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How To Find 1,500 Link Prospects in 10 Minutes Flat

by Jon Cooper
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There are few link builders I respect as much as Garrett French, the founder of Citation Labs. Because he’s built so many links over the years, he knows what parts of the process are a bit tedious. That’s why he teamed up with Darren Shaw from Whitespark to create a new tool to add to the Citation Labs toolset: Link Prospector.

The reason this tool is great is because it automates the entire query-based prospecting process. If you type in as many custom searches on Google as I do, this saves a ton of time. 

To start, let’s first create a campaign. It’s up to you what you want to name it, but I suggest naming it either a client or a niche.  In the picture below I named them after a couple of my clients, whom I wish I had.

The best part about this is, if you’re a consultant, you’re able to easily stay organized and keep track of which reports go to which client. This can be a hassle with other tools.

Creating Reports

Next comes the magic: creating reports. Click on “Prospects” in the main navigation bar, and this is the screen you get taken to.

First, choose which type of report you’ll be creating. This helps you keep track of which type or report is which. Next, scroll down to these options:

I’ll run through each real quick:

  • Select Region – choose the location you want the searches to be queried from.
  • Search Scope – Choose whether you want web, blog, or both types of results.
  • Select Depth – Choose how many results you want from each query. You can choose anywhere from 20 to 1000. For example, if you type in 3 custom queries below, and you choose a depth of 400, you’ll get 1200 total results.
  • TLD – Choose the Top Level Domain for the Results. They can be .edu, .gov, .org, .com, .us, .mil or other.
  • Date Range – Choose whether you want the results to be from the past hour, day, week, month, year, or anytime.
  • Exclusions – Choose a set of predetermined exclusions to be set for this report. I’ll get into that more below.
  • Research phrases – add 1-5 search queries. For tips on this, check out this gem by Garrett or this one by Cleo Kirkland.
  • Report Cost – How many credits this report will cost you. I’ll get into pricing towards the end.
Once you’ve submitted a report, it usually takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes for it to be ready. You’ll be emailed when it’s done, so I suggest getting something else done while you’re waiting.
Just as a quick reference, I created a report of 5 queries with 300 results for each (1,500 total). It was finished in a little under 10 minutes. Scalability, I think so!

Exclusions

If you’ve ever conducted large-scale query based prospecting, you know that having sites like Facebook, Twitter, or even your own client’s site show up in results can make the cleanup process a bit tedious. That’s why the exclusions feature is so awesome. Here’s what the screen looks like.

Easily add global and campaign specific exclusions with a click on a button. Then, when creating reports, easily choose which set of exclusions you want for that specific report, as shown in the picture for reports.

Final Reports

Once you’ve created a few reports, here’s what your “View Prospects” screen will look like.

Here’s what an individual report screen looks like.

This is where it gets fun. I’ll run through a few things you see above.

  • Exports Domains – Easily get a list of the domains found in this report as a CSV file (ex. pointblankseo.com).
  • Export Paths – Easily get a list of the URL paths found in this report, also as a CSV file (ex. pointblankseo.com/link-prospector).
  • The ability to see the different Paths of each Domain. For example, this is what it looks like when I click the first domain.

  • The LTS is the Link Target Score. It’s calculated by the number of occurrences and the position of the results in the SERPs different queries.

Now what?

There are a couple ways you can go now. The first is putting the prospects into Excel and mashing it up with the SEOmoz API (here’s a great how-to post on this). The second is far greater… Put them directly into Buzzstream! (this is where you go crazy!)

Yes, you heard me correctly. For everyone who loves Buzzstream as much as I do, this is a dream come true. All you have to do is export the prospects as a CSV, then import them into your “Link Partners” tab, as shown in the picture below.

The import shouldn’t take more than a minute or two. Once they’re in Buzzstream, you’ll get contact info for each (if Buzzstream can find any), which segways nicely into the outreach process. Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like for those unacquainted with Buzzstream.

User Friendliness

If you didn’t notice, the tool is extremely user friendly. It didn’t take me more than a few minutes to figure out how to use all the different features. If you’re sick of complex tools that take hours of your time to learn, this is a fantastic change up.

Pricing

Here’s what the pricing model looks like.

  • $27/month for 20 credits
  • $47/month for 50 credits
  • $97/month for 120 credits

Each credit typically brings back 1-2000 unique domain prospects.

Also, this tool comes with Garrett’s link building eBook, which he currently sells for $67. I’ve gotten a chance to read through it, and I can tell you this alone is worth at least trying out the tool for a couple months. The book runs through a link building campaign from top to bottom. You could literally know nothing coming into your first campaign with this eBook and still execute to near perfection.

Video

If you’re more of a visual learner, then check out Garrett’s video overview of this tool. It’s a nice walkthrough of all the functionalities I explained above.

Conclusion

The best link building tools are made by link builders, because they know which phases of the process are a bit tedious. That’s why I think Garrett did such a great job with this. As I get to mess around with some of the functionalities in the future, I’ll share some tips that work best for me.

Now that I’ve talked all about it, head on over and try Link Prospector out!

Note: Citation Labs has an amazing toolset outside of Link Prospector. I highly suggest you check some of the other tools out; the outbound link scraper & contact finder are my personal favorites.

If you have any questions about this tool, leave a comment on this post or send Garrett an email at garrett@citationlabs.com.

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This post was written by...

Jon Cooper – who has written 120 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jon Cooper+ is an SEO consultant based out of Gainesville, FL who specializes in link building. For more information on him and Point Blank SEO, visit the about page. Follow him on Twitter.

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8 Comments
  1. milkmen says:

    Jon,

    Thanks for the info. I am going to go check this out. I have used whitespark and I have a lot of respect for Darin.

    I also wanted to thank you for your tips in your email campaign. I really liked your link building tip #4 about do follow blogs. What is your strategy for identifying sites that are do follow?

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks!

      If you’re doing competitor analysis in OSE, look for links that aren’t “nofollow” in the backlink reports. If you’re checking blogs by hand, use a nofollow plugin. They’re are a bunch for Chrome.

  2. FYI – Garrett also has a Contact Finder tool on Citation Labs that finds contact info from a list of URLs. Similar to what you are doing with Buzzstream above.

    It also operates on the credit system.

  3. I’ve been using the Link Prospector for about a month testing it out and trying the functions and it is hands down the best prospecting tool I’ve used. Simple, fast and sexy, really. Finds great sites I’ve never seen even when I thought I’ve exhausted all the custom search results. I use this in tandem with the Tout email app to find contacts and it’s like a dream come true. If you are a link builder you must have this tool, I can’t imagine scaleable link building without it.

  4. Stoked SEO says:

    looks great, I’m gonna go check it out asap. I’m also a big fan of Gerrett too, was over the moon when he read my article the other day :)

  5. Lee Marriott says:

    Thanks Jon, great little guide to finding some linking opportunities.

  6. Regin says:

    Hi
    I’ve been reading this article, and others, about Link Prospector, and I get the idea: That you can find sites, that already mention your keyword, but I do not really get how that benefits me in my link building strategy?

    I mean, even though I use Link Prospector and Buzzstream to find potential contacts and their info, why should they want to post a link to my site on their site?

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