Link-building has always been one of the most actionable ways that help improve website’s ranking in Google. These ways include different strategies that have their pros and cons.
But one of the main reasons why people hate doing link-building is that the majority of these strategies take lots of time and efforts.
For example, guest blogging is an outstanding strategy to gain backlinks. But you will have to make a wide range of preparations before you obtain the link back to your site. They include finding a solid blog that accepts guest contributions, brainstorming guest post ideas, writing an article, and waiting till the post will be published.
The same happens if you boost your traffic by doing outreach aggressively.
That’s why it is necessary to find a strategy that would walk the line. Broken link-building seems to be the strategy that saves your time, efforts, and helps you build more backlinks.
SIDENOTE: broken links are not the only issue that could deface a website. There are many more of them. You should know how to do an SEO audit for your website that will help you detect all possible issues. Check out this video if SEO audit is not your strong point:
1. A Few Words on Broken Link-Building
To give you a clear idea of what broken link-building is I should start with the explanation of what broken links are.
A broken link is a link that is already “dead”. It redirects you nowhere. Pretty simple, isn’t it?
The main idea of broken link-building strategy is to find a broken link on a particular blog, write something better, and offer your piece of content to a website’s owner. The whole point of this collaboration is to replace the broken link with the link back to your content. The owner of this blog gets a high-quality content and you get the backlink. The strategy that is based on a ‘win-win’ basis.
Let’s move further with an example.
I decided to skim through the CrazyEgg blog and stumbled upon the post that contains a broken link. You can see that this link redirects to the page that doesn’t exist anymore:
When I click on this link it redirects me here:
It is not a single tale of a ‘dead’ link. If you make a deep research, you will find lots of such opportunities for your broken link-building strategy.
Afterwards, you will have to find out that this post was about something that no longer exists. The service called Wayback Machine will help you with this:
Now you know what this post was about and it is time to brainstorm ideas on writing the better piece of content. When the post will be written, you should get in touch with the website’s owner and offer him or her your written material. If the post meets editor’s requirements, the broken link will be replaced with your one.
However, this magic strategy might not work if you’re reaching out to the guys who belong to the ‘big fish’ guild. Likely, you can still grab ‘low-hanging fruits’ with the help of Site Explorer tool viewing ‘backlinks’ section:
Another 57 link opportunities where you could replace the broken links.
Practice shows that the only issue people have performing broken link-building is finding broken link opportunities that would be related to the particular niche. But, there is no way out!
2. How to Find ‘Dead Pages’ on the Top Sites
Your first step is to collect the list of the main competitors in your niche. It is pretty easy to do with the help of putting a query on Google related to your niche. Again, let’s move on with the example.
Assume that I am an owner of the website that is related to an alternative medicine niche. I need to find top competitors I have. And here is a list:
Once the list of competitors is ready, I should check each blog for broken backlinks opportunities. Broken Link Checker will help me here:
When I get the results, I perform a three steps process that I’ve mentioned before in the first section of this post.
3. Expired Domains With Broken Backlinks That Are Related To Your Niche
Should warn you that this way of broken link-building requires more time, yet it works like a charm.
So, how does it work?
You will need to find expired domains that contain backlinks first of all. To do this you should use ExpiredDomains.net where you can search for domains related to the keyword “alternative medicine”:
You can see that the service provided us with 2,4K, which is a huge number. I advise to narrow down the results by implementing some filters:
The next thing to do is to set the results by the number of backlinks:
Afterwards, choose “copy domain into clipboard” option and paste the results into a Batch Analysis tool. There you will need to set up mode, so select “domain with all its subdomains” to see the list of expired domains with a vast amount of backlinks:
Having completed all the above steps, you can finally start the actual process of broken link-building.
4. Broken Outlinks with a Massive Amount of Backlinks
There is no better way to give you an idea of what I am going to talk about than feature an example. Since I use the same alternative medicine niche along the entire post, I decided to proceed with it.
I found that thecompleteherbalguide.com seems like a solid website that ranks well in search. Now let’s see what outgoing broken backlinks this web-resource has:
I got the list of 74 pages with outgoing broken backlinks. A quick overview of these pages suggested me a nice opportunity. I can write a piece of content covering symptoms of depression and tips of overcoming it. I think it would be a wonderful way to replace this broken link.
Here is another trick that you can use to get more out of this broken link-building method. Let me show you what will happen if I analyze the URL I marked on the screenshot with Site Explorer tool:
It has 72 referring domains you can use for your broken link-building campaign. Go ahead and try!
5. Scraping Link Pages Can Give Broken Link-Building Opportunities as Well
This method of broken link-building is one of the most widely used by marketing pros. Here you will have to work with Google search using a few phrase combinations:
– KEYWORD intitle:“links” inurl:“resources”
– KEYWORD intitle:“resources”
– KEYWORD blogs inurl:“resources” intitle:“resources”
– KEYWORD inurl:“links”
Let’s see the example:
You should extract the outbound links and Screaming Frog will do this for you. FYI, the service verifies the HTTP status for every link and reports you about all ‘404’ opportunities.
If you have no Screaming Frog account, you can run the same process using Google Sheets applying the following formula:
=IMPORTXML(“page url”,”//a[not(contains(@href, ‘domain’))]/@href”)
Finally, copy/paste these ‘404’ links into Batch Analysis tool and move to standard broken link-building scenario.
6. Broken Link-Building Outreach
The list of ‘dead’ links is prepared and it is time to outreach websites owners to complete the entire broken link-building strategy.
The best approach here you should apply is email outreach.
I don’t want to get into detail on how to perform email outreach brilliantly in this post. However, I am going to give you three “must” conditions that will help not to crap out.
– Contact the right people
When we talk about contacting right people, I always refer to using the personal email address and contacting the person who has responsibilities to take care of website backlink profile.
I don’t want you to strain your brain when it comes to searching one’s email address. So, here are a few cool tools that will help you ContactOut, Findthat.email, and Voilaborbert. But again I stumbled upon the situation when these tools offer two email addresses that are related to the same person. What to do then?
I go to LinkedIn and inspect person’s profile, especially an “experience” section:
If it doesn’t help me much, I test the addresses with a LinkedIn Sales Navigator (Chrome extension.)
Remember that you should try to contact only those people who have an access to a backlink profile of the website. If you contact the person, who doesn’t have any duties related to monitoring website’s backlink profile, your pitch might fail.
In a nutshell, make sure you that you found the right person 🙂
– Be straight to the point
Your aim is to tell about a broken link of the particular website. Thus, don’t say anything else. No waffle in your message. Just follow this scheme of the pitch:
– Mention recipient’s first name
– Indicate the broken link + the exact place where it is located
– Introduce your alternative to the previous piece of content
– Give a short explanation why your suggestion is worth being used
Here is an example of such message:
– Send a follow-up message if it is needed
It is a well-known fact that your first message might stay without reply. It doesn’t mean that your email template sucks. It means that due to some reason a certain person could miss your message or didn’t have time to get back to it and reply.
Thus, it is a good opportunity for you to remind about your pitch one more time. In other words, send a follow-up message.
Just send the right person something like this:
You can be sure that using a right approach you will get the results you need.
To Sum Up
A broken link-building strategy is not a quick and easy way to gain backlinks. It takes pretty much time to accomplish this link-building campaign.
The main secret of this way of building links is to offer a worthy alternative. Keep it in mind and you will succeed.
If you have anything else to share regarding this strategy, feel free to leave your comments.
Don’t hesitate to tell your friends about this post via your social media channels.
Author’s bio: Sergey Aliokhin, a Marketing Manager at Ahrefs. Apart from working at Ahrefs, he likes spending his time with family, studying martial arts, and plucking fat bass guitar strings.