There are all sorts of awesome link metrics available to us these days, many people reading this may not remember the days when we didn’t have Domain Authority, Trust or Citation Flow or when Yahoo Site Explorer was the go-to place for backlink checks. Now we have lots available to us and they’re great for sorting and filtering huge lists of link targets.
There is one thing though that, in my opinion, a metric can never replace – your gut feeling.
I feel like a few years ago, you could have argued that metrics alone were good enough when it came to link prospecting. You can’t argue that now, the bar has been raised far too high in recent years and when it comes to building links, there is no point in taking unnecessary risks as the consequences can be severe.
Any scalable link building technique will be moved outside Google Guidelines at some point. Ironically for a company that is all about doing things that scale, Google doesn’t like link building techniques that can be scaled. This is because they feel (and they’re right) that scaling something and maintaining a high level of quality is very hard. It can be done, but it isn’t done very well by the majority of people when it comes to link building.
Over the years, the question I’ve been asked over and over again is “how do I scale link building?”. The fact is, you shouldn’t unless you’re prepared to take some significant risks. So the problem is no longer asking yourself how do I scale my link building, it becomes “how do I make my link building more efficient?”.
One of the best tools that I know for this and one I’ve recommended for years now, is BuzzStream. The product just keeps improving and they’ve just released a new feature called the BuzzMarker for Chrome.
I’ve had the chance to play around with the extension over the last few weeks as it was being developed and I really think that it helps take link building efficiency to a new level.
Use cases – how to use the BuzzMarker for Chrome
I’ve been playing around with a few ways to combine features of other link building tools with the extension, let’s take a look at a few examples so far.
Majestic SEO and the BuzzMarker
There are a couple of ways to use Majestic SEO that immediately stood out to me which I’ll outline below using an example.
Let’s imagine that you were working on a piece of content for a client in the music industry, the content will focus around the history and evolution of rock music. One technique for finding potential places to get links from is to take a look at what similar pieces of content have been published before and seeing who linked to them. There is an added benefit here in that if you find that previous pieces of similar content didn’t get many links, it may question whether or not you have a good idea!
Something else to point out here is that if similar content has been done before, you really do need to bring something new in the piece you create. It can be some new data, a new type of visualisation or a much better design, either way, you can’t just rinse and repeat old content and expect it to perform better than previous pieces.
After a quick search, I came across this website – Rock Music Timeline. It has some great information but let’s be honest, the design isn’t great. I know that our piece can do a better job of design and visualisation. A quick backlink check using the Majestic SEO plugin shows me a few links going to the domain which is a good start:
Trust and Citation flow doesn’t look too bad so I take a look at some of the backlinks themselves by clicking on the backlinks tab:
There are a fair few in here with matching anchor text which makes me a little sceptical, as well as a few /links pages which may not be great in terms of sending traffic, but the metrics look decent for a few of these so it’s worthy of exploring a little more. Now I’m doing to click on the tools tab and open a report directly in Majestic SEO:
Now, this is where things get a bit more interesting and efficient. You have a nice list of backlinks in Majestic SEO, next you need to right click on the page and select “start prospecting”:
The following will appear on the right hand side of the screen which is basically a scrape of the links on the page:
There is a slight flaw here in that the tool will also pull in non-relevant links, for example in the screenshot above you can see the Majestic SEO Facebook account which is obviously one we’re not interested in! If you hover over the prospect though, you can remove it from the list:
Next up, click on “start prospecting” and you’ll see something like this:
You can navigate your way around the website and the Buzzmarker will remain in place, so in the example above, I can also go to the contact us page and start entering information:
I’m sure you can imagine the possibilties here but the key for me is that this doesn’t require me at any point to go to BuzzStream. I can use my existing workflow and prospecting process and basically enter information into BuzzStream as I go. This makes the process much more efficient and makes prospecting and keeping quality high very easy.
Using BuzzSumo with the BuzzMarker
I love BuzzSumo, it’s a really quick and easy tool and considering it’s relatively new to the market, the data it gives back is pretty good. Let’s stick with our rock music content example and go and do a simple search on BuzzSumo:
The results will look like this:
As we can see, this content is getting a decent amount of social shares which is another good signal to get as you’re doing this work.
Now we do what we did before with Majestic SEO, right click on the page and start prospecting, you can start going through the list of sites very quickly.
I want to keep going with this example and show another feature of BuzzSumo which can be tied in nicely with the new Buzzmarker. Let’s switch the example to change things up a little bit and imagine we’re working on a piece of content for photography, so we may want to look for influential photographers using a search like this:
You can do all sorts of things with this list but in this case, I’m going to sort by the column for number of retweets:
As you can see, most of these results also have websites which is great because it may also mean they have a blog where I could get coverage or a link from – on top of their social influence. So now we just right click on the page again, click start prospecting and get a nice list of websites to go through:
When I click start on prospecting, I can cycle through this list very quickly.
The fact that I’ve used BuzzSumo to gather and sort this list of influencers means that I’m spending time trying to connect with the right kind of people – again making me more efficient.
Using Followerwonk with the BuzzMarker
Followerwonk can be great for finding influential people in certain niches who are active on social channels, so I wanted to show an example of how to use it to prospect for influencers. Also, Followerwonk doesn’t allow for you to scrape contacts from the page in the same way Majestic and BuzzSumo do, so I wanted to show a little hack that fixes this.
Firstly, start with a simple search on Followerwonk:
Unfortunately, right clicking on the page and starting to prospect doesn’t work very well with Followerwonk, it only pulls in Twitter handles (which is ok) but we also want the websites that these people control too. So hit the download button in the top right corner:
Now this gives you a CSV file where you have a list of URLs for each of the people in your search:
Now, copy and paste this list of URLs into URL Opener and click submit:
You’ll get something like this:
Don’t click open all! Right click on the page and select the Buzzmarker and select start prospecting:
Done! You can use this little hack on pretty much every website where the Buzzmarker has trouble pulling the right links from a page or where the URLs are present in the source code.
Aside from the tool uses above, another really cool feature of the extension is that it allows for better collaboration when link prospecting. Under the old system, you wouldn’t know whether a colleague had approached the same website as you until you tried to add it the the database. Now, BuzzStream can highlight links on a page that are already in your account. To do this, right click on the page that contains your list of prospects and select “highlight contacts in BuzzStream”:
For me, this was the effect on my search results:
See how the top two results are highlighted in light blue? This means that are already in BuzzStream.
This also works nicely if you’re doing prospecting and come across a site that is already in BuzzStream, like the following example where I can see the previous note that has been placed:
In this case, anyone prospecting who comes across this will know to speak to me about the prospect before proceeding which can be really useful when you’re part of a large team.
That’s about it! I’m sure more blog posts will appear over the coming weeks with uses for the Buzzmarker, if you have any ideas already, feel free to add them to the comments below and download the extension here. If you don’t have a BuzzStream account yet, you can get one here.