Effective Link Building: How to use Advanced Search Operators to find your Link Targets

By Max Trappler | Link Building

Mar 15
Advanced search operator on Google for linkbuilding

If you’ve been in the digital marketing industry long enough, you’ll know that link-building is one of the most challenging aspects of effective SEO.

Getting websites to agree to add a link to your website or content might seem like an impossible task… However, before you can even be in the position of worrying over whether a website will link to yours’, you’ve first got to worry about where you’ll find websites who would be most likely to link to your content.

Any given search result on Google can result in thousands of search results, which means that you need to be extremely specific when searching for websites who would be the most likely to link to your website or content.

This is where advanced search operators on Google come into play.

What are advanced search operators?

An advanced search operator is a special type of search within a search engine which commands the search engine to return very specific results. This can be achieved by giving you search a certain structure and by including certain characters.

For example, if you want Google to show you search results from one specific site only, for example, Amazon, you can search into Google site:amazon.com.

If you try this, you’ll notice that Google only returns pages from the Amazon website.

But you can also add additional keywords to your searches. So if you’re looking specifically for Amazon’s terms and conditions page, you can search for ‘site:amazon.com “terms and conditions”’.

How is this useful for linkbuilding?

There are a number of other advanced search operators which are extremely useful for finding relevant websites for your linkbuilding campaigns.

They’re most commonly used for four types of linkbuilding strategies:

  1. Resource Pages
  2. Guest Blog Posts
  3. Sponsorship Opportunities
  4. Website Listings

Resource Pages

Resource pages are those pages you’ll find on websites which list useful resources to other websites for their users. The page might also be called helpful links or external resources, among other variations.

These pages can be a goldmine when it comes to linkbuilding, since it would be perfectly appropriate to ask the website owner to add your relevant resource to their page.

So how do you find resource pages with advanced search operators?

It’s Simple.

You need to instruct the search engine to return results which have the word resources or links in the URL, seeing that these resource pages would generally have a URL along the linkes of www.example.com/resource.

This can be done by using the advanced search operator inurl:resources or inurl:links.

So if you’re promoting a piece of content around gardening tips, you can find resource page that shares content like by using searches like:

inurl:resources “garden tips”

inurl:resources “gardening tips”

inurl:links “garden tips”

inurl:links “gardening tips”

Try this out on Google and you’ll see that they will return thousands of results which would be perfect websites for you to share your gardening related resource with.

Guest Blog Posts

While guest blogging might have been a lot more popular in the past, it can still be a very useful strategy to earn links.

Finding relevant guest blog opportunities isn’t always easy, as you need to actually find relevant websites or blogs that actually accept guest blog posts

This can be done with advanced search operators on Google since the websites that do actually allow third parties to contribute towards blog posts usually explain this on their website in similar ways.

So if you’re looking for websites about gardening that explicitly allow guest blog posts, you can use advanced google search operators such as the following:

“Write for us” “gardening”

“Become a contributor” “gardening”

“Contribute a blog post” “gardening”

inurl:contributors gardening blog

As you can see, including a phrase in quotation marks will return results with those exact words, in that exact order.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship opportunities are a less common strategy for linkbuilding, but can be highly effective and predictable.

Many organisations (including non-profits and events) have local businesses sponsor their cause, either via financial contributions, donations, or any other means of contributing positively to their cause.

You’ll find that these organisations usually have a page on their website which lists these sponsors, and often have links to their sponsors websites.

Assuming this strategy suits your business position and you’re happy to go through the effort of becoming a number of sponsor for an organisation, then you’ll need to know how to find the organisations which list their sponsors on their website along with links to their websites.

This can be done by making use of the inurl advanced search operator, looking for pages with the word sponsors in the URL. If you’re simply looking for any type of organisation with a sponsors page, you can simply search for inurl:sponsors, although this will return a wide range of different organisations, which might not be totally relevant to your business (although you might be okay with that).

Here are some examples for if you would like to only sponsor organisation related to gardening:

inurl:sponsors “gardening”

inurl:sponsors “garden expo”

inurl:sponsors “garden event”

Website Listings

The final of the four most common uses for advanced search operators for linkbuilding is finding websites who explicitly state that you can request for your website to be listed (assuming it’s relevant).

These links might not be the most valuable in some cases, such as adding your website to a low-quality, free directories. But you can certainly find opportunities where websites allow you to submit a request for your website to be added to a page of theirs, which they will review and accept if it’s a relevant addition.

These opportunities are scattered all over Google, and can be found with advanced search operators such as the following (using our gardening example):

“Submit a site” “gardening”

“Add a site” “gardening”

“Suggest a site” gardening

The word site can also be replaced by URL:

Submit a URL” “gardening”

“Add a URL” “gardening”

“Suggest a URL” gardening

So with these four types of advanced search operators, you should be all good to go with deciding which type of linkbuilding strategy suits you the best, and finding the link targets you need to meet your target of new referring domains to earn.

And on the topic of setting targets for the amount of new referring domains you’d like to earn, do you know about setting up link-building funnels? They’re an extremely useful and simple tool to help you calculate how many link targets you need to find in order to achieve the number of new referring domains you need. You can learn more about this is our blog post Link-Building Funnels: Predicting the Results of Your Linkbait Campaigns.

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