Finding Outreach Targets With Competitive Research

When you are launching link bait and doing manual outreach for it, you should search for similar content and find who has linked to that content before. This will leave you with a list of people who are interested in your topic, so they will probably be interested in what you are promoting, and they have linked to related content before so they have already demonstrated a willingness to link to content similar to yours.

You might be saying, “well, this is great, but how do I find these linking sites?” I’m glad you asked. Here are some steps that I go through to find this related content.

1. Identifying Related Content

I usually search for topics along the lines of “topic + content description”. I will use Starbucks and an infographic as my example. For this I’d simply search for “Starbucks Infographic”. Pretty simple, right?

Ok, now it looks like there has been a couple infographics, but I will focus on “the scale of starbucks”.

2. Find Links to the Source

Alright, here is the next step, which is again, super easy. Simply plug that URL into Open Site Explorer (filter: only external links and only followed + 301’s) and see what comes out.

I would also take a look at Yahoo Site Explorer to see who they are showing, sometimes they will have several sites SEOmoz isn’t showing.

So now that you have these lists of backlinks, create a master list in Excel and remove duplicates.

3. Finding Second Degree Links

Now take all of the sites on your list (the ones who have embedded the infographic) and find out who is linking to that post using both Open Site Explorer and Yahoo Site Explorer. This results in a list of people who have linked to all of the embeds you found.

When you combine these two lists you end up with a master list of people who have either posted this specific related content (infographic in this case) or have linked to the content content. Practically, this means you have a really good starting point for your outreach as all these sites are highly qualified.


4. Rinse and Repeat

Repeat this process for every piece of related content that you can find (or as much as the scope of your project will allow for).

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