Prospecting for bloggers in a niche is common practice in link building. One quick way to do this is to search for queries like “top <keyword> blogs” to find curated lists of blogs. For example, a search for “top SEO blogs” will give you this top list of SEO blogs. The problem is that this list is dated (2007) and this is no longer an accurate representation of the best and most active bloggers in this niche. I know this because I’m active in SEO, but I might not know this when researching a new niche.
I was thinking of a quick scalable way to get some type of metric to judge fresh linkers. A way to differentiate from blogs like Ontolo that are currently active linkers from blogs like Stuntdubl, which have archives full of gold, but are no longer active linkers.
I came up with a quick little hack to get a vague metric.
Step 1: Linkfromdomain on Bing
This search operator from Bing returns pages that are link-to from a domain. Will wrote a link building post on linkfromdomain on SEOmoz.
The problem is that it doesn’t give any temporal information.
Step 2: Date Filters
A regular search on Bing will provide a date filter on the side bar.
When this filter is used, it adds a parmater in the URL:
- &tbs=qdr:d – Shows pages updated in last day
- &tbs=qdr:w – Shows pages updated in last week
- &tbs=qdr:m – Shows pages updated in last month
Step 3: Simple Hack
You can copy these parameters into the URL string for a linkfromdomain search in Bing.
For example, this search will show the pages Ontolo has linked to that have updated in the last month. You’ll quickly notice it doesn’t show links created in the last 30 days, but it shows you pages that updated in the last 30 days. This generally includes new pages or blog homepages.This hack lets you see sites that link to fresh content.
Step 4: The Metric
Up at the top of the results, you see the number of results which can be used as a rough metric to compare sites. I don’t think it’s a strong metric, but if you’re attempting to prioritize outreach in a scalable way, it’s one additional data point to use to sort out prospective link sources.
Step 5: Scale
To scale this, we need to create an agile tool to grab this data. This can be done in a Google docs spreadsheet. I recommend reading Tom’s post on how to do this.
This metric can be pulled off the results page using importxml and XPath.
I put together a quick proof of concept:
This isn’t perfect, but sites like seorefugee.com, seoblackhat.com,and stuntdubl.com get relatively lower scores, while sites like SEOmoz.org, MarketingPilgrim.com, and SearchEngineLand.com get relatively higher scores. I think the metric is most useful in the extremes.
I hope this quick little hack helps you scale your outreach. I’m a big fan of building little agile tools and leveraging existing tools to improve efficiency. If you’re interested in link building, you should follow me on Twitter and come by my session at SMX Advanced.