You See A News Story, I See An Opportunity

by Jon Cooper
NOTE: A lot of the 404s were corrected and now have redirects. I wrote this post about 5 days ago while they were still 404ing; I wanted to publish it immediately, but because of an unforeseen issue, I couldn’t get it out until this very moment. I still wanted to publish it because you can learn something from this example, regardless if this specific example is no longer a reality.


And this year’s biggest SEO screw up goes to… Digg!!

Not everyday do you see a whopping 14 million 404s on one website.

But after reading this post on the aftermath of the new Digg launch, I immediately saw something that most probably wouldn’t think about: that many 404s screams paradise to link builders everywhere. 

Operation Digg-404

So, if I had enough time on my hands, here’s what I’d do.

Step #1: Create a new site. It doesn’t need to be anything more than cheap hosting and a free WordPress theme. I do however advise you go to Fiverr and get yourself a custom logo, something like “The Digg Archive”.

Step #2: Plug www.Digg.com into Open Site Explorer and hit “Top Pages”. Seeing that the top 20-25 or so results are Digg.com/submit?something (active pages), you’ll need a PRO account. If you don’t have one, get the free trial.

Step #3: Find the most authoritative pages that are 404s, plug them into Archive.org, and attempt to recreate them on your site. Granted that it’s not actual content and that Digg is a voting site, it’s going to be a little difficult, but if you’re serious about this, you’ll do your best to recreate whatever content was on those pages.

Step #4: Do some outreach to the most authoritative websites linking to those pages. Let them know what happened at Digg, and that because the link they have to that specific news post is critical to their article, they should switch out the link to Digg with one to your recreated news story.

Do this as much as you want, but make sure you’re only recreating pages that have valuable links to them. For example, this page was a PA 85 and had over 9,000 links to it, but none of the links are really worth pursuing. The issue here is that Digg gets a ton of links, but not many are high quality.

Once you’ve got an amount of authoritative links you’re happy with, you can do whatever you want with your site with a simple 301. After that it’s up to you with how creative you get with making the most of that juice.

Further Applications

I just used Digg as an example, but you can do this if a content heavy site goes down (DoshDosh is a good example) or if a domain expires on an old, heavily linked to site. I bet there are other scenarios as well.

Possible Issues

There are two main issues you might run into when doing this. The first is the copyright of the brand. For example, if I bought DiggArchive.com, I might run into some legal issues with Digg.

Another is the copyright of the content on the page. If you recreate it in it’s entirety without the original site’s consent, you could be in trouble. So if it’s a heavily linked to article, consider going the route of rewriting it and making it even better.

Final thoughts

Broken link building is all about creativity and finding opportunity in messes like this. That’s why it’s by far my favorite link building strategy.

What do you think? Is this wrong & immoral or just plain awesome? Regardless your thoughts, (hopefully) this is going to stir up some much-needed conversation 🙂

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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You See A News Story, I See An Opportunity - Point Blank SEO