by Juan Robin II
Looking for a link building tactic that scales? This is the resource for you.
Resource page link building is nothing new. Still, it remains one of the most popular link building tactics around.
How popular? In 2016, Moz surveyed 435 SEO professionals. 56% said they used resource page link building, making it the second most popular link building tactic amongst respondents.
Why so popular? Three reasons:
- It works.
- It’s scalable.
- It’s relatively easy.
In this guide, I’ll explain how to build links from resource pages in three simple steps.
But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page.
What is resource page link building?
Resource page link building is where you get backlinks from web pages that curate and link out to useful industry resources.
Here’s what a typical resource page looks like:
That page curates and links to third‐party resources about design.
So, if you happened to have a tremendous design‐related resource, you could reach out to the creator of that page and suggest it for inclusion.
Why it works
A resource page’s value is determined solely by the quality and quantity of the third‐party resources to which it links. When you reach out and suggest useful content to the creators of such pages, what you’re doing is helping them to improve the page.
That’s why most creators of resource pages want you to reach out with suggestions, and many even include a submission form like this:
… or an email address where you can send suggestions:
What this means is that you don’t usually have to do too much convincing to get your link added. If the link adds value to the page, people are generally happy to add it.
How to build links from resource pages
Before we get started, it’s important to note that there’s no point running with this tactic unless you have something worthy of a link in the first place.
Usually, this will be a blog post, tool or another informational resource, but it can also be your homepage (if your site is valuable in general).
Don’t have that? Read this post.
If you’re good to go, then the process is pretty straightforward and goes something like this:
- Find relevant resource pages
- Vet the pages
- Reach out and suggest your resource
Let’s start at the top.
Step #1. Find relevant resource pages
There are a few ways to find resource pages, but the most common is to use Google search operators.
In case you’re unfamiliar with these, they’re effectively advanced search modifiers that allow you to pull a more specific set of results from Google. And they’re the key to finding a plentiful supply of relevant resource page prospects.
So, let’s say that you run a fitness website:
You’d go to Google and type something like
paleo intitle:resources inurl:resources.html.
But don’t stop here. There are many other search operators you can use to find more prospects, such as:
paleo intitle:resources inurl:links.html
paleo intitle:links inurl: resources.html
paleo inurl:resources intitle:resources
Make sure to change the keyword (paleo) to something relevant to your website or web page.
You can then expand your pool of prospects even further by reusing the same operators but changing the topic slightly. For example:
diet intitle:resources inurl:links.html
diet intitle:links inurl: resources.html
diet inurl:resources intitle:resources
It’s usually best to keep your keyword searches somewhat broad. If you go too specific (e.g., “best protein powder for women”) then you may struggle to find relevant results.
If you want to speed up everything we’ve covered thus far, you can make a copy of my favorite resource page search operators here.
It’s super simple to use: add up to 10 keywords in the highlighted cells, let the sheet work its magic for a second or two, then head over to the “Results” tab:
Boom. You now have hundreds of search operators ready to go.
The next task is to scrape the search results for each of those queries and pull them into a single spreadsheet. That way, you have all the prospects in one place ready for filtering and vetting in the next step.
There are a few different ways to do this.
a) Manual scrape
If you made a copy of my spreadsheet, you might have noticed the “SERP link” next to each query.
Clicking any one of these takes you directly to the top 100 search results for the associated query in Google.
(Pretty neat, right!?)
But how exactly are you supposed to extract these results and pull them into a spreadsheet?
Using Ahrefs SEO toolbar:
If you’re an Ahrefs user, the best and easiest way to do this is to install the Ahrefs SEO toolbar. Doing so uses row credits included in your plan to extract Google search results, complete with Ahrefs SEO metrics.
Each SERP will download to a CSV file.
Now, if you’re doing this for hundreds of different queries, it does mean that you’ll end up with hundreds of CSV files at the end.
Luckily, there’s a simple fix. Just upload all the exported CSVs in bulk to Merge-CSV.com.
This website does what it says on the tin—it merges many CSVs into one master file.
If this process sounds like too much hard work and you’re on a multi‐user Ahrefs plan, then copy these instructions and send them to your VA:
- Install Ahrefs SEO toolbar.
- Log in with these credentials: *insert your login credentials*
- Open this Google Sheet: *insert link to your sheet*
- Click the first link “SERP link” in the tab labeled “Results.”
- Click the download button on the Ahrefs toolbar to extract all search results to CSV.
- Repeat this process for the rest of the “SERP links” in the sheet.
- Once done, upload all CSVs to merge-csvs.com.
- Send the final “master” CSV file to me, and bill for your time 🙂
Using the SERP scraper bookmarklet:
Not an Ahrefs user? No problem. Install this SERP scraper bookmarklet.
This is not a traditional Chrome extension, but rather a bookmarklet. So the installation process is as simple as dragging it onto your bookmarks bar.
Then, all you need to do is click the bookmarklet to extract and download the SERP to CSV.
b) Bulk scrape
If you want to save yourself some time, you can use a tool to scrape the results for hundreds of queries in bulk.
There are a few of these around, but the two most popular ones are:
Scrapebox is the self‐proclaimed swiss‐army knife of SEO. To scrape Google search results in Scrapebox, paste your queries into the “Keywords” box (top left‐hand corner), then hit “Scrape.”
To do this in bulk, you’ll need to invest in proxies. Not only is that an added expense ($10-$20/month, at least) but it’s also often more hassle than it’s worth.
Citation Labs Link Prospector:
I use Citation Labs Link Prospector whenever I want to scrape Google search results in bulk.
It costs anywhere from $1-$5 to scrape the top 100 search results for up to 149 keywords, and it’s 100% cloud-based—so no need for proxies.
Using it is simple enough. Just hit Find new prospects > Custom > Create custom report > then paste in the queries from your spreadsheet.
Hit “Show advanced options” to change the scrape depth (note: this will affect the number of credits needed for a scrape).
I usually set this to 100.
Step #2. Vet the pages
Now that you’ve scraped what probably amounts to thousands of resource pages from Google, you need to vet the prospects.
This is a two‐step process:
- Metric‐based filtering and elimination, followed by:
- Manual review
In simple terms, this means pulling in a bunch of SEO metrics to weed out the junk without ever having to visit those pages, then manually reviewing the remaining prospects before reaching out.
This is the most efficient way to go about things if you want to build resource page backlinks at scale.
a) Metric‐based filtering and elimination
If you used the Ahrefs SEO toolbar to export SERPs in the previous step, then you’ve got a bit of a head start here because you should already see Ahrefs’ SEO metrics in your final CSV.
IMPORTANT! One metric you won’t have is “linked domains.” You can do without that, but it does make eliminating worthless prospects a lot more efficient. So I recommend continuing with the process as it’s laid out below to pull in that metric.
If not, you first need to pull these metrics for your list of prospects.
There are a couple of ways to do that.
Using Screaming Frog:
Screaming Frog integrates with Ahrefs via our API, meaning that you can use it to pull Ahrefs’ SEO metrics for as many URLs as your account limits allow.
To get started, open Screaming Frog, then make sure you’re using List mode. To do this, hit Mode > List on the menu bar.
Next, connect your Ahrefs account. To do that, go to Configuration > API access > Ahrefs. You’ll then be asked to enter your Ahrefs API credentials, which you can find here.
Once that’s done, hit Upload, paste in your list of scraped URLs, confirm the list of links, then start the scrape. When the crawl is complete, hit Export to get the results in CSV format.
Now, there’ll be tons of data in here, and you don’t need all of it, so your best bet is to clean things up before going any further.
Keep these columns, and delete the rest:
- Status code
- Title 1
- Word count
- Unique outlinks
- Ahrefs RefDomains
- Ahrefs URL Rating
- Ahrefs Domain Rating
Using Ahrefs’ Batch Analysis tool:
If you don’t have Screaming Frog, then no worries. Just paste your prospects into Ahrefs’ Batch Analysis tool in batches of 200, choose “URL mode,” then export the results to CSV.
Use merge-csv.com to create a “master” CSV file from the exports once done.
You won’t need all the data in this CSV, so delete all the columns except for:
- URL Rating
- Domain Rating
- Linked Domains
- Total Traffic
Whichever tool you use, the next step is to apply the following filters to your list of prospects:
- Status code = 200*
- Unique outlinks / Linked domains > 3
- DR >= 10 (optional)
- UR >= 5 (optional)
Starred (*) filters are only possible with the Screaming Frog export. Don’t worry if you don’t have these; it’s not a big deal.
I bolded the outlinks filter because it’s the most important. If a page doesn’t have any external outlinks, then it means they’re only linking to internal resources. In which case, you should eliminate this target because the chances of them linking to you are slim to none.
The result should look something like this:
You can also filter the URL/target column to remove pages from certain websites—e.g., Pinterest, Blogspot, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
b) Manual vetting
You should now have eliminated most of the junk prospects from your list. But your work is not quite over yet.
The next step is to manually review the remaining pages to identify the best prospects to reach out to.
The easiest and quickest way to do this is to open up the URLs in batches of 5–10, then review the pages manually. You can use openallurls.com to make this easier.
This process is somewhat subjective, but in general, you’re looking for pages that:
- Link out to external resources
- Link to other topically‐related resources
- Look like someone cares about maintaining them
But most importantly, you should look to identify the pages where the addition of your link will add value. Make an effort to do that, and your conversion rate will skyrocket.
For any prospects that don’t meet your requirements, put an “x” in the URL/target column to signify that you don’t need to pitch them.
Step #3. Reach out and suggest your resource
Finally, now that you’ve got a list of vetted prospects, you need to contact them and suggest your resource for inclusion on their page.
Believe it or not, this is the easy part.
If your resource is a relevant match and adds value to the page, then often all you need to do is let the right person know that your content exists.
That goes something like this:
- Hey [Name]
- Just came across your list of resources here: [link]
- We just created [x]
- It might make a worthwhile addition to the page.
I’ve purposely paraphrased this template to encourage you to add your own creative flair.
Here are a few tips to get the most from your efforts:
Tip #1: Respect their preferred contact method
Mail merges are your best friend when it comes to conducting email outreach at scale. But you shouldn’t forgo the person’s preferred contact method just to make your life that little bit easier.
If the person clearly states that you should suggest additional resources via the contact form on the page as the owner of this site does…
… then you should respect their wishes!
Respect is a two‐way street, and in my experience, people are much more likely to link to you if you show them respect up front.
Tip #2: Email the person responsible for the page
Nine times out of ten, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org is avoidable. It’s what lazy marketers do when they can’t be bothered to hunt down the email address of a real person.
Don’t be that marketer. Make an effort to figure out who’s responsible for the page, then contact them directly. Your conversion rate will thank you for it.
I realize that it’s not always possible to find such emails. My point is that pitching generic emails should be a last resort, not your first thought.
Recommended reading: 9 Actionable Ways To Find Anyone’s Email Address
Tip #3: Tell them where the link should go
There’s an unspoken rule when it comes to outreach, and it goes something like this:
Don’t make the other person think any more than they have to.
How does this apply to resource pages? You’ll often find that the links on such pages are divided into subgroups.
Make the other person’s life easier by telling them precisely where you think it makes the most sense to add your link.
This isn’t being pushy or condescending; it’s helpful.
Tip #4: Point out broken links on the page
Resource pages are often chock full of broken links.
That’s bad because dead links are detrimental to user experience and make the page less valuable. For that reason, any self‐respecting website owner should want to get rid of them.
If there are broken links on the page, the fact that they’re still there tells you one of two things:
- They don’t care
- They don’t know the broken links exist
You can’t know for sure which one applies, so it’s best to assume #2.
And that’s where you come in…
As you’re manually reviewing each page to personalize your outreach emails, you can also run a quick check for broken links. The easiest and fastest way to do this is with the LinkMiner Chrome extension. Once installed, all you have to do is click the extension icon in your browser, and every dead link on the page will turn red.
You can then let the site owner know about any dead links in your email.
Here’s what might look like in practice:
- Hey [Name]
- Just came across your resource page.
- Couldn’t help but notice the link to [x] no longer works.
- You might want to remove it.
- We just created [x]
- It might make a worthwhile addition to the page while you’re there.
Once again, I’m paraphrasing on purpose. Always personalize your outreach emails as much as possible.
Emails like this give site owners even more of an incentive to edit and fix the page, at which point the chance of them also adding your link should be pretty high.
If you’re using Screaming Frog and want to make this process more efficient, just hit Bulk Export > Response codes > Client Error (4XX) Inlinks.
You can then work some spreadsheet magic (VLOOKUP, QUERY) to pull this data into your master prospecting file. That makes it easy to templatize outreach emails using custom mail‐merge fields in popular outreach tools like Buzzsteam, Pitchbox, and Mailshake.
Tip #5: Don’t pay
If the site owner asks for money in exchange for a link, forget it. Why? Because it indicates that the only prerequisite for inclusion is cold hard cash. In other words, they’ll probably link to any old rubbish for the right price.
This means that over time, the quality of the linking page diminishes.
Worst case scenario? The link could end up harming instead of helping your SEO.
Plus, don’t forget that buying links is against Google’s guidelines and can result in a business‐crushing manual penalty.
How to find even more resource pages with ease
Follow all of the instructions above, and it should be enough to land at least a handful of resource page links in most niches. But why stop there? There are plenty of other ways to find even more resource pages.
Here are three of them:
1. Search the backlink profiles of sites with known resource page links
A page with a link from one resource page is likely to have links from other resource pages. Reason being, this is a common link building tactic, so it’s probable that at least some of the resource page links a site has came about as a direct result of their outreach efforts.
So here’s what you can do:
Take your vetted list of resource pages and throw them back into Screaming Frog. This time, make sure to tick the “Check external links” box under Configuration > Spider.
Crawl these pages and once done, go to the “External” tab and hit the “Export” button.
This will export all external links from your entire list of resource pages to a CSV.
Next, copy and paste the entire list of URLs from the Screaming Frog export into a domain name extraction tool like this one.
Make sure to check the “Remove duplicates” checkbox.
Copy the resulting list of domains and paste them back into Screaming Frog. Make sure the Ahrefs API is connected, then go to Configuration > Spider > Limits > Limit crawl depth > zero.
Start the crawl, then export all the Internal links once done. Open up the resulting CSV, and sort by the “Ahrefs RefDomains” column from high to low.
What you have now is a list of websites that you know to have at least one resource page backlink, complete with Ahrefs’ SEO metrics.
So, the trick is to paste any relevant domains (ignore big sites like Twitter, Facebook, Fiverr, etc.) into Ahrefs Site Explorer one by one, then check the “Backlinks” report. From here, you can use the search box to find backlinks with footprints like “resources” and “links” in the title or URL of the referring page.
This should pull out any other resource page links the site has.
Rinse and repeat this process for the other relevant domains in your CSV.
2. Search for less “traditional” resource pages
Resource pages come in all shapes and forms, yet most people completely forget this when doing resource page link building.
To illustrate what I mean, imagine that you want to build some resource page links for a workout tracking app.
Using traditional search operators, you’ll probably find tons of pages like this:
… but likely not like this:
That’s a shame because these are also “resource” pages in their own right as they list and link to various third‐party resources.
To find such pages, you can use search operators like:
keyword intitle:”best places”
keyword intitle:”best websites”
keyword intitle:”best sites”
keyword intitle:”best AROUND(X) sites”
Just make sure to adjust them accordingly. For example, to find the list of fitness app resources above, I searched for fitness intitle:”best AROUND(5) apps”
You can also use Ahrefs Site Explorer to find these kinds of pages. Just enter a competitor, go to the “Backlinks” report, then search for words like “best” in the title or URL of referring pages.
3. Search for pages with resource sections
A page doesn’t have to be solely dedicated to listing resources for it to, well, list some resources.
Case in point:
You can see that this page has a “further reading” section that lists a few useful third‐party resources about the topic at hand.
So, if you happened to have a useful piece of content that would make a worthwhile addition to this “micro list,” you could suggest that for inclusion on this page… much like you do with “regular” resource pages.
To find these opportunities at scale, you can once again use search operators. Here are a few good ones:
keyword intext:”further reading”
keyword intext:”more resources”
keyword intext:”other resources”
keyword intext:”favorite resources”
keyword intext:”favorite tools”
Then, all you have to do is load up the search results one by one and do a CTRL/CMD+F search for the associated footprint. Sometimes the opportunities will make sense:
… and sometimes they won’t:
Now, I’ll level with you: there are good and bad points to this tactic when compared to “traditional” resource page link building.
The good points:
- Fewer people are doing it (less competitive).
- The links will often be of higher quality than those from “traditional” resource pages.
The bad points:
- Not always a lot of these pages around.
- Unlike “traditional” resource pages, these people probably aren’t looking for your suggestions or feedback, which leads to lower conversion rates.
But that doesn’t make it a lousy tactic; it just means you’ll need to make a little more effort.
If you can build a relationship with the site owner, or at least be helpful in some way before going in for the “ask,” you can overcome some of the negatives mentioned above.
If you truly want to scale your link building efforts, then you should aim to master one tactic at a time… and resource page link building is probably the best one to start with.
Let me know in the comments or on Twitter if you have any questions.