Regardless of what type of website you have or how you want to monetize it, getting links from other websites and blogs is critical if you want to build consistent, stable traffic. Links are often desired for their impact on search engine rankings, but the right links can also drive a lot of click through visitors and help to increase your exposure.

While publishing great content may help you to attract some links, you’ll probably need to be proactive in order to really do an effective job at getting quality links. This is especially true if your website or blog is new or does not already have an established audience.

A big part of link building success involves finding the right opportunities, and doing it efficiently. Link building can easily take up huge amounts of time, so finding ways to do it faster is important.

One of the best ways to speed up your link building efforts is to use specific queries with a Google search to find the best opportunities without weeding through as many irrelevant search results. In this post we’ll look at some search queries that you can use today to start finding better opportunities for links.

1. intitle:Keyword inurl:”links” OR inurl:”resources”

With this search query you are telling Google to find pages with your keyword in the title and either the word “links” or the word “resources”  in the page URL. By using this query you’ll find pages of resources related to your topic, and you can contact the blogger or site owner to request a link to your own relevant resource or epic content.

Website owners who have these types of resource pages set up will often want to keep them up-to-date in order to make sure that the page is complete and valuable for visitors, so if they think your resource is worthy of being included they may be willing to take a minute to add your link.

Of course, in order for this to work you’ll need to have some sort of valuable and informative resource. As an example, let’s say you have a design blog and you’ve written a series of posts that provide readers with an introduction or overview of how to use Photoshop. You can put together a page on your site that would serve as an index for the series with links to each of the individual posts. Then you would want to find pages with lists of Photoshop resources and contact the site owner to ask them to include your link. In this case the search query would be:

intitle:photoshop inurl:”links” OR inurl:”resources”

And here is a screenshot of the results.

Google Queries

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And the results showing up on pages 2, 3, and beyond are also relevant. Adding the “links” or “resources” requirement for the URL helps to reduce the likelihood of homepages showing up in the results, so you should get a lot of relevant links pages to target.

Credit goes to Matthew Barby for this query.

2. site:.edu “Keyword” + “resources”

Links from .edu websites are not easy to obtain, but when you can get them you’ll often see noticeable improvements in your search engine rankings. This query has a similar purpose as the previous one, to find resource or links pages (you could change “resources” in the query to be “links”), but specifically at .edu websites. Again, you’ll need a really valuable resource in order to get these links.

Credit for this query goes to Brian Dean.

3. Competitor + inurl:forum

With the first two queries we were looking for resource or links pages where there might be an opportunity to request and additional link to your own resource. With this query, and the next one, we’ll be looking for forums where you can potentially reply to a thread and include a link to your site.

With this query you’ll enter the name of one of your main competitors and also tell Google to look for the word “forum” in the URL. Most forums include “forum” in the URL, so it’s an easy way to really target the right opportunities.

Let’s take a look at an example.

If you have an app or service that allows users to create their own landing page, LeadPages would be one of your primary competitors. So let’s do a search to find forum threads where people are talking about LeadPages. Here is the query:

Lead Pages + inurl:forum

And here is a screenshot of the search results.

Google Search Queries

As you can see, these threads are mostly people asking about LeadPages or comparing it to other options. These are perfect opportunities for you to get involved in the conversation and mention your own site as an alternative, or list the features that make it better than the competition.

With this approach you’ll need to be careful to keep your responses and links very relevant to avoid spamming. Some forums may have restrictions that require to to post a certain number of times before you can include a link. And even if they don’t, it’s not a bad idea to get involved in some other conversations at these forums where you are just communicating and not dropping links.

4. “help with” Keyword + inurl:forum

This query will allow you to find forum threads where people are looking for help with a particular topic. If you have some valuable resource at your blog or website that can answer their questions you may be able to find some great opportunities with this approach.

The query tells Google to search for the words “help with”, whatever keyword you enter, and to also look for “forum” in the URL.

Let’s take a look at an example.

Imagine that you run a photography blog and you’ve published a really detailed guide on HDR photography. Here is a query that you could use:

“help with” hdr photography + inurl:forum

And here is a look at the search results for this query.

Google Search Queries

These results present awesome opportunities! You could respond to answer the questions posted, plus leave a link to your HDR photography guide for further reference.

5. intitle:Competitor alternatives

In the 3rd search query we looked for forum threads where people are talking about one of your competitors. With this query we’ll be looking for pages or blog posts where people are specifically talking about or looking for alternatives to your competitor. If you have a product, service, or resource that is a worthy alternative, you could contact the site owner and see if they would be willing to add a link to you.

When people publish a post or page with the word “alternatives” in the title they are clearly looking at other options aside from your main competitor, so they may be very interested in learning more about what you have to offer.

As an example, let’s go back to LeadPages. If you have a landing page app you could use a query like this:

intitle:leadpages alternatives

And here is a look at the results of this search:

Google Search Query

In addition to being able to find opportunities to get your link added to an existing page, you may be able to find some bloggers who would be interested in trying your product and writing up a review as an alternative to your competitor.

6. Competitor 1 + Competitor 2 + Competitor 3

The goal with this query is to find pages that are discussing and linking out to several of your competitors. If they are mentioning multiple sites or companies in your field, maybe they would be interested in adding a link to you as well. You can also do this with just two competitors, but by adding a third you can narrow the results a lot and also find pages that are discussing a lot of different options, which might make them more likely to add a link to you as well.

Here’s an example.

If you sell WordPress themes you might do a search like this:

elegant themes + studiopress + woothemes

This search will result in a lot of blog posts talking about the best WordPress theme shops. Maybe some of those bloggers would also be willing to add a link to your site if your product is comparable to the competition (and it won’t hurt your chances if you have an affiliate program that they can use).

A similar approach would be to use the same search, but also ask Google to look for “forum” in the URL. So the search query would be:

elegant themes + studiopress + woothemes inurl:forum

Here you’ll find some forum threads where other users will be discussing their favorite theme shops, and you could join the conversation with a link to your own site.

7. Keyword + “add URL”

The last search query that we’ll look at in this article will help you to find industry directories and other sites that will allow you to submit your link.

Here is an example query if you have a fitness related website or blog:

fitness + “add URL”

And here is a look at the search results.

Google Search Queries

This is a great way to quickly find relevant pages for submitting your link. And there are loads of other words and phrases that you can use in place of “add URL”. Here are examples:

“add a site”, “submit site”, “suggest site”, “post site”, “recommend site”, “add URL”, “submit URL”, “suggest URL”, “post URL”, “recommend URL”, “add listing”, “submit listing”, “suggest listing”, “post listing”, “recommend listing”

Credit for this query goes to Himanshu Sharma.

What Search Queries do You Use?

If you have any queries that you use to find link opportunities, please feel free to share it in the comments.


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