A footprint is a search term that we can use to find certain types of sites or pages that may be useful for us and understanding how to find footprints can be helpful when looking for linking opportunities. Every SEO should be familiar with finding footprints and most have some sort of scraping software such as Scrapebox that can make automated queries to the search engines and capture the results.
However for your own manual link building for your own business SEO you can take advantage of using footprints without any special software at all. All you need to know is how to find the footprints of what you are looking for and a search engine. Google will provide the search engine and I’ll provide the knowledge!
Finding your First Footprint
Ok we are going to find sites that are actively looking to exchange links. This is going to be really technical so try to stick with me.
Step 1. Copy the following including quotes:
“exchange links with us”
Step 2. Paste it into Google
Step 3. Press Search
Hopefully you followed that ok, that’s tricky SEO stuff so don’t worry if you didn’t get it right first time!
If you did get it right you should now be looking at the first page of a couple of hundred thousand results for people looking to exchange links.
By putting a search query in quotes the search engine will only return matches for that exact phrase. All we need to do is think of what phrase people would use when looking to exchange links.
Refining Your Search
Ok, so now you’re an expert SEO and can find footprints it’s now time to refine the search, we need links within our own niche. For this example I’m going to pretend that I need links for my hair product site.
I use the following search term:
“exchange links with us” “Hair Products”
This time we have two phrases in quotes. We are looking to match both if possible, these matches may come from the page content or the domain name.
Try this and you’ll see we get less results, just under 2000 but they all look targeted to our niche… Perfect, I didn’t fancy sending 200,000 emails anyway!
Finding Other Opportunities
Ok, so maybe you want one way links instead of a link exchange… fair enough we can find those too. This time we are going to find blogs to guest post on by looking for this footprint:
“write for us” “hair products”
You should now see a bunch of hair related sites looking for guest authors. Guest blogging is a great way to get contextually relevant one way links to your site, just make sure you check out the site first and avoid any that seem low quality or spammy. We want our links to become more valuable over time, a quality blog will do this for us whereas a low quality blog is likely to lose value and possibly disappear all together!
So that should be enough to get you started, I’ll leave you with a couple of sites that can help you find footprints for all kinds of linking opportunities – Just promise me you won’t use them to spam anyone!
I hope this has been helpful for you… happy hunting!