Inside Out Link Reclamation
Link Reclamation is one of the hot topics in Link Building strategies. If you are unfamiliar with Link Reclamation it is the process of finding where your brand, website, infographic, videos, or other online assets have been mentioned by other websites, but the publisher did not link directly to your website. The strategy has a high chance of success, and the reason is simple. The publisher has already mentioned your website or brand, and they add value to their visitor by giving them direct access to you via a link.
Ross Hudgens gives a great description of Link Reclamation strategies in this video.
Avoiding Self Inflicting Wounds
These strategies are great, but I have seen way too many websites build links using great tactics, establish some authority, and then shoot themselves in the foot by restructuring their website incorrectly. This causes a loss in their hard earned work while creating errors for Google to find on their website. This comes from neglecting internal link reclamation.
Most websites have a growth problem which is a good problem to have. During this growth stage the architecture tends to become quite messy. Check out the “Untold Architecture Story” below to understand the lifecycle of website architecture.
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Recently we ran into this with our own Find and Convert website which has been around for about a decade. We drastically restructured the website to give it a better logical structure and user experience. Anyone who has done a site migration of a sizable magnitude knows that pages can fall through the cracks unknowingly. There were over 70 core pages (excluding blog posts) that were moved around.
At this point most webmasters will run a program like Screaming Frog to find internal crawl errors. Once those errors are fixed the migration is done, but what about the errors these programs don’t find? As organized as our redirect process was there needed to be a Quality Assurance check.
The last step in any page or site migration is to make sure all the hard earned links are reclaimed. This is where a backlink tool like Majestic SEO comes in. Let’s take this step by step. First create a report and pull the backlink data into Excel.
The raw data is a little messy. We only need Column A which is the Target URL. All other columns can be deleted.
There are duplicates because these URLs have multiple links pointing to them. The next step is to remove all these duplicates since we are looking at individual URLs. In Excel go to the Data Tab and click on Remove Duplicates.
The next step requires SEO Tools for Excel which is an Excel Plugin. It is a must for all Internet Marketers. You can download it here. SEO Tools has a function to check the HTTP Status of URLs. Use the function =HttpStatus() and choose the cell with the URL. Copy the formula for all cells. It can take a few minutes to run, but it is a huge time saver.
Once all the response codes are found we will only be looking for 400 errors. Remove or Hide all other rows.
I am glad we took one extra QA step. Making a page a 404 Not Found was the way to disavow links before the disavow tool was created. By catching these URLs we can now redirect them to their corresponding page and preserve our link authority. This is how to regain hard earned links by Internal Link Reclamation.
I enjoy blogging on the technical aspects of SEO and Internet marketing. This topic was fresh on my mind because of our recent experience re-structuring our own website at Find and Convert so I wanted to share a part of the experience. I hope you gained an insight or two. If you have any questions for me, leave them in the comments below.