How to Dig For Link Gold With Link Reclamation

Sometimes, even if it’s no fault of your own, someone decides to delete or change a link to your site. Don’t panic! In this video I show you how to find lost links at scale, and how to get your link back where it belongs. I’ll also show you how to use Google Webmaster Tools to turn useless 404 pages into ranking powerhouses.

Video Transcript

Hey, what’s up everybody? It’s Brian Dean from QuickSprout. And in this video, I’m going to show you how to build links using link reclamation.

The first way to do that is to find links that have been deleted, that were put in to your site and then getting them back. And the easiest way to find these deleted or removed links is to use AHrefs. So head on over to AHrefs and put in your home page into this field. Click on search links. Once you’ve done that under this back links area, click on the New/Lost tab. And this will show you all the found and lost links, the AHF’s has found over time. And because we’re only going to look for lost links, you want to click on the lost button here. And click on show back links. Now, one thing I want to point out is that there’s a date range here. And if you’ve never done this, you may want to put the date range maybe a month or two before today’s date. But for this example, we’re just going to have the last week, and click on ‘show back links’. Now, these are all the lost back links that AHF has found over this week period, and as you can see, there were quite a few 2,436. Now obviously, most of these are not links that were actually deleted. A lot of times, in the case of home pages like sunitabiddu.com, which I’ll show you. This link is probably on an internal page. They found it on the home page, because they had a rolling post feed like this. So, it once showed up on the home page, but because he posted more stuff, this got pushed to the second page. So, this isn’t actually a link that was deleted to QuickSprout. So, this isn’t a case where you’d want to reach out the webmaster and ask him to add the link.

But if you go through, you can usually find a link that has been actually deleted. Maybe the person deleted the post. Maybe there’s an error on the site. Maybe the person just decided to change one resource for another resource. It depends on the circumstance, so you have to look one by one through them and see which one makes sense. And if you see a link that is no longer there, consider reaching out to that webmaster and asking them to add your link back, which typically has a much higher success rate than just emailing the person and asking for a link, because this person has already show a propensity to link to your site.

Now, the next way and the easier way to do link reclamation, is to find links that are still pointing to your site, but they’re pointing to dead or 404 pages. And the easiest way to find those is to use Google Webmaster Tool. So, I’m assuming you already have a verified Google Webmaster Tools account. And if you do, log in. Click on the ‘help’ tab here, and then click on ‘crawl errors’. And this will show you all the pages on your site that Google has found to have errors. And you’re specifically looking for a response code of 404s. And the reason that’s important is because Google only will consider a page of 404 if it has a link point to it, or it was indexed recently. So, if you created a page and a few links were built to it, and then you deleted it, Google will consider that page a 404 in Google Webmaster Tool.

So, these are potential link opportunities, because you do have the links pointing your site, but they’re not giving you any SEO value, because it’s going to a page that no longer exists. So for example at Back-linko, here is a test page that I had on the site for a while. And it has some links, so click on any link in that list. And then click on the ‘linked from’ tab, and it will show you links pointing to that page. Now, this is just some random webstats-ranks.com, that linked to the site. But I’m sure if you had a page up for a year or two years, there would be links over time accrued to that page, and you don’t want to lose that value. So, you can either add the page back. You can put it back up and add the content that was there. But you probably deleted it for a reason, so the way to reclaim the link value is to use a plug-in in WordPress.

So, head over to WordPress, and under the ‘install plug-ins’ area in WordPress, put in ‘404 to 301’, for search plug-ins. And this will show you a number of plug-ins that change 404 errors to 301 redirects. And 301 redirects are very, very search engine friendly, because they’re telling Google and other search engines that the page has moved. So, all the link value pointing to that dead 404 page moves to the new page, whatever page you want it to go to. The one I like to use is ‘404 to start’, because it’s very easy to use. And if you don’t want to individually 301 each page that you found in Google Webmaster Tools, you can just have a general rule that all 404 pages, 301 redirects to any page on your site. And by default, it chooses 301, moved permanently. And this is the redirect you want to have. You don’t want to have a 302 redirect, which is not search engine friendly. And under target URL you can put an internal page, a landing page, your home page, whatever you want to do. And click save changes, and you’re done. So, that’s it for link reclamation.

To sum up, the main advantage of this is that these links are usually really easy to get, because either you already had them at one point, or you have them pointing to your site, they’re just not giving you the SEO value you deserve. So, if you spend some time maybe once a month to do some link reclamation, you can usually find some pretty high quality links that are low hanging fruit.

So, thanks for watching, and I’ll see you in the next video.