123 Reg logo Blog

A beginner’s guide to link reclamation

By Alexandra Gavril - July 6, 2015

Link building isn’t always about discovering new opportunities to get authority sites to link to you. Sometimes it’s about taking advantage of opportunities that already exist but haven’t been tapped into properly.

That’s where link reclamation comes in. It’s the task of finding opportunities on the web where someone has already linked to you but the URL used is mistyped, broken or incorrect. These links can add value to your domain and help you rank higher for your main keywords, so it makes sense to put in the work and do some link reclamation.

When you’re a small business trying to build trust and brand awareness, salvaging even a few quality links can be a significant win. Read on to find out more about link reclamation and the different types of strategies that you can use to get some valuable links back.

What is link reclamation?

Link reclamation is the process of locating, fixing or “reclaiming” links that point to your site but are broken, mistyped or sending visitors to the wrong page. Carrying out this type of SEO housekeeping is necessary any time content is removed, URLs are changed or a website is redesigned (yours or the one linking to you).

Now that you know what link reclamation is, let’s look at the three situations where link reclamation is a must.

Types of link reclamation strategies

  1. 404 (not found)

A 404 page is what users see when they try to reach a page on your site that isn’t found – either because they have clicked on a broken link, mistyped a URL or the page has been moved or deleted.

This means that when someone visits that page they’ll get a 404 not found error like this one:

404 not found


What to do

First off, you’ll need to find all those broken links on your site, and you need to do this regularly. Google Webmaster Tools is great at detecting these pages for you and you can find a list with 404 pages on your site in Crawl-> Crawl Errors -> Not Found. Check out our beginner’s guide to Google Webmaster Tools to learn how to set it up and how to use it to find broken links on your site.

When you find those broken links, next you will need to find the sites linking to those pages. Use backlink checker tools like Ahrefs, MajesticSEO or OSE to check what backlinks the broken URLs have.

Now you can either redirect or fix these links on your end, or you can contact the webmasters of the sites linking to you and ask them to update the links.

  1. Brand backlinks

It’s not uncommon to find others writing about you. While having your brand name mentioned tells you that you’re doing a great job and that people are talking about your brand, you should also check to ensure that they’re linking to the correct site or web page.

What to do

Use backlink checker tools like Ahrefs, MajesticSEO or OSE to see what anchor texts people are using when linking to your site. This is where you’ll also be able to find the branded ones.

Let’s take an example – preloved.co.uk, a site selling second-hand bikes. Add the URL on OSE and you will be able to see a list with the sites linking to yours that are using your brand name as the anchor text:

anchor text

This also allows you to check and see if you got a link on the wrong anchor text, either a misspelled word or just something irrelevant to the link, as that happens quite often.

  1. Images

You may also find sites that have posted your images or infographics. If you have copyright over an image, for example if you’re a photographer and someone is using your images, make sure they’re using the correct link to link to your site.

What to do

Use Google Image Search to discover who is using your images on the web, and check the links are correct and not broken. Go to images.google.com and click the camera icon in the search bar.

google images

Now either paste the URL of the image or upload the image from your computer and Google will try and identify the places where it’s been published. When you’ve found the sites using your image, check to see that they’re using the correct link to link to you.

Wrapping up

No matter what business you’re in, you need to carry out this kind of work periodically. You’ll especially need to do this if you’ve redesigned your site, moved or deleted old posts or pages or changed your site’s structure in any way.

Have any questions about link reclamation? Let us know in a comment below.