Link Building with Open Site Explorer

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Webinar presentation from SEOmoz on how to use Open Site Explorer and other tools for link building and web marketing

Webinar presentation from SEOmoz on how to use Open Site Explorer and other tools for link building and web marketing

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  • 1. Link Building w/ Open Site Explorer
    Using tools + data to acquire amazing links
    Rand Fishkin, CEO + Co-founder, SEOmoz
    August 2011
  • 2. Tools You’ll Need
  • 3. Open Site Explorer
  • 4. Google
    http:/ (Not exactly hard to find  )
  • 5. MozBar
    You can download either/both here:
  • 6. Excel (or Google Spreadsheets)
    http:/ or
  • 7. SEOmoz Free API Key
  • 8. FollowerWonk
  • 9. LinkedIn
  • 10. Blogscape
  • 11. Google Reader
  • 12. Standard Link Building Tactics
  • 13. Competitive Link Analysis
  • 14. Who Links to My Competitors?
    I like using the filters of “followed+301,” “only external,” “pages on this root domain,” and “group by domain.”
  • 15. Who Links to Sites w/ Similar Content?
    Via Google Query
    Via MoreofIt
    Via AdPlanner
    Some good posts with other ideas on this: and
  • 16. What’s Their Most Popular Content?
    I also like: (basically a keyword-agnostic search on the domain)
  • 17. Who Links to Industry Hubs/Portals?
    The idea is to find sites that are generic enough to have a wide reach and influence, but relevant enough to allow for the discovery of link building opportunities.
  • 18. Relevant, Non-Commercial Hubs Sometimes Have Great Link Profiles
    Boo yah baby!
    For example, by browsing the links to this Wikipedia article on “Online Shopping” I found a trend blog that covers technology and gadget sites.
  • 19. Directories, Link & Resource Lists
  • 20. Directory/Resource Queries
    This blog post covers a lot of good ones: and this one’s solid, too:
  • 21. Link Acquisition Assistant Also Works 
    You can find it here:
  • 22. Which Resources Are Worth Effort?
    DmT > DmR?
    Unfortunately, due to low quality sites getting more high quality links, MozTrustisn’t as good a metric as it once was. However, it’s still useful to compare it to MozRank. If it’s lower, that can be a bad sign. Much lower is almost always a very bad sign.
  • 23. Which Resources Are Worth Effort?
    Lots of links, but low domain diversity
    A page with lots of links from a single external domain isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a domain with that feature can be trouble – think of it as a red flag.
  • 24. Which Resources Are Worth Effort?
    Who’s linking to this site?
    If you sort by “Domain Authority” in OSE, you can get a decent sense of whether there’s good, real, editorially-given, quality links pointing to a site, or if it’s using low-value tactics to rank.
  • 25. Is This a “Low Quality” Directory?
    What would this team think?
  • 26. Does the Resource Pass Link Value?
    Running searches for the brand + directory name (or keywords therein) and for the anchor text of the link can give you some sense (though not precise) about whether the directory/site is counted by Google.
  • 27. How to Test Link-Passing Value(if you need to)
    This blog post explains:
  • 28. Blogs, Forums + Communities
  • 29. Google “Discussion” Search
    It’s not that you need to participate in these particular threads, but that you want to find the communities where these discussions may happen, join up and contribute authentically.
    http:/ (the &tbm=dsc will show “discussion” results)
  • 30. Seeing Who Links to Those Communities is Often a Goldmine, Too! 
    Make sure to choose communities that are solidly on your topic – broader forums/discussion sites have less relevant links for you to mine.
  • 31. Google “Blog” Search
    http:/ (&tbm=blg gives the blog modifier)
  • 32. Blogscape for Competitive Discovery
    Using you can see the sources that mention or link to a competitor’s site in the very recent past (Blogscape updates every 12 hours)
  • 33. Blogscape for Competitive Discovery
    The “Rank” in Blogscape is based on Domain MozRank metrics from Linkscape
    There’s often some juicy link sources in here, and if you can catch them fast, you can even request an update/addition to the story, or leave a relevant comment that might drive traffic or encourage a link.
  • 34. Google Reader for Feed Subscriber Count
    Go to and use the search function
  • 35. Google Reader for Feed Subscriber Count
    Not only are the results themselves often worthwhile, but using OSE’s top pages and competitive link research functions on these sites can give you even more high quality link targets.
  • 36. Use Filters on Advanced Reports + Excel Analysis to ID Opportunities
    Once you have the CSV, you can filter in Excel for any pages that contain words like “profile” “user” “username” “bio” etc. These often lead to useful profiles on 3rd party sites (and you can get plenty creative here, too)
  • 37. Profile-Type Searches can Help Find Communities Where Your Competition's Participating
    Look at the metrics for the root domain, rather than the individual page. Your goal is to find strong sites, not necessarily strong pages.
  • 38. Guest Content Opportunities
  • 39. ID Opportunity w/ Metrics + Gut Feel
    Probably Awesome
    A Bit Questionable
  • 40. Look for Content Creator’s Names(if you know your field’s players)
  • 41. Search Queries to Discover Guest Posting Opportunities
    There’s dozens of variations on each of these, and they can provide a solid base to discover guest-posting opportunities in nearly any field. Make sure to think broadly (but not too blue-sky) with the keyword choice.
  • 42. Social Connections for Links
  • 43. The Theory Behind Social Connections
    By starting a conversational dialogue over social media, a nascent relationship is formed.
    That can later transform into a request (like an RT or link) or an authentic sharing opportunity
    A great example is outdoor retailer, ExOfficio’s Twitter profile:!/exofficio
  • 44. Topic Searches on FollowerWonk
    Queries like are great for discovering infuential, well-followed users who employ those words in their bio. You can also search by location or name and filter.
  • 45. Topic Searches on FindPeopleOnPlus
    Although you can’t sort by # of followers, you can filter in the left-sidebar to show only users with a certain follower count or higher 
  • 46. Topic Searches on LinkedIn
    Michele looks like an ideal connection for this topic!
    Using the dropdown to search by “keywords” can give the most relevant results, though it will often show you folks you’re not well-connected-to.
  • 47. A Few Unique Tactics
  • 48. 404’d Resources
    Find 404 or 301/2 pages on your competition’s websites, rebuild those resources and contact the linking parties. These are often easy links to obtain.
  • 49. 301/RelCanonicaling Overlapping Content
    If you have multiple pages with external links and authority targeting the same keywords, consider whether consolidating the information and having a single page is a better option. It can often be great for SEO.
  • 50. Reruns of Content Successes
    2007 article with nice links and a great topic… Seems ripe for an update!
    Not only can you take older ideas from others and re-create / update them, you can do it for your own successful content. That’s why I love doing “best of” or “guide” for a specific year, so it can be re-made later.
  • 51. Twitter Followers -> Link Targets
    Export a list of your Twitter followers and see which of their bio sites link to you vs. don’t – then target the highest DA non-linkers!
    The amazing Wil Reynolds describes this process in detail here:
  • 52. Top X Lists of People/Companies/Blogs
    These types of posts ALWAYS earn great links, because bloggers, tweeters, companies, products and people LOVE to link to and promote things that make them look good.
  • 53. Analyze Anyone’s Ideal Anchor Text Sources
    I like to use highly authoritative, well-known brands when doing these types of searches, because they’ll often reveal very high quality sources where anchor text can be customized vs. low quality ones.
  • 54. Get .Gov/.Edu/etc. w/ Advanced Reports
    Another great feature of the advanced reports section is the ability to select from specific TLDs
  • 55. Building a Link Acquisition Target List and Prioritizing Action
  • 56. Sample Excel Spreadsheet
  • 57. Sorting + Executing
    Link building can be a slog, but tools, analysis and thoughtful planning make execution of the plan SO much easier and less painful.
  • 58. Think Hard About What Your Link Profile Says About Your Site…
  • 59. Don’t Look Like This:
  • 60. Look Like This:
  • 61. Q+A
    Rand Fishkin, CEO & Co-Founder, SEOmoz
    • Twitter: @randfish
    • 62. Blog:
    • 63. Email:
    Don’t Have PRO/OSE? Get It Below Free!