Accidents Are Great for Link-Building

Link-building is often the result of a deliberate action and seldom something accidental. However, accidents and deliberate accidents have proven to attract great links that result in great Google ranking. Here are a couple of accidental link-building strategies.

Bankruptcies Attract Links

No one reports on a business that is doing well, but once one is in trouble, the reports on lay-offs and bankruptcy are spread vigorously. This results in a lot of relevant links for business terminology. Monitoring ranking for many bankrupt businesses just before their site went down showed a huge spike in ranking. Businesses that re-launch after a bankruptcy benefit from additional Google traffic, but clients might be hesitant to renew their trust in such brands. Rebranding the name, including a site-wide redirect, allows you to benefit from the additional links without the drawback of reusing the name. Buying the name from your bankrupt competitor is also an option, but you should avoid signals of Google manipulation.

Product Recall Media Attention


A product recall often starts with some advertisement, which results in a lot of free media attention and a wide range of incoming links. When tracking the link acquisition during important product recalls in the past, it shows that most messages link out to the official statement on the company website. Related product terminology has measurably improved in ranking shortly after.

It is hard to give recall messages a positive twist, but being overly concerned about potential safety risks will seldom be seen as a bad thing. To be able to use a product recall as an intentional link-building strategy, you should avoid any relation with your regular products. A giveaway that is still relevant to your keywords but obviously mass-produced in China is a recall product that I’ve used in multiple occasions. Products that you recall at an early stage because the production didn’t meet your corporate social responsibility guidelines can even bring your brand some positive attention.

Error in Favor of Clients

Give a couple of small orders on your website an enormous discount and leak the error just before you fix it. Afterward, admit that there was an error that you’ve fixed and that you will honor the discounts already given. People love reading about these types of cheats and many websites love sharing them. Blaming human error is often better than using a system error, because people might also feel unsafe providing their details to a faulty system.

Bad Is Good

Bad things will always happen. Have a contingency plan ready for when they do. How you handle these situations determines how things turn out in your favor. A creative solution to your problem gets you the right attention, but even problems you can’t fix can benefit from the way you communicate them. Putting things into perspective and providing additional background information can show how future clients benefit from your acquired insights. Don’t be too shy of media attention during this period and make sure you attract a lot of links.

It probably sounds a bit scary if you’ve never used controversy as a hook for link bait, but it has worked wonders in the past. Earlier articles on Search Engine Watch provide additional inspiration.

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