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This is the third post in our weekly column – Link Building Technique 3: Hunt for Blunders.

The probably most positive aspect of mistakes is that you can learn from them. Unfortunately in most cases people only learn from their own mistakes if at all. Learning from mistakes made by others seems to be too difficult. We rather repeat the mistakes from the past.

On the Web the situation is completely different, it’s much better. You can see how other people fail in real time and not only learn from them but also earn.

You can earn links and even money. Earning from other webmasters’ or bloggers’ mistakes is nothing immoral. On the contrary you can earn links by helping other people out. People who have made and overlooked mistakes need your assistance and will be in many cases glad to show their gratitude.

My earliest steps in the international blogosphere were just “helping a blogger out”.

Then later I moved on to guest posting and finally I started my first SEO blog in English. I have been following some great bloggers long before I started blogging myself. I noticed early that blogging requires in a way a quick and dirty approach. So while quickly searching for inspiration and sources you may overlook

  1. spelling mistakes
  2. grammatical errors
  3. factual errors

Even journalists are prone to publish hoaxes, overlook mistakes and commit other blunders.

Hunt for these blunders and help out bloggers. The “Internet Explorer IQ study” hoax has just recently highlighted how easily writers can get things wrong.

One of the most common errors you can look out for are “file not found” errors aka 404s. This link building technique has been described by many others: You search for a 404 error where the broken link led to a site similar to yours and you suggest the webmaster a new link, yours. Getting 404 errors fixed might work out pretty well on a small scale but it’s still manual link building. It won’t establish you as an authority in your field or industry. Look beyond the link in an old post. Make sure to connect with the blogger and create a long term relationship for the mutual benefit of both.

When pointing out mistakes be polite and don’t make the impression that you know more than the “stupid” blogger.

Sometimes a mistakes doesn’t have to be one at all. For instance in a list of similar items or resources one or more may be missing. An ideal opportunity to add some items of your choice or even your own service. Don’t just drop in via Google search and push your site though. It’s often clear from the context that your motives are selfish. Remember that altruism is the best egoism. The more you help others the more other help you. Not necessarily the same people but people do. Don’t treat helping bloggers’ out as a kind of barter (I suggest an improvement so I deserve a link out of gratitude).

Your help is a door opener. Next time the person might remember you as a reliable source or specialist and ask you for a guest post, an interview or even more.

I still have one client that was referred to me from a blogger I helped out in 2007. I started commenting there, then I added some links in the comments, I got a few “via” or “thank you” links for being the source. Then I did a few guest posts on that blog. One of them started my blogging career. Today I’m one of the most well known SEO bloggers on the planet.

So don’t solely focus on the link building aspect of this “hunt for for blunders” technique. Contribute to a blog or website in a meaningful way and watch how your relationship thrives. It’s not only a way to get links it’s also a way to become part of a community or even industry. I’m a living proof.

* CC Image by Cory Doctorow.

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