Resurrecting Dead Backlinks

I came across a great post today from JR Cooper on the SEOMoz site in which he was discussing how to use backlink checkers to find broken links and how to use these to obtain new links. First off he recommended a great new Chrome extension called "Check My Links."

dead link grave

I have just installed the extension myself so I cannot comment directly on it. But the great things JR Cooper reports about it sound very compelling.

"Pretty much, it’s the greatest link building browser extension I’ve ever used. First of all, it’s extremely fast. Like almost too fast. It usually checks half the page in under 10 seconds. It also finds the links that are quickest to check, saving the links with long load times for last (I still don’t know how they do this). Best of all, I can check multiple pages at once, which saves some serious time because I usually find 50 pages at a time to check. As a bonus, it even tells you what kind of page error the broken link got (i.e. 404, 500, etc.)."

The description from the Chrome Web Store:

"Check My Links" is an extension developed primarily for web designers, developers and content editors (and SEOs).>When you’re editing a web page that has lots of links, wouldn’t it be handy to be able to quickly check that all the links on the page are working ok? That’s where &Check My Links" comes in. "Check My Links" quickly finds all the links on a web page, and checks each one for you. It highlights which ones are valid and which ones are broken, simple as that. HTTP response codes and full URLs of broken links are published in the Console log.

As most of us in the SEO industry are finding, it is becoming increasingly difficult to build links to your client’s websites. Tactics that were once widely utilized are no completely ineffective. At the risk of repeating myself again and again; the Panda algorithm has effectively changed everything about how links are obtained. For instance, subsequent updates have rendered posting to forums virtually ineffective for these purposes.

Cooper goes on to detail how this extension can be used for dead link building. The first tactic he describes is Direct Find and Replace. This is where you generate a list of broken links from blogrolls and link pages. You then contact the webmasters of the sites and ask to replace one of the dead links with a link back to your site.

The next method he describes is Content Replacement. He suggests looking at the actual pages that are broken and using the Internet Archive’s "Way Back Machine" to find the original content that was being linked to and then to recreate the content on your own site. You can then contact the webmaster to update their links to the new (and improved) content. Subsequently, you can then use free tools such as Open Site Explorer or Yahoo Site Explorer to discover other sites that were linking to the original content as well and ask if they would like to link to the new and improved content as well.

The last technique he describes is Broken Blogger Blogs where you use the tools to find broken links on blogrolls that point to subdomains on and then looking to see if he can register the blog himself. If so, then he puts up a static page with a desired keyword linking back to the new blog location. Not only does this give you the anchor text of your choice, but it gives a link with a higher amount of link juice (depending on how many outbound links are pointing to that page). He does state that this is a fairly "greyhat" tactic and has requested reader feedback on the ethics of such a tactic.

To recap; the Panda updates are forcing all users to generate better content. It is a bold effort by Google to reduce the amounts of web-spam that have inundated the SERPs for far too long. As an end-user you should love Google for their efforts; as an SEO it means that the whole game has changed and that we have to continue to evolve with the changes to remain effective in our industry.

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