Scrapebox is well known in the SEO community as a Grey Hat, Black Hat, Yellow Polka Dotted Hat link building tool that is mainly used by blog commenting spammers. If you have ever spent any time reading blogs you will have seen the stereotypical comments on blogs. They usually say things such as “Great Blog Post thanks for sharing” with a keyword rich anchor text link to a site selling fake Ugg boots.
I know a lot of my regular readers will have a heart attack at the recommendation of using Scrapebox as a “White Hat” Link Building tool. A lot of people in the SEO community hate the thoughts of automated link building and the sheer mention of a tool such as Scrapebox makes their skin crawl. I can already imagine several people ready to jump down to the comments and tell me that tools like this are ruining the internet…
Well “Soapbox White Hatters” I’m going to show you a way that you can actually use Scrapebox to make the internet a better place… in fact a safer place for all!
So what is this Scrapebox Link building technique?
This link building technique utilises some of the free plugins that you can get from Scrapebox, the main tactic in this technique is to find a compromised or malware infected site and open a dialogue with the site owner in an attempt to receive a link either via a Guest Post or by suggesting the site owner replaces broken links with your own.
Scrapebox currently costs $97 (there are a few coupons on the net for $57 if you search around) and for the amount of time and money this tool will save you it is more than worth the investment. Scrapebox allows you to harvest thousands of URL’s from Google and Bing in no time at all and by entering your own custom footprints e.g. “submit * guest post” [keyword] you will find lots of guest blogging opportunities for your niche quickly. You can also import .txt files with lots of different search terms to put your harvesting on steroids.
The first free plugin you will need is the Malware and Phishing Filter once you have installed this plugin it allows you to search a list of sites from Scrapebox to find sites that have been compromised by some form of Malware. If you have Google Webmaster Tools setup on your websites then Google will normally inform you that a site has been infected by malware. Sadly many bloggers and small business owners rarely check their sites for malware and not everyone knows how to setup Google Webmaster tools.
Import your list of scraped URLs into the Malware checker and run it. This will flag up any site that has been compromised by some form of malware. You now want to export all of these bad urls and using the OSE check for PA/DA of the pages. Starting with the sites with the highest authority I then work down my list.
You can run the list through the Scrapebox Whois tool or use Scrapebox itself to check the contact page for any email addresses. You do not want to visit these sites as there is a risk that your computer maybe infected by a virus.
Now you want to send an email to the webmaster informing them of the malware issue on their site and send them a link to some helpful blog posts on how to fix malware infected sites. (If you haven't checked out John Doherty's blog post on SEOMoz about outreach email then make sure you do!)
You obviously do not want to ask for a link at this point. Depending on the quality of the site it might be worth using your hustle to track down alternative contact details too such as phone number, Twitter Handle, LinkedIn profile etc.
I have had a very good success rate in contacting webmasters using this technique and quite often I find that they are very grateful for you pointing out the problem on their website. Now that you have the dialogue with the site owner I will leave it to your imagination as to what approach you use next to obtain the link. But, this a good time to check the site for broken links or pitch a guest blog as the webmaster will probably have to recover the content on the site. I have even had a few webmasters offer me the chance to buy their sites for a small fee as they don’t have the time or inclination to fix their site and keep it up to date anymore!
So there you have it one way in which you can use a well regarded spam tool to speed up your link building research and to help make the web a safer place.
More Scrapebox Goodies.
I’m going to cover off a couple of other tasks I like to use ScrapeBox for when I am carrying out my day to day role, and hopefully I can show you some great ways to save time and speed up those monotonous processes. There are a lot of extra applications for ScrapeBox and I am going to leave it to your own judgement as to the “ethical” use of this tool.
How to find Blogs to Guest Post on using ScrapeBox
I know guest blogging has been getting a lot of stick recently and quite rightly so. Some link builders have been really abusing this great tactic over the past few months; but I am sure you won’t be doing that will you now.
In this guide I am going to run through some screenshots so you can see how easy it is to use. I hope you are pretty up to speed with your advanced Google search operators, because you’re going to be dusting them off once you get your hands on ScrapeBox.
In this guide I am suggesting ways to find guest post prospects but you could just as easily use this method to find blogs to place infographics, videos or whatever other outreach projects you are working on.
- You want to add in your main keyword in this case I am looking for SEO blogs to write for
- You select “Custom Footprint” and add in your different footprints
- Select the search engine(s) you want to scrape e.g. Bing, Google, Yahoo
- Click the “start harvesting” button and go grab a fresh cup of coffee
- Once you have finished harvesting your URL’s you want to remove the duplicates (and you can also use ScrapeBox to lookup the PageRank of the domain)
- You then want to export the list into a CSV file
- I then like to do some basic prospecting to qualify my targets e.g. Web Design, PageRank or mozRank, RSS Subscribers, Social Media presence
I am not going to cover off best practises on pitching your guest posts in this article but if you want some good pointers on outreach I suggest you read my blogger outreach interview.
How to use ScrapeBox to Check for Broken Links
Another ScrapeBox tool you will find quite handy is the bulk URL check, especially if you have a big list of URL’s to check on a regular basis.
Oh and did I mention, you don’t even need to buy a license for this tool it’s completely free!
All you have to do is open the tool and then import a list of links you want to check in one text file. Now upload another text file you want to add in your URL’s. There are two options here you can either check a link to a specific URL is live or just check a link to the domain is live. It only takes a few minutes to check your list and then you can export the failed links and check with the webmaster to see why it may have been removed.
How to use ScrapeBox to Scrape Google Image Search
Do you suffer from your images being stolen by webmasters without attribution? Well you can use Scrapebox to search Google for your image and then return the URL’s. The best way to do this is to make sure your image file names contain a set of random letters and numbers that will make it easy for you to find them e.g. dog-photo-xc345.jpg
You can then do a quick Google image search with ScrapeBox for “dog-photo-xc345.jpg” and the URL’s will be revealed. I would then personally load this list into ScrapeBox and use the WHOIS lookup tool to find the contact information for the domain owner and reach out asking they provide a link to your site for fair use of your image.
“Haters gonna hate… Scrapers gonna Scrape…”
As I mentioned at the start of this post there are lots of other great uses for ScrapeBox such as this article on ScrapeBox Keyword Research and also some additional ScrapeBox Tricks and Tips by Dan Bochichio.
If you have any more Scrapebox tips and tricks drop them in the comments below.