Dead Content Recreation Best Practices

by Jon Cooper

Lately I’ve been preaching dead link building as the #1 legitimate link building strategy. The reason it puts a smile on the face of link builders like me is because you’ll never run out of links to get. There are countless broken links found all over the web on highly authoritative pages, so why not recreate the content at the broken links & then ask to replace the link with a link to your recreated content? Yeah, it’s a great idea, but first you’ve got to know how to recreate the content.


Content recreation is a little sketchy, because in a lot of cases the content you’re recreating might be gone from the web altogether, meaning you might be able to get away with virtually copy & pasting. Although this might work in some cases, quality link builders like you and I should NEVER practice this. Stealing others content, no matter if it’s still on the web, is never a safe practice. Besides, a lot of times the content gets reproduced on other sites, so if you do in fact copy & paste, Google will see yours as duplicate content. If you think you know the content is found in no other place on the web, there’s still a possibility Google will see the content as duplicate anyways. Note that when I say duplicate I mean that the content is somewhere else on the Web, and if this is so Google will give all the value to the original source, thereby diminishing the value of your content. So with all these barriers stopping you from copy & pasting old content, why don’t you just recreate it in your own words & make even higher quality content?


Once you’ve found the content you want to recreate (i.e. through the wayback machine), first make sure there’s a solid amount of inbound links to it so you know it’s worth recreating. You can do this through Yahoo Site Explorer or Open Site Explorer. Next, use OSE to check out the anchor text of the incoming links. If the links have branded anchor text, you might have more trouble obtaining the links since they’re not straight from the branded source. After you check to make sure hopefully this isn’t the case, do some research on similar content throughout the Web. For example, if the content is about hair salons in the San Francisco area, make sure you find out more about the different hair salons so you can add even more insight to your newly recreated content. This helps makes the content look less of an exact copy of the content you’re creating, and in most cases improves upon the quality of the content.


Once you’ve recreated the content, now’s the time to send off those email requests for link replacements. During this process, realize that you might have a lower response rate for a couple of reasons. First is that if there are broken links on the site, the Webmaster might not be maintaining the site whatsoever anymore. Second is that the links might be from individual blog posts, and in these cases, webmasters might not want to go back and tweak a 2 year old post. With that out of the way, you can go ahead and start sending those links out. A good precautionary is to avoid contacting blogs that haven’t posted in the last year or two, mostly because you’ll have less than a 5% response rate (no ones posting, so no one would probably do the link replacement). Make sure in your email requests you get the point across of what you exactly did. For example, make sure in the email you say that you too really enjoyed that piece of content, but the website broke so it’s not longer viewable. Because of this, you made sure to recreate the content with added quality & insight. If the Webmaster knows the quality is high, and if they don’t have a problem with replacing the broken link, then there’s no reason why they wouldn’t do it.


Have anything you want to add? Leave a comment below!!


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This post was written by...

Jon Cooper – who has written 129 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jon Cooper is a link builder based out of Gainesville, FL. For more information on him and Point Blank SEO, visit the about page. Follow him on Twitter @PointBlankSEO.

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  1. Escapism says:

    What sort of advice might you have for dead content recreation / dead linkbuilding in a tough affiliate industry? For instance, the hot tub industry – I took a stab at running Screaming Frog for a few of the top contenders for head terms like ‘hot tub prices’ and ‘hot tub reviews’. Upon finding their 404’s, I ran them through OSE and Yahoo site explorer and found countless backlinks from what I assume to be crappy affiliate sites (that they likely own). Would you maybe have a trick for weeding out the affiliate sites?

    • Jon Cooper says:

      That’s tough, in that case I’d try to extend into other similar niches. For example, one of my clients is in the hr outsourcing niche, so we has to branch out into human resources and small business, two much bigger and broader niches where we could find these opportunities.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  2. Jon, just learned about you at SEOmoz. Great stuff. In fact, we implemented some of the strategies you recommended there and we’re 2 for 2 in getting new links from broken links. Beginners luck? Maybe, but the strategy is sound as it increases web quality. I’ll be looking for more great ideas from you.

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks Gyi! I’m glad to hear its working!! This is probably my #1 strategy for building highly authoritative links, and as long as you get a response back from the webmaster, you’re good to go.

  3. James says:

    Tried it this morning and worked a treat. Nice link from a well-respected mid-level blog in our niche!

  4. Good resources on 404 link building. I have been using this for a while now and quite successfully.

    You folks might find this useful too http://www.seerinteractive.com/blog/broken-link-building-feast-on-your-competitors-this-thanksgiving/2010/11/24/
    by Napoleon Suarez.

    # I had quite a bit of trouble for the non contrasting color where to put the captcha code! and also “submit comment” is actually a button you can click to submit!

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks for the insight!

      I know 🙁 my comment form is pretty low quality, I’ve had some serious issues integrating it with my blog’s theme. Considering switching to Thesis so I don’t have this problem…

Dead Content Recreation Best Practices - Point Blank SEO