When I saw Darren Shaw of Whitespark was involved with a newly-released link building tool, Link Prospector, I knew I had to give it a shot. If you don’t know Darren, he’s a super nice guy and a whiz at local SEO.
Plus he’s a fellow Canadian SEO, and I love a good Canadian success story. Now that I think of it, the Linkbuildr blog is Canadian too. I guess there is advantages to the long, cold winters we have here – it’s easier to spend more time inside grinding away at link building.
Anyways, Link Prospector is a joint venture from Whitespark and Citation Labs. If you work in SEO have never read their blog you’re doing yourself a disservice. It’s got a ton of killer link building content.
SO WHAT IS LINK PROSPECTOR?
Well, true to its name, Link Prospector helps you find new link opportunities. It’s essentially an automated way to do all those search operators you do now to find links (like “recommended sites” keyword or keyword guest blogger wanted).
Link Prospector uses preset searches to go out and find potential sources of links for your client. What those exact searches consist of is part of their “secret sauce.”
You can use up to 5 keywords per report, and designate specific regions, search depth, TLDs, date ranges or search scopes.
Once you’ve given Link Prospector the parameters, it scrapes the web and pulls together a report. Reports can take a few hours, but you’re emailed when it’s ready.
RUNNING YOUR FIRST CAMPAIGN
Log in and create your first campaign. You can try it out for free, so take a whirl and sign up now.
Once you’ve created the campaign, select the type of link report you want to run. There are a whopping 13 preselected reports to run, or you can choose your own research phrases and run a custom report. The reports you can choose from are:
Guest Posting – Discover blogs who allow guest posts and offer your writing services.
Links Pages – Find the resource and links pages that will add a link to your site.
Content Promoters – Find writers who are likely to cover your story, or repost your infographics and articles.
Reviews – Look for people who review products or services in your space.
Giveaways – Offer goods and services in exchange for coverage.
Donations – Be charitable and earn links through sponsorship opportunities.
Commenting – Find the posts relevant to your key phrases. Join the conversation, and link to your site.
Expert Interviews – Identify domain experts you can interview, or pitch your own expertise.
Directories – Identify quality directories to help you get your site listed quickly.
Forums – Add value to the conversation and build brand equity.
Topical Blogs – Pinpoint the blogs that cover your industry, and are likely to post about your site.
Professional Organizations – Locate trades and professional organizations you can join.
Research: Content – Find top tips for writing great content.
Custom – Use any amount of research phrases you like.
I ran an Expert Interview report and hit submit. About 30 minutes later I got an email notification that the report was ready.
I log in and see the report has given me 4267 paths from 1769 domains. I choose to export the paths, instead of just the domains. I like to analyse specific pages instead of domains when looking at link opportunities – I feel like the metrics of the page where your link may end up is far more important than the homepage metrics.
The export opens an Excel document with the URL, TLD, and Link Target Score (LTS) of the link. I grab the URL list and dump it into ScrapeBox so I can get the Page Rank values of the pages.
Why do I grab PageRank to judge the value of the links instead of using LTS – Link Prospector’s proprietary link scoring measure? A few reasons:
- When you’re evaluating links across different tools and prospect sources, it’s nice to have a consistent score you’re using. PageRank isn’t perfect but it’s easy to get for any site, and most people understand it.
- I don’t know much about LTS.
Check out the LTS scores for some sites the tool found for one of my clients:
If I’m going to make decisions on what links to pursue and what to skip over based on a score, I have to be confident that the measure I’m using is accurate. And you can see that at this point, the LTS doesn’t seem to jive with PageRank or MozRank.
That said, the tool is super new and I suspect the LTS is a work in progress. And frankly, the appeal of Link Prospector is in the link finding itself, not the link scoring.
Link Prospector kicks ass. Why? Because it helps you automate one more step in your link building process. The more automated your link building process becomes, the more scalable and repeatable it becomes.
For me, it saves having to train someone to use different search queries to find link opportunities. Plus, it’s a more user-friendly alternative to using ScrapeBox for link prospecting.
If you do a lot of link building, you own it to yourself to check out this tool. It’s super easy to use, cheap, and can unearth some awesome link opportunities you missed.
One thing I’d love to see in Link Prospector is a local citations report. Darren Shaw, who I mentioned earlier as one of the developers of Link Prospector, has a local citation finding tool already. It would be awesome to see him integrate it into this project.