It kills me when there are linking opportunities right under my nose. No one has made me realize this more than Adam Melson. He's a pro at finding low-hanging fruit and has helped inspire the strategies below of finding linking opportunities with Screaming Frog.
For those of you new to the game, Screaming Frog is a paid tool that is invaluable for architecture research mainly, but it can also be a way to reclaim links, build relationships with bloggers and reporters, and much more. Even if Screaming Frog can build one relationship with someone that could help out your business -- whether it’s linking or mentioning you on their site -- the ~$100 / year will pay off quite quickly.
Let’s dig in:
Link reclamation (for small / medium / large size businesses)
For advanced SEOs: we’re going to use Google Webmaster Tools, Majestic, Open Site Explorer link data, throw it in Screaming Frog, add a custom filter for people that aren’t linking.
Here’s how we do it:
Google Webmaster Tools (free):
1. Go to Traffic / Links to Your Site
2. Go to More
3. Download Latest Links (limit is 100,000)
Majestic SEO (paid):
I’ll let you create the report. There are a lot of steps but Majestic walks you through it. One thing to note: make sure to use the domain analysis. If you’re feeling ambitious, use the historic index
One thing to note is when you’re downloading OSE data, make sure to look at external links from the domain. This will give you a more complete list of links to go after.
Putting it Together:
Now that we have all of our link data in separate sheets, let’s combine it into one to have a comprehensive list of links going to the domain and hopefully some awesome opportunities. Make sure all of the link data is in one column.
Eliminate duplicates so we aren’t wasting crawler resources:
Save the document as a tab delimited text (txt) file.
Finding Linking Opportunities
1. Change the mode from spider to list:
2. Select the txt document:
3. Create a custom filter that excludes the brand name:
4. Let’s crawl:
5. Let’s see who linked to us at one time but is not anymore:
5. There might be a LOT of information so use the search bar to find specific high authority domains:
You’ll probably want to ignore category and tag pages because content might have been on page 5, but as more content has been added to the site, it has pushed it to page 7.
News mentions (for medium / large size businesses)
For advanced folks, we’re going to scrape sites mentioning brand and c-levels in Google News, throw it in Screaming Frog, add a custom filter for people that aren’t linking.
Here’s how we do it:
1. Go to https://news.google.com/ and type in your brand name, then add &num=100 to get 100 results:
2. Install Scrape Similar into your Chrome browser, then right click on the first mention and use Scrape Similar:
3. Export to Google Docs:
4. Copy the links from the Google Doc, paste them into Excel and save as tab delimited text (txt) file.
5. Upload to Screaming Frog and add a custom filter to find out who is not linking to us (as we did above)
How to build relationships (then links)
Please, please, please do not use this approach to ask for a link back. It’s a great way to build relationships with journalists and webmasters. They know who you are so why not reach out and ask to work together on a project (depending on what they’re saying about you...).
- Off topic results - use quotes around the brand name
- Not enough results - extend the date for a month or more
You can repeat this process for blog or any other search. Try doing this with C-Level executives to see if they’re getting links or maybe there are some interview opportunities.
What we can do from here
Now that we have a pretty solid process down (find URLs, put them into Screaming Frog to see who isn’t linking), we can apply it to other areas, such as search results or any other source where someone has mentioned or linked to our brand, and hopefully build relationships and links.
It’d be great to your thoughts on new approaches, ways to make it better and more efficient. Looking forward to your feedback.
More about me:
Ethan is an SEO Consultant at SEER Interactive in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. You can follow Ethan on the SEER Interactive blog and Twitter.
PS: In no way am I an affiliate for Screaming Frog. I love the product and have found it incredibly useful from building links to architecture evaluations.