Broken Link Building In a Nutshell:
It is also called dead link building. This is a technique in which a person finds a broken link (a hyperlink that no longer points to its former or original web page) and uses it to link to his own website or benefit.
Generally, the broken link will always take you to a page reading Error 404: Page Not found.
Steps to Achieve Broken Link Building:
1. Using the right tools:
- Check My Links Chrome extension
Pros: This is the quickest tool to help you with broken link building. You may find it as a “checkmark” icon on the address bar after its successful installation.
One clicks on that icon, and it will begin scanning all the links on a webpage. For all the broken links on that page, it will highlight them in red, displaying the error “404”.
Cons: Scrolling down the webpage looking for the red errors may be time-consuming for you.
- Domain hunter plus
Pros: This is quite similar to check my links and works in a similar fashion. One click of the mouse and you get the broken links displayed.
One added advantage is, it shows you if the broken has the domain available for registration as well. Bingo!
It also shows you the number of links pointing to the domain which is available for registration.
After getting this information, you may either register the domain or email everyone who links to that domain to link with your website instead.
Cons: This isn’t error-prone so it is recommended that you re-check before sending out the emails.
- Canned responses Gmail feature
This Gmail feature helps you with email templates which are useful while emailing the users asking them to link to your site. Below are the steps to activate it:
- Click on the gear icon (settings).
- Click on the “Labs” option.
- Click on the radio button next to the text reading “Canned Responses Lab”.
- Click on “Save Changes” button present at the bottom of the page
Once activated, you may use it while writing an email by simply clicking the small down arrow in the bottom right-hand corner and by selecting “Canned responses”.
Followed by that select “New canned response,” that will ask you to type in your name. So, this will save your template. You may use this template in a new black email using the same small arrow displaying the created template name.
- Xenu’s Link Sleuth
This is a free and robust tool. It allows you to check for broken links across hundreds of webpages. This tool’s File menu option will be useful to you. It has two features:
- Check URL: To check a single URL
- Check URL List: To check a large list of URLs all at once. Here, you will have to upload a text file containing all the URLs in a line-wise manner.
The next important setting is the “maximum level” setting.
You will have to provide a number (1 or 2). Setting 1 will only scan for the broken links.
The setting 2 will also check the links on all pages that the homepage is linked to. The values range from 1 to 1000. If you set low, it will look for only relevant links. If you set it to a higher value, it will look for everything widely.
Next, we have the parallel threads option. The higher is its value, more are the number of your computer resources being used by the software.
The recommended value is 20. This tool also displays the broken links in red. You may use the Export option in order to save the links into an excel file.
- W3C’s Link Checker
- Screaming Frog
- Boomerang and Gmail plugins Rapporative
- Saving stationary templates in email
2. Look for Broken Links:
There are various tools to achieve this and you may also use search keywords manually. Below are the steps to find the broken links across the web:
- Check My Links Extension
- W3C’s Link Checker
- Screaming Frog or Xenu
- In OSE, Check Top Pages tab that can be used for any website. The results are displayed in the Top Pages tab.
- In Google, use search operators to find relevant websites. To display the top 100 results, change your search settings and export them to a CSV file. You may sort the results using the domain authority or page authority.
Below are a few search operators:
keyword + “resources”
keyword + “related links”
keyword + intitle:resources
keyword + intitle:blogroll
keyword + “blogroll”
site:.gov keyword + “links”
site:.edu keyword + “recommended sites”
- Export the competitor’s followed backlink profiles in OSE. Filter the combined results for Where to Buy, URLs containing Link, Resources, Directory or other related words in your industry. Then sort the websites by visit, PA/DA, email, run link checker.
- Use the Google SERPS Bookmarklet to have the results displayed in plain text format, and copy them into a spreadsheet. Eliminate the duplicate hostnames to avoid having multiple links from the same site.
- The Ahrefs Batch Analysis tool gives you a free trial and displays the domain rating for each link. Remove huge sites like Facebook and Pinterest from the sorted list.
3. Assess the Links:
Once you’ve found them all the broken links or 404 pages, the next big thing is to decide which one of these links will be beneficial to you.
You have to decide which a quality link is and which is not. You may go ahead asking for a link to your website if:
- It has a noticeable MozRank / Page Rank
- Social media shares
- Good website design
You may skip the broken link if:
- It has several links on the webpage.
- It contains spam links. (Viagra, weight loss, hair gain, etc)
- More than 10 broken links
4. Reach Out:
Next, you got to ask the webmasters of the site for a link to your link.
The first and the foremost thing are to create a replacement page in your website or at least create the replacement content.
You may write a blog post apt for the similar content instead of that broken link.
Followed by this, you may modify the content to match your style. All of this is essential because if your content fails, other websites may not seem interested to link your page.
Once you’ve achieved creating the replacement content, you should look for the contact details of the webmaster or anyone related to the website.
How to Get the Contact information of a Website Owner?
On the About page, contact page or footer of the website; search their email address.
Google the website with keywords, DOMAIN.COM email.
- Google it: DOMAIN.COM @DOMAIN.COM hotmail.com gmail.com live.com yahoo.com msn.com.
- Search for twitter followers or DM.
- Check them on WhoIs.
- Use the contact form available on the Contact page of their site.
- If you are working with a large list, then check with Citation Labs The Contact Finder
Email Templates for Broken Link Building:
Once you have found their contact details, the very next thing you wish to do is contact them.
However, this is the most crucial step in the process. You should be careful while contacting them lest all the hard work of finding the link, creating the replacement content goes to vain.
As mentioned earlier, Gmail provides you with the Canned Response lab in order to make it easy for you to email the website owner.
Following are the two templates to frame an email to the business owner:
i. In and Out:
If you don’t have the time to follow up then you may use the below template.
This template will work its way out because it doesn’t look selfish since it provides another resourceful replacement of the broken link.
The reader will be surprised to discover that you are actually trying to help them instead of achieving your own purpose. The only grave thing for you is to mention a site which won’t be a competitor instead.
Subject Line: “your name”, “domain.com” broken links
Hello “webmaster name”,
I, “your name”, wanted to inform you that I find your post on “article name” quite agreeable. The section where it talked about “subsection heading” was admirable because “your reason of fondness”.
However, I would like to bring this broken link to your attention:
[Broken link URL]: shorten the URL
As a webmaster, if you’re to fix this, I thought maybe you would consider using these two resources:
[Another website name which has a similar article]: ensure it’s not your competitor
[Your website name with the same article]: describe your website in two lines
I would like to explain to you that these two sites will help you with “provide the reason they’re beneficial to the webmaster”.
I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
-(Your Full Name)
ii. Brand Power
This template can be used by Link builders (consultants or in-house) who work for a semi-recognizable brand name in their particular industry.
This template will work its way out because the webmaster will be impressed by your brand and not you rather. He will be more than happy to discover that a website like that of yours could use his help.
Subject Line: (webmaster first name), (domain.com broken link)
Hello “webmaster name”,
My name is (your first name) and I wanted to let you know that I am pleased with your blog post on “article name”. The section about “subsection heading” was quite enjoyable where it spoke about (the reason you liked the post).
I work for “company name” and carry a work experience of “number of years” years in the “Industry name”. I’m a strong spirited professional and was glad to have found your site.
I came across this “broken link” while I was at your website. The link reading “hyperlink text” is currently not working.
So, I hope that you would regard adding our website as a substitute for the broken link URL. We’d appreciate it if you were to use our resources to fix the broken link on your site. And I think this hyperlink would work well and build traffic due to “brand power”.
Have a good day.
I look forward to hearing from you.
-(Your Full Name)
A Few Email Link Building Tips:
- Send emails one at a time. Be real and try to provide quality.
- Shorten your URLs and links in your email, lest your email will be in their spam folder.
- Avoid being robotic, try to be unique.
- End your emails in a fashion that you’re awaiting their response indeed.
- Always double check and proof your email.
- If the website shows a contact number, you may even want to reach them over the call. However, it’s recommended that you email them.
- Wait for a week before sending follow–up email.
- Record your status on the broken link using this spreadsheet format:
- Name of The website with the broken link:
- The broken URL:
- The URL replacement :
- Date of contact:
- Date of possible follow up contact
- Mode of contact: e-mail, LinkedIn, etc
- The template name used while contacting:
- Date of reply:
- Interaction with the client: yes/no
- Did link change?: yes/no
5. Study your results:
After all of the above work you’ve done, you should examine your hard work.
You should check for yourself whether your email worked i.e. if they used your website as a replacement. This has to be done because sometimes webmasters might change the URL and may not respond to email though. OR, you may get a Yes in reply but no effective change on their site.
In this case, the best solution is to contact the owner to makes the changes effective or gently remind them of it.
Studying your success rate will ensure that you didn’t waste your time contacting the webmasters. You may calculate the return on investment (ROI) as well.
ROI = (number of links) / (time spent * hourly rate)
An established way to improve your success rate is by working on your email template and using fine broken link finding tools.