Broken link building still remains an effective tactic that is not frowned upon by search engines. This strategy can prove to be useful only when you manage to replace dead pages filled with content, with new pages containing improved content and links that attract search engines and your target traffic.To initiate your broken link building campaign, you need to find broken links on pages that are relevant to your business or market before informing the webmaster about the broken link. In addition, you need to provide alternate links that include a link to your own website to ensure a successful move of planting your link on the website.
There are various strategies that can be employed for your broken link building campaign. These include targeting resource pages either with keywords or URLs or finally targeting URLs directly.
The first strategy of targeting resource pages with keywords is used by most campaigners. You need to seek out keywords that are relevant to your own website through Google search before locating resource pages laden with content related to those keywords. Next, you need to check all links on those webpages to locate broken links.
However, while using this strategy, most SEOs zero down only on relevant keywords that may be related to their websites while ignoring key phrases or long tailed keywords that can broaden their scope in a far more effective way. Once you have located the appropriate keywords and phrases you need to pair them together with prospecting phrases. You can use “inurl:links” or “intitle:resources” search commands in Bing or Google to locate resource pages and links relevant to your chosen keywords.
You should avoid using any SERP scraping tool to seek out results for your prospecting phrases since major search engines such as Google have come down hard on such methods. You can use MozBar to manually get the results. You may find a lot of duplication in your results and can use the Excel-Remove Duplicate feature to remove such duplicates or the free Duplicate Deleter tool available from Virante Inc. to do the same.
Your next step will be to locate all 404 pages from each external link extracted from your resulting pages. You can also do a 404 header check simultaneously with the help of tools such as Check my Links and Domain Hunter Plus. You then need to filter these 404 pages that possess high probabilities of replacing any broken link by your own link. One useful tool is the Bulk Backlink Checker from Majestic SEO. Other free and paid tools include Broken Link Index from iAcquire and Broken Link Builder from CitationLabs that provide a fair degree of automation that will help save a lot of effort and time.
Another broken link building strategy involves targeting known sites instead of keywords and searching for broken links in relevant resource pages that hold hidden opportunities.
However, the key is to find perfect websites or URLs that are relevant to your own site. You need to ensure that the website is authoritative, contains high number of links, and garners respect from major search engines. You should also seek out sites or URLs of a non commercial nature that is relevant to your business, market, or industry. Looking at .org sites is a good way to find broken links.
Once you do find such links, you can export all these links that point back to the site with tools such as Majestic SEO, Ahrefs, or Open Site Explorer. You can use the above steps from Link Extraction onwards to locate 404 pages and continue with the same strategy.
The last strategy involves targeting URLs directly by searching through the entire specific site to find broken links. You can use a broken link as an excuse to contact the website although this method is hardly scalable and requires a lot of effort for each targeted website. However, there are a few tools that can help crawl your target website without offending anyone. You can try tools such as Screaming Frog, Deep Trawl, or Xenu Link Sleuth to locate broken links as well as identify duplicate content and 404s.
You must pay heed to identifying broken external links since the contacted webmaster will be more inclined to replace any broken external link with an external link rather than replacing a broken internal link by way of an external one. You additionally need to match a broken link with your own page that best suits that link.
You now need to create content that offers far more value than the original content on the dead page. However, you will need to view content that was originally present on that page before you can improve upon it. You can use tools such as Warrick that can build a complete website once again to help you find the missing page or pages. Another tool available at Archive.org is Wayback Machine that can help you to locate broken pages.
You must remember to add value to the newly created page by adding latest information, updating statistics, and if possible, by adding new sections. You can also try to contact the original author to infuse a higher level of credibility to the upgraded page.
There are several tools that will now help you automate your outreach strategy to contact the affected webmasters. These include BuzzStream, Link Research Tools Contact Finder, CitationLabs Contact Finder, or the Beta Version of Contact Finder from Virante. You can also use readymade email templates that will help in your broken link building outreach strategy. However, you need to personalize these templates to boost your conversion rate since a standard template will merely be ignored by most webmasters.
The above tools and tips should reward you with an effective broken link building campaign with high conversion rates. Use them and watch dead links get replaced with your own related links that direct traffic towards your desired website.