A little while ago I came across a blog post which is targeted towards big brands, but presents a technique for building links via misspellings. I had put it on my todo list and put it to one side; IMAutomator doesn’t really qualify as being ‘big brand’.
Link Building with Misspellings Technique
The basic technique can be broken down into a few steps:
- Take your brand name and use a tool such as the SEO Book typo tool to identify potential misspellings
- Construct the .com URL out of all of those misspelled words
- Use a backlink checker to find backlinks to those domains
- Identify possible link opportunities and perform outreach
I didn’t actually do step 1. What actually happened is that yesterday I was looking at the IMAutomator analytics and I was looking at some of the data over a long period of time. I spotted some misspellings which had sent me fairly decent amounts of traffic and when I had a closer look I found a lot of misspellings.
I exported them all and ended up with 223 misspelled versions of ‘imautomator’! And here I am thinking that I’d created a catchy, easy-to-spell brand name! Oh well 🙂 Actually I have to admit, I mis-type it myself sometimes!
Should you optimize for misspelled words?
Years ago some SEO’s would actually build targeted pages around their top misspelled words in a bid to get more traffic. It’s not really a good idea as if a potential customer was actually to land on one of these pages it wouldn’t really give a great impression if it looked like you had misspelled your own brand name on your own website!
But these days its entirely unnecessary anyway. Google is getting far more intelligent and will now automatically show you search results for the word that it thinks you had actually intended to type in. Indeed, I went through a handful of my misspelled words and plugged them into google and sure enough it said “Showing results for imautomator” and showed this website in the top spot. This makes sense, as these keywords are already sending traffic.
So back to the link building…
The purpose of this technique is actually to build backlinks using these misspellings so I decided to put it to the test and see how well it worked. The second step is to put a .com on the end of each word. Many of my keywords actually had spaces in them such as ‘im automator’ and my absolute favourite, ‘i am automator’!
Incidentally, in case you have ever wondered, yes IMAutomator is all one word, and the IM stands for Internet Marketing.
So I removed all the words with spaces and other invalid characters and I trimmed the list down to 156 URL’s. Next I went to the bulk backlink checker of Majestic’s tools to see which of these had any backlinks.
The first one that popped up was for http://imautomation.com. It looks like this used to be a site that did something very similar to IMAutomator, but is now dead. This has potential because any live site linking to that company could potentially link to mine as they offer pretty much the same thing. It had 68 backlinks according to Majestic and Ahrefs but as I only have a free plan on both those I looked at the handful of backlinks shown and then I used a crappy little backlink checker for the rest. It was a bit more effort but showed the data I needed.
This tool doesn’t filter out internal links and it also shows entries for whois sites, ranking sites and all of that garbage. However, it did show the PR of the linking page which was handy. I only looked at ones PR2 or higher, as nothing less is worth the time. I actually found a couple of live resource pages, and contacted the webmasters and asked them to change the links. While I was at it I also used a broken link checker to identify some broken links on the page for them as a nice gesture.
The next domain of interest was http://iautomator.com/ which redirected to some guy claiming to be an Internet Marketing expert. However I couldn’t find any decent backlinks for that one.
Unfortunately that was it; none of the other domains showed any backlinks.
Conclusion: Linkbuilding with Misspellings Worth it?
This whole process took maybe a couple of hours and I ended up with only 1 solid link on which to perform outreach and of course there’s no guarantee that the website will even get the email, let along act on it. So, for me, it was not worth the effort.
However, I would suggest that you at least have a look in your analytics for misspellings. If you see some that are sending through a lot of traffic and you’re also the kind of site that gets lots of links then its very possible that some of those links are actually pointing to a mis-typed URL that should be pointing at your site and then it might well be worth doing the rest of the steps.