The Day The Links Died

As hard as we work to attract, build and encourage new links to our content, many of us (like me) make silly mistakes that are often overlooked. In August of 1997 I wrote an article that compared and contrasted several press release distribution services. It was titled E-mail Press Release Service Comparison and the filename was email-releases.html. I stopped maintaining that page years ago, and really haven’t thought much about it since then. I didn’t kill off the page or delete from my server, I just sort of abandoned it.

Over the weekend I was looking though my server logs. Like many people usually look only at which pages from my site are sending me the most traffic, which pages are attracting new links, etc. But on a whim I decided to look at the top 100 pages for all of 2007 to date, and low and behold, look what page was sitting pretty at #93:

93. /email-releases.html 1,578

So that page has been generating 1,500+ page views every ten months for all these years. That’s nearly 15,000 page views I basically ignored and treated like they didn’t matter. Shame on me. Even more curious, I ran my linking analysis tools and identified over 50 other sites linking directly to that page on my site. Talk about deep link heaven. Here are just a dozen of the sites linking to that currently abandoned page.

One of those links is ten years old, and as recently as 2005 that page was attracting links from authority sites and was linked within this Google Answers post. See why I feel so silly? It’s easy to focus so much on the here and now that we forget the then and before. That page has been a steady performer for me for years, even earning trusted links year after year after year. And all that time I let it sit rotting.

Do you have pages like that? My guess is you do. When we look only at the top 10 or 50 sources of traffic, we overlook the golden links that could be helping our overall rankings. The best thing I could do now is update that page with meaningful information, so it becomes useful again to the thousands of people who up until now have found it useless. If I do nothing, there’s also the real likelihood that those other sites linking to it may kill those links. After all, why link to a page that nearly a decade old and not updated?

So this week, before the links die, I will update that page. Turn it into the useful resource it once was, and has been trying to remain, even as I ignored it.

Eric Ward has been in the link building and content publicity game since 1994, providing services ranking from linking strategy to a monthly private newsletters on linking for subscribers. The Link Week column appears on Mondays at Search Engine Land.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Link Building: General | Link Week Column


About The Author: has been creating linking strategies for clients since 1994. Eric publishes the strategic linking advice newsletter LinkMoses Private, and provides linking services, training and consulting via

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  • AndrewGoodman

    Good one, Eric!

  • eric_ward

    One thing I didn’t mention in the article but should have…Once you have removed a page from your server, if that page still had traffic due to links pointing at it, that page will show up in your error logs as a 404. It is often worth re-creating a page with the same filename as the one you deleted, so as to recapture that traffic and minimize 404′s.


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