Note: This is a guest post by Sergey of Ahrefs. The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of Deepanshu Gahlaut’s Blog.
There is a bunch of well-known and actionable link building tactics that we are aware of today. All of these tactics have different approaches but their purpose is the same – to build more links.
Guest posting, link exchange, outreach (asking to get a link back), creating link bait content, etc. – I have just listed some of the link building strategies that link-builders use on a daily basis.
But what about the method called broken link building?
Does it work as great as the other link building strategies?
Let’s find this out!
1. Broken Link Building? What Is This?
Broken link building is the strategy in which you search for “dead” links on the target website, write content on the same topic, and offer a website owner to link to your content instead of one that is already unavailable.
You might think “why should this strategy work?”.
Because if the website hosts broken links, it might lead to the negative user experience. And this is ain’t cool at all.
Thus, nobody has any reason to reject your offer to replace some of the broken links on the website.
Looks like this very strategy has more points to give you “a green light” in obtaining new links in contrast to other link building strategies.
But for those who have never ever stumbled upon a broken link, here is an example:
At first glance, it might seem an ordinary anchor but it leads you to:
And there are lots of such links that you can find on different websites.
Why not use these opportunities and get a few more links to your site!
However, how can you know what topic has been covered in the post that is no longer available?
The service called Wayback Machine helps you in this case. It illustrates the snapshots of the page you’re investigating:
Since you already know the topic that you need to cover, there are a couple of steps that you need to take:
- Write an epic post
- Contact the website owner + refer to a broken link you want to replace
- Impress him/her with your piece of content
Seems like a dern easy-to-implement plan, right?
Not so fast! 🙂
2. Search for Broken Links on Top Websites
You must realize that there is no 100% guarantee that your pitch to high-authority websites will be accepted. Furthermore, if you contact some of the famous experts, your “goodwill gesture” won’t be reviewed.
Nevertheless, the question is how to find broken link building opportunities with no pressure?
You’ll need an SEO tool that would be able to reveal you these broken link building opportunities. In my case, it will be Ahrefs Broken Link Checker.
For example, I run a website that is niche-related to yoga. I want to see what broken links some of my potential competitors have. It didn’t take me long to find top yoga blogs and I already put one to the tool for analysis.
This website has a huge number of broken backlinks that I could sift through and find those opportunities I believe would work for me the best.
The following steps that I should take are creating high-quality content, getting in touch with the website owners, and discussing the opportunity to replace the link.
3. Scrape Link Pages and Get Broken Link Opportunities
Another way to find broken links is scraping the link pages. And the first thing you should do is to find niche-related resources pages. You will need to use a few phrase combinations that would help you get the results:
- KEYWORD inurl:“links”
- KEYWORD intitle:”resources”
- KEYWORD intitle:”links” inurl:”links”
- KEYWORD blogs inurl:”resources” intitle”resources”
Type these combinations on Google and you should get something similar to this:
You should scrape these results using SERP bookmarklet for Chrome or ScrapeBox. Right after that, you should extract the outbound links from these pages. I advise you to use Screaming Frog, which verifies HTTP status of outbound links and reveals those ones that have “404” status.
Likely, if you don’t want to spend your time working with Screaming Frog, you can extract the links using Google Sheets and this formula:
=IMPORTXML(“page url”,”//a[not(contains(@href, ‘domain’))]/@href”)
Thereafter, copy the links with “404” status and paste them into Ahrefs Batch Analysis tool to find broken links.
4. Expired Domains Can Hide Broken Link Opportunities as Well
Considering this way of finding broken links, you will have to use such services as ExpiredDomains.net and Batch Analysis.
What do you need here?
You need to find expired domains with all the backlinks they have. ExpiredDomains.net will do this for you. Put a keyword related to your niche into the search and see what you’ll get:
I got 207K domains related to my query “yoga.” The number is huge, so I need to narrow down these results to get the most promising ones. I apply filters and set the results by the total amount of backlinks:
Then “copy domains into a clipboard” and migrate them to Batch Analysis tool. Apply “domain with all its subdomains” mode and explore the list of expired referring domains. Just imagine how many broken link building opportunities you will be able to find!
5. How to Send Broken Link Building Pitch Correctly
The things I am going to cover in this section are all about the traditional aspects of email outreach. However, in the case of broken link building outreach, you will need to accomplish three stages only.
a) Send your pitch to niche-related people only
If you run an online business and host a website, it won’t be hard for you to find the right people to get in touch with. The major problem is to find the correct email address of the person. I don’t bother myself with finding emails manually. I use such tools as ContactOut, Findthat.email, and an extension called LinkedIn Sales Navigator that helps me verify email validity.
b) Email template
Since you’re contacting a website owner regarding some broken link on the site, you should concern only about this. Here is the example of such a message:
Five “must” elements that your outreach email template should contain:
- The name of the person you’re reaching out
- Broken link
- The place where this broken link has been found
- Link replacement suggestion
- A strong argument why your content is worth to replace this link
Do you remember that website owners like to keep their backlink profiles clean?
That’s why stay away from the thought that your follow up message might disturb the recipient. It is not so. You want to provide some kind of help and your pitch would be much appreciated.
Your message should work as a reminder and nothing more.
To End Up
Broken link building is a powerful strategy of gaining links. Just grab your patience and find more time for this. And keep in mind that high-quality content is the key to succeed in this craft!
If you have something to add to this post, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Author’s bio: Sergey Aliokhin is 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.