One of the ways your website can rank high on Search Engine Result Page is when you build links back to your website. Link Building is an integral part of Search Engine Optimization and as long as Google lays emphasis on backlinks, we will always need new creative means of getting links.
There are a lot of strategies for building links and one tactical way to get links using assets on your website is to use what is known as broken link building.
A lot of resources have been written on broken link building and most of those resources will help you understand the procedure behind broken link building and how it works. But as everything in life, we get better by doing so let me take you on a journey of how you can use broken link to get content for your website and more links. At the end of the post, there are additional further resources that talks about the broken link technique.
Broken Link Building Tools
For this post, here are some of the free tools you will need.
Prospecting Keyword Phrase
Before we continue, here are some of the benefits of using broken link building
- You discover linkable assets on a platter of gold.
- You can get to create better content since you already know what works.
- If properly executed you can almost get a link immediately.
Some of the disadvantages of using broken link building
- It is time consuming
- People still have apathy to changing their link to yours except if you can give them a compelling reason to
- To do it on a scale, you need to invest time and properly budget money
- Sometimes, the content are so old it is not worth the effort recreating them.
- The success rate is very low.
STEP 1: Finding broken resources
Broken link building begins with finding great resources that people still linked to and may “want” to link to in future. Here is perhaps the most difficult task in broken link building and where most people get discouraged. To find these contents, you need to use search operators.
Method A: Starting with Keyword
While there are lots of combination of search operators, one that has continued to return good results is the combination below:
“keyword” site:.com intitle:resources –inurl:pdf –inurl:doc
While other search operators like
Keyword intitle resources
Usually, the last search operators usually return too large a set of results to make it a good combination for broken link building query operators. Remember, you are looking for an aggregated list of “resources list”. One rule of thumb here is to try as many search combination that you can come up with and see what works for your niche.
Method B: Using broken link finder tools
Another method of finding dead resources or 404 pages is to find blogs and magazines in your niche and then run each URL through the Xenu or Screaming frog software. You can use the Google search bar to identify such blogs. Run a search like the one below:
The difference in the two methods is that the first method is already pre-defined. You are looking for dead resources based on a Keyword you already have content for while the second method is looking for dead content that might not be related to what your website is focusing on. The Xenu tool makes this task faster so that you can move from blog to blog in case you don’t find what you looking for on the preceding blog
Step 2 : Put the link checker to use.
If you used the second method, all you need to do is export your list using the “Export to TAB separated file..” tab on the Xenu interface and then import the resulting text file into your excel worksheet. Now, you can go ahead and sort based on status-code. All the 404 pages are then sorted out for you. Here you will need to still filter your “404” so that you can focus on the contents that are related to your niche.
If your method of identifying broken links starts with prospecting using keyword phrases, then you need to identify the dead resources. Once the results are returned, you need to check each URL and use the “Link Checker” to check for broken links on each page. If you there is a 404 page, click through to reconfirm.
Step 3: Recreate the contents
Identifying broken resources is one stage of a long process. The other most important phase is to be able to recreate the content. The most popular and reliable tool for identifying dead resources is the WayBackMachine. Sometimes the WayBackMachine does not have the resource cached. If they don’t you can safely ignore the dead page as this makes it difficult for you to know what the initial content was and why it was linked. If the archive machine has the content archived, you are able to see the last saved copy of the resources and then make a choice based on the two options below:
- You can copy the content as it is and reproduce it on your website (most people do it but I don’t recommend it)
- Take a look at the content and then write your own version of it. If possible cite the broken resources as a reference.
STEP 4 : Getting the Links
Now that you have the resources recreate, here is how you can use it to get links:
Go to Opensiteexplorer or majesticseo. I have always use the Opensiteexplorer. Enter the dead resource page you found into it and check the amount of links pointing to it. I have read where this task is done immediately after identifying a dead link to see if it is worth spending time on.
Look at all the web pages and check each one of them. You want to see if:
A. The website is still being maintained
B. The contact information can be located. As a rule of thumb, I typically avoid using contact form to establish relationship with the webmaster. If I can’t find contact details easily, I try to identify their twitter or facebook page to see if I can get the same information from there. If not, I ignore such a website.
Once you get the contact information, you can send a personalized email to each person on the list.
While the success rate of broken link building is low, it offers you the potential to create linkable asset which you can market to attract links. Either way, this is a method I have come to love.
Have you tried using broken link building as a link building strategy? What was your result?
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