Getting a backlink from another website is a beautiful gesture in the blogging community. For those who aren’t aware, a backlink is when another website links to your content. Now, that sounds simple enough, however, there are ways you can get backlinks manually; one of the best methods is through this broken link building guide.
Now, why would you want to manipulate getting backlinks? Because it helps your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) significantly. You do get more page views through backlinks. Not only that, but backlinks can also add to your website authority metric.
As for broken link building, it’s the act of locating broken or dead links in a website’s content that leads to a 404 error, basically a deleted page or content. If you locate one, then you can ask the website owner to replace it with your content for an easy and usually free backlink. That sounds a lot like busywork, but with this broken link building guide, it doesn’t have to be, just make sure to follow these steps.
1. Find broken links
First thing’s first in broken link building, you have to find broken links before you can rebuild them. Sifting through websites that have them one-by-one manually can and will take you forever. That is one method, but we don’t recommend it as looking for hyperlinks and clicking them one-by-one to see if they’re still good is just pure insanity.
Still, if you want to do it the hard way, then save a bit of your sanity and start with a website’s older content. Something more than three years old should be fruitful. These usually have outdated hyperlinks that have either been moved or are gone completely.
Install automated tools
Now, if you value your time too much or the manual broken link searching is taking forever, do know there are many tools that can ease your pain. They also don’t even require many resources and can be accessed within your browser. Here are the two best or most popular methods:
Use a Google Chrome/browser extension
Turns out, Google Chrome has you covered in finding broken links. Assuming you do use Google Chrome for your blogging activities, you can check their extensions store for the LinkMiner browser extension. This add-on allows users to automatically locate the broken links of a specific webpage. It will then present this information to you in an organized form. You’ll know which ones are dead based on the color-coding.
There are also other similar browser extensions for Google Chrome you can use to achieve the same or similar results. Bottom line is, you’ll want to use whichever makes your broken link building faster.
Use a website
Now, if you don’t have Google Chrome or don’t have enough memory to spare for add-ons, you can simply use a web tool or website that scans webpages for broken links. Websites like Dr. Link Check can make quick work of your search-and-rebuild tasks and they also work like LinkMiner. Of the two, however, we have to say that the browser extension is more handy and practical.
Each website displays results differently, of course, so you’ll have to do some familiarizing to find which suits your needs and preferences the best.
Limit your scope to your niche
Now, before you go firing off on all cylinders with the search, you’ll want to make sure that you do it smartly first. A good way to do this is by keeping your search circle small– at least initially. You’ll want to first stick to the domains in your own niche so that your chances of getting relevant content and links are higher.
If you’re having difficulty figuring out which websites share the same niche as yours, you can use web tools like Expired Domains to show you which domains are already gone but still have hyperlinks and where those links are located.
Now, another place outside your niche that you can check for dead links is Wikipedia. To search there, you can simply type into Google search these words: site:wikipedia.org “keyword” intext:”dead link” though you will have to replace “keyword” with, well, a broad keyword of your niche; also, don’t remove or change the quotation marks.
Afterward, Google will show you results for Wikipedia pages; click on them and then scroll down to the bottom for the sources and you can see which sources are actually dead links. You can then hunt down those websites and then on to the next step.
2. Contact the site owner
Now that your gruelling work of finding broken links is over, it’s time to finally do something about them. Once you have your website or content of choice at the ready, simply send a message or email to the website owners. For better results, make the communication formal with a letter of intent or at the very least, a professional introduction. Don’t be pushy and be confident while expecting the worst outcome at the same time.
The website owners’ contact details are usually published already in their “about” or “contact us” page. If not, then you can employ the help of a browser extension called Hunter; this will automatically find the contact details of a website proprietor for you.
3. Offer your replacements
Now, what replacements for their dead links will you be offering? You’ll want to make sure that it’s the closest thing ever to a replacement. Remember that the information on the content you’re offering should be identical or similar to what they backlinked to originally.
Do reiterate that such a deal would be best for both of you and that you do want to be helpful. There are website owners that might ask for payment depending on who they are or who you are. How you handle this is up to you– just handle it professionally.
4. Recreate dead content
There will be times when you don’t have anything to replace another website’s broken link despite being on the same niche. For scenarios like this, it’s not uncommon for bloggers to create content that fits that exact broken link. This method can be more time consuming but in hindsight, you’re also producing your own content with more or less a guaranteed backlink opportunity. That’s two birds with one stone.
Hopefully, this broken link building guide can help you in your blogging endeavors. Good luck out there!