How to Find Link Prospects with Social Media

5 minutes

A strategic link building process means more than just choosing one or two strategies for building links and simply running with them. To build a complete link portfolio and have the best chance of success, you need to have a combination of credible links from multiple sources along with a number of high quality links from websites relevant to your industry.

With the obvious rise of social media, social media links could be the future of link building, holding a key piece in the combination of links necessary to grow your online presence. The concept is actually quite simple: social media is designed for networking, relationship building and communication between individuals, communities and organizations. This can be seen daily across various networks and mediums, such as forums, blogs, social bookmarking sites, wikis and so on – places where we spend nearly 20% of our time on the web today.

First, it’s easier to find people receptive to your link requests in social media than sending out random emails to prospects and usually getting “no” for an answer. That way you show everybody that you’re a legitimate source with an active interest in the field than an anonymous emailer.

The concept is relatively simple: you need to identify your link building targets, what content you need to provide for them to potentially provide a link (for example, what type of content do they link to now? Interesting tools, infographics, best practices/how-to’s/resource articles?), and then create a content plan accordingly.

You need to make your pitches interesting enough for the prospect website to want to know more about your business, the opportunities it offers and, ultimately, give you a link. As noted above, this starts with understanding what type of tools or content the site you want to contact might be interested in.

The complete link building guide offered by SEOmoz will provide answers to all your questions on what link building strategies to adopt.

And second, it’s not only Google – the hand that feeds us all – that can help you build a powerful list of link prospects. You’d be surprised how many lists and tools you can get by taking a peek into your social accounts.

Search Google+ for Relevant Users

Try a basic search and start looking for industry major players on the network.

There are several ways to perform these searches:

  • Choose the People and Pages search type

Don’t consider results that have business pages attached next to them, like in the example below:

gplus people and pages search

These are businesses and most likely your competitors. Choose individuals, check their pages and, if you find that they have interests in the subject on their page/profile/about section, add them to your prospects circle. Find people you want to target, add them to the appropriate bucket and create your referral base from scratch.

  • Choose the Google+ posts search type and you’ll have a list of all the people that posted something about your linking interest. You can start choosing your prospects from there also and add them to your prospect  circle.

gplus google posts

Analyze LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful source of relevant and targeted prospects:

  • LinkedIn Answers – One of the more useful (and under-utilized) tools on LinkedIn. Browse through LinkedIn’s “Top Experts” or “Category Experts” and add people you find fit to your prospect list. For a more personalized response, search for applicable questions that relate to your industry and target relevant responders.
  • LinkedIn People – Simply do a search in the upper-right-hand box for your target search term. You’ll see a complete list of people that you can also filter with the help of several filter-options on the left side of the page: All Companies, Linkedin members, Locations and so on.
  • LinkedIn Groups – Searching for relevant groups can often pull up some great prospect targets.
  • LinkedIn Advanced Search – Use the Advanced Search feature and filter your results by keywords. You can tweak your searches to include only certain industries or groups as well.

Discover Top Influencers with Klout

After you register, you can find Klout pages dedicated to your chosen topics. For example, on the Social Media Page you will find people who are noted as Top Influencers and Top +K recipients for that topic. From here on, it’s a matter of seconds to make a list with future prospects you’ll find adequate for your link-building strategy.

Search Alexa’s Top Sites

  • Find Top Sites in a Category – Alexa provides you with an updated list of 500 top websites on the web. You can filter the search results by country or by category, which is very useful for research and exploring link-building opportunities.
  • Explore Hot Topics – The What’s Hot section of Alexa allows you to explore the most popular pages on the Internet right now according to the Alexa toolbar. Search Hot Pages with your keywords of interest and choose the sites you’d like to have a presence on.

Search Twitter for Relevant Prospects

Log in to your Twitter account and search for your relevant keywords and hashtags in the “Search” bar located on the right side of the Twitter “Home” screen. You will get several types of results when doing a search on Twitter:  tweets exclusively about your particular search term, results that feature the term you searched for but don’t have anything to do with that particular phrase at all and so on. The next step is to go through the results and try to find appropriate sites that you can add to your link-building list.

Aside from searching Twitter, you can also explore Twitter Directories and Apps to complete your link- building list of prospects.

The Digg Newsroom

Digg introduced a cool feature called The Digg Newsroom that offers you the most influential topics and users by categories. If you find your favorite subject among one of Digg’s Newsroom categories, you can browse through the ‘Leaders’ for that specific category for interesting prospects.

digg leaders in tech

Search for Top Blogs on Technorati

Technorati provides extensive resources in terms of blogs directories, top 100 blogs ranked by Technorati Authority and updated once a day, popular Tags and much more.

Go to the Technorati homepage and type your keywords into the main search query bar. If you need more advanced search filters, click on the “Click to refine this search” text link right above the search results, like in the image below:


A box will appear giving you more search parameters:

search on technorati refine

These are only a few sites you can investigate for link prospects. You are free to explore all the social media sites you normally use in order to complete your list: blogs for blog rolls and recommended sites, your favorite social bookmarking sites, social networks etc. In every single website you’ll find material to analyze and connect with potential resources.

And remember, like any part of link-building, social link building takes a lot of time. These websites may provide you with new methods to find link targets, but don’t guarantee your success.

There is, though, a key component to a successful link-building campaign: obtaining links from authoritative domains. The best tools out there to help you have a better grasp of the domain authority level of certain websites are Open Site Explorer or the MozBar from SEOmoz.

So…build trust, create networks, start sharing relevant content and engage in conversations. The links will eventually come!

Please share with us your innovative link building ideas in the comments below!

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