Searching For Links In All The Right Places

How do you secure top rankings on the search engines? Inbound, high quality links - and that fact is not going to change in the foreseeable future. But how and where do you find these excellent sources of links? Easy - the search engines of course; the same ones that analyze the number and quality of links pointing to your site as a means to rank your site against the competition. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Here's how to search for links in all the right places.

Search Engines Are The Ultimate Conduit
That's right - I said it. These billion dollar enterprises are little more than virtual scavengers. Yahoo!, Google, MSN and Ask (really any algorithm based search engine) should be considered (for the purpose of building links) as portals to all sort of valuable information.. Since they archive all of the world's information, where better to look for valuable inbound link sources, right?

The Basic Rules of Link Searching
The first step for professional link builders when attempting to find the "right" links is to utilize every variation of the search term or keyword phrase. For example, if I sell t-shirts, it is necessary to search for plurals or misspellings of that same search term, i.e. t shirt, tee shirts, or tee-shirt.

Utilize Search Engines' Advanced Operators
SEO's have many tools at their command, one of which (perhaps the most powerful in relation to finding high quality link sources) is dubbed advanced operators. For example, if our website selling tshirts wanted to look for websites which had tshirts in the title tag, we would use the "allintitle" advanced operator (allintitle:free widgets). If we wanted to look in the anchor tag, the URL or in the text of the description for the keyword tshirt or one of its variations we would use: allinachnor:free widgets, allinurl:free widgets, allintext:free widgets respectively. If you'd like to expedite the process of searching for all variations of search terms using advanced operators, check out the link search tool from SoloSEO - a very handy utility which automates the actual querying part of using advanced operators

Universal Search Made Link Research Easier
Web professionals used to gush over "universal search" as the ultimate experience for users and how it would change the role of SEO forever. The reality was that it did little more than provide us all with opportunities to find new content in new web mediums such as weblogs, forums, social media sites, etc. Fortunately, this also forced those charged with building links to look outside of search engines to find quality inbound links. Many SEO's routinely search, Technorati, Google Blog Search and Google News and others for opportunities to post a link or make a genuine connection with the providers of the content. The downside of multiple channels is that those charged with link acquisition are forced to use all of these various sources independently. Fortunately, there are services such as KeoTag which speed up the link research process considerably.

Search Term Appending
Now that we know how to use advanced operators to identify high quality potential link partners, we can extend that strategy a bit and look append terms such as "directory," "sites," or "websites", "directory," "list of widgets" for example. These appended queries can reveal thousands of sites (albeit which potentially carry lesser value) related to the search term or keyword phrase. Appending queries with words such as "add URL" or "submit website" also reveal a virtually endless list of possible link partners. While some argue that directories no longer provide much value to your campaign, others still engage in this practice as these links are unable to cause harm to your SEO efforts.

Where do you find links and what kind of links are most valuable to your website?
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