Today I’m going to describe one of the simplest ways of earning (or technically re-earning) some links to your website. It’s quite simple: go and get a list of incoming links to your site, and then check they’re still working. If any of them aren’t, do something about it and bingo, you’ve got some links you didn’t have a few minutes ago.
(By the way, if you’re spending money on search engine optimisation with some outside organisation, this is one of the most obvious things they should be monitoring. So just casually ask them if all the external links to your site are in good order. If the answer is that they don’t know, I think it’s fair to say that their idea of maintaining an SEO programme for you mainly involves raising an invoice)
So, the first thing we need to do is to get a list of incoming links to your website. The easiest way to do this is to use Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). One of the many brilliant hidden-away features of this is “Links to your site”, found under “Search Traffic”. You can also use paid-for toolsets such as those at Moz or Majestic.
Then check the pages on your site which are being linked to. If the list hasn’t come up with many, you may be able check them manually. Or you may be able to tell, simply by looking at them, which are good and which aren’t. We use a tool called Screaming Frog SEO Spider to run through them all.
When you find “broken links” to your website, you have a choice. You could contact the site which has the broken link, and ask them to update it. Alternatively, you can write a 301 redirect on your site from the nonexistent URL at which they’re pointing to a relevant replacement which works.
And that’s it. Writing this article reminded me that I haven’t done this for my own main sites for a while, so I just ran through the exercise. It took just minutes.