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Home > SEO > Dead URLs


 Getting Visitors from Dead Websites 

Every day a website disappears, and is replaced by either a mundane statement, or a "File not Found" message. Most people who come across these have got there via a link, and most webmasters do not check their links very often. Dead URLs - you can use these facts to your advantage.

Say you run a website devoted to MP3s. You've got a good directory of links, a chat room, news items, and some banner ads which have a good click-thru rate. All you need is a few visitors. Here's how to get them:

1) You notice that Napster has gone bankrupt. A visit to shows an "Under Construction" sign.

2) Do a Google search for sites that still link to Napster:

Google shows 5,880, however you'll be exhausted before you even get to the 1000th result, which is all Google will show you.

3) Visit each site in the results, starting with the first one. The order of the results will roughly equate to the order of how good it would be if they linked to you.

4) Search their site for an email address. The best ones are after suggestions or comments, or are labelled Webmaster. Email them with a brief, courteous note:

Hi there,

I visited your website [name of site] and thought that it was a great resource for [topic].

I noticed that on your page at [URL] you are still linking to Napster, which has recently shutdown. I would like to suggest [your website's name] as a replacement link. It is a general MP3 resource which acts as a hub to all things MP3, and I'm sure it is a site your visitors would appreciate knowing about.

The URL is [your URL]

Thanks for your time, etc.

It is important that this is a personalized email. The combination of telling a webmaster they have a great site, and giving them an easy replacement link, is powerful. In my experience 10-20% of your emails will result in a link.

Example: West Coast Internet ( has a Google PR of 6, and they still link to Napster. At the bottom of their page is a link that says "Site Credits", which leads to their email address. After 2 minutes work you have a good chance of getting linked to!

Why is this a powerful technique?

1) Any link to your site is good, and will give you more traffic
2) If Google notices lots of sites linking to yours, your Google PR goes up

What's the catch?

Your site has to be a worthwhile replacement. There is no point in sending out 1000 emails if your site doesn't at least appear to be one of quality.

Copyright © Robert Skelton 2002.

About the Author:

Robert Skelton is the IDE of SearchEngineZ - a collection of web searching resources.

You have permission to publish this article electronically, in print, in your ebook or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author bylines are included.


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