Open Site Explorer is an extremely useful tool for finding out who links to a specific site. You can export your competitor’s link data and use Excel to filter the best link opportunities to the top. Like mining for gold, you often have to filter through a lot of worthless stuff to get to the gold nuggets.
Here is my process for filtering link opportunities with Open Site Explorer and Excel.
1. Go to Opensiteexplorer.org. You will need a Pro membership with Moz or a free trial.
2. Enter the URL of a website that you want to mine for link opportunities and click “Search.”
3. Select “only follow”, “only external”, “pages on this root domain”, and “show links ungrouped” from the drop down menus.
4. Click on Export to CSV.
5. Open the CSV file in Microsoft Excel (I use Excel for Mac).
6. Turn the sheet into a table by clicking on the cell in the first column and second row and clicking on the create table icon.
7. Go through the rows and highlight rows that are good link opportunities. You can use different shades of color to indicate the level of opportunity. If you go by the temperature of stars, yellow cells can be moderately hot targets and blue cells can be very hot targets.
8. Click on the table header to filter the highlighted rows to the top of the table.
9. Work on taking action with the highlighted opportunities. When an action is taken, write a note and change the highlighted color to gray. If it turns into a link, change the color to green (or use your own color scheme).
10. Create a Google Doc and keep track of your link wins over time. Seeing your list of links grow can keep the motivation going.