What's the best way to reclaim broken links that are pointing at my site?
 by Casey Markee

What's the best way to reclaim broken links that are pointing at my site?

  • I recently wrote and published a few articles on other people's sites. These articles link back to my site and have been a great way for me to build links. Unfortunately, I found out too late that one of the links in them was broken and is pointing at a non-existing URL on my site, resulting in a 404 error for anyone who clicks that link.

    Now people are linking to the articles I've published and those pages are growing in PageRank, but I'm not getting the benefit because the link in the article pointing to my site is broken. What can I do to correct this?

Answer: With link juice being the SEO equivalent of black gold these days, recovering even a small percentage of your broken inbound links can pay HUGE dividends for your search rankings. Here are three popular solutions to this problem, plus some pros and cons for each...

  • 301 Redirect — Use this method to transfer the visitor and search engine spider to your home page or another relevant page on your site that is close to the original missing content. The benefit to this method is that you actually transfer the lost link juice to another similar page or back to your home page, so you don't lose out on the benefit of the link at all. The main con of this approach is that the user, who ends up on a different url then what they clicked originally, may become confused. Regardless, this is still your best option. Here's how to do a 301 redirect .

  • User Friendly Error 404 Page — You can create a page that simply tells the visitor and search engine that the page no longer exists. Search engines read the 404 error header on the page and know immediately that the old page is gone forever. You can also customize your 404 page to give users information on how they might find the page they were looking for (Google also offers a

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