I was looking at the slides from a recent presentation by SEO expert Eric Enge on link-building and it mentioned a type of link-building which is often overlooked: “Link Reclamation”. This is rather clever in its simplicity: it involves tracing any links to your website which point to pages that do not exist, and getting those links fixed. Bingo, a whole new link.
So, how do we find those broken links? This is one of the many useful things which our old friend Google Webmaster Tools can do for us. You’ll find the page you need under “Diagnostics > Crawl Errors > Not Found”. Here Google lists any links it’s found which point to your site but to a page which returned a 404 error.
That done, how do you get the links restored? The first – and most obvious – way is to sort the situation out with the owner of the site linking to your non-existent page. After all, they shouldn’t really want broken links on their site. But contacting the siteowner can be difficult, and they may not be that bothered.
The fallback method is to create what’s known as a “301 redirect” on your site from the “broken” URL to the real one you’d like the link to point to. This is one for the IT guys, but it’s a fairly simple procedure. Either way, “Link Reclamation” can prove to be a very worthwhile exercise.