If you’ve ever undertaken any form of link building, you’ll know how hard work it is.
It is true that the longest links to make often do the most good for your site. This is usually the case, because links that are really hard-earned can take weeks or even months to maintain and secure if you’re starting from scratch. The job is often to identify the correct target and contact, introduce the client, create an appropriate story, pitch it, and follow up on it.
Over time, these links are sometimes removed or changed, and since they are not on your own site, you have very little control over them.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could reap the benefits of these links and give your DA a boost?
Improving the backlinks you already have is a good link building strategy that should not always be overlooked in preference to building new links. Both have a place.
Where to start
Just a note to add before we dive into the types of links you might want to update: if you’re planning to update multiple links, it’s worth starting with the ones with the highest domain authority because they will bring the most benefits to your site. If there are multiple sites with much lower domain authorities than your own site, this may not be the best use of your time.
But remember that even links from sites with a lower domain authority than yours can still get referral traffic, so it’s always worth making sure they’re pointing to the right place as well.
Likewise, if the links were built a very long time ago, you may find it difficult to update them – this is especially true for editorial content. Asking a journalist to go back and edit their copy from months or even years ago may not be right for them. However, if the content was something you contributed or is still driving traffic to the third party, they may understand your request better.
And now, to get to the types of links you might want to update…
Mentions to links
If a site mentioned your business instead of linking to it, it may be persuaded to turn the mention into a link. You can only ask.
Before you write your carefully crafted email approach, be aware that some sites, especially those with higher authority (in the broadest sense of the word), have very specific linking guidelines. For example, national newspapers tend to be very frugal with the links they offer, but bloggers can be more receptive.
It’s worth doing a bit of research before you start this process, because having a good relationship with a long-term journalist or blogger might just negate the benefits of a one-on-one connection.
There are many reasons why you might want to update your anchor text. For example, if your business has moved in a new direction, the old anchor text may no longer reflect what you do.
Another example could be a rebranding or name change where the links point to an old domain. Of course, these can be redirected to your new domain, but the link juice is much better if the link is direct.
Another reason you might want to update your existing links is if you think your anchor text ratio (the mix of different types of links) might be hurting your site. In extreme cases, a link detox may be necessary if you know you haven’t always followed Google’s guidelines.
However, you may just know that your site lacks a typical backlink profile compared to its competitors and you are looking to fix it. For example, you may have too many links with exact match anchor text. Even though they were genuinely built, Google may start to get suspicious if it sounds too good to be true.
A much simpler reason to update a link is if the anchor text is generic and could be improved. Maybe the link says “Here” or “Learn more” or similar.
To follow or not to follow
It’s really important to have a mix of Follow and Nofollow links. If a site is heavily oriented towards Follow links, it can start ringing alarm bells with search engines, so going all out to convert every NoFollow to a Follow is not a good strategy.
However, if you really believe that a link has been incorrectly assigned NoFollow status and other links from a similar site are Follow links, it may be worth asking if this can be changed.
NoFollow links do not convey any benefit to the linked site, but remember they are a way for real people to get to your site, i.e. referral traffic, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t update them.
By link location, we are primarily talking about footer links. You’ll see this link building approach commonly applied by web developers branding the bottom of client websites. Google isn’t a big fan of footer links, historically, because they’re often commercially oriented. At the time of Ye Olden’s research, it was often links to sites of family and friends without any contextual relevance.
For this reason, Google has a healthy skepticism about footer links and so if there’s an opportunity to change a footer link to something else, it’s always worth considering. For example, could you create content for another part of the third-party site or request that the link be moved to a more relevant location?
Please note that footer refers to the footer of the website as a whole, not the footer (or byline) of specific blog posts for example. These latter types of links are generally fine as long as the site is relevant to your business.
If you can’t do much to change the link itself, you can try to improve the quality of the page the link (or mention) is on to make it more authoritative. It could mean that the individual page is growing in stature and increasing the authority of the page. Google may recognize this and, in turn, rank the page higher or more frequently in the SERPs, thereby benefiting your brand or product by increasing traffic coming to the page and increasing the number of people seeing the name. brand or product.
If a link itself ticks most of the boxes such as good anchor text and following status, but the link points to a page that is irrelevant or no longer exists, it may be worth considering an update.
This is also true if most of your links point to your homepage, but you actually think a link to a deeper landing page might be more relevant or helpful to readers.
Updating links based on your organization’s link profile is a very tricky process and there is no quick fix or general tactic that will work a miracle. Try to think of it from the perspective of the third party. What’s in it for them? If you can provide a valid reason to update a link, you’re already halfway there.