Search engine optimization: Reclaiming Lost Links from Site Migrations

Backlinks are the cornerstone of Google’s set of rules. Google’s unique name became BackRub, referring to how the algorithm counted inbound hyperlinks as votes. The procedure again has better effects than the competition’. People noticed, and Google has become the world’s leading search engine.

To rank surprisingly in Google’s Seek Consequences, websites want hyperlinks. But taking advantage of new hyperlinks while you’re a webshop could be tough. Search engine optimizers often say, “Products are not linkable assets.” Not many customers will hyperlink to the goods of maximum manufacturers.

7 Creative Ways To Earn or Build Links to Your Site

But there may be a little-used possibility for longtime retailers to benefit from links. If your e-commerce website has modified platforms in its lifetime, you would possibly have editorial links — legitimate, no longer spam — waiting as a way to reclaim.

Links Break with Age

A platform nearly continually creates new URLs. This is particularly the case for older platforms from the mid-2000s. Search engine concerns were new. Many retailers did not execute the best practices.

So, if an internet site obtained inbound links in the 2000s, and all the URLs had been changed with a migration, that website should have 301 redirected all pages. If it skipped this step, it likely broke all one-way links. I even have visible high-fee sites hyperlinked to shops’ 404 pages because of missing 301 redirects.

Consider this example. The Wayback Machine tells us that Gap.Com had a URL shape in 2005 of secure.Gap.Com. But none of the now non-current pages were redirected to URLs with that shape. So, a user-generated link from Glamour.De is not resolved. In 2008, Gap’s URL convention changed again. This time, 302 redirect chains (as opposed to 301) had been installed in the region, which might not have passed all of the hyperlink equity from heavy hitters together with Esquire.Com, Polyvore.Com, and Askmen.Com. These are the possibilities to reclaim.

Broken Link Matrix

Some tools may pass again in time and validate old URLs. I’ve divided this process into steps.

Step 1: Collecting old URLs. The first step is to acquire the URLs for evaluation. Make a protracted listing. There’s no purpose in excluding URLs. If there’s any threat, the URL you locate isn’t always adequately redirected; add it to the list.

The Wayback Machine is a tremendous resource for locating old URL systems. The Wayback Machine can show higher than just a home page. Click through the internet site hyperlinks; Wayback has possibly captured many pages. Even if it didn’t shop a whole page, you could see the URL structure thru navigation blocks.

Grab a few intervals and slowly move The Wayback Machine with a device including Screaming Frog or Sitebulb. You can extract thousands of URLs that look something like this:


Notice the second HTTP? That’s where the legacy URL starts. Using Excel’s Text to Columns device, separate and delete the first part of the URL, leaving a list of secure legacy URLs for step 2.

Backlink gear, including Ahrefs, Majestic, and Moz’s Link Explorer, can also be beneficial. These gear move the internet slowly and submit the links that they find. They regularly find old links. A quick look through Ahrefs (my tool of preference) suggests an Entrepreneur mag article linking to a now-defunct Gap page.

Another source for finding old hyperlink conventions is your web page’s analytics. You possibly have loads of history there. Pull a few early reports when you consider another platform may have been in use. Try to find previous URLs to feature on your list.

Step 2: Validating old URLs. At this point, you may have a lengthy listing of URLs. Some can also resolve to 404s; a few may be well linked. Don’t allow the volume to scare you.

Screaming Frog to the rescue, again. Change Screaming Frog’s crawler to list mode. This lets you add (or paste) your entire list of URLs.

Once you click on start, Screaming Frog will run through every one of the URLs and tell you whether they are correctly resolving. If, instead, the URLs remedy 404 pages, don’t forget 301 redirects.

Important Considerations

Collecting old URLs does mean third-party websites link to them. But remember that backlink tools — Ahrefs, Majestic, Link Explorer — don’t index the entire internet. There may be inbound links pointing to these 404s that Google alone tracks. But there’s no harm in redirecting 404s that haven’t any hyperlinks. It would assist your internet site easily to make the 404s out of Google’s index in the long run.

Setting up redirect rules for a variety of links isn’t always clean. Google wants each redirect to be applicable. Do no longer redirect URLs in bulk to the home page. Redirect to identical or similar pages. Sometimes, a mapping manner matching variables in the old and new URLs can help. But in my revel in, guide work is always vital.

Lastly, reclaiming old links isn’t always foolproof. Some hyperlinks lose equity over time. For instance, a link from an outdated and besides-the-point weblog publish may not have much hyperlink strength. Only Google is aware of it. But in SEO, even the smallest signals could make a colossal ranking distinction.


I have been working in the field of SEO and content marketing since 2014. I have worked with over 500 clients and more than 100 websites. I started blogging in 2012 and have now made my first steps into the world of freelancing. In my spare time, I like to read, cook or listen to music.