A lot of link building is very manual work, especially when you are trying to get high-quality links. As a result, I spend a fair amount of time using (somewhat) advanced search queries to look for link targets in Google. The following are five circumstances and the advanced search queries I use to find link targets.

Because using search operators can make your search queries 60% more effective.

What is a Search Operator?

There are a few queries that I use to find guest posting opportunities. The first (and probably most common) is: inurl:guest-post + keyword. This one is pretty straightforward. It is helpful for finding sites that allow guest posts on the topic you are searching for. The downside of this query is that you will sometimes end up with a list of guest posts that are related to your topic but are a stretch (topically) to be on that site.

The other queries that I use to find focus on finding sites actively looking for guest posts. These sites tend to respond faster to emails enquiring about guest posting and are usually more willing to accept guest posts. Here are a few example queries:

  • Keyword + intitle:“write for us”
  • Keyword + intitle:“contribute to”
  • Keyword + intitle:“submit” + inurl:blog

An advanced query that I recently found due to a blog post by Ann Smarty is “inpostauthor:” – this will return posts by a guest author across different sites. Applying this to guest blogging, you could use queries such as:

  • inpostauthor:guest + keyword
  • inpostauthor:”guest blog” + keyword
  • inpostauthor:”guest post” + keyword

Finding College Clubs

College clubs often have resource pages on their site or have a list of resources to help the group members. Additionally, many of these clubs need sponsors, who are linked to from a page on the club’s website. If you want to find clubs related to your niche, consider using the following queries:

  • inurl:.edu keyword club
  • inurl:.edu keyword group
  • inurl:.edu keyword organization

Donating to Non-Profits

Many non-profits put lists of their donors on their websites.  If you want to look for these non profits that link to their benefactors try using these queries:

  • inurl:.org donors + keyword
  • inurl:.org supporters + keyword
  • inurl.org contributors + keyword

Finding Resource Lists

Many college departments, as well as individual professors, have resource lists for students on their sites. These lists are often really thorough and will often include links to more resources if the content is in depth and helpful. Further, these resource pages are often really well linked, both, internally and externally. To find these pages, I use these queries:

  • inurl:.edu helpful sites + keyword
  • inurl:.edu keyword + resources
  • inurl:.edu useful sites + keyword

Finding Country Specific Link Targets

If you are doing international SEO and trying to get links from a specific country using “keyword + inurl:cc.tld” can be one of your best tools. Further, this can be used to compliment any of the other queries suggested in this post to narrow down the results.

The downside of using inurl:cc.tld is that you will exclude sites that are specific to the country you are looking for but are hosted on a .com, .net, .org or other non-country specific TLD.

I know this isn’t a complete list, but these are the advanced queries that I use most frequently to find link sources. I would love to hear what queries you use in your link building process; if you feel like sharing, leave a comment with your tip.

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