Don’t Miss a Link Building Opportunity from Pre-Existing Links!

January 23, 2013 7:03 am

Get an SEO Boost from Sites Already Willing to Help

The landscape of link building has changed greatly in light of Google updates over the past two years, affecting the way most businesses handle SEO.  Sites are being penalized for poor link building practices (SPAM) and many efforts just aren’t producing the results they once were.  A few months ago, we gave 5 link building practices that still work in a post-penguin world.  Here are two more link building strategies you can use that utilize content already existing on the web.

Use Google Alerts to find people talking about your product.

Google Alerts sends you an email or an update in your blog feed (your choice) whenever a term that you flag is mentioned online.  For big brands like Coke, this will produce an overwhelming number of results.  However, it is very manageable for most businesses.  Once you set up a Google Alert, take a quick look at any article that shows up in your alerts.  Are they linking back to you?  Most articles will but some will not.  Recently we saw a client mentioned in an article with their web address listed but not as a live link.  A quick, polite email to the webmaster asking if the web address could be made a hyperlink was all it took.  For a few minutes of work the webmaster was kind enough to give us a link from a PR 5 site!  (PR is “Page Rank”, a measuring tool Google uses to help determine the authority of a site.  You can read more about that here if you’d like).

To set up Google Alerts, go to  From there enter in the search term you would like to use, the types of results you would like (blogs, news articles, etc.), how often you would like to receive alerts, and the email address to send alerts to.  The whole process takes about two minutes, and you’ll know every time someone is talking about you.  This process is also very helpful for reputation management, enabling you to monitor every positive or negative mention of you or your company.

Find broken links on webmaster tools.

Webmaster Tools is a free online program made available by Google to enable site owners to view and manage their site’s performance.  Every active website should have an active Webmaster Tools account.  To do this, all you need is a Google email address.  Go to and follow the simple instructions to verify that you are the owner of the website.  If you do not understand how to do this simply pass the instructions on to whoever manages your website.  If you do not have anyone currently managing the site, let us know, and we can help walk you through it.

One of the features of webmaster tools is the “crawl errors” located under the “health” sidebar menu item.  The crawl error tool shows any page that a link is pointing to but does not exist on your site, returning what is called a “404 error.”

By clicking on each link you can see which page is linking to the “not found” page on your site.  Very often these are from old data stored in the Webmaster Tools Database and are not current links.  There is no action needed for these items other than to “mark as fixed.”  However, you will often see links from external pages that are pointing to a page that doesn’t exist on your site.  This may be because of a typo on another website or because of changes to your site, resulting in a page no longer existing.  This is your chance for building (or rebuilding) a link to your site.

Broken links aren’t going to pass any weight to your site so it’s important to make sure that these are all taken care of and that there are no missed opportunities.  There are two options moving forward.  The first is to email the webmaster of the page in question.  Nobody wants to have a broken link on their site so most webmasters are happy to fix the error after receiving a brief, courteous and professional email.  However, many sites have webmasters that are very difficult to access, or there may be links from too many sites pointing to one missing page for this method to be efficient.  In this case, simply using a 301 redirect to a closely related page (or the home page if no related pages exist) on your site enables a user to correctly access your site and passes along “link juice” from the link to your website.

Both of these strategies require little effort, just some minor monitoring which can be done once per week, or even once per month.   When the opportunities arrive the benefits can be great.  Looking for more ways to build authority to your website?  We’re an SEO Firm that loves to help people get noticed.  Give us a call.

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About The Author

We specialize in b2b, supporting the clients who are the "The Brands Behind the Brands." These are the supply chain partners of brands, either in Tier 1 or Tier 2 positions, who drive value through the delivery of goods, services and technologies. We enjoy blogging about all things related to Branding, Marketing, Inbound, Tradeshows, etc... And we're always happy to talk about any ideas you may have that might Get You To Your NEXT!