Easy-to-access Link Building data: 404s

23 Oct

Today, I realized, that in stead of writing about When to Stop Your Link Building Activities, I should have been discussing where to start your link building activities first. So let’s discuss an example of really easy-to-access data you can use while starting up your link building campaign.

The starting point of your link building campaign depends on the phase of your website. There are two possible phases where your website can be at; phase 1 and phase 2.

Phase 1: Your website is less than one year old.
Phase 2: Your website is older than one year.

If your website is still in phase one; build content first (and try to create some buzz while you’re at it). While Jim Boykin puts the bar at two years, I tend to believe that it should be possible to target those mid- to high competition keywords when your website is around a year to a year and a half old.

Hopefully, you’re already in phase two. In that case, valuable info that you can use for your link building campaign is closer than you think; it’s in the 404 error page statistics of the Google Webmaster Tools console.

Especially larger websites, or websites that have already gathered a substantial amount of (natural) links, tend to have at least a few URLs that couldn’t be found by Google.

If you let Yahoo’s SiteExplorer check which pages link to these Not Found URLs (thank you Google for not updating your backlink data), you’re not only able to fix a few broken internal links, but it also might show you several websites that link to obsolete or non existing URLs.

Contacting these webmasters and asking them to change the link is like stealing candy from a baby. They have already linked to you and will appreciate it even more if you let them know that you visit their website and show your dedication.

And while your at it, you can also ask them to change the link text slightly by adding a keyword relevant to your web page ;)

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