Find and Reclaim the Links Pointing to Your Old About.com Guide Site
by Eric Ward
Many of you know me from my Linking Q/A column over at ClickZ. I spend most of my daily life involved in linking related activities. Here’s a small bit of linking advice that can help you build a new network of links to your new site.
The search engines are slow to purge old URLs. This means they still have all the references to the sites that were linking to your old About.com guide URL. You can find the sites that linked to your old About.com guide URL and seek new links to your new guide, thus shortening the time it will take to rebuild your readers.
You can do this by using the individual search engines or by using a free tool like http://www.linkpopularity.com
Here’s a three-pronged approach to finding your old inbound links.
First use a search engine like Google, enter the full name of your previous Guide Site, and look at the results. Those results will likely contain sites that linked to your old site. Save the results to your hardrive or bookmark the results page. You can then visit each of these sites and send them a short Email message announcing your new URL.
Use this Category Navigation List to quickly move through my site
I suggest you create a table in MS Excel to keep up with the sites that link to you. Add fields for the contact names and email addresses too. That way when you make changes to your new guide you can quickly send a message to the sites that link to you letting them know what’s new with your site.
Second, go to the free tool http://www.linkpopularity.com enter your old About.com guide URL, and the results will only contain sites that linked to your old site. This is a fast way to begin the process of rebuilding a network of links to your site.
It can seem daunting to perform linking activities, so just contact a few every day to let them know your new URL. Note that you can also check for links to any internal sections of your old About.com guide, if you happen to remember the exact URL for them.
Third, since your new site is no longer part of a larger network, you may be able to more easily obtain links to it from directories like Open Directory (free), LookSmart, and Yahoo! who previously often ignored About.com guides asking for links. Remember Open Directory often gives multiple links as long as you submit to categories for which you have relevant content.
Yahoo charges $299 a year now, but if you launched your new guide at a .org domain, they wont charge you anything. You might even consider mirroring your new site at a .org domain so you can get a free link at Yahoo and LookSmart and free indexing from Inktomi.
You also have to rebuild your own set of outbound links to resources from your old Net Links section. It might seem tempting to use one of the third party link management tools for managing your outbound links, especially since you have to do all of it on your own. I strongly suggest you DO NOT do this. Third party links management tools host your collection of links on their server. This is not something you want to do. Maintain your outbound links on your own site only.
Lastly, many of you also published newsletters to subscribers. Unless you maintained a private document with a list of those subscribers and their email addresses, you are (unfortunately) out of luck. You no longer have access to the very subscriber list you helped make popular in the first place. Pretty shitty thing they did to you, but…you can keep publishing a new newsletter through a service like Yahoo Groups. If there’s no way to get access to your old About.com subscriber list you’ll have to rebuild that one at a time.
You might want to take 30 minutes to set up your free account with either of the above services. That way you can have a subscriber box on your site right from the start.
I hope this has been of some help to you.