Ranking high in organic searches is crucial to obtaining quality links that point back to your site. This will remain true for the foreseeable future. But, getting links for their sake will often do more harm than good.
You have to put in a lot of effort to obtain quality links from people who endorse your site. This takes a lot of planning and legit marketing.
Broken Link Building is a strategy for building links that lower the risk of investment loss.
- Links to pages that are no longer available can be found on a website.
- Contact the site owner if you notice dead links.
- Create a webpage similar to the URL that is broken
This is a win-win for everyone. Users don’t feel frustrated by 404 pages.
Building broken links is safer than creating unwanted content assets. You replace dead pages that have been successful in obtaining hyperlinks.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find dead links and to do thoughtful, thoughtful outreach.
Editor’s Note: This article was published originally in November 2014. It was first published in November 2014. This article has been updated in 2019.
Prospecting – Finding Broken Links
Before we can start Prospecting, we need a toolset. These tools are all free. However, you can also purchase paid versions to make your job more efficient.
Google Search Operators
Our Links (Chrome Extension).
Scrape Similar (Chrome Extension).
LinkMiner (Chrome Extension).
Spreadsheet Programm – I’ll use Google Spreadsheets but Excel also works well
Semrush (you can also use Ahrefs or Majestic).
Before we get into details, let me emphasize the importance and value of prospecting.
You indeed get more links if you have higher quality prospects.
Quality is also important. You must also be careful about the quality part.
We want to find as many prospects as possible from as many sources before narrowing down the list to a manageable number. The second phase is called culling.
These are some strategies that will help you prospect effectively.
Search Operators + Manually Authenticating
Let’s start with the traditional method of finding broken links. Google will force you to locate pages that might have broken links. These are known as resource pages. Next, look for broken links on the page.
Make a list of Google search operators that will lead you to pages with hyperlinks. You can create a list of Google search operators that will take you to pages with links.
After you’ve found the pages, use the Extension to verify them manually.
A tip: You can use ScreamingFrog and List Mode to speed up the process of building broken links.
After you have the links, use a backlink checker tool to see if there are any broken links.
While this method has been proven to work, it can also be time-consuming.
It’s almost like fishing with your rod and reel. This is the only way you can “scale” broken linking.
These are places we keep coming back to because there are always broken links.
We have to profile an application that automates a lot before we can examine the top options.
Citation Labs’s Broken Link Building Tool is incredible (and will get a review soon). It automatically types all search operators and opens pages to verify the links.
It runs automated searches and checks links for broken links to locate them.
To filter out broken links, you can use a backlink checker like Ahrefs or Semrush.
Ahrefs Content Explorer is used to search for topics and filter for Broken Pages. To make sure they are worth it, we filter for Broken Pages that have at least 10 referring websites.
2. Long-running websites & blogs
Prospecting works in the same way as search operators but is more efficient and effective. There are still many websites created in the same period.
Google should not show websites that were created in the distant past.
Websites with a long history are rich in contextual and broken links.
Set your search results date in Google.
Combine it with similar keywords and search operators. Next use a site linking checking tool to locate the links.
Don’t quit there. Keep coaching Google to find real goldmines. Add the &tbm=blg para to your searches to see only blog posts.
Tell Google what you’re searching for. This allows you to target prospects more effectively, especially if you’re building hyperlinks to pages that are already being built.
You have already gone through the pages with broken links. Do not forget to add your dead links pages to Ahrefs backlink checking tool.
3. Wikipedia Dead Citations
Wikipedia is much more than a great starting point and information source. Wikipedia is more than a good starting point and source of information. It also links to all sources that are listed as such.
Wikipedia will inform you which links have gone down, and this is the fun part about broken link building. We discussed this in our article on SEO & Content Marketing. It’s amazing. You can find them in three ways.
1. Google search operators can be used
Add site:wikipedia.org and Google intext “dead hyperlink” [keyword] to get the results
2. Visit the dead page on Wikipedia.
3. Use WikiGrabber
You can use WikiGrabber to type in your target keyword. You can then browse broken links for articles.
Wikipedia isn’t the only key.
Any link to a Wikipedia page is most likely to be linked elsewhere if it has been linked there. Plug dead links you find on Wikipedia into Ahrefs’ backlink-checking tool to discover promising ones.
Bonus: You can often obtain the Wikipedia dead link for your content if it is sufficiently high quality. This will enable you to get both referral traffic and more freebie links from websites that choose you as their source.
4. Huge Website 404 Top Pages
“Huge websites” are government, corporate and institutional websites that have hundreds of thousands, or even millions of pages. They’ve been around for quite some time.
Some websites do a great job of redirecting old pages. However, many sites will have countless 404 pages These are our steps.
1. Look for websites that are relevant to your niche. There are many options. You could look at Pfizer (corporations), Mayo Clinic, Women’s Health (government regulator), or the National Institutes of Health.
2. Enter the URL in Ahrefs (a backlink-checking tool).
3. Sort by Outgoing Links >> Broken Links
4. You now have a large list of broken resources and tons of links.
We explored this technique more in the Guide to Ahrefs.
5. Authority Site Crawl
An authority site has been highly regarded within a specific niche or industry. Other industry professionals often link to the resources they link.
This is Search Engine Land, or Moz, for the SEO industry. These are the steps that we used to find broken links using the Mozilla Blog example.
1. Identify the authority website. It should have links to other websites and be in place for some time.
2. Screaming Frog (you’ll need the paid version and Xenu LinkSleuth)
2a. Crawl rules will be needed depending on site size. If you don’t have crawl rules, it will be difficult to find the right information.
3. It is possible to run a controlled crawl, then export all Out Links from Screaming Frog.
4. Excel can be used to sort through data. Next look for potential backlink-checking opportunities.
Ahrefs Broken outbound Link feature can be used for scaling this fast as we demonstrated above. Layer data.
7. Start with your list.
Remember: Do not ignore a 404 page using any of these techniques. Use the Top Pages & 404 filters to see broken links on other 404 pages within the same domain.
Reclaiming Broken Links
Now you have a list of broken links. You now have a list of broken links.
Internet Archive + Re-creation & Get a Response
This is the classic form of broken link building. Sometimes, however, you will need to create something similar to gain the link.
1. Search for your 404 page at Internet Archive
2. Track the crawl dates to find the older version. An example from the NIH.gov Top Page.
3. This content can be used to plan the look of a new, refreshed version of your website
4. Content must be built (remember that you should also build new content on your website).
5 Contact information for websites linking to the old page 404.
6. Contact@website.com. We like Jon Cooper’s template.
Hwe [First name],
While browsing your site, we found some broken links. We weren’t sure who to contact so we emailed you.
This post also includes several useful outreach templates. Getting a prompt response is better than spending too much time reading emails that will never be read.
7. Remember that this often requires a follow-up
However, just because 10 pages have 404 links doesn’t mean you will get 10. But, just because you have 10 pages with 404 links does not mean you will get 10. You will most likely get 1.
Do not copy – just because a page is no longer available does not mean it’s unusable.
Broken Links can be used to help you decide what website you should create.
While it’s not as direct and certain fire, this idea has been just as effective in the long term.
This is the deal: Broken links can tell you what website owners want.
It is possible to predict the future and predict which websites will be linked to
This idea is more artful than scientific, but I used it to create a link chart for a client who did not want bulk emailing or outreach.
The site’s organic traffic increased from 5,000 to 156,000 each month due to these new links and content.
New content is important. We learned a lot from our link-building research.
While “Build it and they will come” might not be true, we found that “Build what works well for others, and they’ll probably come again” to be true.
As a conversation starter, use broken links
You shouldn’t attempt to get a link to your site from another website
Broken links are a way to get started. Find a substitute resource, and then introduce yourself.
Contact them to find out if they would be interested in seeing new content on your website. While it may seem more difficult, it is often worth it.
Take a look through the toolbox. Next, find a method you like and go out to try it. Next, you can look at the “big net”. Once you have identified the opportunity, it will be possible to compare it to your existing SEO/Content strategy.
Broken linking can be likened to playing small in baseball and not getting the home runs. It’s an effective way to build quality links for your website.