Broken link building is a system of that can benefit both you and webmasters of other sites; building value for you and gradually clearing the internet of dead links. If you’re looking for an alternative to older linkbuilding strategies or for ways of reaching a new kind of site, it could be a good avenue to explore. It works like this:
1. Identify a broken link to an old/moved/dead resource in your target industry
2. Tell the site owner, politely suggesting that your site would be a good replacement
By identifying a broken link you’re not just doing the webmaster at the receiving end a favour (and hopefully getting a nice new link in the process). Like all good linkbuilding strategies, it’s a way of starting conversations with owners of relevant sites. but you are very likely to build relationships with webmasters and most importantly of course, getting your link in return for your kindness.
Here are a few tips in order to get you started:
Get the right tools: There are several great tools out there that will help scour pages of broken links in no time at all. Google Chrome extensions are plentiful but the best we’ve found is Check My Links which is available in the Chrome Web Store. Equally useful is the Domain Hunter+. Adding these to the more general packages like SEO for Chrome and Open Site Explorer (of which upgrading from free membership is encouraged) will make sure you get off on the right foot.
Do some research: There are several bloggers and Mozzers out there that have written some great pieces about broken link building – some at great length – and it is well worth taking the time to get some hints and tips. Take heed of their advice and it’s likely you’ll be up and running very quickly.
Check out these for starters:
The Broken Link Building Bible
Broken Link Building Tips (Melanie Nathan)
Finding the links themselves is simpler than you’d think, especially if you take the time to download the tools suggested. Search for sites relevant to those you are seeking links for – that’s a given – and prior to giving the extensions a chance to do their scanning, make sure it’s actually worth doing in the first place. If the site itself looks badly run then there’s every chance that even if you do contact the webmaster, you’re not going to get a reply. Or want one. As we all know, the best tool for evaluating a potential linker is your own eyes.
If you find many broken links on one page – in our view, anything with 5% bad linkage or more – you can approach it in different ways;
- More than likely, you’ll get out of there straight away and look elsewhere. If the webmaster isn’t keeping an eye on their external links, what else aren’t they doing?
- If you find several broken links then maybe just contact them pointing out one or two – it isn’t cheeky, it’s more helpful than not telling them at all. Start an ongoing conversation about the others.
Finding the webmaster and contacting them should be relatively easy. You will normally find a link to their email address or website either in the footer of the homepage of the site you’re on, or on the contact page. If it isn’t there, then maybe try typing (DOMAIN).COM email into Google. If you really have time on your hands and there’s no other way of finding anything other than their Twitter username, try that instead. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
What to write in the email is entirely up to you but be sure to include the following points;
- Who you are – that should be easy enough.
- Why you’re there – demonstrate your relevance to their field.
- Get the link – It’s all very well and good helping the webmaster out, but you’re essentially there for that one all-important link back. Don’t be afraid of being cheeky; but arrogance is never welcome. At worst, you’ll have done someone a small favour, right?
Hopefully, these bits and pieces of advice will manifest themselves into making you a super-efficient broken link builder, cleaning up the streets one link at a time.