I’ve written previously about how earning decent search rankings and the search engine optimization process is a lot like a political election. The more endorsements you earn from reputable and relevant sources, the better you look in the eyes of the almighty Google. In our case, these endorsements come by way of inbound links to our website or other online properties. Garnering new inbound links is one of the most stifling SEO challenges.
There are several ways, however, in which we can use Google search to discover new link opportunities that will ironically help us rank better in Google search. This meta magic can be unlocked with Google advanced queries, which require the usage of specific search terms and operators to transform Google, a source of SEO frustration, into an SEO resource. Here are ten examples of advanced search queries you can utilize to locate and take advantage of some new link endorsements.
1. Internal Links
Often the easiest links to come by originate from your own website. If you have a blog or a website that provides new content on a regular basis, identify dated content to which you can link from new content. For every new post or new page, pinpoint an old page that has relevance for your recent entry and link to it.
site:yourwebsite.com keyword phrase
The query above will find pages on your site that include a keyword phrase which you may want to target within a new post/page.
Here’s an example from my own website in which I’m looking for any content that includes the phrase, “search engine optimization”.
2. Resource Links
Many websites provide Links or Resources pages. Use the query below to find sites relevant to your keyword phrase that also use the words, “links” and “resources” in their page titles.
keyword phrase intitle:links
keyword phrase intitle:resources
3. Contact Person
For the query above and several other queries to follow, the next logical step will be to find the correct contact information for the site in question. There are several resources available for this practice including Contact Finder and SEO Gadget.
You can also try to gather contact information by doing a little digging on LinkedIn or by using the following queries. Substitute “name” with the contact person’s actual name if available.
site:theirsite.com contact email
site:theirsite.com name email
site:theirsite.com name contact
4. Brand/Name Mentions
Find mentions of your brand or your name by using the following queries. Then seek out new links or have existing links modified to include keyword anchors that are important to you.
your brand -yourwebsite.com
your name -yourwebsite.com
5. Guest Author Opportunities
One popular tactic to garner relevant links back to your website is to participate in guest blogging. To find potential guest post options, use the following queries.
keyword phrase guest author
keyword phrase intitle:”write for us”
6. Content Collections & Lists
Have you created helpful and useful content that desperately needs to be promoted? Find some potential linking sources with these queries. Just alter the intitle: value with whatever kind of production you have developed. These will help you find websites that have curated similar content in the hopes that you can ask the site owner to add your stuff to the list.
keyword phrase intitle:infographics
keyword phrase intitle:ebooks
keyword phrase intitle:”mobile apps”
keyword phrase intitle:presentations
keyword phrase intitle:calculators
keyword phrase intitle:videos
7. Niche Keyword Content
Do you really want to own a very specific, niche keyword phrase that is important to your business? Perhaps you have already created a bevy of resources on the topic? Use this query to find other sites using that exact same keyword phrase (not including your own). Then determine if it would be worthwhile to introduce yourself and your content to the sites you find.
intext:”niche keyword phrase” -yourwebsite.com
8. Get Product Reviews
If you sell a product that can and should be reviewed, find sites that would be willing to do so with these queries.
product category/type/name intext:reviews
product category/type/name intitle:reviews
product category/type/name inurl:reviews
9. Forum Mentions
Online forums are admittedly not the best links, but they can provide some value or point the way to additional content development and link building opportunities. Use these queries to locate forum in which your product, service, industry, etc. is mentioned.
keyword phrase inurl:forum
keyword phrase intitle:forum
10. Potential Twitter Connections
Once you have some amazing content, one tactic to garner additional links is to share with with like-minded people on Twitter. Followerwonk is an excellent tool to identify people that might have an interest in your topic and your content.
You can also use this advanced search query in Google.
site:twitter.com keyword phrase -inurl:status -inurl:search
Above all, please remember that there is no miracle cure for website lacking links. From the beginning, Google has stressed the importance of developing amazing and share-worthy content. Some of these queries may help you find some great link opportunities, and others may not. Never try to “game” the system as it will likely catch up with you. Focus first on developing interesting, informative, though-provoking material your audience will want to consume and distribute. Then seek and find ways to promote it efficiently.