Although link building is an important aspect of inbound marketing it can be both intriguing and tedious. Finding optimal targets for link building will often mean a lot of browser action. To find sites you’re targeting you will have to wade through the pink slime that is roughly half the Internet.
The less time you have to spend looking for targets the better, and with so much surfing going on a second saved here or there can really add up.
With that in mind, here are a few shortcuts I use to hack away the seconds as I put Google through the paces and pile up the CAPTCHA prompts:
*A quick note; if you are doing link building and you are not using Chrome, you are doing yourself a disservice. The plugins available for SEO on Chrome are fantastic, and the search/URL bar is much more robust for Google search than the one in Firefox.
Hack #1: SEO Quake Extension for Chrome
This extension is free and comes stocked with plenty of SEO stats and allows you to customize which ones you want to display. This can be done by opening the extension’s preferences, where you can also select my two favorite SEO Quake features for link building.
The first is Highlight “nofollow” links, found under the General tab of the preferences. Selecting this feature will cause all no-follow links on a page to display with a strikethrough over the anchor text. Now, you will immediately know whether a link on a page or site is worth pursuing, saving you the time it would take manually inspect the page elements.
The second feature, get all parameters on page load, found under the SERPs tab, will enable all the SEO stats you’ve chosen under the Parameters tab to display for each search result on a SERP. You can select this feature for Google, Yahoo and Baidu. While it may add an extra half second to your search, the ability to see every key stat for a page before opening it will allow you to quickly scan results will speed up searches tremendously. This feature is always on when I’m working.
Hack #2: Grab Y’all Links
When you’re in the midst of link building research, you may find that the row of tabs on the top of your browser resembles a centipede. Opening countless new tabs helps me make sure that I don’t miss an opportunity. Blogrolls especially can be a major source of new tabs, as I want to explore each linking site quickly. But sometimes, enough is enough and you need to start with a fresh browser window. When this happens, or if you need to close out of Chrome and still have tabs to explore, you can use Grab Y’all Links to save all open tabs to a list that you can save to open later. You can also convert all open tabs to PDF’s, a great feature when compiling monthly reports.
Another trick I like to use with this plugin is to combine it with the bookmarking features of Chrome. If I find sites that I’m not sure about targeting (in the maybe pile), I can bookmark them under a new folder in Bookmarks. When I’m done researching, I can go back to the folder I’ve been saving under and select Open All Bookmarks in New Window. Then I grab a URL list of the open tabs with Grab Y’all Links and save them in a spreadsheet to either keep for later or upload into another SEO tool for further analysis.
Hack #3: Google Site Search
This final hack is not a plugin but rather a function of Google search itself. You’ve likely used a Google site search before, but the power of this search operative is often underutilized. With Chrome, we can do a site search right from the main search bar, saving us time over Firefox or other browsers. This search essentially is doing a regular Google search, but is limited only to the domain specified. To perform a site search simply enter
site:www.WebsiteURL.com search term
So, if you were searching our site for pages about social media you would type; site:www.confluencedigital.com social media . This will show you all the pages where we mention social media, including our blog and services page. A site search can quickly show you if a site has content relevant to the site or page you are marketing.
When applying this search operative to link building, there are a wide variety of terms to search for that can save navigation time.
My Favorite Navigation Time-Saving Search Terms:
guest post or guest author
Everybody is riding the guest posting train these days. Finding quality sites that accept guest posting can be a hassle, and the ones that do don’t always advertise that they do. With this site search, you can see if previous guest post have been placed on a site. Combined with the SEO Quake plugin, you can quickly see if those previous guest posts have good enough stats to warrant placing your own.
porn, pills and poker
These three P’s represent the vast majority of spam on the internet. By searching for these keywords on a site, you can see if it has spammy or malicious content, or advertising, that would make it unsuitable for linking with.
Why sometimes it is better to say nothing at all
By doing a blank site search we can get some intriguing results. The pages that display at the top of the SERP for a blank site search are those that Google views as the most ‘important’ pages currently on the site. The first SERP for a blank site search of a healthy website will usually list a contact page, about page and other background pages, along with recent, or popular, content.
From a general SEO perspective, this can show us whether a website is setup properly or not. From a link building perspective, this gives us a fairly accurate ranking of what pages are the best to link build on in terms of overall linking power (link juice).
Keyboard Shortcuts for Quicker Link Building:
Control-1 → 9
Select the tab that corresponds to the number you enter. Tabs are numbered 1 through 8 starting from the left, number 9 is reserved for the most recent (farthest right) tab.
Open a new tab
Open a recently closed tab. Repeat to open the previously closed tab in the browser history.
Close the currently selected tab
Re-open the last closed window. Repeat to open the previously closed window in the browser history.
Rotate through all opened browser windows.
*For those with a Macintosh, simply replace Control with Apple.
I sincerely hope these hacks and shortcuts will help shave time off your link building efforts in 2013, so that you can spend less time in the trenches building spreadsheets and more time brainstorming creative ways to get attention and references online.