Link building is one of the most critical strategies for ranking your website in Google and other search engines. It provides an excellent opportunity to maximize the outreach of your website and improve its visibility for regular visitors.
Broken link building remains a prominent strategy in this regard. In other words, fixing, replacing, or updating a broken link and gaining a backlink to your own website in return is what broken link building is all about.
The strategy, overall, is a proven one to provide massive support in ranking your website in SERP. However, you need to set certain metrics and steer through the process efficiently if you’re to gain a highly valuable backlink.
This article covers everything you need to know about broken link building, how to make it work in SEO, and how to do broken link building outreach:
What is Broken Link Building?
Broken links refer to the external links on a specific website that are invalid, broken, or returning a 404 error. The strategy of broken link building involves;
- Fixing these links (of your relevant niche) by finding them on competitive websites
- Recreating the content, the link is referring to
- Outreaching the webmaster to replace the invalid link with your content
The successful broken link building strategy rewards you with a valuable and competitive backlink that serves as a cornerstone to SEO.
The process might look pretty straightforward. Yet, the most challenging part remains to list out the websites you want to fix the backlinks for. It is a LOT of work to do broken link building (just like guest posting is & Private Blog Networks (PBNs) are & Edu backlinking & Web 2.0 links are not), so consider that before you move forward.
Below, we’ve compiled an extensive guide to help you through the process:
A Guide to Broken Link Building Strategy for SEO
Before we get to the process, let us assert the fact that your one-off outreach email won’t ever show results. It all comes down to the number of websites and webmasters you reach out to. The response rate might stand at 10-20% of the emails you sent; yet, even this rate is deemed an accomplished one.
So, let’s dissect how exactly can you discover maximum websites with broken or invalid links of your niche, followed by recreating the content and making an effective outreach to the webmasters:
How to List Out the Competitive, Authoritative, and Niche-Relevant Websites with Maximum Broken Links
This step is the basis of your entire broken link building strategy. And thus, it remains the most demanding and time-intensive task. You can compile a list of the prominent websites and their webmasters through multiple (yet somewhat similar) methods. We’ve furnished a couple of them below:
Finding the Invalid Pages Linked by the Top Websites
Having a list of broken, invalid, or dead pages is one of the best approaches to accumulating the top websites with broken links. To find these pages, you can use prominent backlink-auditing tools such as SEMrush and Open Site Explorer of Moz.
But Ahrefs stands out in this regard. It is the ideal website to explore broken links and dead pages. Here’s how you can find a dead page with Ahrefs:
- Compile a list of the competitive websites in your niche ranked on top in SERPs. You can easily find those websites on google with the keyword specific to your niche. Or use Ahrefs site explorer to gauge their performance on SERPs.
- After compiling the list of those websites, select the top one and use Ahrefs Back Link Checker to find out dead pages on that website.
- Once you got the dead or invalid pages, check out the referring domains. The number of referring domains determines how many other websites have used this dead page as a backlink.
- Select the topmost dead page with the highest domain number. The Way Back machine would tell what exactly that article was about.
- Prepare an enticing piece of content to revive the existing dead page and explore the contact information of the webmaster.
- Now, multiple opportunities of backlinks (for every referred domain) are created out of just one article you prepared for that page.
Spend some time finding such invalid pages for other websites and write articles for the pages with the maximum number of referred domains. Remember, you ought to create as many opportunities as you can, so as to get maximum responses.
Finding Invalid Outbound Links on a Website
In contrast to exploring a dead page with maximum referred domains, you can also stick to one website for the time being. Let’s say you’ve figured out a top-rank authoritative website and you’re aiming to get a backlink from this website for SEO.
You can utilize the broken link building tactic here as well:
- Visit Ahrefs broken link checker and find out how many broken outgoing links, error 404 pages, or invalid pages your favorite website has referred to.
- Haven’t you found abundant pages on that website with broken links? Select one broken link that sits right with the content you’ve prepared.
- You can further amplify the opportunity with that one selected invalid link. Visit Ahrefs Site Explorer yet again and check the referring domains.
- You must have been greeted with multiple referring domains for that invalid link. Use Way Back machine to determine what the link was about. Prepare an enticing piece of content and explore the contact information of the webmaster (yet again).
Now that you’re done exploring broken links and preparing content, compile a list of the websites. Let’s take a look at how you can discover and then ideally reach out to the webmasters of those sites.
Find the Contacts of Webmasters and Make an Effective Outreach
Discovering the Contacts
You have listed out the links of dead pages and are now looking for the contact details of the webmasters. Typically, the email address or other contact relevant details are mentioned in the “about us” or “contact us” section of the website.
But in case you don’t find any such mentions, you can use the google search option or contact extracting tools such as Buzzstream and Hunter.io. Once you extract the email, it is prudent to compile a list of broken links, website owners/webmasters, and their contact details/email addresses to conveniently reach out.
You’re potentially approaching hundreds of websites to fix invalid links. So, better prepare a handful of templates for a quick and efficient broken link building outreach email. Here are some suggestions before we get to the template thingy:
- Keep your email short and concise. Make it client-centric rather than flaunting your capability to find and fix broken links.
- We have provided a template below to give you an idea of how you can craft an effective outreach email.
- Do not rely on just one template. Make plenty of those and make them customizable.
- You may also talk about the topic/niche of the dead page, how it might have provided value to you as a reader, and how it may continue to help other readers if replaced by the one you’re offering.
- However, bear in mind that the less fluff you will add in your email, the higher will be your chance to get that valuable backlink you’re after.
- Do not shy away from sending a couple of follow-up messages but keep them as precise as possible. (we’ve provided a template for it as well)
Outreach Email Template:
I hope you’re having a great day. I was conducting research on [topic/niche name] and stumbled upon one of the pages, [page title], of your website [website URL].
The page provided substantial help for my research. But one of the links embedded within the text [broken link URL] leads to a dead page that returns error 404. -OR- But one of the links embedded within the text [broken link URL] seems to be broken/invalid.
The link was originally a great piece of information about [title of broken link page/dead page] that must have provided value to the readers.
How about fixing the link via a fitting alternative I came up with? Replacing the broken link with [replacement URL] will not only fix the existing link but will also come in handy to update the user experience of your website.
Sincerely awaiting your response.
– [Your name]
Here’s a follow-up email template:
Follow-up Email Template
Remember you got an email about a broken link on one of the pages of your website? Here’s a brief follow-up/reminder for it:
A broken link about [dead page title] is noticed on your website [website URL].
A replacement link [replacement URL] to update your website is offered.
Awaiting your response,
– [Your name]
Broken Link Building is (still) an effective way to improve the SEO of your website and rank it among the top ones on the SERPs. The process certainly is time-consuming – particularly discovering the top websites with broken links in your niche. You need to remain patient, consistent, and forbearing throughout the process if you’re committed to chasing your prospective backlink.
Aside from this do-it-yourself approach, you can hire professionals to carry out relevant tasks. For instance, employ a Virtual Assistant to check the Domain Authority, Page Rank, and other SEO metrics for true evaluation of the website on SERPs. You can also use a VA to extract the contact details of the website owner or webmaster. Likewise, hiring a professional copywriter can help in crafting the ideal email copy that addresses the pain points more efficiently than you can.
So, it all comes down to your preference – whether you want to spend time learning and working your way up in broken link building, or want to pace up the process by taking assistance from the professionals out there. Whatever is the process you adopt, consider this entire strategy as if you’re cleaning the internet from useless dead pages, as this mindset might become a great source of motivation.
This sounds like a lot of work because it is and it will be difficult for someone without SEO experience to know which backlinks are valuable and which are not worth getting…NOT a trivial task to be sure.
Therefore, I recommend you hire an SEO consultant to do link building for you…perhaps me?