Site link strengthening. Is there anything quite as important? Google itself is getting involved. Matt Cutts, an employee at the company, drafted a blog post that shows people how to improve their inbound links. This blog post specifically addresses the problem of 404 pages and making sure they are passing out their linking goodies, as well as not driving away users.
Google is listening. They’ve recently made available a series of tools that show links that lead to 404 pages on your site. This is an extremely handy suite of tools.
Google is a company that has been known to pop their heads in the ground from time to time . Sometimes they don’t even seem to know what is going on in their own Internet. CEO Eric Schmidt recently called the Internet a cesspool and denied help to the people who could help improve the quality of content. However, these recent steps seem to be inching away from that attitude.
These tools should be a basic for all SEOs. Running these reports will help you SEOs get a grasp on just what is going on. They offer a quick way to improve search results, as well. Then you can slap on some 301 redirects and call it a day. Voila, problems solved.
Run this report, and then follow the links back to their source to see what’s happening. A few may not be worth correcting, but the majority will be and can give a major boost to the site.
This used to have to be done manually. One by one. Checking every single link and every single redirect. There were no helpful tools. Thank goodness that has changed. I cannot stress enough how much this suite should become part of your maintenance repertoire.
Not everyone has caught on to this, however. Government sites are a great example. There seems to be no SEO knowledge at all. Search algorithms end up giving them a heads up anyways which can be frustrating.
So this suite can be a Godsend to the right SEOs who know how to maximize it’s effects. However, to those that don’t things can still remain, um, hairy.
Eric Ward, a well-known link building expert, claims to have already fixed a link from a PageRank 7 .edu using the tool suite as a guide. It seemed easy and no-frills. It won’t be this easy for everyone, however. At least it won’t always be. There are some hurdles to consider.
When setting aside resources for a link building project, we typically include a set number of hours for all “reclamation” activities. This includes trying to replace faulty links to 404 pages and enhancing additional links pointed to existing pages. This is done by either requesting a change to a more specific (topical) page, or by updating the anchor text to be more descriptive. You’ll now need to set aside additional time to include 404s. No big deal but something to consider.
Two things to consider: the site must have a Google Webmaster central account, and on average, you should figure about an hour of research and negotiation time in order to reclaim each link. It can be time-consuming but only once you get a handle on things. Once you do an initial cleanup, dealing with one or two links later on down the road won’t be a big deal. Good luck, and get to reclaiming!