Anyone familiar with search engine optimisation would know there are many different strategies you can use to boost your website’s ranking in search engine results.

One such way is through broken link building strategies, which is essentially securing links from authoritative or high quality websites back to your website.

Any effective link building strategy will balance various tactics to earn quality links and one such proven tactic that should be considered is broken link building.

What is broken link building?

If you’ve been browsing the web and clicked on a link, now and then you’ll be directed to a page that will display a 404: Page not found error. This is what is called a broken link.

To put it plainly, broken link building is the process of identifying these broken or dead external links on a relevant third party website and recommending an article or content on your website that is suitable to replace that link.

To be successful at broken link building, a carefully considered and planned strategy is required. Ideally you should break it down into three key steps:

  • Identify broken links from relevant and authoritative websites
  • Create or identify existing content on your own website that could replace the broken link
  • Contact and persuade the website owner to replace the broken on their website with a link to your content.

While this might sound simple and straightforward, broken link building strategies can be time consuming and challenging task — particularly when you are looking for opportunities at scale.

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Why use broken link building as part of your link building strategy

When implemented as part of a broader link building strategy, using broken link building strategies can also:

  • Build links on pages that have already inherited authority
  • Support the visibility and growth of target pages
  • Secure links that previously pointed to competitor websites
  • Supplement other link building tactics as the opportunities arise.

By regularly seeking and analysing opportunities for broken link building, you can gain serious competitive advantage when it comes to SEO.

Identifying broken links

Before we look at a couple of tactics for broken link building, it’s important to note that broken link building should be just one of several link building tactics you use.

Start with your competitors

If you’re undertaking broken link building strategies, a good place to start is finding dead pages on your competitors’ websites that are still being linked to. Dead pages are essentially pages on relevant websites that have previously been linked to but have been deleted are now returning a 404 Page not found error.

The main benefit of this tactic is that the links you could potentially secure are likely already qualified to be high quality and relevant. And, if they were already linking to your competitor with similar content, then the website owner is more likely to redirect that link to your website.

There are a range of third party backlink analytic platforms that you can use to easily identify opportunities or agencies such as Online Path can prepare thorough backlink analysis and provide you with a link building strategy that is sure to get you results and gain competitive advantage.

Scrape resource pages

A resource page is generally a page on a website that lists resources for a specific topic with links to the original source. More often than not it will include a variety of links that are optimised for several keywords that relate to the topic.

Searching these out individually isn’t an effective approach, so how to you discover them at scale? The most efficient way is by using Google search operators.

Google search operators are special characters and commands that modify and expand the capabilities of normal text searches with advanced operators typically used to refine searches and drill deeper into results. By using advanced operators, you can quickly uncover plenty of resource page opportunities.

There’s a number of free online tools — even basic Chrome extensions — you can use as a simple and accessible way of checking resource pages for broken links. All you need to do is input the link for the resource page.

If you identify a relevant broken link in the results, you can reach out to the website owner, inform them of the broken link and offer your page and relevant content as an alternate replacement.

If that’s not enough then you can take it one step further and leverage these results even more.

Using more advanced SEO tools and platforms such as SEMrush, you can identify any other websites linking to the dead page and reach out to them to offer your website and content as a solution to the broken outbound link on their website.

Tips for success

To make sure your efforts in building broken backlinks don’t go to waste, we’ve put together a few of our top tips.

Reach out to the right person

Going straight to the top doesn’t always pay off. When you’re looking to win an outbound link directly to your website, the best person to go to is the person who is responsible for the website’s content publishing and relevant processes.

Send an engaging outreach email

Once you have identified the right person to contact regarding the broken link, you’ll want to make sure you are sending them a personalised and engaging email that cuts through spam filters.

Our tips for writing an email that stands out and engages your target include:

  • Captivating, concise and relevant subject line
  • Address the recipient by their name
  • Personalise your intro by mentioning where and how you found them
  • Be straight to the point and keep it short and sweet
  • Be clear about what you want to achieve
  • Tell them why broken links aren’t good for user experience
  • Don’t spam them!
Offer relevant content or re-create the original content

The key to winning broken links is offering a relevant link and content as a replacement. If you aren’t offering a relevant solution then your time will be better spent elsewhere.

Before you even start writing your email, your first step should be to determine what content was on the now dead page. But how do you find out what was on the previous page?

By using simple and free online tools such as Wayback Machine, you can easily find out what the previous content looked like and included. By understanding exactly what the content achieved, you can gain an insight into precisely what and why someone chose to link to the previous content and better target your content to meet the need.

If you have something similar then suggest it as a replacement or write some captivating new content that adds value and is sure to hit the mark as a replacement for a broken link.

Follow up

Don’t cut your losses after just one attempt. Make a plan for follow up and stick to it. Most people are busy and it may have simply slipped their mind to follow up as more emails jump to the top of their inbox.

Remind people that you have previously reached out, what you are looking for, and why broken links can be detrimental to user experience and hamper their SEO efforts.

The missing link in your broken link building strategy

The internet is a moving beast which means broken links are quite common. Most website owners are busy creating new content to worry too much about links to external sites that they published in articles or content months ago.

But while you might be sitting on a potential goldmine, broken link building strategies can prove more time consuming and challenging that first expected.

Experts in SEO and social media marketing in Adelaide, Online Path’s digital marketing team is well-versed in identifying and leveraging broken links as opportunities to win high quality links from authoritative websites to help boost your website ranking in search engine results.

If you want some guidance or to hand over your link building efforts to capable hands and strategic minds, contact us today for an obligation free chat about our SEO services as a leading marketing agency in Adelaide.

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