Editor’s note: This is a chapter from Search Engine Journal’s Illustrated Guide to Link Building.
It seems like the concept of link reclamation is constantly in flux.
More and more link builders are skewing toward technical SEO and our ideas on SEO continue to evolve.
Still, for link builders starting out, link reclamation has always been a hard phase to navigate — partly because the “rules” for how a website should be built can be confusing when crossing the lines between web developer and SEO manager.
Over the past few years, I’ve worked with brands and the struggle – to work with web developers who are open to SEO changes – is real. It isn’t a new struggle by any means.
Before you know it, it’s been one week, two weeks, three weeks, and you’ve got little to show for it.
And as you prepare your monthly report, a pressing question emerges: Why are the 404 errors not cleaned up?
You’re pretty sure the intern is laughing at you, and creating custom content is just too far beyond your reach at this point.
The struggle is real, people.
But the thing is, building links doesn’t have to be difficult.
Cleaning up 404 errors cleaning up your on-site links doesn’t have to be difficult or end in a web dev meeting so long and intense you need to nap after.
Ahrefs is a great tool you can use to watch for links that go down, site migration for new HTTPS URLs, and eliminating redirects.
After you’ve cleaned up 404 errors, I’d suggest reaching out to the website linking to that particular page to update the URL.
Even though you’ve added the 301 redirect, it still helps to have the correct link listed.
By day 90, I usually have at least 20 new links in my backlink profile.
Cleaning up 404 errors is not the only way to reclaim your links. You can also do this through brand mentions that are not linked to your website.
You can also reclaim your image links. You can use a tool like Tineye or a manual search operator like allintitle: [insert title of photo] to discover where your images are being used.
You can easily find pages using your branded content, which makes for a quick link building win.
Timeframe: Month 1, 2, 3 & every quarter
Results detected: 4-12 months after implementation
Average links sent per month: 5-10 depending on site
- Screaming Frog
Benefits of link reclamation
- Link reclamation regains lost link value which can quickly increase your rankings and link profile.
- Link reclamation is an easy way to start off a link building campaign because you’re not actually building links, you’re simply cleaning up old ones.