Using search queries is one of the most effective ways to find a diverse range of link building opportunities for niche sites, affiliate sites and blogs. This can be extremely useful in acquiring targeted, high quality prospects to build a diverse link portfolio. Of course, if you choose your target keywords carefully then you will probably only need a few article directory submissions to get up the search rankings as discussed in my earlier link building post.
However, these keywords and are not always easy to find and at times you may need to go after more competitive niches and build a more sustained link building campaign to climb up the search rankings. That’s where search queries can become a powerful source of links. You can search queries to find .edu links, .gov links, wiki links, “do follow” blog comments, high PR links and also forum profile links.
One of the main reasons why this strategy can be highly effective is that it allows you to laser target your prospects through keywords filtering. As we all know, Google loves targeted, natural links from sources relevant to your own niche or topic.
So, let’s explore how you can use search queries to acquire links. But first, if you haven’t already, I recommend that you install the SEOQuake toolbar in the browser of your choice. The toolbar can be downloaded for free. This will help us analyze some key statistics for link building.
Finding Authority Links Using Search Queries
Once upon a time, .edu and .gov links were the holy grail of SEO for niche and affiliate sites. Sadly, many of these high authority sites and forums were spammed to oblivion by over zealous marketers and have now permanently closed their doors to external visitors.
With meticulous use of search queries, it is still possible to find some great authority link prospects.
Here is one of the easiest search queries to filter out various domain types by simply using extensions:
for eg if you wish to list just “.edu” domains in the search results then simply type:
This is obviously the broadest possible search and of not much good to us just yet but we will explore how to narrow this done to spot good link prospects a little later.
This can be used to filter out any type of domain, “.gov”, “.com”, “.org” and so on.
The idea here is to find websites which allow external visitor registration which we can then use to register your account with a link back to our website.
So let’s now try:
site:.edu “Log in / create account”
This will filter out results for .edu sites that allow user registration and potentially also allow you to add a “do follow” backlink to your website.
Edu Wikis are another exceptional source of links as many wiki pages also allow you to publish posts with contextual links back to your website, these links are loved by Google as they are seen as more natural and will likely pass more link juice.
To search for registrable edu wikis, you can use:
You can also use the exact same search queries to find “.gov” authority links as many .gov sites offer community pages for registration. Simply replace the “.edu” with “.gov”:
Finding High PR Links Through Search Queries
Next, we can search for “.edu” or “.com” blogs for commenting using this strategy.
This time we will make use of the SEOQuake toolbar to filter out some high authority blogs based on pagerank. Simply enter your query in the search bar and wait for the search results to show up. Once listed, click on the sort by “PR” button at the top to list query in descending order based on the pagerank.
We are not ready to use these results just yet. Remember, I mentioned laser targeting your link prospects relevant to your niche? Well, we can also filter out search results using keyword search string. However, it doesn’t end there. We also need to further filter out prospects which allow commenting.
You can use the SEOQuake toolbar to check if the comment links are “no follow” or “do follow”. A strikethrough on the anchor text means the links are “no follow”.
Here is what your final search query may look like:
site:.com intitle:insurance “powered by wordpress” “leave a comment” | “leave a post” | “leave a reply”-”comments off” | -”comments are closed”
Your target keyword here is “insurance” and we are filtering out blogs which do not allow commenting by using the “-” operand before the “comments are closed” string.
A word of caution here. You may come across a number of sites which have already been spammed to death by comment spammers in which case its probably not worth your time adding another comment as such links will have little or no value attached to them.
You may also be wondering about the “no follow” links as they are not likely to offer any link juice to your site. At the end of the day, it is still important to build a good mix of “do follow” and “no follow” links as it keeps your link profile more natural.
I regularly use search queries to find high quality link prospects for competitive keywords. In fact, I used this strategy as part of my link building campaign to build and rank a PR 3 site for a highly competitive niche in under six months.
You can also search queries for a more “white hat”, ethical approach to link building. For e.g. finding guest blogging opportunities, finding local charities who are willing to link to you in exchange for your services, local chambers of commerce who may be willing to list you as a local business.
Here are some examples:
Guest Author (e.g. https://www.google.com/search?q=”22guest+author”) – for finding guest posting opportunities
Chamber Of Commerce In Your City (e.g. https://www.google.com/search?q=”chamber+commerce+city”)
and some additional resources for an extensive list of search queries:
I would recommend using a sensible approach to link building using this strategy and refrain from spamming any of your prospects. Leave an engaging comment, publish relevant articles on wikis if possible and do not use more than one or two links in forum profiles.
What about you? Have you used search queries to spot link building oppurtunities? Please share your thoughts below!