Link Building has changed in recent years. Buying links is out. Content marketing is in. It's about reaching out and building solid relationships across the web.
Wordtracker has launched Link Builder, a new tool to help SEOs and website owners find quality link prospects, organize them into campaigns and keep track of the people they contact.
Built on Majestic SEO, which is basically a search engine, Word Trackers' Link Builder tool queries a database of over 1.8 trillion URLs from 150 million root domains. (I think that's almost as big as Bing and perhaps bigger than Yahoo.) I took it for a test drive on Search Engine Watch (SEW) to see what content marketing opportunities existed.
Identifying a content development strategy.
Before using the Link Builder I had to identify a strategy and qualify the size of the opportunity. After reading Garret French's article The Link Builder's Guide to Competitive 'How-To' Content Analysis, I was particularly interested in how 'how to' content might fare.
How big is the opportunity?
TIP: Use Google Insights for Search to identify high volume search terms or content niches.
In this instance, Google Insights for Search indicates a strong overall demand for 'How To' content.
How much demand for that type of content is already visiting the site?
TIP: Use your web analytics 'keyword referrer' report to see if you are already getting traffic for a search phrase you want to target. If you are, then you are more likely to identify search rankings to improve, even if your website is listed in page 3 or later positions.
A quick look in Google Analytics gave the all clear. A significant number of visitors came to SEW every month via search queries including the word 'how to', and the number of unique search phrases sending traffic provided thousands of content variations. (So, we're not going to get stuck for ideas then... :)
However, having over a thousand content ideas is not exactly a targeted link building strategy. A one in a thousand chance of choosing the right content idea to attract links is still what you would call a 'stab in the dark'.
This is where a link analysis tool built on a search index would be handy.... a-ha! Time to put the first day of the 7-day free trial to the test.
First Impressions of WordTracker's Link Builder
I found that the Majestic SEO component made easy work of filtering thousands of content possibilities into 10 qualified content marketing opportunities. I really liked the search interface and found it genuinely saved time to gather interesting data, which was presented in a clean and simple design.
One thing I immediately found useful was the search function which returned websites for the phrase I wanted to target, in this case, "How To".
The results returned are a complete list of domains that rank for that query, with their linking domains and inbound links calculated separately. You can click 'show links' to get more in-depth information on any domain.
Although an export data function is missing, something I hope they will develop, it was actually very easy to copy and paste the data into a spreadsheet or text editor. In my own modelling of searchenginewatch.com data, I discovered some interesting opportunities.
Inbound links from how-to pages
TIP: Look at the URLs that link to your website - is there any new and compelling content that you can create for those sites who already link to you?
Inputting 'how-to' (deliberately including a hypen), enabled me to discover specific 'how to pages' on other domains that were linking to searchenginewatch.com. This gave me an idea of what kind of SEW content other sites were interested in linking to.
I immediately found 3 how-to content pages that I could have a conversation about networking content.
Links I could approach for links to our current How-to content
TIP: Finding out what content they might be linking to on other sites would enable an opportunity to pitch an even better concept.
Ehow featured top for "how to" content and clicking through to see the inbound link data brings up a neat feature which allows you to filter the URL by keywords. However, inputting 'SEO', at this time enabled me to discover specific seo sites linking to relevant 'how to' pages on other sites.
I found 7 sites that linked to SEO content on Ehow. That's 7 prospects worth talking to.
I would say that the WordTracker/Majestic SEO powered link analyzer was a better user experience than Yahoo Search Explorer. In my opinion, the software scored highly on what it promised to do, namely help SEOs and website owners to:
- Identify thousands of link building prospects instantly
- Rank link prospects according to importance
- Filter results and create a campaign specific portfolio of link prospects
- Keep track of which link prospects have been contacted
Search based computational and analysis engines, like Wolfram Alpham, are the future of information providers. WordTracker have added real shiny factor to Majestic SEO's grassroots search engine core. Being able to mine this alternative index and get a view of the web that Google does not provide struck me as genuinely valuable.
Quite often, alternative indexes to Google spit out bad results but I was extremely confident in the results returned. As i said already, I found 10 solid opportunities to improve my content and build better relationships with sites that link to me. However, the real eureka moment for me, came when I discovered a list of high profile trade press sites, each with a great reputation.
Simply being able to instantly save those links to a campaign for follow up conversations gave me 15 high profile prospects, and a basis for an initial dialogue with them, was a fantastic user experience.
10 content marketing opportunities and 15 high profile websites that I can develop a relationship with was more value than I expected to generate in one day.
Definitely worth a spin.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!