As a website owner, you might be planning to get some backlinks for your site to improve your rankings.
While there are numerous popular ways for link building, not each of them is meant to bring you the desired success.
Several black hat SEO tactics such as comment spamming, links from private blog networks (PBNs), etc. can ruin your link building effort and make your site vulnerable to penalty.
So, what should you do?
While there are some malicious practices among the SEOs, you can still try some white hat SEO tactics to get tons of relevant backlinks that are also safe.
One of such popular and effective methods is broken link building.
It’s one of the most scalable, effective, and content-based link building strategies that doesn’t only help you to rank but also helps the site linking to yours.
But, do you know how to use this strategy in the right way?
If not, this content is for you.
As you read the article, you will learn about broken links and how to use them for a successful link building campaign.
What is Broken Link Building
Broken link building is a popular white hat practice where you can build backlinks by replacing 404 pages with a working page to your target site.
The process is quite simple- you find a niche relevant dead page, recreate the content, and ask anyone linking to that dead page to remove that link and link to your content instead.
This method is quite effective since nobody wants a dead link on their site, thus it’s easier to convince the webmaster for the backlinks.
Dead pages can cause a poor user experience. Webmasters would happily replace those dead pages with your site if you can provide an article better than the previous one.
In this way, you’re helping the publishers while getting a quality backlink for your site.
Tips for Successful Broken Link Building
While you can literally flip the script with the broken link building practice, thighs can completely go wrong if you don’t know how to do it.
The following tips will help you to understand the ways you can find the broken links and get yourself some quality backlinks using them.
Find Domain With Broken Links
Whether you have a new or old website, this strategy can work on everyone.
So, you’re ready to score some quality backlinks using this famous method.
How do you start?
First thing first- you need to find some broken links, which is the most time-consuming process.
There are several methods that you can use to find niche-relevant broken links and use them for link building. Some of them are mentioned below.
Look for HTTP 404 Pages
One of the best ways to find broken links is to find the dead pages in your competitors’ site and offer your one to the publisher as a replacement.
However, you don’t find any broken link by chance, you need to use the right tools and methods to do so.
You can use some SEO tools such as Ahrefs Site Explorer to discover broken pages with backlinks.
Here’s how you can do it:
Make a list of your competitors’ websites that are highly authoritative and have a significant amount of traffic.
For example, if your niche is health, your competitors can be sites like healthline.com, medicalnewstoday.com, etc.
Once you’re done with the list, find the link building opportunities using Ahrefs Broken Link Checker.
Now, for this article, we went with the healthline.com to help you understand the process.
Simply go to Site Explorer, put one of your competitors’ domains,s and find out its dead pages with lots of backlinks. Here’s how:
Pages > Best by Links > filter for HTTP 404 errors
Now, look at the first page that no longer exists on healthline.com.
If you look carefully you will see this page still has 547 referring domains, followed by the second most-linked page that has 115 referring domains.
Confused about what this content is about? You can find it easily.
Just pick the first link to the dead page and use a tool called Wayback Machine and you will know that this content is about the importance of sleep.
Now you know what to do.
Create a content that’s better than this one and pitch the publishers of the sites linked to this one.
Find Broken Outlinks
You may have a site in mind that you want to link to your website.
Why don’t you find its outgoing broken links and pitch the webmaster with a better replacement?
Ahrefs can help you with that.
Let’s say, you want a backlink from forbes.com.
Just go to Ahrefs Site Explorer, then do the following:
Outgoing links > Broken links.
So, you can see that there’s a broken link to a content that mentions the percentage of organizations that have invested or plan to invest in the big data.
If it matches your niche, you could write content and suggest it to the publisher as a fix to that broken link.
And if you dig a bit deeper, you will find that this page has more referring domains you can reach out with your article.
Find Expired Domain from Your Niche With Backlinks
Let’s go back to our health niche example again.
You can use an amazing tool called ExpiredDomains.net that will give you a list of expired domains for a specific keyword and start searching for domains related to health.
So, you can see that there are 1,502,610 expired domains in this niche, which is a lot.
You can also add filters for only .com, .net, or .org sites and finally sort them by the number of backlinks.
Once you’re done sorting, copy the domains and paste them into Ahrefs Batch Analysis Tool.
Select “domains with all subdomains” and sort it with the number of referring domains.
The end result?
You will get a number of expired domains with tons of backlinks.
Find Broken Links by Scraping Search Results
This is a commonly used practice to find broken links.
The process is quite simple:
- Find niche-relevant resource pages using advanced Google search operators. You can do it by typing “keyword 1” OR “keyword 2” OR “keyword 3” or to be more specific, “keyword 1” OR “keyword 2” OR “keyword 3″ (intitle”keyword 1” OR “keyword 2” OR “keyword 3”)
- Now, scrape the search results, as well as all the outbound links from the resource page.
- Check their HTTP status.
- Once you find a dead page, use Ahrefs to find out which one has the most backlinks.
For example, if your niche is health and you want to find broken links for diabetic related keywords, you can go to Google search and type:
“diabetics” OR “Diabetics diet” OR “diabetic chart” (intitle:”diabetics” OR “Diabetics diet” OR “diabetic chart”) (inurl:”diabetics” OR “Diabetics diet” OR “diabetic chart”)
To check the HTTP status, you can use tools like Scrapebox or Screaming Frog and then find their backlinks using Ahrefs.
Create a Long & Value-Driven Content
So, you’ve got a huge list of niche relevant highly authoritative sites to which you’re going to pitch for broken link fix.
Do you think it’s going to happen overnight?
Webmasters will never accept your offer to replace the existing link with your one unless you provide them with something better.
This is where your content can show its magic.
Create a well-researched, long, and nice article that covers all the information in the previous one, more if possible.
The content should be nicely formatted and have the capability of adding value to the site.
Remember, you’re offering them to remove your competitor’s link and put your one. So, it’s crucial that they have the reasons to do so.
Make sure the content is properly optimized, has natural anchor text, contains all the necessary data to impress the readers.
Also, don’t forget to optimize the page you want them to link to.
Pitch The Publisher
This is one crucial stage where most people tend to fail.
Whether it’s for broken link building or something else, your guest post pitch can be a complete disaster if you don’t know how to approach the publisher.
Let’s have a look at how you can do it right.
Find The Right Person
While you’re excited to find so many domains to get backlinks from, chances are you won’t get a single one if you don’t approach the right person.
There are people for different types of jobs and each of them receives tons of emails every day.
So, there’s no way someone will read your email if it’s not related to his/her department.
Since every blog has at least one editor or publisher to deal with the guest posts, all you need to do is find their names and email addresses.
Wondering how to find them?
Tools like hunter.io and ninja outreach can help you find the email addresses of the respective person. You can try the extensions that will show you the contact list for a certain website.
Create a Nice Pitch
The success of your link building depends a lot on how you approach the publishers.
Regardless of the quality, most guest posts can never become a successful one because of the poor quality pitch.
You know what to do now.
Create a nicely written pitch, mentioning the broken link and suggesting an appropriate replacement, which is the content linking to your page.
Explain why it’s a suitable replacement by logically but humbly.
Instead of copying some templates, create a personalized, short, and sweet email that anyone would love to read.
While you’re helping them with the replacement of broken links, don’t be arrogant in your pitch. Also, don’t forget to mention them by their name.
Remember, all you will do is mention the broken link and suggest a replacement. Do not sound like you’re begging or forcing them to do so.
Don’t Forget to Follow Up
Did you hear back from the publisher you sent a pitch?
If not, send them an email, gently reminding them about the last mail.
The person you sent the pitch can be busy with other publishing-related work.
Besides, they receive a lot of emails every day. So it’s possible that they might miss your first email.
That’s why it’s crucial that you remind them about it without being pushy. You will be surprised at what these followup emails can do.
So, simply send 2-3 follow ups, but do not send them frequently since it might get reported as spam.
For most people, broken link building is dead.
However, the reality is, this strategy still works quite well if you know how to do it.
No matter which niche you’re working on, you can find thousands of websites with broken links. That’s why it’s considered one of the most terrific link building opportunities.
While this strategy helps you to get quality backlinks from some high-quality websites, it also helps them to get rid of those broken links.
It’s a win-win for both.
So, what are you waiting for?
Sit back, gather all the tools to find broken links, and approach your desired sites with a brilliant piece of content.
Sujan Sarkar is the Co-founder of OnelittleWeb, a leading SEO agency specializing in helping businesses improve their online presence and search engine rankings.