You know it, don’t you?
The more high quality backlinks your website earns, the higher its search position will be.
That’s why every digital marketer is crazy about backlinks. But you have to invest a lot of time and effort to build a high-quality backlink. And, that’s why people spend hundreds of bucks for a single link from sites like HuffingtonPost, Entrepreneur, etc.
But you don’t have to spend a lot for a high-quality backlink if you understand the art of broken link building.
You can apply this to your own blogs and your client sites as well.
What Exactly is Broken Link Building?
I don’t think you need an explanation on broken link. But for the sake of the introduction, I am going to describe concisely what broken link building really means.
No, it’s not as it sounds like! Broken link building is not building broken links (which obviously has no advantages to anyone). But it is reaping benefits out of a broken link by reaching out to the site owner (who has a broken link on his site) to get a backlink.
But it is easier said than done! Unlike any other marketing method, the conversion rate of broken link building is very less- mostly under 10%!
You may think this is not worth your time. Still, SEO maestros like Neil Patel and Brian Dean use this way to boost their search rankings. (And, I really think 10 HQ backlinks are far way better than 1000 GSA blasted links for your main site).
How to Start Broken Link Building for SEO?
I have divided this guide into several parts for your convenience. As I said earlier, broken link building is not a quick process, and it needs time to see the fruit.
1. Finding the Targets
You need a bunch of HQ target sites to have links to your website, don’t you? As we are aiming for the high-quality links, this process may take some time to filter out gold from the coal.
The target finding can be done in three ways.
- Keyword Based: Here, you hunt for broken links on pages targeting the same keyword. So, you need to be extra vigilant in selecting the keyword.
- Domain Based: You search an entire domain for broken links. Say quicksprout.com. Your quest doesn’t go out of it.
- Single URL Based: You select a URL, for example, abc.com/an-article. And, you check every link on it to find a broken one.
I always recommend going with the first one due to the number of opportunities it brings. So let’s find out how to unleash the broken links.
We have a keyword, ‘natural remedies for pimples’. In order to find the broken links, we have to get the search results first, right? So, I searched for the same on Google. (You can use this advanced Google Search Operators to get URLs as well).
As you can see, it yielded 4,47,000 results. And, we don’t need more than 50 pages (further results lack quality most probably).
You can adopt several methods to grab the list of URLs from search results. Either you can manually copy and paste the web addresses into a Notepad window, or you can use Scrapebox. The first method is time-consuming while the second one is expensive.
Don’t worry! I have found a free and easy way to export the URLs of the search results. ?
How to Bulk Export the Search Result URLs for Free?
All you need is a Chrome extension called LinkClump. Soon after you add it to Chrome, you will see a new Y-like button on the toolbar. Clicking on it will give you a list of option among which Options should be your pick.
You have to Add an action here.
Choose the pair of activation keys (I’ve selected Mouse Middle Button), Now select “Copied to Clipboard” as the action and Change the Copy Format to “URLS only”. Then, hit the Save button.
Now Google your query and press the activation keys. You can see a rectangle on each link. Don’t release the keys unless you select all the links. (In my case, I have to hold the Mouse Middle Button and select all the links by dragging the mouse over the links.)
Open a Notepad window (or any note taking tool) right away and press Ctrl+ V. There you go!
Similarly, you can go to the second page and copy the URLs.
Isn’t this easy? 🙂
How to Bulk Check for Broken Links?
The next task is to check each URL for broken links. As we have about 50 URLs, visiting each of them manually and checking the links will not be practical. So you need a tool here as well.
Xenu Link Sleuth is the one.
Download and install the tool. Open the tool and go to Options, click Preferences !!
You will see a Maximum level field there. If you only want to check the exact URLs for broken links, you must keep them as zero. In case you want to check the linked pages from the URL, you can raise the number. The higher the value, the deeper the checking will be.
Now go to File menu. There you can find a couple of useful options – Check URL and Check URL list. For the bulk checking, we use the second one (Check URL list). After clicking “Check URL List”, upload the .txt file that you just made.
On execution, you will get red results for broken links and green for healthy. (Keep in mind that we are going to earn links from the websites that have the broken links).
What if You Choose Domain or Single URL Based Link Hunting?
For domain-based checking, you can use Xenu Link Sleuth and increase the Maximum level for the deep check.
And for Single URL-based link hunting, you are provided with a lot of tools. Check My Links and Domain Hunter are two Chrome Plugins to check for broken links on a particular page. Alternatively, you can use W3C Link Checker as well.
A broken link building campaign becomes a success when you target on a bulk level; that’s why I explained the bulk checking more.
Incentive: Do you mind having more links with relevant broken links on it? But for this bonus method to work, you need a backlink checker (Ahrefs, Moz or Majestic preferred). From the above method, you must already have at least ten broken links. Just copy the URL of one of them and check the backlinks. There you go! The list you get here are the URLs of web pages linking to the non-existing page. Iterate the process with remaining broken links for more results.
Filtering the Results
So you have a number of web pages with broken links on it. Now, we have to realize the gold from coal. As we all know, a backlink can make or break an entire site. That’s why you should exclude the low-quality sites from the list.
To determine the quality, carry out the following.
- Check Link Profile: Take the URL of a web page from which you want to get a backlink and check its link profile. You can sense the presence of spamming at once by visiting the linking domains, checking the anchor texts, etc.
- Analyze the Website: A manual analysis will not hurt either. If a site is loaded with unnatural sitewide and contextual links, you must cut it from your list within no time.
- Social Share: The higher the social shares, the better its search performance will be. Apparently, the SEO juice will flow into the linked pages as well. So, you must also check the social shares (I know it can be manipulated. Still, it’s pivotal).
- Site Metrics: There will be nothing wrong in checking Alexa Rank, DA, PA, CF, etc. But you should not rely entirely on them. Use SEMRush to check how a particular website performs on Google. You should pick it up if it has a lot of good search positions. (I prefer at least 20 DA).
You have a filtered high-quality list of web pages with broken links on it. The next step is outreaching.
But before that, I have a question for you.
For which content you want to do broken link building, already written or to-be-written?
If the former is the case, you can jump directly into outreaching. And, for the second case, a content generation part comes in the middle.
2. Content Generation
Say, you have targeted a good keyword and found a good amount of high-quality websites with a broken link on the same topic. A good internet marketer smells an opportunity there.
If you are lazy to generate new content for the sole purpose backlink earning, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a content writer either. But for writing the content, you must understand what the site owner really meant to give to his/ her audience with that broken link (at the time of writing the post, it was active for sure).
For that, you can seek the help of Wayback Machine (make sure you put the broken link into the field). To make your research cunning, you can switch the date to the day the backlink became active or the day the post (with the broken link) was published.
And, read the content carefully. Then, make a compelling article with the information he shared and with your own researched data as well. Don’t forget to keep the core topic the same. Or else, you will fail to get the link.
You have the list of websites and a compelling article published on your blog. If you have multiple blogs on the same niche, you can publish two different posts on the same topic to present the both before the site owner (avoid spinners for God’s sake).
The first task you should do for the outreach process is grabbing the contact details of site owners who keep the broken links.
How to Get the Contact Details of the Site Owners?
I feel social media is not the best place for backlink outreach, so I keep the same out of the picture.
Most of the sites have a Contact Us page link on the top navigation bar (or at least on the footer). You can use it. Some admins put their emails as well.
Or you can check whois details of the domain to get the email. There are some paid tools to find out the contact details like Link Research Tools Contact Finder, Buzzstream, etc. As we are on a shoelace budget, I overlook them too.
If nothing works out, you can ask your blogging buddies, who the owner of a particular site is. I am sure that they will help you in any possible way.
How to Contact them?
Here is the tricky part. No one ever cares to give a backlink for a guy who says, “Hey, I found a broken link on your site. I want to see a link to my site there. When can you give it”?
So you should take each step carefully. I hope the following tips will help you.
- If you have multiple sites, you don’t have to mention the content is yours. (In case, you put your name everywhere on the blogs, this may yield negative results. But for client sites, you should act as a regular reader who needs their site to be seen perfect).
- Be polite.
- Start by calling their name.
- Try to appreciate their content in a natural way in a line or two.
- No grammar mistakes or typos at all.
I have written a template for those who want a readymade email. You can customize it each time before sending. The template are at the end of the post ?
4. Keeping the Log
In order to prevent sending emails twice to the same person, you should log your process. MS Excel is my best companion when it comes to logging anything.
I have created a sample template for you. But you can make it more innovative with your ideas.
And, you should manually check the web pages to find out whether they put the links or not. Some website owners do reply and some other don’t. So it’s your job to check the pages for your links.
Get your Email template for outreach.
I know your thoughts now. ?
‘Hey dude, this takes hell lots of time. And, how can I be sure about getting links as it depends completely on the other person’s mind?’
Yes, I admit it. You are right by every word. But imagine the result if you bag at least five quality links (niche specific, authoritative and non-spammy).
You have to keep doing it continuously as I said earlier. The higher the number of emails you send, the greater the backlinks you get.
Neil Patel and Brian Dean believe in the power of broken link building, and you still are skeptical??
Come on, shake of your laziness and try this for a month. You will thank me later for insisting on doing this.