7 Steps to Rebuilding Missing Content

Trustbait is when we find a resource page that many .edu’s link to, but that has been deleted, causing links on the school’s website to break. We then re-make the page and alert people that they should fix their broken links and point to our new version of the resource page instead.

Imagine you’re the manager of a law school website and you get an email that says: “Dear Joe Smith, Did you know that your link to the top 50 law blunders of all time goes to a page that no longer exists? You might want to link to our version of that content instead using the following code (insert code for your link). Sincerely, Me.” Notice that the email is directed to a specific person, not just “To Whom It May Concern.” It’s always a good idea to know who you’re targeting.

Below are some steps you can take, if you want to try this yourself.

How to rebuild content that people still want to link to:

Step 1. Find “resource” pages on powerful sites (especially those with URLs ending in .edu and .gov)

– Search Google for: site: .edu “art career resources”
– Click on results to find a page with a number of outgoing links (long link resource list pages are great for this).

Step 2. Run the URL through the Xenu Link Sleuth tool (http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html)

Under “File | Check URL…” enter the URL of the link list/resources page. Also, add the first part of the URL (just through the root domain) to the “Do not check any URLs beginning with this” box, to eliminate internal links.

Look for links that come back with a status of “not found” (a 404 error).

Step 3. Put those URLs into www.opensiteexplorer.org to find out how many sites link to those URLs. Look for pages that have lots of links to them.

Step 4. When you find a site with lots of backlinks to it, put it into the “Wayback Machine” tool (www.archive.org), and click through the crawl dates until you find the content that USED to be on that page.

Step 5. Recreate/rewrite that content in your own original way—and even make it better—and put it on your website as a page people can link to.

Step 6. Export a list of the backlinks to the broken page from www.opensiteexplorer.org into Excel.

Step 7. Find a contact email address on each of those sites and email the person letting them know that their link to that content is broken, and give them the link to the new version of the content, asking them to change their link to the new URL. Keep track to see which ones make the change!

By re-creating great content that already had fans linking to it, you will more quickly convince people of high value to link to you and you will get a boost in your search engine rankings.

Do you have content you need to rebuild?

photo credit: gregillustration.com via photopin cc

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