Broken link building is one of the more unorthodox SEO tactics. Broken link building involves searching the web for pages which contain broken links, and offering to provide replacement content in exchange for redirecting the said link to your website. Despite its relative obscurity, broken link building is still an effective white-hat link building strategy. To help you acquire a better understanding of how broken link building works, and how you can use it to enhance your existing content marketing strategy, we have created a concise, step-by-step guide which you can find below.
Phase 1 – Keyword prospecting
Step #1: Choosing the right keywords
The most widely used method for finding broken links is keyword prospecting. The process involves performing a Google search for keywords relevant to your business niche, browsing the SERPs to find those with content related to the keywords, and finally screening them for broken links.
The keywords in question should be meaningfully related to the kind of content you publish on your website; this can mean keywords related to the products and services you are offering, keywords related to your geographical location, or keywords associated with your target audience.
Be careful not to look for keywords that are too specific, as this will drastically reduce the number of broken links you will be able to find. Instead, try to find a middle ground between broad, widely-used terms, and highly-specific niche phrases.
Step #2: Finding relevant websites
Each of the keywords you perform a search for will give you a list of results which you will first have to narrow down. As a rule of thumb, you should prune the total results to about 100 best candidates. You can do this manually, or use a SERP scraping tool such as URL Profiler.
Once your list of web pages is ready, you need to extract the outbound links from each one and find the broken ones; you can accomplish this with tools such as Domain Hunter Plus. The tool will give you all of the broken links on the pages mentioned above in the form of a list.
The last stage of the prospecting process is deciding which of the broken links are worth reclaiming. The more links there are pointing to a missing page, the more opportunities you will have for replacing links. All that is left is to determine what kind of content you will need to provide to qualify for these links.
Phase 2 – Content creation
After you have settled on which broken links you want to claim, you need to create appropriate content for the pages in question. Your prospecting efforts should have already given you an idea about what you should be writing about, and now you have to expand upon that by going into the specifics.
Chances are relatively good that the website you are targeting has higher authority than yours. If your content isn’t created with commercial gain in mind, it is bound to be more informative and trustworthy in general; this means that the material you will provide has to shine to qualify for social shares.
Content creation tips:
Writing quality content is more of an art than a science – there are numerous ways to do it right, and there isn’t a formula you can follow for guaranteed success. With that said, there are guidelines you can follow to ensure that your content will make an impact online.
- If the content you are replacing initially offered research data, focus on finding more current studies on the same subject.
- The same goes for citing sources – always try to supplement your content with references to opinions and works of scientists, industry experts, and key public figures.
- Try to keep in touch with other content creators and SEO agencies working in the same niche as well – they might be willing to provide valuable advice content writing tips.
- Another way to make content creation easier is to use a service such as the Wayback Machine. This website allows you to take a look at how a given site looked in the past. You can use this feature to find out more about the content you are trying to replace, which will make it easier to create your own.
Phase 3 – Outreach
Step #1: Finding contact information
After you have compiled your list of websites with broken links and created viable replacement content, you need to start reaching out to webmasters with an offer. And to do this, you will first need to get a hold of their contact information. You can do this manually by browsing business directories, “about” pages, Google My Business listings, and other sources of information or you can automate the process with tools such as Link Research Tools Contact Finder.
Step #2: Writing contact emails
Once you got a hold of the contact information, you can begin sending out emails. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t explicitly state that you came across the website in question by attempting to do broken link building. Instead, present yourself as a neutral party that stretched across the broken link while browsing, and mention that you can offer replacement content if they are interested. You don’t want to come off as too pushy, as this will make it evident that your ultimate goal is SEO link building.
Step #3: Sending out emails
Since there is no guarantee that you will get a positive response, try reaching out to multiple websites at once. The more you reach out, the better the odds at finding a webmaster that is willing to redirect their broken links to your content. You can try creating an email template to speed up the process, but make sure that you modify each particular email a little bit – you can never be quite sure who is talking to who in the digital marketing industry. To speed up and streamline the process, you can use email automation software such as MailChimp.
Like any link building strategy, broken link building is highly dependent on the amount of work you are willing to put into it. We hope that our guide has given you some pointers on where you should be focusing your efforts while engaging in this underrated, but effective strategy.