The easiest wins for link building aren’t often the best wins at all for your clients. Nothing proved that better than the recent Over Optimisation and Penguin related updates for businesses throughout the world. In fact, currently there is probably more work available in the market for Link Removal than link building as most businesses that are looking to play safe and stay within Google’s guidelines are staying away from the run of the mill sites and link approaches.
(In fact, we are helping a few people undo years of bad link building and have built a link analysis tool to support that: http://tools.seogadget.co.uk – it’s free, have a play!)
Luckily for us, we have continuously tried to look at clever sources for finding sites that we can connect with to help our clients get those good quality, clean Google friendly links. The trouble, as most would know, is judging a site’s quality. There may be a number of tools in the market to find sites in various niches but none really just concentrate on finding high-quality sites. As a result the team at SEOGadget often brainstorm different methods of finding the right site for a client. In one such session, we discovered the Google Media Planner.
What is the Google Media Planner?
A Few years back, Google bought the Double Click Adserving platform. Over time this has been merged with a number of their ad sources to provide ad tracking, but also powers the Google Display Network . In Googles Own words:
DoubleClick Ad Planner is a free media planning tool that can help you identify websites your audience is likely to visit so you can make better-informed advertising decisions.
For those of you unaware of the fact, Google DoubleClick publishes a list of the top 1000 websites worldwide (which also allows you to see a country specific leader board).
Unknown to many people, the double click ad planner also provides a number of estimated profiles of users such as:
- Traffic statistics
- Daily Unique Visitors
- Age of site visitors
- Gender of Site Visitors
- Household Income
- Other sites visited by the same profiles
- And the site audiences other interests
Most of this is approximate data built form a number of sources, and not always 100% true, for example the planner data implied we have NO female readers at all!
On the other hand, the sites that our audience visit and their interests are quite interesting and possibly spot on:
What Does Media Buying Have to do with Link Building?
Traditionally, not much. Link building has been a different role within online marketing, and didn’t usually confirm to the same analysis that other online marketing modes had to deal with, especially when it came to quality. Pre-Penguin, most link builders attitudes were – if it works great, if not, no harm done! However with Google’s latest change, it means every link you place has to be of a decent quality, which means that the sites you approach have to be of a similar calibre.
One view within our teams is that traffic volume (as well as type of traffic), customer profile, and Google’s classification of a site all play roles in deciding which link to place, for both, SEO and referral traffic. As such, not many tools exist to yield such data. So we had a play with Google’s Media Planner to see if we could use it for link building, or at least identifying good quality sources to approach.
There are many ways to use the media planner to find sites, but below we have used a path that we found effective.
First off you would need to sign into the ad planner and accept their T’s ad C’s. Once you have done that – you will get to a screen that shows Wikipedia’s profile. You want to click on “Search for Placements”
The next screen gives you a range of options to isolate media inventory. We like to use the combination of “content” and “placement”.
You should now probably land on a media plan screen that has no results, and have a highlighted tip:
The Content Match ranking method requires at least one of Site Language, Site Content, Topics or similar sites under the Target Sites drop-down to be specified.
Now in order for that selection to work, we tend to select the language, topic classification:
At that point in the process you would have a list generated that looks like:
Now since that list populates a number of domains and extensions, it is advisable to use one of the other filters. The filter in this case I would pick is to findUK extension sites only:
Voila! We now have a list of sites we *should investigate.
If you want to find sites that DON’T have Google ads on them, you could make that change here (I would also order them by content)
This list can now be either exported or used to build your outreach programme for link building. For example, using this same process, we found:
Looking at the shopping blog, we identified, using Open Site Explorer : http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/links?site=shopaholic.become.co.uk
That’s not a bad result! In fact the more time you spend on the resulting data from the planner, the more high quality sites you will discover. There are many segmentations and changes you can make within the tool, which means that you are only a few steps from discovering that one high-quality link that counts.
I hope you enjoyed that mini demonstration of one of the more underused, free link building tools out there!