Here at AIM Internet, we have put together a simple guide to broken link building. What are broken links? A Broken Link or Dead Link is a link on a web page that no longer works because the website is encountering one or more of the problems listed below:
- An improper URL entered for the link by the creator.
- The destination website removed the linked webpage, causing what is known as a 404 error to show.
- The destination website has permanently moved or no longer exists.
- The user has software or is using a firewall that is blocking access to the destination website.
- The website owner linked to a site that is behind a firewall that does not allow outside access.
What is broken link building?
Broken link building is a tactic that splits opinions, some say it is a scalable tool for a link builder and others feel that it is ineffective. So you need to consider if it is an effective method for your business. Here’s a brief guideline on what you need to know and how to use broken links successfully to decide whether it’s right for you.
The major problem with broken links, especially if they are numerous, is that they make the user experience unpleasant. The result of this being that people are not likely to revisit your website. This is where broken link building comes into play, as no one wants a dysfunctional website.
What is broken link building in SEO? With any SEO link building you first need to establish why the owner of the website would benefit from using your repaired link. The answer is simple, by pointing out broken links to a webmaster you are making their life easier and at the same time offering them a solution and improving the quality and function of their website.
So far so good, however, seasoned webmasters get requests like this all the time, so be prepared for a lot of knockbacks and no replies to your messages and emails.
How to find relevant broken links
The process of finding broken links is not difficult, there are numerous online tools both free and paid for that will search for and find your broken links for you. One such tool is Hubspot.com a popular website that will help you find broken links. You can start by running back link checks on websites that are in your field of expertise.
Ahrefs is another well known tool that can be used for the SEO backlink analysis of a website, it is different to other tools like SEMrush, Moz and Majestic in that it provides link data by using its own crawler like Googlebot.
Ahrefs also provides information on which other pages are currently linking to those broken pages. This offers many more leads to other sites that work in your field and the opportunity to identify further broken links. This is one of the reasons this method is so good for scalability.
Scraping resource pages is another method for finding broken links. Using this method you can enter advanced search queries in Google or any other search engines to find relevant content.
So what does that look like in practice?
Let’s say you’re trying to promote a marketing website. You would type things like this into Google:
- marketing intitle:links
- marketing intitle:resources
- online marketing inurl:links
- online marketing blogs inurl:resources
From there, you pursue the SERP results that look promising, and manually check that all the resources they list have working links. If you come across a broken link, toss it into Ahrefs or a similar tool to see who else might be linking to the broken page.
Here’s what finding broken links looks like in action. If we enter “marketing intitle:resources” into Google, we get the following SERP:
That “50 Content Marketing Resources” link looks promising; there has to be a decent chance that one of their links no longer works, right?
The secret to converting broken links into traffic
As we have discussed, finding the broken links is easy, there are lots of options out there to choose from. Just to recap, here are a few websites that can help find broken links for you:
What happens once you have found the broken links?
Okay, so now you have identified all the broken links with relevance to quality content you can provide. All you have to do now is contact the webmaster with the broken links and get them to use your link instead.
Simple enough you would think, but webmasters can be hard nuts to crack. Presumably you will be sending out numerous emails on the same subject, so it would make sense to produce a generic email that will save you time. The problem with this is that they can appear a bit impersonal.
It is important to give your emails the right title heading as many go straight to the bin without being opened, nobody likes long complicated emails so yours should be short, sweet and to the point. At the end of the day you are offering a service that will improve that persons website and their consumers user experience, this could lead to an ongoing working relationship.
It is important to direct your emails to an individual within the company you are trying to do business with. Emails with no specific destination will just not make it to the right person.
Once you have identified the right individual rather than going straight in for the kill it may be of benefit to tell them a little about yourself and try to build a relationship with them. If they are a popular website or blog they will have been contacted by lots of other people offering the same as you. If you can establish contact and build a relationship then you will have much more chance of earning their trust.
Final tips to win broken links
Broken link building is still a fantastic tool for earning meaningful links. And as long as you use it in the correct manner, you will see results but be prepared for a lot of work and even more knock backs. Don’t assume that simply having a replacement resource will be enough. Webmasters get emails and pitches all the time; for you to stand out in their inbox, you need to communicate quickly, effectively, and give them a reason to work with you.
The best way to do that is to lean into your own personality to make your emails friendly, helpful, and to the point.
The longer you work at it, the more you’ll improve. All forms of link building take some trial and error. The nice thing about it though is that you can track what emails work the best. Over time, you can change your style to generate even more wins.
Benefits of broken link building:
- Broken link building provides you with a solid strategy to get wins for links from relevant webpages that had been linking to content that is no longer active on competing websites. As long as you have a great piece of relevant content, webmasters are incentivised to switch out the dead links because they won’t want dead links on their webpages as this affects user experience.
- Broken link building increases your SEO authority by obtaining links for your website from highly relevant webpages. Often, if it was a popular resource page that has now gone dead, you will be able to pick up several high authority links for your piece of content.
So why not give it a go? A may work, or it may not be for you but it’s another link building strategy option when it comes to branching out and getting your content seen.