Using the Ghosts of Links Past To Build Your SEO Link Strategy

Mon, Jan 12, 2009

Link Building

Seasons change, the kids are grown up and off to college, and websites that once offered a product or service disappear into web history or stop offering the feature. All these things are just facts of life – but luckily for those of us engaged in SEO the third one is something we can use to our advantage. By finding sites that are still ranked, but no longer offering relevant content, we can turn what were basically dead sites and ghost links into creative link strategies to help our clients.

To get an idea of what we are talking about fire up your browser and hit Google, now type in the query “content no longer available”. Now take a look at all the results – and most importantly, take a look at some of the names showing up. During my query I found SCIFI.COM, Rachel Ray’s magazine and a host of other high quality, well ranked sites. Sites that once offered content on a certain subject but are no longer.

So what are we supposed to do with this you ask? Consider this scenario.

You are working for a client that sells wine glasses. As part of your SEO you want to use effective link building strategies to help boost their ranking. You find several sites that once offered wine glasses, wine recommendations, etc. that no longer offer that content. Now armed with that information you go and find out how many sites linked to that content that is no longer available. You may be surprised at how many back links you turn up! It’s not unrealistic to expect several hundred sites are still linking to content that isn’t there.

Armed with this knowledge you can now approach those sites and contact them stating that the content they are linking too is no longer available, however they are more than welcome to link to new, updated content that is available at your sites. Even if just 10% of the sites do this you have gained instant back links that are going to help your rankings.

The truth of the matter is most sites will be happy to update their links – after all, they don’t want broken links or “links to nowhere” on their sites any more than you are. So just imagine you can convert 50, 60 or 70 percent of those sites to link to yours!

While this strategy may seem farfetched, it actually does work. It requires a little up-front investment on your part, but the dividends it pays back or tremendous. I’m really surprised some company or entrepreneur hasn’t developed a web application to help companies find this type of “dead content” automatically.

If you decide to try this method, here are a few suggested search queries you can use to find dead content and links to services and products that may no longer exist:

  • service no longer available
  • content does not exist
  • service no longer available [keyword]
  • [keyword] no longer available
  • site is no longer active
  • site is offline
  • [keyword] no longer exists

It’s free content and links for the taking – SEO doesn’t get much easier than this! Improve your SEO services.

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This post was written by:

Cassiano Travareli - who has written 90 posts on SEO Blog | SEO Marketing World.

SEO Specialist! Loves everything about Search Engine Marketing.