Link re-working: this years SEO magic bullet?

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  • January 14, 2009

Link re-working is something that keeps popping up on my radar and few recent events have prompted me to blog about it.

Basically link re-working is the process of contacting people who already link to your website and asking them to change the link to make it more valuable from an SEO perspective. For example if somebody linked to my blog with the anchor text “Blogstorm” I could ask them to change it to “Blogstorm SEO blog” or even just “SEO blog”.

With Google cracking down on link buying, SEO’s have been trying to figure out how to get optimised links for free and link re-working seems like a great way to go about it. No money changes hands and the end result is a sort of turbo charged natural link.

There are a number of issues with this method which mean we don’t put it into practice on many clients. The main issue is getting webmasters to change links in the first place. If somebody emailed me and asked me to change a link I wouldn’t even justify the email with a response. I chose the link text so why should I waste my time changing it for somebody else’s gain?

The next reason is time. Assuming your time is limited then surely it’s a better use of your time to gain new links rather than to optimise the existing ones? Contacting all the sites that link to you is a hugely time consuming task and results are unpredictable.

Tom Critchlow probably has the best strategy for actually getting the links changed – strike while the iron is hot. As a blogger I’m more likely to change a link if the post is only a few hours old than to go back in the archives and make changes.

The golden rule about any method that involves contacting people is to be personal and be polite. Address the site owner by name and know who you are dealing with before you contact them.

I’m interested to hear whether you actively use these methods for your sites or your clients. Please leave your comments below!

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

  • james poole

    I use google alerts to find out when a site im working with gets either a link or when its gets mentioned

    Then try and contact the site owner to change the anchor text or if there is no link as them to link if it is appropriate

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  • Si

    We’re doing more of it Patrick. Using a mix of Google alerts and the Webmaster Control panel . . . also spending a bit of time amplifying these clean links with social bookmarking et al – try and strengthen them up further.

  • Mackerel Media

    We’re doing more of this as well – as long as you catch the link early then chances are you have a good chance of getting it changed. Obviously, if someone makes a mistake with a link then they’re usually appreciative of the help.

  • Niall

    I don’t know much about SEO but I know how effective it is. This method does eem to involve a lot of ongoing manual work though. Also how willing are people you contact to actually change the link?

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