How to use Footprints to find the best link building opportunities

Use of link building footprints in LRT

Finding good links is not getting any easier. Gone are the days when you could write a bunch of articles and post them to article directories and enjoy the benefits of backlinks. The same goes for all the properties of Web 2.0 that were so abused in the past. So what's left? Is link building dead? No, of course it isn't. It's just that Google wants you to play fair and not buy or trade links to manipulate their search results. Read on and learn:

How you can combine complex Google search queries to create footprints
How the SERP tool helps you identify the best link opportunities
The results I achieved were demonstrated in practical examples.
More Examples of Meaningful Footprints You'd Like to Use Yourself

Building real links

Finding good links is not getting any easier.

Gone are the days when you could write a bunch of articles and post them to article directories and enjoy the benefits of backlinks.

The same goes for all the properties of Web 2.0 that were so abused in the past.

So what's left? Is link building dead? No, of course it isn't.

It's just that Google wants you to play fair and not buy or trade links to manipulate their search results.

Building links with the intent to manipulate Google search engine results is a violation of Google Guidelines and should not be done.
Paid links that are DoFollow can easily trip up the dreaded Google Penguin filter and ruin your rankings overnight.

Google states here the following example of link schemes that can negatively affect a site's ranking in search results: "Buy or sell links that exceed PageRank.

This includes exchanging money for links or posts containing links; exchange goods or services for links; or send someone a "free" product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link." In the same article, Google also states: "Note that PPC (pay-per-click) advertising links that don't pass the PageRank to the ad buyer does not violate our guidelines."

An example of an ad placement of the latter type is one I bought for £109, which is for 12 months.

Has a NoFollow link to a lead generation site that I own
In the first 5 days I made a direct profit of £19 from 245 visitors.

This means that over a year you will probably earn around £1,387.

In fact, the niche is very summer based and it's February now, so I would estimate the earnings from that ad to be more like £2000 over a full year.

The link is NoFollow and does not violate Google Guidelines. The additional traffic caused more engagement on my site and lowered the bounce rate. A good result of this is that I am now ranked for many more keyword phrases in the Top 20 of Google, giving me more traffic overall.

Is that the kind of ROI you'd like? I thought so. Acquiring a high traffic link from a site on the topic is worth it.

What are footprints?

Traces are certain strings of text, or to be more precise, HTML code that appears on various websites. One of the most common is "Proudly powered by WordPress", so if you Google this exact phrase and then combine it with a keyword, you'll get all the results that contain your keyword.

For a more refined list, you can google something like

"Proudly powered by WordPress" intitle:camping

Which gives a result like:

So here we have almost two million Wordpress blogs that have the word 'camping' in the title.

However, you can be much smarter than this.

For example, using this footprint; camping "HTML tags allowed:" will return a list of results related to camping where comments are allowed and you can use HTML in your comment.

This is where you can start engaging with your audience.

There is nothing new about using fingerprints for activities like commenting on a blog.

There were, and still are, many apps that automatically spam the web, leaving random comments like, "Hey, I love the way you write, I've bookmarked your site."

By doing this in the 1000's or even 10,000+, Black Hat SEOs could get sites to rank. This is now a very dangerous practice and can put your site's ranking at risk due to Google penalties. What we need to do is find the best places where we can get our links and ads to get real traffic.

What does the SERP tool do?

The SERP research tool helps you find new link opportunities by finding the best places to engage with your audience. SERP allows you to perform 20 queries at the same time. Combine, deduplicate and produce a table where you can see how the results rank in Google. As usual, you can choose how to display the results using the filters. From here we can get a very good idea of ​​the quality of the domains in which we can start participating.

Using the SERP tool with footprints

For this example we will stick to the camping niche using the main keyword, 'motorhomes for sale', concentrating on the UK and sites that are written in English. We're going to try to find places where we can get an ad placement that doesn't violate Google's Guidelines. We're also going to find other places that talk about our keyword, but that we're not interacting with right now.

We'll use the minus '-' operator to exclude our mark from the complex search.

These are two footprints we will use:

keyword "advertise with us" OR "advertise here" OR "your ad here" OR "your ad here"

keyword review -"your brand" OR -""

The SERP tool can input 20 queries, so let's change the word 'keyword' to 10 keywords:

"motorhome for sale", "motorhome for sale", "used motorhome for sale","motorhome for sale uk","private motorhome for sale","hymer motorhome for sale","ebay motorhome for sale","motorhome for sale uk", "cheap motorhomes for sale" and "ebay motorhomes for sale".

You'll also need to enter your own domain, because the SERP tool will check if you have an existing link on the domains it finds. For demonstration purposes, I have chosen a random domain that ranks on the third page of Google results for our main keyword. There are a few other settings you can set in the SERP tool, like how recent the results are. In this case, I just want to see as many results as possible, so I'll fetch all results at any time.

It is also important to select which search engine you are going to use, in this case I am using Google UK with the results in English:
The SERP tool gives you the option to include other optional metrics in the results. Most people have their favorite metrics that they always like to see. My chosen metrics are here:

On-page link analysis package – The main metric I'm looking at here is the ExtL metric, which is the number of external links the page has. It would be a rare circumstance where I wanted my link to be on a page that already has hundreds of outgoing links, so I'd need an easy way to filter them out in the results.

The results

The SERP tool results are extremely comprehensive. If you want to save a lot of time and see the best results right away, there are two pre-made filter segments; Good links and bad links.

The criteria that the Good Links filter segment uses are;

Number of backlinks to the page (BL) > 5
LRT Power™ > 4
LRT Trust™ > 4
LRT Power*Trust™ > 30
LRT Power*Trust™ Domain (Power*Trust dom) > 30
LRT Power*Trust™ Topdomain > 30
LRT Power*Trust™ ≠ 0
LRT Power*Trust™ Domain (Power*Trust dom) ≠ 0
LRT Power*Trust™ Topdomain ≠ 0
These are pretty strict criteria and for our camping example, Good Links Filter Slice gives only 32 results.

However, let us examine two of the results in more detail.

practical motorhome

Practical Motorhome is a UK magazine launched in 2001. The website supplements the offline magazine with articles, reviews and a forum. From the SERP report, you can conveniently drill down by clicking the + symbol next to the result.

This then reveals the additional dashboard where you can launch other tools:

In this case, the SERP tool has found the "Advertise Here" page on Practical Motorhome, which is not necessarily where our ad placement will be, so we may want to run a QBL for the domain, instead of the page. :

Practical Motorhome has impressive domain statistics. I have no doubt that advertising here would be quite expensive, but this is a solid, relevant, UK based site with a lot of traffic. We can see more about this by clicking on the SEMrush Domain Keywords link:

I think for a site about camping, a link here would be very worthwhile. You can go the obvious route of paying for an ad on your site or you can get involved in the forum and see what possibilities it has to offer. If you were to consider paying for an ad, make sure it complies with Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

preloved is a well established UK site for buying and selling second hand items. It has many categories, including one for motorhomes and motorhomes. The site is mainly monetized by Google DoubleClick and Google Adsense and there is a page on banner advertising. There is also a community section and a blog. I think there are many opportunities to get a link on Preloved. The QBL dominance stats look great:

If you're in this kind of niche, it might be worth trying to get a link from Preloved. The SEMRush traffic report shows excellent traffic without any penalty signs:

The two examples I've shown here are sites that have a lot of traffic and strong domains. However, this may not always be the case, as sometimes a site may have suffered a Google penalty due to a high risk of domain link detox. In this case, you don't want to get a link there. If you are unsure about the link detox risk of any link source, you can initiate a link detox for the domain or page from the dashboard in the SERP tool.

An Alternative Approach to Check Link Detox Risk of Potential Links

We can't always rely on basic SEO statistics when judging the quality of a link opportunity. We really need to check that the link will have a low link audit priority. At the same time, if we only look at the good link filter portion of the SERP tool, we may miss out on some opportunities for sites with a low link detox risk that don't fit the criteria of the good link filter portion. .

I'll cover this in more detail in a future post, but here are the steps:

Create multiple SERP reports for multiple keywords and multiple footprints so there are around 10,000 results in total
Export all reports as CSV files
Edit each CSV file with Excel so there is only one column in the correct format for Link Detox custom backlink files
Perform a link opportunity audit using Link Detox in 'What If' mode
Create a filter segment that shows Mock = Yes and Link Audit Priority = Low
Look at the results for great link building opportunities.
When you find a really good link opportunity, I'd still recommend running a Link Detox on that site to make sure it's as good as you think it is, especially if you're paying money for it.

More footprints to use with the SERP tool

The possibilities are endless and you will discover more footprints and develop your own as you use this technique. To get you started, here are some ideas you can use or adapt, use at your own risk and don't create links carelessly, just because you can:

guest blog

keyword "guest blogger" OR "guest post" OR "guest article" OR "Add guest post" OR "Submit guest post" OR "Submit a guest article" OR "Guest post guidelines"

keyword "become a contributor" OR "contribute to this site" OR "Add content"

keyword "write for us" OR "write for me" OR "submit your writing" OR "submit article"

keyword "inurl:category/guest"

blog commenting

keyword "Enter your name @ your keywords"

keyword "inurl:"option=com_zoo"

keyword "This blog uses CommentLuv premium" -"The version of CommentLuv on this site is no longer supported."

keyword "Allowed HTML tags:"

keyword "Notify me of follow-up comments?" "Send the word you see below"

Forums and message boards

keyword "Powered by PHPbb"

keyword "Powered by vBulletin"

keyword "Powered by SMF"

keyword "powered by simple machines"

keyword "powered by punBB"

keyword "powered by expressionengine"

keyword "Powered by BlogEngine.NET" inurl:blog "post a comment" -"comments closed"

Sponsors and Donations

inurl keyword: sponsors AND link

keyword "sponsorship"

keyword "benefactors"

keyword "sponsoring charity"

keyword "donations"


keyword "inurl:wiki/index.php?title=" OR "inurl:mediawiki/index.php" OR "allinurl:http://mediawiki".

keyword "This article is out of date"


The idea of ​​posting links on forums, blog comments, wikis, etc. It may sound like a risky business in this post-Google Penguin World.

The idea of ​​buying ad placements could also set off alarm bells.

The key to SEO today is regular monitoring of your backlinks and acquiring quality links by finding the best and most relevant link sources.

The SERP tool helps you do this easily and quickly.

The link simulator allows you to decide if the risk is acceptable.

Happy link prospecting and link building!

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