Link re-working: this years SEO magic bullet?

  • 1
  • January 14, 2009
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

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!