How to Prospect for High Quality Links


Nowadays, link building is time-consuming and costly given that it requires investment to create content assets that will certainly attract high quality links.

Gone are the days where you would only need one tool to provide you tons of low quality domains which will only lead you to triggering Penguin and penalizing your website. Another time spent to get rid of those unnatural links from your domain if you want to protect your website from future link-based penalty.

The main point is to focus your resources on strategizing and executing link development campaigns that only aim for acquiring high quality backlinks.

In this post, I’d like to share a few link sources where you can prospect for high valued domains:

Newsletter roundups

The easiest link prospecting method is to find a specific brand that lists down several authoritative links from their newsletters..

One way to start with this is to subscribe to a blog that always curate posts/pages/links. It could be any of the following:

  • Curated newsletter that links out to the top weekly contributions from guest authors (e.g. SEJ Wrap up).
  • Curated newsletter that links out to the best articles/pages every month (e.g. Moz Top 10)

Given that these articles/pages gained traction from top news sites, you’re assured that they are gold mines for link building.


Image reclamation

Image reclamation is commonly utilized to find domains that used branded and blog post images. It is an easy method to get links for your website given that you only need a simple outreach campaign to earn those branded backlinks.

You can also use image reclamation to find high quality brands that linked out to websites that are related to your business.

You can start by creating a list of all the images your competitors had on their websites (e.g. team members’ profile images, company logos and event photos). Then use your favorite image search reverse tools like Tineye and Google Image Reverse Search to discover domains that used those images you listed in your spreadsheet.

Check out the sites if they’re relevant and if there are high tendencies of earning links from those domains (use relevancy and authority as your main metrics).

News sites’ content sources

This strategy is popularized by Jason Acidre in the recent Philippines’ SEO Summit 2014. The strategy is simple yet will take time to discover those content sources.

To get started, you can create a list of all the popular news sites in your industry. Then use your favorite link prospecting tool to find all their external links. See if they’re duplicating/publishing content pieces from those external domains. If they do so, it is a sign that they might be using those external domains as sources or references for their content creation.

Twitter following and lists

Twitter should be one of your link prospecting arsenals since this is a gold mine when finding the most engaging influencers, journalists and bloggers in your industry.

To get started with your Twitter link prospecting, you can search for public lists of influential personalities in your niche. You can also do a Google search for this query: inurl:/lists [industry]


Find more authoritative people by manually searching for list of following of industry influencers.


This list of Twitter users your influencer followed could be considered as potential high quality sources particularly when those users in the list have their own websites or blogs.

Niche directories

Typically, search professionals are fond of using niche directories as their main technique to acquire easy links for the first week of their link development campaigns. But there’s one thing that they always miss out.

Niche directories are also good prospecting tool to discover new and old industry-related link sources.

You can start with new domains to get links for your initial outreach campaign. Since they are new in building their own brands, they’re willing to link out to more authoritative and older websites (like your website).

A few other link sources that are worth discovering:

  • Blogroll links from authoritative niche blogs.
  • Pages that link to 404 pages of popular websites in your industry.
  • Content placement sites that link to your competitors or non-competitors’ sites (e.g. podcast directories).

You can check this post on Digital Philippines about 25 content promotion strategies, with link building tactics listed in there.

Final Thoughts:

Link prospecting is your initial activity in link building, which means that if you’ve got the right track in discovering link sources, you’re driving towards a better link development campaign for your website/brand.

Venchito Tampon

Venchito Tampon is the link building consultant at Digital Philippines. He offers white hat link building services to local and offshore clients. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.