This is a guide to the advanced search functionality in Ontolo's Nightly Prospecting DB.

Table of Contents

Advanced Searching Overview

NOTE: This document pertains to usage for Ontolo's Automated Link Building Toolset. If you are looking for information on Ontolo's Instant Prospecting Tool, please click here.

Similar to other link building processes, the result of Ontolo's link building research is a list of link prospects. Unlike any other link building toolset, Ontolo gives you the ability to search and refine that list in a variety of powerful ways.

With Ontolo, you can refine your prospect lists based on metrics including Domain Authority and Home PageRank. Ontolo's toolset also supports full text searching on prospect web page content, and supports a variety of advanced search operators to form complex searches including restriction based on prospect page content, prospect page title, prospect page top level domain, and more.

You must have at least one Campaign configured before we can start building your link prospect database. Ontolo finds link prospects for you on a nightly basis, but we cannot start our research (i.e. you will have 0 link prospects) until at least one Campaign has its Link Types and Prospecting Phrases configured and we have completed one night of research. For information on how to configure a Campaign please see the Link Building Toolset Configuration Guide by clicking here.

Click Here to view a video demonstrating some of these techniques. NOTE: This video is for the previous version of the Link Building Toolset. However, we are leaving it up until a new one is made because the information and thinking behind queries and using the tools is still relevant and useful.

The "Default" Prospect List

Your prospect lists are generated via the Ontolo Link Building Toolset search form:

http://ontolo.com/link-building-search-prospects

When you first load the Link Building Toolset's prospect search form or select a different Campaign from the drop down in the top left, we automatically present you with a "default" prospect list. Like all prospect lists the search form generates, it is sorted so that the prospects most relevant to the currently selected Campaign appear at the top of the list.

While this will be a relevant prospect list for the currently selected Campaign, the search criteria used to generate the default list are very broad. The default prospect list includes prospects of all Link Types that match the most broad metric constraints, and incorporates the currently selected Campaign's Top SEO Keywords as the main factor in relevancy scoring and sorting. Although this list may be a good place to start, one of the most powerful aspects of Ontolo's Link Building Toolset is the ability to further refine this list.

Generating Highly Relevant Prospect Lists

One of the most powerful aspects of Ontolo's Link Building Toolset is the ability to refine your prospect lists. This document will explain the most common refinement features.

Advanced Search Menu

Clicking the downward-facing arrow at the right end of the text search box opens an advanced search menu. The most common advanced search options are contained in this menu. The settings pictured below are the default settings used when you load the search page.

Please note that these settings are reset to their defaults when switching Campaigns via the drop down at the top left of the search page. They are set as wide as possible when switching to a folder other than "Prospects".

Link Type Drop Down

The Link Type Drop Down restricts prospects to a specific Link Type (including "Any", which is essentially no restriction). These are the same Link Types used to configure a Campaign's Prospecting Phrases, with the addition of the Infographics Link Type.

Domain Authority

The Domain Authority slider restricts prospects to having a Domain Authority between the selected minimum and maximum values, inclusive.

Home PageRank

The Home PageRank slider restricts prospects to having a Home PageRank between the selected minimum and maximum values, inclusive. "Home" refers to the prospect's domain. For example, the domain of prospect http://links.ontolo.com/links-galore is ontolo.com.

Min COBLs on Page

The Min COBLs on Page slider restricts prospects to having a minimum number of outbound links to the currently selected Campaign's Competitor Domains. A Campaign's Competitor Domains are configured via the Campaign Manager's Competition settings. For more information on Competition settings, click here.

Min IBLs to Page

The Min IBLs to Page slider restricts prospects to having a minimum number of site backlinks.

Search Previous Days

The number of days of prospecting to search. For example, "15" means limit your search to the past 15 days of prospects. Sliding this all the way to the right will completely remove this restriction and search all prospects regardless of when they were collected ("All Time"). For Solo accounts, this slider defaults to the past 30 days. For all other service levels, this slider defaults to the past 15 days.

Search Selected Campaign Only

Although all search results are sorted for relevancy based on the currently selected Campaign, the search is done against all link prospects in your database, and is not restricted to prospects found while researching only for the currently selected Campaign. If you find your prospect lists contain prospects that are only relevant to other Campaigns, use the Search Selected Campaign Only checkbox to restrict the prospect list to prospects found while researching only for the currently selected Campaign.

Text Search

Ontolo supports a wide range of text search operators. This document will explain the most common operators. Some common advanced operators, like quotes and parenthesis, may be used without detailed explanation. Information on advanced search features is available by clicking here.

Text Search Defaults

By default search terms are compared against prospect title, prospect body, and prospect URL. Only one of those components needs to match the search term for the prospect to match the search. For example, the following search:

means that the phrase "rock climbing" must appear in a prospect's title, body, OR URL for it to match the search.

Additionally, by default all simple search terms are ORed. For example, the following search:

means that the phrase "rock climbing" must appear in a prospect's title, body, OR URL, OR the word "bouldering" must appear in a prospect's title, body, OR URL for it to match the search.

Note that advanced search operators like site, inurl, intitle, etc, are automatically required (a "+" is silently prepended to them) if they are not prepended with a "-". For example, the following search:

means that the phrase "rock climbing" must appear in a prospect's title, AND a prospect must be in the .com top level domain for it to match the search.

It is the same as this search:

Refining Text Searches on Prospect Content

Although search terms that stand on their own are compared against a prospect's title, body, and URL, you can instead specify exactly which component you want to match on.

The intext operator compares a search term against a prospect's body. The intitle operator compares a search term against a prospect's title. The inurl operator compares a search term against a prospect's URL. All operators are used by specifying the operator immediately followed by a colon immediately followed by the search term to use with the operator.

For example, the following search:

means that the phrase "rock climbing" must appear in a prospect's title AND the word "bouldering" must appear in a prospect's body for it to match the search.

The following search:

means that the phrase "rock climbing" must appear in a prospect's title AND the word "bouldering" must NOT appear in a prospects body for it to match the search.

The following search:

means that either the word "bouldering" OR the word "climbing" must appear in a prospect's body, AND the word "climbing" must appear in a prospect's title for it to match the search.

The following search:

means that the words "bouldering" AND "climbing" must appear in a prospect's body, AND the word "climbing" must appear in a prospect's title for it to match the search.

Refining Text Searches on Prospect Site

The site operator allows you to restrict your search to prospects matching a subdomain, domain, or top level domain, including partial matches.

For example, the following search:

means that a prospect must be in the .com top level domain to match the search.

The following search:

means that a prospect must be in the ontolo.com domain to match the search.

The following search:

means that a prospect must NOT be in the ontolo.com domain to match the search.

The following search:

means that a prospect's domain name must start with the string "climbing" and be in the .com top level domain to match the search. Prospects with domains of climbingtime.com and climbing-trips.com would match such a search.

The following search:

means that a prospect must be in the subdomain links.ontolo.com to match the search.

Technical Details of Searching & Indexing

Quick, Simple List of Common Operators

For those that just want a high-level overview of what can be done, think of it the same way that you'd query Google. The following operators are most commonly used:

  • +force +include
  • -remove -these -terms
  • "phrase quotes"
  • wildcard* search*
  • site:.edu
  • site:awesomedomain.com
  • intitle:"this phrase must appear in the title"
  • inurl:links

How We Index Your Prospects

Once we've discovered a link prospect for you (which we do on a nightly basis), we add that link prospect to your own, customized link prospect database.

We do this just like Google or Bing or any other search engine, but we do so in a way that gives you much more control of how to search your link prospects.

For each link prospect, we index, separately, the URL text, Title text and Body text. This opens up a wide range of searching possibilities, such as being able to search your link prospect database for URLs that contain the word "links" or "resources" or "blog".

Combining this with the ability to also search the body text, we provide to you the ability to discover very specific link prospects that meet content requirements such as: The body and title text contains the phrase "rock climbing," and the URL contains the word "blog".

Finally, when you build and perform a query on your link prospect database, there is a Relevance Score that is calculated for each prospect and displayed in your results. This Relevance Score reflects how relevant each link prospect is to your individual query. With a new query, the same link prospect will almost always return a different Relevance Score.

Understanding Terms & Phrases

A query is broken up into terms and operators. There are two types of terms: Single Terms and Phrases.

A Single Term is a single word such as "building" or "link".

A Phrase is a group of words surrounded by double quotes such as "link building".

Multiple terms can be combined together with Boolean operators to form a more complex query (see below).

Modifying Terms & Phrases

Ontolo supports modifying query terms to provide a wide range of searching options.

Wildcard Searches

Ontolo supports single and multiple character wildcard searches within single terms (not within phrase queries).

To perform a single character wildcard search use the "?" symbol.

To perform a multiple character wildcard search use the "*" symbol.

The single character wildcard search looks for terms that match that with the single character replaced. For example, to search for "text" or "test" you can use the search:

te?t

Multiple character wildcard searches looks for 0 or more characters. For example, to search for link, links or linker, you can use the search:

link*

You can also use the wildcard searches in the middle of a term.

li*k

Note: You cannot use a * or ? symbol as the first character of a search.

Fuzzy Searches

Ontolo supports fuzzy searches based on the Levenshtein Distance, or Edit Distance algorithm. To do a fuzzy search use the tilde, "~", symbol at the end of a Single word Term. For example to search for a term similar in spelling to "link" use the fuzzy search:

link~

This search will find terms like lick, mink and links.

Proximity Searches

Ontolo supports finding words that are a within a specific distance away. To do a proximity search use the tilde, "~", symbol at the end of a Phrase. For example to search for a "building" and "link" within 10 words of each other in a document use the search:

"link building"~10

Boosting a Term

Ontolo provides the relevance level of matching documents based on the terms found. To boost a term use the caret, "^", symbol with a boost factor (a number) at the end of the term you are searching. The higher the boost factor, the more the boosted term will increase the relevance score for that document.

Boosting allows you to control the relevance of a document by boosting its term. For example, if you are searching for

link building

and you want the term "link" to be more relevant boost it using the ^ symbol along with the boost factor next to the term. You would type:

link^4 building

This will make documents with the term link appear more relevant. You can also boost Phrase Terms as in the example:

"link building"^4 "building links"

If you don't set any boost, the boost factor on every query term is 1. Although the boost factor must be positive, it can be less than 1 (e.g. 0.2)

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators allow terms to be combined through logic operators. Ontolo supports AND, "+", &&, OR, ||, NOT and "-" as Boolean operators (Note: Boolean operators must be ALL CAPS).

Optional Inclusion: OR, ||

The OR operator is the default conjunction operator. This means that if there is no Boolean operator between two terms, the OR operator is used. The OR operator links two terms and finds a matching document if either of the terms exist in a document. The symbol || can be used in place of the word OR.

To search for documents that contain either "link building" or just "link" use the query:

"link building" link

or

"link building" OR link

or

"link building" || link

Required Inclusion: AND, &&, +

The AND operator matches documents where both terms exist anywhere in the text of a single document. The symbol && can be used in place of the word AND.

To search for documents that contain "link building" and "building links" use the query:

+"link building" +"building links"

or

"link building" AND "building links"

or

"link building" && "building links"

The "+" or required operator requires that the term after the "+" symbol exist somewhere in a the field of a single document.

To search for documents that must contain "link" and may contain "building" use the query:

+link building

Exclusion: NOT, !, -

The NOT operator excludes documents that contain the term after NOT. This is equivalent to a difference using sets. The symbol ! can be used in place of the word NOT.

To search for documents that contain "link building" but not "building Ontolo" use the query:

"link building" -"building links"

or

"link building" NOT "building links"

or

"link building" ! "building links"

Note: The NOT operator cannot be used with just one term. For example, the following search will return no results:

NOT "link building"

The "-" or prohibit operator excludes documents that contain the term after the "-" symbol.

To search for documents that contain "link building" but not "building links" use the query:

"link building" -"building links"

Grouping Terms & Phrases

Ontolo supports using parentheses to group clauses to form sub queries. This can be very useful if you want to control the boolean logic for a query.

To search for either "link" or "links", and "building", use the query:

(link OR links) AND building

This eliminates any confusion and makes sure you that "building" must exist and either term "link" or "links" may exist.

Field Grouping

When preceded by one of the three searchable link prospect fields, Ontolo supports using parentheses to group multiple clauses to a single field.

Additionally, you may restrict your results to domains or TLDs with the popular [ site:query ] operator.

To search for a title that contains both the word "blogs" and the phrase "link building" use the query:

intitle:(+blogs +"link building")

Ontolo allows you to search on three fields of every link prospect in your database. The Body Text [ intext:query ], Title Tag Text [ intitle:query ] and URL Text [ inurl:query ]. Each of these searches are performed without the [brackets].

Here are examples of how to search each field, each one combined with some other advanced operators.

intext:(+"link building"^8 +"building links")

intitle:(-(resource* list* blog* link*) +"link building")

inurl:(link~ resource* lib)

You may also combine field searches into a single query. For example:

intitle:("link building") intext:("link building"^8 links prospect*)

And, if you really want to get crazy with the cheese whiz, you can apply other advanced operators to the field groups:

-intitle:("link building") +intext:(link* prospect*) inurl:(link~ resource*)^8