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 mba.gradview.com. The page redirects to gradview.com/mba 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that would naturally be found on a discontinued page such as; “website no longer available”, “website closed” and “page no longer updated”.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.
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 stopbadware.org. The site themexp.org 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:
- While looking for Reciprocity link building prospects (sometimes you just come across them).
- Using specialty sites such as stopbadware.org and antiphishing.org.
- Conducting Google image searches for “attack site” or "reported attack site" (though not very effective).
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 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.