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Link building is an integral part of SEO. To do it effectively, you'll need to post content on high-quality websites and link back to your site.
Google will be able to tell that your business is reputable, as you've got links to websites with a high Domain Authority (DA), increasing your search engine ranking as a result.
Although there are plenty of ways to build links, today, we will talk about broken link building.
But first, let’s have a deeper understanding of what broken links are.
A broken link is a link on a website that no longer directs users to the page that was originally intended. Instead, they’re being redirected to an error page.
There are many reasons why broken links occur. The destination website might have moved or no longer exists, a firewall or log-in is blocking access to the website in question, or the link hasn’t been implemented correctly.
There’s a variety of ways broken links may negatively impact a website.
Firstly, broken links worsen a user experience. Although the future of service is digital, chances are that users who stumble upon a broken link won’t take the time to notify support of the problem.
They’ll most likely leave your website and look for the information they want somewhere else, which they’ll likely find on your competitors’ websites.
Consequently, your bounce rate will increase, which in turn, negatively impacts your SEO. Speaking of SEO, search engine crawlers will spend time to determine whether the link they’re crawling to is broken or not, wasting their crawl budget.
Because of this, the crawlers will no longer have the time to verify your other working pages, leaving them unindexed.
As the name suggests, broken link building is the process of finding broken external links on other websites within your niche and replacing them with your own.
Broken link building involves three main steps: prospecting, content creation, and outreach, which we will discuss later in this article.
Although many people deem this link building strategy ineffective, any digital marketing agency will tell you that this is still a great way to get backlinks. Let's see why.
Firstly, when reaching out to websites with a high DA, broken link building will likely be more effective than other tactics.
That's because you're not only asking them to link to your website, but you're also offering them something in return, by letting them know that their existing link is no longer working and giving them a relevant piece of content to replace it with as well.
They'll most likely appreciate that since a high number of broken links may negatively impact their rankings.
In other words, it's a win-win situation. They get to fix a problem that they might not have noticed otherwise, while you've just earned yourself a backlink.
Secondly, they could help you stay ahead of your competition by finding your competitors' broken links and replacing them with your own.
And finally, since you'll be doing broken link building, you'll probably want to check whether you've got any broken links yourself. After all, your competitors will try to steal links from you as well, and you wouldn't want that to happen.
With that said, keep in mind that you shouldn't treat broken link building as your only strategy for getting backlinks. It's more like something that complements your other link building methods, as the process can take some time and bring you disappointing results if not done right.
Speaking of which, let's take a closer look at the broken link building process steps so you can get a better idea of how to get backlinks more efficiently.
First and foremost, you'll have to find broken links. To do this, you've got three options available: resource page targeting with keywords, with URLs or direct URL targeting. Let's quickly go through these methods.
Keyword-based prospecting is the most common broken link building method. This process involves searching Google for keywords relevant to your site's interests, finding resource pages that link to content related to your keywords, gathering all of those links, and finding out which ones are broken.
Finding these pages can be done by writing the following in the Google search engine: "Keyword" + inurl:resources; "Keyword" + intitle:links; or "Keyword" + "useful resources."
By doing this research, you'll have an easier time finding pages containing many links, and many of those may be broken.
After finding these pages, you'll need to extract the links out of every single one. You can do this with tools like Domain Hunter Plus or Check My Links. These tools will also help you in the next step, which is finding broken links.
On the other hand, resource page targeting with URLs revolves around choosing specific websites and mining their backlinks for broken link building opportunities.
With that said, choosing the right websites is the most important part of the process here. So, keep in mind: pick authority websites that are relevant to your industry.
Direct URL targeting is the least popular strategy. That’s because instead of creating content around the broken links, you’ve already got the replacement, even though it doesn’t fit with what has been posted previously.
In other words, with this strategy, you’re using broken links as more of an excuse to get in contact with the webmaster in hopes of having your content posted on their website.
After you've found your broken link building opportunity, it's time to get to content creation.
To increase the chances of replacing a broken link with your own, you should create something similar to what was previously posted.
To do this, you can use Wayback Machine. This tool allows you to see what the page looked like before it was deleted.
Consider that your replacement needs to be better, as that will increase the chances of placing your link even more.
With that said, you'll need to update the statistics in most cases, so your content will be current. It's also a good idea to create something that's more in detail than what was posted before.
Finally, there's outreach, which is the most important part of the process. Although this may sound like it's not a big deal, a bad outreaching strategy can ruin your entire broken link building campaign.
Let's start with finding the right contact details of the website you want to reach out to.
There are lots of tools available for discovering contacts, like Hunter.io, for example. This tool will make the job as simple as it can get. You simply type in the website's name, and you'll be provided with a list of email addresses.
When choosing the appropriate email address to reach out to smaller businesses, you can contact the author or the company's founder, as they are the ones in charge of the blog.
However, when contacting larger companies, you should send the email to the editor or content marketing manager to increase the chances of getting a response.
The next step is crafting the email itself. When doing so, one of the first things to keep in mind is to avoid sounding robotic or spammy.
Try to sound as natural as possible. Also, avoid mentioning that you can replace their broken link right off the bat. You should rather point out what their problem is at first.
With that said, it's best to act as a user who stumbled upon the broken link. You can tell them about your offer further down the email or in a follow-up. However, don't be pushy.
If you choose to show them your offer in the first email, keep in mind that follow-ups are still important. That's because follow-ups might get you more links than your original emails.
With that said, remind them of the issue after a reasonable amount of time, and present them your offer again. Don't send follow-ups more than twice. Otherwise, you will most likely end up being reported as spam.
If you get a negative response, it doesn’t mean that the conversation is over. You can still turn it around and build a partnership with your contact. You could ask them if they accept guest posts, for example.
With that said, make sure that the content you create is an improvement of what has been posted previously.
But remember, broken link building doesn’t come without its drawbacks. It can be hard to scale, time-consuming and can be often viewed as spammy. So, it’s best to use this strategy along with other link building tactics.
Article by Tomas McKennie: DCP Web Design London
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