How to Vet and Validate Link Prospects 


Hey guys! Welcome to the blog which is all about vetting and validating link prospects. Now, straight up, this stage is kind of boring. You’re basically taking your huge list of unfiltered prospects and checking them for a couple of things. In short, you want to make sure that:

  1. a) They actually link you want
  2. b) That your link pitches will be relevant. 

Now, before we can get into tips on doing it fast, let’s get on the same page about how you do it slowly, step by step. So, when you’re vetting prospects using the methods best cv writing service the UK taught in the last module, there are 3 steps you can do. I like to look at them in levels depending on the size of the prospect list. Level 1 is to narrow down your list of prospects by SEO metrics. 

Domain Rating Vs Website Traffic

Two common metrics people often use are Domain Rating and domain-level website traffic. Domain Rating basically tells us whether a site has followed links across its domain. And this is important to some people because if a website has low authority, then chances are, you won’t get much PageRank by getting a link from a page on their site. Now, DR is far from perfect because 

  1. a) It’s a third-party metric; and 
  2. b) PR flows at the page level 

I personally don’t put too much weight on this metric. As for total website traffic, it gives us a hint of whether the site is likely in good standing with Google. For example, it’s unlikely that you’ll see a DR 90 site with 0 website traffic unless they’ve been hit by Google. In my opinion, it makes sense to use the filter when you’re working with hundreds or potentially thousands of link prospects. 

Metric Prospects

You may filter out a handful of decent prospects, but you’ll likely remove more low-quality prospects than good ones. So the time savings is worth it. Now, trusting these metrics alone would be a mistake. This leads us nicely into level 2, which is to ensure that prospects’ pages are relevant to the page you’ll be pitching. 

Now, in this stage, you can just scan the titles of your prospects’ pages which should give us hints into what the page is about. For example, if we were building links to our SEO stats page based on the people linking this competing URL, you’ll see from the titles of referring pages that they’re all pretty relevant. This one’s on SEO interview questions and answers. 

This one’s on the best digital marketing channels. Then there’s this one on ranking on the first page of Google and so on. But as you continue to go down the list, you might question whether this one of the “best online shopping sites in Singapore” is worth reaching out to. The page itself doesn’t seem super relevant to me, but the domain is So it sounds like a marketing agency to me which is relevant to SEO and our page on SEO stats. 

High Priority Prospect 

I’d personally keep it on our list at this point, but it wouldn’t exactly be a high-priority prospect in my opinion. As for a page like this which is on lead gen competitive advantages for pest control, I’d just exclude it. I’d also exclude pages in other languages because my content would be in English and so would my outreach pitch. 

Validate Pitch Angle

Alright, onto level 3, which is to validate that your pitch angle is relevant. Now, because our prospecting method revolves around finding seed prospects based on a linkable point, that means we need to check each prospect’s page to make sure they’re still mentioning that point. For example, in our SEO stats campaign, I exported all backlinks that mention “93” in the anchor and surrounding text. 

I did this because the organic competitor’s page doesn’t mention the stat, meaning all links pointing to the page because the 93% stat are now irrelevant. This also means, we need to validate that the prospects still mention this stat on the page, because if they’re not, then our personalized email saying, “Hey you’re mentioning this 93% stat” just wouldn’t make sense. 

In this case, vetting the page would actually require us to visit these URLs and do a find on the page for “93.” Now, while it only takes around 30 seconds to verify that a page still mentions the stat, if you have 1,000 pages to inspect, then that’s 500 minutes or over 8 hours of work. 

Super Monotonous Task

Plus, it’s a super monotonous task that’s prone to human error. But the good news is that you can do it more accurately in under 5 minutes by using Screaming Frog’s custom search feature. To set it up, click on Configuration, then hover over Custom, and choose Search. Now, I’ll name our custom search to “93%,” make sure the condition is “Contains” and then type “93” in the search box. Now I’ll choose Page Text from the dropdown and we’re all set to go. 

Now, all I have to do is run the 875 URLs in list mode and run the crawl. From here, you can go to the custom search tab, choose your filter in the dropdown, and you’ll see a list of all URLs that match your custom search. So in our case, 779 URLs of the 875 that we crawled, mention our linkable point. This means, that 96 pages either didn’t match the footprint or returned a non-200 response code. So that saved us around 48 minutes of precious vetting time. 

Complexity Of Your Linkable Point

Now, it’s not always possible to vet at a scale like this. And that usually depends on the complexity of your linkable point. For example, we found some lookalike prospects in Content Explorer by searching for “use LSI keywords” as our query. And our hope was to find pages that recommend using so-called “LSI keywords” because again, they don’t exist. 

Now, as for our pitch, we might try to gently educate prospects on so-called “LSI keywords” and offer suggestions to update their content with more accurate information – where our guide could potentially be an additional resource. Now, just because a page says “use LSI keywords,” it doesn’t mean they’re all recommending to use them. In fact, this page has the phrase, “use LSI keywords” on it, but the context of the mention is “Does Google use them?” 

In this section, they quote John Mueller saying that they’re not a thing. Unfortunately for complex linkable points like this, where footprints can have various contexts, the only way to vet these prospects is manual. And I’ll talk about hiring good vetters in our last module on team building. Now, after you’ve finished your page vetting process, you’ll need to start finding the right people to send your email pitches to.

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