link building is focused on existing content whereas guest blogging targets new/dynamic pages of the site.

Having a moderated execution on these two tactics gives you a balanced link profile.

You can also use the following link building tactics to diversify your site’s link profile based on the recency of target link pages:

  • Reach out to webmasters and content creators who mentioned any content from your brand (images, stories, products/services, content assets, etc..) and ask to give your brand credits from their pages.
  • Integrate online marketing activities in your offline events (sponsorship, speaking, participation, etc..) by getting them share your latest content, providing feedback about it and/or covering your activity in their future posts (reference).
  • Create a landing page for discounts/coupons/freebies of your products/services and make it visible to your target audience by doing a press release / blogger outreach campaign (reference).

4. Use different footprints for link prospecting

Link prospecting footprints are patterns in search phase that gives Google an idea on the method and progress of the brand’s link development campaign.

Building a database of backlink targets with the same footprint puts the website at an unnecessary risk.

Don’t run a massive link building campaign with the same, common and basic footprints (e.g. inurl:guest-post to overall list of prospects).

You can use other niche search engines to build a spreadsheet of link targets (not just using Google in most cases). Below are some examples.

  • Finding industry bloggers on Twitter by simply doing a social search for “industry blog” OR “industry blogger”.
  • Using related search operator to easily find similar blogs of your listed link prospect(s).
  • Researching for niche blogs from blog search engines like

Other useful resources:

5. Diversify link type through image-based link building

A variety of link types is not a big issue in link diversity. However, you have to get a feel of what your top ranking competitors are at.

If their ratios of image to text links are different from your site’s link profile, then you should be concerned on switching some of your image-based links to text ones, especially if all advertisements are linked through images.

Here are some ways to build image-based links using existing branded content:

  • Determine pages that embedded your brand logo as part of other websites’ sponsorship opportunities, media/press activities (e.g. interview) and other offline turned to online marketing activities. Reach out to webmasters and ask to replace those image links with branded text ones.
  • Look for industry related blogs that published copies of your infographic/visual content and tell them to link to your page using text-based approach.

Master image-based link building using the following references:

6. Create more brand awareness by targeting semi-relevant niches

Building links nowadays from semi-relevant niches is an effective way to improve your domain and brand authority, as you can increase the chances of getting new subscribers and readers as well as followers from other industries aside from your primary target group

For instance, if your company is selling wedding attires, you won’t just aim to target links from wedding blogs but you can also tap relationship and fashion blogs, which are considered semi-relevant niches.

Site relevance is an important factor that Google uses to detect spam websites/blogs that have several links coming from irrelevant verticals.

Aside from spam avoidance, targeting link prospects from semi-relevant niches also bring referral traffic to the site that could potentially convert to customers/clients.

7. Target appropriate pages in outreach

One of the simplest ways to break down your backlinks by target page is through seeing the ratio of home page links to deep links.

As you develop links over time, you don’t want to have all links go to your home page, as it would signal to Google that is the only essential and worthy of ranking page in your site.

Having most of your links point to your deep pages allows you to have a balanced link profile in terms of target page(s).

You can properly diversify your links by measuring via the Deep Link Ratio: # of deep links over # of total links.

You can calculate this by getting the total number of links using your favorite link building tool (I prefer you only look at referring domains instead of seeing the number of total links – since most of them are sitewides). Then get the number of homepage links and subtract it from your total # of referring domains to get the # of deep links.

A few practical tips to increase your number of deep links:

  • When performing link acquisition activities, it is best to refer your most relevant deep page to a potential linker as it won’t only balance your Deep Link ratio, but gives more authority/link value to your domain.
  • Invest in building branded links through interviews and round-ups that could link to your site’s branded pages (about us/our team, company, services, etc..).
  • Create expertly-made content on a regular basis that has unique value proposition and could attract editorial links from industry bloggers.

If you're looking for a link building service for your company, you can contact us for inquiry.