Link building is a major part of any solid SEO strategy. This generates traffic and leads to your website. You can then sell to those leads and convert them into customers.
While you may use link building often, have you ever heard of link reclamation? This a different concept entirely, but it’s still a crucial one.
We’ll explain this concept in detail, including what it is, how it works, and why you should use it.
You can then do your own link reclamation to clean up your website and your company’s reputation.
What Is Link Reclamation?
When you designed your website (or had it designed for you), you knew it wouldn’t remain that way forever.
Certain design styles become unpopular over time. You may want to get more traffic, so you A/B test different elements on your homepage. Eventually, you may choose to give your whole site an overhaul.
We’re talking about more than just looks, though. As your company grows, you’re not always going to sell the same products and services. This also necessitates a website change.
What happens to those old links when you give your site a makeover?
There’s no way you can comb through every piece of content you’ve written and every post on social media to look for dead links.
You also can’t keep track of every backlink you have to make sure these are all live.
This is where link reclamation comes in.
With reclamation, you use programs to find those dead, broken, or otherwise irrelevant links. You can then make the decision to redirect those links, update them by tweaking the URL, or killing them off for good.
How Does It Work?
As mentioned, link reclamation involves the use of several programs. We’ll now explain those in greater detail.
Check My Links Google Chrome Plugin
If you use Google Chrome as an Internet browser, there’s a free plugin you can download to aide you in the reclamation process. It’s called Check My Links.
This plugin is free. According to the designers, it’s made with content editors, developers, and web designers in mind.
To find dead or broken links, simply run Check My Links on the webpage in question.
You then have to open the Console log in Google Chrome. There you’ll see the dead URLs and and HTTP response codes.
Google Webmaster Tools
If you don’t have Google Chrome, you’re not completely out of luck. You can still find dead links using Google Webmaster Tools.
If you don’t already have an account, be sure to sign up. Google Webmaster Tools is free to use. This tool is incredibly handy for many SEO tasks besides link reclamation, so it’s good to have!
Once you’re logged in, navigate to the Crawl section. There you can check for Crawl Errors. These are your dead links and such.
Google Webmaster Tools breaks down the type of link error you’re dealing with. These can be:
- “Not found” errors, in which the page cannot be displayed because the URL cannot be found.
- Soft 404, which may be caused by broken, redirected, or dead links.
- Server error, which is an internal issue.
Besides telling you the type of bad link, Google Webmaster Tools also shows you the exact troublesome URLs. You can download these if you want so you can view them in more detail. For that, you need…
Microsoft Excel or Similar Spreadsheet Program
You also need a spreadsheet program.
You can use Microsoft Excel or even OpenOffice Spreadsheets. It doesn’t seem to matter which version of Excel you’re running, so don’t stress if you have an older version.
Open the Google Webmaster Tools URL list in OpenOffice or Excel. Parse through all the results. If there aren’t that many dead links, you may want to manually go in and double-check that all those links are broken.
Once you’ve confirmed your broken or dead links, it’s time to start fixing them. This process can be time-consuming (and a touch complicated), but you must do it.
To fix your dead links, you can use Xenu LinkSleuth.
This program is also free to download. Click file and then “check URL” to get started.
You should confirm your dead links once again through LinkSleuth. Copy these links and paste them in the dialog box.
This may take some time, so be patient.
You can then run a report after the dead links are re-confirmed. The report should give you details on how to fix the dead URLs.
You can either redirect the page, create a new page link, or fix errors in the URL so these links are live again.
Why Do You Need It?
Every company, whether in the marketing industry or not, needs link reclamation at some point.
As mentioned, no one website stays static forever. These evolve. That means URLs have to evolve, too.
If you don’t update your URLs along with your website, you’ll have broken and dead links to contend with.
No customer wants to click a page on your site and find that it’s dead. That’s annoying to them.
They’ll then have to search online for the information or product they need. They will likely end up on a competitor’s website. That means you lose business.
If you haven’t ever done link reclamation before, you definitely shouldn’t wait any longer. This can be a time-consuming process, so take it slow. Go day by day and you can fix all your dead links.
Once you do one round of reclamation, make it a habit to check for and rectify any dead links every six to 12 months.
Dead links can occur because of spelling errors, redirections, or website makeovers. Link reclamation is the process of finding and correcting those dead links.
If you haven’t ever checked for broken or dead links on your website, you’re doing your reputation a disservice. Customers won’t be very patient if they find these links.
If you need more help with your SEO, be sure to check out WebConfs.com. You can find a range of webmaster utilities and SEO tools here.