Our Blog

12 Jun 2008

A Great Link Building Tool

Image Credit: JULIEN DUPRE. The Harvester, 1880-81, oil on canvas, Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, WVToday we thought we would tell you about a great link evaluation tool – Link Harvester.  It allows deep database querying of the Yahoo! Search database via the Yahoo! API.   As far as we know, it is the only link tool on the market which specifically specializes in allowing you to easily and quickly query beyond the Yahoo! 1,000 search result limit.

Just type in the name of whatever domain you want to check out – like one of your major competitors – and click to do a search. The information you’ll get back can be very illuminating. You’ll find out:

  • The number of unique domains that are linked to that domain
  • Their IP addresses and all unique C block addresses of any links
  • A break-out of all links from .gov, .ac, .uk and .edu domains.
  • Any domains that link from five or more pages are highlighted in bold.
How Can All This Help You?

It’s a lot of good information and definitely interesting, but what does all that information mean? There are plenty of ways you can use it.

Let’s take a look at a few examples. We plugged in the domain for a small, local brewery and learned lots of interesting information that would be helpful if you were a small brewery competing with them. For instance, out of the top 250 links, 26 were from 26 unique commercial domains. Quite a few of the links are shown in bold, which means there are a lot of duplicate links from a relatively small amount of sites. So your brewery can probably compete. Where to start? Go to the very sites that are already linking to this brewery! They are obviously open to linking, right? So why not you?

Next we took at a look at popular retail jewelry site that sells designer tungsten rings and found some fascinating statistics. They had far more unique links to their domain from a much wider variety of domains. They also had thousands of back links and, even more interesting, three links from educational domains. That sounds strange at first, but we followed those links and discovered that the links were to schools specializing in jewelry design who referenced the retail jeweler’s site as an example of a particular style of jewelry making.

For a retail jeweler’s website, it’s something to think about. How could your site’s demonstration of various styles and designs be leveraged into links to educational websites?   This same jewelry site also had numerous links to fashion websites, crafting websites and Victorian interest sites. If you sell specialty jewelry, it might give you all kinds of new ideas (after you visit all of those links just sitting there waiting for you, of course). Have you tried linking to clothing and accessory sites that suit your style of jewelry? What about crafting sites, or ethnic sites if you sell ethnic jewelry?

Now that you have the list of sites to target, it time to make that all important link request.  All link request emails should serve two key purposes: Let the person know you took the time to look at his or her site, and make it as easy as possible for them to make a decision to link to you. In addition, your email should include the following:

- A subject line that follows any directions given on their site. If you have not taken the time to look at the recipient’s site carefully, and you do not follow the link request directions, you will probably never hear from them.

- The site owner’s name.  It seems simple, but take the time to look through the site where you want the link, and find the site owner’s name. Address this person immediately in your email, so he or she knows you’re not a spammer.

- A short paragraph that describes your site and why you feel it’s linkworthy.

- The page on their site where you would like your link to appear.

- The exact URL from your site you want them to link to and possibly your anchor text

- Your site’s name and home page URL.

- Your name, phone number and business email address.

Note the above assumes you are not offering a reciprocal link, if your are, you will need to include all related information.

So get to Link Harvester, plug in a few of your favorite competitors, and start really checking out the competition. You’ll be amazed by what you learn and the new ideas you’ll come away with.

[tags] link building tools, link harvester, link requests, link building [/tags]