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.