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B2B Link Building Queries for Industry Engagers and Content Marketers

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Once you venture beyond the competitive link graph in your quest for B2B link equity you must start learning more about the industry you're working in.

I wrote recently on seven keyword types for link builders that represent seven "shortcuts" for learning more about industries and their unique pockets of link equity. This article proposes two more categories of phrases that can unlock link building opportunities.

They were discovered for use in B2B link prospecting, but may have application beyond. They will interest primarily marketers who build links via industry engagement and high-utility content promotion.

Official Job Titles of the Target Market

As I mentioned here, new link prospectors often start with their search engine optimization (SEO) keywords as prospecting phrases. The industrial HVAC installation company's marketer with a "green HVAC" savings calculator searches Google for prospects using phrases like "HVAC Installation blog." While there may be a prospect or two in those SERPs, our intrepid prospector will find deeper, richer veins of link equity by using common job titles of their target market.

So. What are the job titles of people who hire -- or participate in the hiring of -- industrial HVAC installers?

Some job titles can include:

  • Plant/operations/facilities/factory manager
  • Plant engineer
  • Commercial builder/contractor/development
  • Industrial/facility/factory construction contractor

Remember to ask your clients/sources for any slang or jargon used to describe any of the job titles they target. In particular, ask for any acronyms. Also, gerunds are your friends in this approach -- add "ing" to your job titles if it makes sense.

Combine job title keywords with stems like these:

  • Blog
  • News
  • Magazine
  • Trade publication
  • Association
  • "Community OR forum"
  • Links
  • Resources

Query, Qualify, Repeat

Once you've combined your job titles and stems you can begin querying your favorite search engine. The top 10 of the SERPs will quickly tell you if you need to continue down a particular path.

For example, based purely on top 10 results, [operations manager blog” is "noisy" for our HVAC installer because "operations managers" SERPs are tech-oriented.

[Operations manager magazine” begins opening up some interesting directions though. Possibly because there are legacy print publications targeting plant/facility operations managers, and possibly because we needed to be more specific about the type of operations.

If you wanted to reduce your time spent qualifying prospects -- this certainly takes a long time -- you could brainstorm out all your queries and then hand them off to someone internally.

Alternately, you could run the queries, pull the top 10/20 URLs with SEO for Firefox, put them into a spreadsheet, count their occurrences, and then pass them off.

Academic Disciplines Related to Your Target Market

It's common that the holders of a particular job title have to spend some time furthering their education. This is often under the umbrella of an academic discipline.

If the content you're promoting is genuinely link-worthy to an academic audience (e.g., complex calculator, comprehensive guide, new research findings, etc.), then you should consider the courses of study taken by your target market.

The question for our exercise now is how do we find out what plant managers, plant engineers, industrial builders, and commercial contractors study in college? Try combining your job titles with the following terms:

  • Courses
  • Classes
  • Education requirements
  • Alt - add site:.edu to all of your searches

You will have to dig back a bit to uncover the disciplines, sub-disciplines, and advanced disciplines that your target market studied, and you should definitely ask your client/clients if they have pointers for you. With a list of disciplines in hand you can begin looking for curated resource pages where the knowledge-holders in each discipline list their vital resources.

Hunting for discipline-related resources is fairly straightforward and predictable. Having content that's considered linkable by the curators of these pages is the tricky part. Here are some sample stems to combine with your discipline roots:

  • Resources
  • Links
  • Intitle:resources site:.edu
  • Intitle:links site:.edu
  • Intitle:sites site:.edu
  • Intitle:links site:.gov

By using the disciplines studied by your target market in your resource page prospecting phrases, you'll find curated pages eager to mention the resource you're promoting -- assuming you've done your homework on the content of course. And remember to look for broken links on these resource pages -- these can make for smoother outreach with the page owner.

Engage + Outreach to Build Links

The link prospects you discover via job titles and academic disciplines aren't "automated link drop" opportunities. Your content must be academic grade, and it must matter.

You or your PR team must spend some time preciprocating. Your "close" rates are likely to be around 5 percent. And that's what makes these link prospects the most important and valuable in your market. Good hunting!


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