When compiling a keyword list to combine with, say, a link building query generator, it's easy to miss the distinction between Market Defining Keywords and your standard SEO keywords, especially for SEOs who have trained themselves to think in terms of long tails, big heads, and everything in between.

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Link prospects are people who publish websites that you'd like to have linking to you. There are currently two major methods for finding link prospects at a large scale - Backlink Analysis (covered in our 3 part series at SEL) and Link Building Queries, for which we have created a free link building query creation tool.

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Once you have set clear goals and KPIs for your large scale link building campaign it's time to begin the work of prospecting. Large scale link building works best with thousands - or better yet hundreds of thousands - of link prospect URLs. Gathering this number of link prospect URLs requires tools. If you're conducting large-scale link building without developing your own crawler and scraper we recommend using free, web-based link data gathering tools.

When evaluating a free, web-based link building research tool, the main thing you want to look for is the ability for one of the following actions:

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Setting clear goals enables you to focus your efforts on influencing search rank, your market's media (including social), or both. Consider these link building goals as you go about setting your own:

Examples of Clear Link Building Goals:

1) Increase conversions through targeted search traffic 2) Increase conversions through targeted referral traffic 3) Increase positive mentions from influential media

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The data produced by large-scale link building research can provide invaluable content strategy insight. By identifying and targeting agenda-based segments within your link prospect list you can drastically improve your link acquisition rates. Further, you set the stage for long term conversation-based relationships with these segments that provide value far beyond influencing the search rankings.

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