If you handle multiple clients or want to grow your website portfolio, you need scalable link building strategies.
Broken link building is one of the most scalable white hat link building tactics you can use.
Broken link building is a process of reaching out to webmasters and asking them to add a link to your linkable asset in their resource pages.
It’s quite difficult.
But with a system that works, it is easy.
Part 1: Link Prospecting
Like any other off-page SEO strategies, broken link building starts with finding resource pages that are likely to link to your content.
You need to scour the Internet using search engines to find broken link building opportunities. If you don’t have time for that, you can outsource it to someone. Use Upwork or Onlinejobs.ph to hire freelancers for as low as $4 per hour.
Do a Google search using a combination of advanced search operators (best to use are inurl and intitle) and specific topics/keywords.
A few examples are:
- inurl:links “keyword” ~resources
- intitle:resources “keyword” ~guide
Add resource adjectives like suggested, recommended, useful, favorite, more and related to your search queries to land more link opportunities.
I’m using a broken link building tool from my SEO friend here in the Philippines to semi-automate this link building process.
Make a list of all the relevant link opportunities you can found on the web. Look for horizontal, vertical, and shoulder niches if you are running out of sources.
For example, a comprehensive travel planning guide can tap industries like medical condition (traveling with a medical condition) and disabilities (travel guide for a person with disabilities) – as long as there are sections in the post that include those subjects, you can expand your horizon.
Part 2: Prospecting For Opportunities and Writing the Content
Organization is the key on how to get backlinks these days.
If you can’t setup a database to put all your needed details, it won’t be easy for you to train someone and do the work himself.
Google spreadsheet helps us to manage our team and to oversee if everyone is on the same page.
All inputs are placed in each column. Required columns for broken link building spreadsheet are:
- Resource Page – exact URL of the resource page
- Domain – root domain of the resource page (I’ve had a cell formula for this not to manually do it yourself).
- Duplicate (YES/NO) – this shows if one page is a duplicate, you can remove it right away (there’s a cell formula to automate this).
- DA – use Mozbar to identify the domain authority of a site
- Footprint – source of prospecting (Google search or content competitor link analysis – where you reverse engineer a similar content and see its existing backlinks).
- Prospected by – add the name of link prospector (to gauge how many link targets he can prospect every hour).
- Prospector’s note – link prospector can add the date when page is last updated, the URL of similar content he can reverse engineer or niches/topics he can source out.
Now that you have a list of link prospects, it’s time to think of what content asset can best serve these opportunities.
Get a feel of what topic most resource pages are discussing about. Know their linkable audience.
In my previous example, people with disabilities and travelers with a medical condition are both linkable audiences. If you can create a 10x travel planning guide to cater to these people, then there’s a high chance you can build links from your prospected pages.
If you wish to outsource a linkable asset to a freelancer (you can still use Upwork, Onlinejobs.ph or hire a native writer).
For a well-researched SEO content, you can typically get as low as $20 per 100 words. For a 3,000 word guide, it will cost you $600.
Part 3: Qualifying Prospects
The most common mistake link builders make is reaching out to webmasters without knowing if they have chances of getting a link from the site/page.
In other words, you have to identify the link obtainability rate of a page, so you won’t be receiving emails like this one.
If you know you have a chance of getting a link from the page even before you write your pitch, you are more likely to succeed in this link building technique.
Once you have the content published, you can go back to your resource page list and start qualifying opportunities.
What you are looking for now are links pages that target a linkable audience (e.g. people with disabilities).
Note: Create another tab to put all qualified opportunities, use the same columns in your Master tab.
Qualify them based on three things: context, commerciality, and locality.
The simplest way to identify the context of a page is to know the purpose it was created.
For example, a travel planning guide might be a good fit for a backpacking resource page (as they have close relevance) but if all (or almost) links are backpacking-specific content pieces, then the obtainability rate decreases.
Try to look at sections of the resource page to see if there are topics resonated by your content.
If you think your content fits the context of the page, add it to another tab in the spreadsheet.
Type OF Linking Pages
There are resource pages that linked out to solely .edu and .gov backlinks, some are pointing just to their internal pages.
It is best to have a glance of the type of pages they mostly linked out to. If you see that your content is not similar to theirs (i.e. a guide from an eCommerce store getting a link from mostly .edu links resource page), it’s not a good opportunity to pursue.
Another thing is that you need to check if the resource page is composed of mostly external links. If so, that’s a gold mine you need to add.
One demographic detail that you have to check in broken link building is the locality of a resource page.
It’s simple to know.
Ask yourself, does this resource page targeting only local-based content?
If yes, don’t add it to the sheet.
Good example is a national-targeted travel planning guide not a good fit for a Texas travel planning resource page.
Part 4: Qualifying Prospects
Next part is to find any broken backlinks in a resource page.
You don’t wish to get all; just two or three will do.
You will use this as your proposition when pitching webmasters – i.e. I’ve found an error in your page. That’s value!
For this phase, you can use LinkMiner Chrome Extension (install it first).
I personally use this http checker sheet to find any broken link on a page (much faster!), but you need to a LinkClump installed and set its option to copy to clipboard.
So once you drag all links, you can easily copy and paste it on the sheet.
In our spreadsheet, you need five columns for this part:
- Anchor text 1
- Broken link 1 (first broken link you’ve found)
- Anchor text 2
- Broken link 2 (first broken link you’ve found)
- Action (if no broken links, choose Content Suggestion).
Part 5: Reaching Out
Once all broken links had been identified, our outreach specialists reaches out to webmasters. To find their contact information, you can check out this post on finding email addresses.
Now you are ready to take conversations with people. Write your initial pitch (email template) with a subject line that isn’t longer than 60 characters to dictate higher open rates while the content body with introductory paragraphs best kept to 200 words.
A few more outreach tips to take away from here:
Avoid using words like link or backlink, as it’s been overly used and most resource curators think that you’re not authentically helping them but just trying to get a link.
Approach webmasters with the intent of helping them to find and fix broken links on their web pages. Tell where they could find broken links and how they can exactly fix them (i.e. find the newer/updated/redirected page, find another similar page if you can’t see its redirected content, suggest homepage or even social page instead if you can’t find a new page, ). The main point here is to find replacements for each broken link (for those two broken links) you’ve found.
Follow up webmasters after 5 or 7 days. You will be surprised that some of your emails went to their spam folders. And if you’re not following up, you are missing those opportunities.