15 Tips On Staying Focused When Prospecting For Links

Link prospecting is a process that’s crucial to any SEO efforts based on white-hat methods. A good list of prospects should be a foundation of any successful link building campaign. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a professional SEO specialist or just trying to promote your business online – you just have to get it right.

Finding platforms that are good enough to try to get some links is sometimes like looking for a needle in a haystack (depending on the niche you’re in). You have to find that needle, though. That’s why prospecting for opportunities is one of the most time-consuming tasks one has to perform to build great backlinks from quality websites.

The obvious difficulty here is the distraction factor because very often you will come across something very interesting, but totally unrelated to your case. This is more of a problem for people who do prospecting professionally than for someone who’s just trying to optimize his own website.

Prospecting for link opportunities seems to be the easiest part of the job (it’s just browsing the Internet, right?), but in reality it’s the opposite. It’s hard to stay focused and productive after a while, especially if you already spent quite a while on it, and still have almost nothing. It can even be frustrating sometimes!

That’s why I wanted to share some tips that keep my mind creative and fresh when I’m looking for new link building opportunities. Maybe they’ll also work for you.


  • Use some tools!

    Personally I choose one of link research tools: SERP tool which allows you to get results for 20 queries at once which you can then filter in a number of ways. It’s pretty simple to master, and it saves you a lot of time spent on totally useless websites. Ahrefs is also useful. There are no tools for great content ideas, unfortunately.

  • Make a preliminary opportunities list

    That way you’ll reduce the number of websites you’ll have to check in detail. In the first phase of link prospecting try not to wonder whether a platform is good enough or if it has enough traffic, or any other metric. Just check if it’s relevant, and maybe also if it has been updated lately, and you can decide later if you’ll use it or not.

  • Provide food for the brain

    Try to read a lot (books, newspapers, magazines, quality websites, blogs,  etc.) when you’re not working. And I mean A LOT. That way when you find something only slightly interesting there’s a big chance that you’ll just skip it, which is obviously profitable. Time is money!

  • Save for later

    When you find something really interesting, beautiful and worth checking out, just e-mail it to your private mailbox, bookmark or save URL in a file (I can also recommend pocket). That way you can read it later and enjoy a careful reading instead of a cursory glance, which, of course, is better for you as a human being.

  • Be up to date with the news

    And I mean more than just watching the evening news on TV. That way you won’t have a reason to check them on websites you’re considering as an opportunity. Also, you can come up with the ideas that are relevant to current events, and that means that they will probably gain more audience.

  • Take some breaks

    I don’t mean “go and grab a coffee” or things like that, though do that sometimes as well. Just work on some other things for a second – reply to an e-mail, write a pitch or maybe even clean your desk, whatever. It’s going to give you a fresh perspective on your link opportunities prospecting.

  • Exploit competition links

    I know that’s pretty cliche but really saves you a lot of time, and usually, if that’s the first thing you do, it can give you quite a good feel of the niche, and probably also some content ideas to start with.

  • Be creative from the beginning

    Try to come up with an exact content idea for every blog or website you add to your pitch list. Don’t leave that for later, because you will have to check it out again at least a little bit before going “eureka!”

  • Don’t discard good websites!

    If a website isn’t good enough or is irrelevant to your current project, but you can see that it holds some potential, save its url for later – maybe it can be used someday for a different purpose.

  • Don’t be shy

    Even the craziest ideas are worth considering, so don’t be shy and pen them down at least. What’s the worst thing that can happen? They will be rejected, maybe you’ll give somebody a laugh.  What’s the best thing that can happen? Crazy popularity and going viral.

  • Train your general concentration skills

    Human brain gets distracted really easy, so unless you’re a cyborg, you have to constantly struggle to keep focused. There are many exercises that can enhance your mental abilities, you can find some examples here, but you’ll have to discover what works best for yourself.

  • Set yourself a deadline

    (Only in case you don’t have a boss who would do that for you :D). Generally speaking, when you have a few thousands of websites to check, it may look like it’s a never ending story, and with every website you’ll get less motivated and less focused. Deadline always makes people more productive (especially when it’s tight ).

  • Try many different search queries

    Typing “write-for-us” and niche’s name in google just isn’t enough anymore. Sure, you’ll find SOME opportunities, but you miss all the platforms that do guest posts but don’t advertise it.

  • Be organised!

    Best way to keep all your prospects is a simple spreadsheet – that way you can have all the info, notes and ideas regarding every website you picked, and you’ll still be able to find anything in seconds. Colour coding that sheet is also useful.

  • Prepare a small reward for yourself

    A chocolate bar, cute kitty video, favourite soda etc. but don’t even think about touching it before you find the amount of great opportunities you planned to find in the first place.

And… I think this is all.

I am fully aware that those tips may be hard to include into your prospecting routine in the beginning, but as you spend more and more time looking for link building opportunities, it should become a habit. A habit that will allow you to find quality websites that you can pitch – in no time at all.

Do you have any tips that you would like to share? What makes link prospecting easier for you? Don’t hesitate and share your methods of staying focused in the comments, because I can’t wait to hear it!

  • 19 October 2015

See all articles by Piotr Mikulski

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