Link Mining for Backlink Gems

by Melanie Nathan November 16th, 2009 

In case you missed it, there was a great post about mining GeoCities backlinks recently. It basically pointed out that, with the closure of all GeoCities sites, there were now some sweet backlinks up for grabs for those that were willing to put in the work and ‘mine’ the links for suitable prospects.

I completely agree and encourage you to do so. The fun doesn't have to stop there though :)

Link Mining via Discontinued Pages

Whenever I come across a site or page (related to my industry) that for whatever reason has been permanently discontinued but not redirected anywhere, the link builder in me is automatically curious as to how many backlinks it has. Why?? So I can decide which ones I want for myself.


For example, take The page redirects to which displays a 'no longer available' message. Although it may have once been useful, it's now devoid of any real content.

Tell that to the over 30+ sites that still link to it. Seriously. TELL THEM.... and then cleverly suggest your site as an alternative.

If your niche is related, and you don't take the time to at least check it out, then you may be passing up some excellent backlink opportunities for your site.

To find more prospects, try searching for some common terms that would naturally be found on a discontinued page such as; “website no longer available”, “website closed” and “page no longer updated”. Throw in some of your industry terms as well (for example; "website closed"+"health").

When you find one you think you’d like to target, plug the page URL into Yahoo Site Explorer to determine if their backlinks are worth pursuing. The more backlinks the page has, the better.

And remember, if you don't want your competitors to scoop your backlinks using this technique, be sure to use proper 301 redirects if moving or removing pages from your site.

Link Mining via Reported Attack Sites

We’ve all seen the warning Google gives us if a site “may harm your computer”. You may have also clicked on a link and had Firefox exclaim “Reported attack site!”. Being a link builder, I run into enough of these sites while looking for prospects that I’ve started to keep a small running list.

Reported Attack Site message

Like Ruud’s awesome Goecities technique, these ‘reported attack sites’ can also be goldmines of opportunity. Especially when you consider how many sites are unwittingly linking to these types of pages.

Take this example as reported by The site is reported to contain badware, yet is still has over 50,000 Yahoo inlinks. This could be your opportunity to convince some of these linking sites that your content is just as good (if not better!) and plus your site won't harm their visitors which is always a bonus :)

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet perfected a method of finding these types of harmful sites and there isn’t a search term, I'm aware of, that will reveal them. If anyone has any ideas, please share.

For now, here are some of the methods I currently use to find prospects:

An image search for "this site may harm your computer" used to be effective, until Google flagged the whole internet as malware and the event became synonymous with the term.

At any rate, always keep the creative wheels turning when it comes to getting backlinks for your website. Sometimes the best gems are mined by those who dig the deepest.

Melanie Nathan

Melanie Nathan is a veteran SEO consultant and founder of CanadianSEO. She has a particular passion for authority link building and the use of authoritative content to attract links.

SEO Canada

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9 Responses to “Link Mining for Backlink Gems”

  1. Roland says:

    Interesting tactic :-) To find infected sites you could use Google's Safebrowsing tool. Start with a random website and then click to a network under 'This site was hosted on x network(s) including…'. It is not difficult to find networks with lots of infected websites this way. But it will still be hard work to find the relevant sites with interesting backlinks, I am afraid.

  2. Aren't you worried about spammy inbound links with Viagra etc negatively effecting your pages? I was under the impression that relevancy, and authority was more important than general spammy links. Then again when I look at some guys pages with over 11 inbound hits I know it's not all pertinent.

  3. @Roland: All link building is hard work. Thanks for the safebrowsing suggestion.

    @Adam: You're missing the point. Mine their backlinks and look for the gems don't just try for every link they have. Some of theses attack sites started out "clean", that is, they built up their popularity before turning to the dark side. Some sites' also get labeled "dangerous" accidentally too in which case their backlinks are good, they're just having some "issues" (which you can capitalize on). Spammy links are easy to find/get. I'm talking about digging deeper than that.
    .-= Melanie Nathan recently posted: The Reciprocity Method Guest Post =-.

  4. Adam says:

    Another possible way to find some "bad" links to good sites is to use the bad neighborhood tool at on spammy link and directory pages, it might be useful in a case like this, though I haven't really used it in that capacity. Seems like if you could find these it would be a very easy sell for a link.

  5. […] Link Mining for Backlink Gems, Search Engine People […]

  6. I was wondering if the results given by include the bad ip neighbour hood, any suggestions would be appreciative, thanks.

  7. Thanks for the linkbuilding information. Heard much about 'do follow' and 'no follow', but, would you please tell me that whether 'no follow' links have got any advantage or not in terms of SEO?

  8. Zack says:

    Some great ideas here, thanks for sharing. The "attack and no longer available" methods are new to me and I'll be sure to try them.

  9. Eri Ricaldo says:

    To find infected sites you could use Google's Safebrowsing tool. Start with a random website and then click to a network under 'This site was hosted on x network(s)including…'.
    .-= Eri Ricaldo recently posted: Get 100 Dollar from Paypal by Share Your Wishlist =-.