How I got a link from a PR9 .GOV [Link begging tactic]

by retsek
50 replies
  • SEO
  • |
I just scored a link from a PR9 US .gov, the actual page my link is on is PR8.

It's just a naked url pointing to my homepage, but it's surrounded by text that describes what my
site is about. Can't wait til the next page rank update

I've been doing this alot, but this is the first time I've gotten such a powerful link via this method so I thought I'd share. I'll admit that the success rate for this is around 50%. Sometimes you get denied or get no reply at all.

Here's how I got it:

I came across this internal resource page on the PR9 .gov. I then used Xenu to crawl the page and it quickly picked up 13 links which were broken.

Edit: Alternative to Xenu: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/d...lfglf?hl=en-GB

I selected 4 of the broken links which were slightly relevant to my niche and I composed an email to the author of the page which went something like this, (but not exactly):

********
Hey #First Name of Page Author#,

I'm contacting you because I noticed a few broken links on your page located at #url#. They are:

1. brokenlink1
2. brokenlink2
3. brokenlink3
4. brokenlink4

Other than this, you've got a great list of resources.

I was also wondering if you would consider listing my website, #myurl#, which I recently started.
**********

By reporting broken links and being personal you're not coming off as a typical link beggar that mass emails webmasters.

The reason for selecting 4 of the links instead of all 13, is that you don't want to overwhelm them. And you don't want to make it obvious that you used a bot to scan their entire page to find broken links. A human will only notice a few, and only the ones that they are interested in.

Notice, I also paid a quick compliment to the author for compiling/curating the list of resources. You can sweeten that if you like.

Now the author's email wasn't listed on the page - only their name. So first I did a little stalking on Linkedin to make sure they still worked at the .gov. Then I'll googled their name and eventually found their twitter and a few known email addresses for them. I picked the email that was on the .gov domain, and I also followed him on twitter -- which usually sends a email notification.

Doing all that only took a few minutes.

After two days, he replied and said thanks for the broken links report and that he'll forward them to the webmaster. They were removed after a few hours, but my link wasn't added. He also followed back on twitter.

Then after six days, he emailed again to say my site now listed. I think they have policies in place in vet external links before they publish them. So maybe that's why approval took so long.

Then I replied with a thank you email.
#begging #gov #link #pr9 #tactic
  • Profile picture of the author Bryan V
    Nice score, and sleuthing!

    If you did report all the links, I would imagine most webmasters wouldn't think you scanned their site with a bot, but it may come off as "hey look how bad your site is screwed up." But it's probably in your favor to be selective with the links anyways.

    Of course, this kind of linkbuilding is another avenue opened up to you for having a 'real' website.
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    • Profile picture of the author retsek
      Originally Posted by Bryan V View Post

      Of course, this kind of linkbuilding is another avenue opened up to you for having a 'real' website.
      Yes I forgot to mention that.

      This obviously won't work if you have a website that's loaded with advertising or affiliate links, or has poor design, or poor content. To get natural links, people have to want to link to you.

      Even if it is you who is suggesting the link, they are still making a conscious editorial choice in listing you or not. That's what Google wants.
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      • Profile picture of the author markowe
        Originally Posted by retsek View Post

        Yes I forgot to mention that.

        This obviously won't work if you have a website that's loaded with advertising or affiliate links, or has poor design, or poor content. To get natural links, people have to want to link to you.

        Even if it is you who is suggesting the link, they are still making a conscious editorial choice in listing you or not. That's what Google wants.
        What he said ^^^.

        BTW, you can use the same trick to find expired high PR domains ;-)
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        Who says you can't earn money as an eBay affiliate any more? My stats say otherwise

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  • I think most webmasters would be thankful for the heads up. You did good by landing this one. The question is how often will they link back and will it become a very labor intensive task to get a few links, albeit, good links.
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    • Profile picture of the author retsek
      Originally Posted by PassiveIncomeTeacher View Post

      I think most webmasters would be thankful for the heads up. You did good by landing this one. The question is how often will they link back and will it become a very labor intensive task to get a few links, albeit, good links.
      I do quite a bit of link begging. Success rate for free, unpaid outreach like this is around 50% in the niches I'm in - health and finance. The trick is to offer something in return. If you're emailing somebody, try to provide value to them and not only yourself. This is only one way of providing that value.

      I honestly think it's less labor intensive that configuring SENUKE correctly to do a blast of what ultimately will be low quality links. That and you don't need to pay $xxx per month for it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Benjamin Tork
    Wow clever Idea. Definitely worth it for pr8 link, that would costs lots of $$$
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    @ retsek

    That's a really good idea you have with helping other sites find broken links.

    I had forgotten all about Xenu, I've used it a few years ago but the broken link idea is creative for finding possible free links.

    I just now tested Xenu on a site that I already have a backlink on, just to see If I could find any broken links, I found 5 broken links. Now I need to go out & find some fresh sites in my niche that I don't already have links on & test this out.

    Thanks man, very clever idea!
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  • Profile picture of the author retsek
    Thanks man.

    I just get tired of reading threads where people are giving up or are completely lost as to what do for SEO. This is just one of dozens of good tactics I use to rank and not worry about getting on Google's wrong side.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    I'm getting a lot of Timeouts on Xenu, I adjusted the 1-100 thread count (Options ---> Preferences) both higher & lower on 2 separate sites & still get most of those links as Timeouts.

    Is that the right setting for slowing down the link crawl with Xenu?

    Two other sites loaded just fine, so I'm thinking the Timeout sites must have slow servers/host?
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  • Profile picture of the author retsek
    What kind of connection do you have? It seems to work fine for me around 30.

    Edit: Just remembered a friend was having this kinda problem. Turned out it was his old router. When he plugged in the modem directly to the computer, the timeouts went away.
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      Originally Posted by retsek View Post

      What kind of connection do you have? It seems to work fine for me around 30.

      Edit: Just remembered a friend was having this kinda problem. Turned out it was his old router. When he plugged in the modem directly to the computer, the timeouts went away.
      I have DSL with a wireless router. My wife is online now so I'll test running directly from the modem later, thanks for the tip.
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  • Profile picture of the author platnumcn
    Hei, you are realy good luck, I also tried before, the webmaster no reply. So I gave up.
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  • Profile picture of the author WildGale
    retsek -- Thank you for another great tip. How do you monetize your site?
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    • Profile picture of the author retsek
      Originally Posted by WildGale View Post

      retsek -- Thank you for another great tip. How do you monetize your site?
      Mainly Adsense
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  • Profile picture of the author WildGale
    This is great. We are about to implement a variation of this and give it a shot.

    retsek -- You mentioned that a description of your site appears with your link. Do you provide one? It might seem presumptuous to do so, so I am guessing not, but I thought I'd ask.
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    • Profile picture of the author retsek
      Originally Posted by WildGale View Post

      This is great. We are about to implement a variation of this and give it a shot.

      retsek -- You mentioned that a description of your site appears with your link. Do you provide one? It might seem presumptuous to do so, so I am guessing not, but I thought I'd ask.
      No never suggest anchor text or description in your initial email. Success rates will plummet if you do. It's best to let them decide on their own. The only thing you should mention is the preferred url. If you use the www, you don't want them linking to your site without it.

      Sometimes, though, you may get a reply asking you to provide a description or giving you a choice of anchor text. That's very rare though and only then should you make a suggestion.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheProgrammer
    Great idea and also thanks for the share of Xenu Software to check broken links.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanoryan
    Well done, and cheers for sharing your idea / method!
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  • Profile picture of the author Devel
    the actual page my link is on is PR8.
    Your site at least will has PR7 or PR6 than
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    • Profile picture of the author retsek
      Originally Posted by Devel View Post

      Your site at least will has PR7 or PR6 than
      It's already PR5 before the link. I did a quick scan of most of the pages (not including other .gov's) linked from the PR8, and they all seem to be PR 6 - 7 even the ones with less than 50 backlinks.

      I know PR means little, but it sure is nice to look at
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  • Profile picture of the author WildGale
    I had a PR6 for a while with very few inbound links except one PR7. You may well be looking at a PR7. I agree -- PR means nothing until you have a PR7 site yourself and then it obviously means that you're the ****.
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  • Profile picture of the author EdwardDennis
    Awesome post retsek. How did you find this gov site in the first place, if you don mind sharing?
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    • Profile picture of the author retsek
      Originally Posted by EdwardDennis View Post

      Awesome post retsek. How did you find this gov site in the first place, if you don mind sharing?
      I typically find links like this by looking at the backlink profiles of other sites.

      The other sites don't even have to be in the same niche as you. For example, if your niche is dog training, you can analyse the profiles of sites that focus on cat owners or parrots or pet fish or pet snakes, etc.

      You can find these sites by looking at what ranks for keywords. Sites like technorati and alltop might also help in your search.

      Use directories like DMOZ and Yahoo to see who's listed in your interest categories. Chances are that if they have links in these directories, they'll also have links from other good sources you can use for yourself.

      Pretty much just basic competitor/site analysis.
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  • Profile picture of the author majorcheaphazard
    Nice work mate! Haven't been doing link begging for years but this one gave me an idea to try something :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author WildGale
    Thanks again, retsek. We got our first live link today using this method.
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    • Profile picture of the author retsek
      Originally Posted by WildGale View Post

      Thanks again, retsek. We got our first live link today using this method.
      That's Great!
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  • Profile picture of the author RevSEO
    Great method.

    This can easily be scaled AND automated or outsourced.... Heck, I may even try this just to see what kinda results are possible.

    Have you seen any ranking movements yet as a result of the link?
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    • Profile picture of the author retsek
      Originally Posted by RevSEO View Post

      Great method.

      This can easily be scaled AND automated or outsourced.... Heck, I may even try this just to see what kinda results are possible.

      Have you seen any ranking movements yet as a result of the link?
      Automation would kill your success rate with this. I wouldn't trust outsourcing with this. This is something you handle yourself because not every target is the same and you need to adapt your emails and change your angle appropriately.

      Many times I'm contacting professors at universities, phd's, librarians, curators, hobbyists, enthusiasts, etc. A poorly worded and impersonal email won't fly well with them.
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      • Profile picture of the author RevSEO
        Originally Posted by retsek View Post

        Automation would kill your success rate with this. I wouldn't trust outsourcing with this. This is something you handle yourself because not every target is the same and you need to adapt your emails and change your angle appropriately.

        Many times I'm contacting professors at universities, phd's, librarians, curators, hobbyists, enthusiasts, etc. A poorly worded and impersonal email won't fly well with them.
        If you have a talented team, there's zero reason why this cannot be outsourced properly. You clearly have a system in order to identify websites, find broken links, and then contacting the owners.

        Systems can be documented, and outsourced to competent employees.

        Identifying the broken links can be done via Scrapebox. Leaving the contacting stage to your employees. Write 10-15 template emails, which are somewhat plug and play for the VA's and let them do the rest.

        Again, this method can very easily be outsourced and scaled. Personally my time's much more valuable then doing this kind of work.
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        • Profile picture of the author retsek
          Originally Posted by RevSEO View Post

          If you have a talented team, there's zero reason why this cannot be outsourced properly. You clearly have a system in order to identify websites, find broken links, and then contacting the owners.

          Systems can be documented, and outsourced to competent employees.

          Identifying the broken links can be done via Scrapebox. Leaving the contacting stage to your employees. Write 10-15 template emails, which are somewhat plug and play for the VA's and let them do the rest.

          Again, this method can very easily be outsourced and scaled. Personally my time's much more valuable then doing this kind of work.
          Well I guess I am thinking small. If you have really competent employees then I guess this can be outsourced like that. I like doing **** myself. When I do outsource, it's usually a single simple task. Outward representation of my website as a whole by someone i'm paying a few dollars to do would scare me.

          If you do go large scale, let me know how it goes.
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  • Profile picture of the author WildGale
    I don't think I'd automate or outsource this. We're customizing the emails and approaching them as colleagues. I guess it would depend on the type of site you're targeting.
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  • Profile picture of the author WildGale
    Let us know how it goes, RevSEO. With my specific approach, it would be far less effective. If there are large numbers of the targeted sites, automation might have some payoff.

    My time is valuable too, but I've spent a lot more time getting PR7 backlinks than retsek spent getting this particular PR8 link.
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  • Profile picture of the author cardine
    Just wanted to say kudos on the idea. The SEO space is plagued with copycats and bottom feeders so it is nice for once to see some creative thinking from an SEOer.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    @ retsek,

    I have another spin on your broken link backlink technique.

    I was looking at one of my email list last night & noticed about 1/4 of those subscribers have emails from their own website/domain in the same niche as my website.

    Might be worthwhile to hit up that 1/4 email subscribers for a backlink after running a broken link check on their sites.

    The way I figure, that 1/4 traffic/subscribers already likes my site & helping them find broken links on their site could make the link building an even easier process.

    Just an idea, I haven't tested yet.
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    • Profile picture of the author retsek
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      @ retsek,

      I have another spin on your broken link backlink technique.

      I was looking at one of my email list last night & noticed about 1/4 of those subscribers have emails from their own website/domain in the same niche as my website.

      Might be worthwhile to hit up that 1/4 email subscribers for a backlink after running a broken link check on their sites.

      The way I figure, that 1/4 traffic/subscribers already likes my site & helping them find broken links on their site could make the link building an even easier process.

      Just an idea, I haven't tested yet.
      That should work well. They might also be more responsive to guest posts and contributions as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Lenney
    Banned
    This is a great tactic, though we might see webmasters getting alot MORE of these emails now as a result of this thread. :-)

    Thanks for sharing!
    Jeff
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  • Profile picture of the author Maraun
    Congratulations on the link This shows that real sites have a lot more potential than the usual SEO webspam.
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  • Profile picture of the author lexilexi
    Great stuff!! I wrote about a theoretical, much larger scale version of this idea about three years ago as one of the chapters in the Link Building Black Book. Is that where you picked up the idea? I never tested it..... nice to see someone making it work.
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    "If there is no door, it becomes necessary to break out through the wall."

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    • Profile picture of the author retsek
      Originally Posted by lexilexi View Post

      Great stuff!! I wrote about a theoretical, much larger scale version of this idea about three years ago as one of the chapters in the Link Building Black Book. Is that where you picked up the idea? I never tested it..... nice to see someone making it work.
      Never heard of that.
      I call it broken link building/begging.

      I'd say it's been around for much longer than 3 years.

      Here's a more detailed guide from seomoz.
      http://www.seomoz.org/blog/broken-li...noob-to-novice
      that includes other templates and email styles.

      The article also contains links to 18 other guides on the subject.
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  • Profile picture of the author WildGale
    We are getting very good responses. Something that seems to be working well is to email first thing in the morning. We are emailing program administrators for the most part and many are in their offices before the staff comes in. Apparently, they are more likely to open an email and shoot a response back at that time. We are going to try emailing them between 7-8 a.m. local time, Tuesday through Friday.
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  • Profile picture of the author retsek
    Yep, avoid mailing on weekends and at night. I use a Gmail thingy to schedule when emails go out.

    Also hope you're documenting everything. There'll come a time when it looks like you aren't finding new pages to report broken links for. That's when you go back to your excel spreadsheet of past reports.

    Look, specifically at the links that are broken. Chances that if one great domain/ resource page linked to them, there'll be others. So take a "broken URL" and put it into majestic or OSE, and you'll see what other pages are linking to them. You now have more targets to email.
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  • Profile picture of the author WildGale
    Nice idea, retsek. Will do.
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    • Profile picture of the author retsek
      Originally Posted by WildGale View Post

      Nice idea, retsek. Will do.
      Another tactic I use quite a bit.

      Invent a female persona for the domain you're promoting.

      Why ?

      Because most webmasters/site owners are men. They're more responsive to women. No need for pics or anything like that. Just a good solid female name.

      However....

      If you know for sure that the target is a female, NEVER email as your female persona. Women generally don't like each other
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      • Profile picture of the author WildGale
        LOL @ retsek. Are you in the field of psychology?

        We may be playing it perfecting, then, because most of the people we are emailing are women and my partner (a man) is contacting them. I'm a woman so we already have team diversity should we need it.
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  • Profile picture of the author retsek
    Have been using this Chrome plugin recently.
    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/d...lfglf?hl=en-GB

    It's somewhat faster than Xenu and easier to integrate into your workflow. Xenu is still useful for big pages and deeper crawling.
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    • Profile picture of the author WildGale
      Originally Posted by retsek View Post

      Have been using this Chrome plugin recently.
      https://chrome.google.com/webstore/d...lfglf?hl=en-GB
      We've been using this plugin. We're on Macs, so the other tools weren't a good fit, but this one is working very well.

      So far we're a week into the project and have four live links and about four more being vetted. It looks like our success rate for the little stream we're working in now will be at least 25%. The PR of the actual pages we're targeting is 2-3 so we're not killing it with PR but the links are very good -- good quality, very low number of OBLs.
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  • Profile picture of the author BlackMetal
    Good thinking outside the box, and a fresh idea for a change
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