There have been a lot of announcements about new SEO ranking factors as of late. Sure, you need to move your site to HTTPS. Your website should load fast. Your website should be mobile-friendly. You should use schema to encode your content. Indeed, these are all factors within Google’s algorithm.
While considering all these things, don’t forget the basics: content and links. I’m not the only one who thinks that content and links are the two most important factors for ranking a website.
This is why I’ve been doing a lot with broken backlinking. This is the best of both worlds. It not only provides quality, relevant content for my website, but also provides high authority link juice.
What is Broken Link Building?
Broken link building starts with finding pages that no longer exist, but have links. Once you find these broken pages, you rebuild it on your site. Don’t just copy the page — improve it.
After you’ve written it, you need to contact the websites that were linking to the broken page. Tell them they’re linking to an old page and invite them to link to your new page.
Garrett French, the originator of this tactic, suggests you’ll have about a five per cent success rate. That means if you reach out to 100 websites, expect to get give links to your page. Another way of thinking about this: you need to find pages that have hundreds of old backlinks.
So, how do you find them? French’s company, Citation Labs, has a tool to help you. You can also use three other tools: Screaming Frog, Majestic, and Buzzstream.
Use Screaming Frog to Find Relevant Websites
Screaming Frog is a leading website auditing tool. However, you can also use it to crawl other websites.
It’s crucial to have a site to crawl that could produce a list of authoritative websites for a given topic. What you will be looking for:
- A list of high authority websites
- The websites need to be relevant to your site. They don’t have to be directly related but there needs to be a connection between their topic and yours.
- Make sure the sites are live
Here are some places you might find a list of relevant sites:
- Web directories like joeant.com, botw.org, etc.
- A simple resource page that lists websites. Google the keyword “links” or “resources” (modified by a relevant keyword) to find these.
The key here: you need hundreds, and eventually thousands, of websites to link back to yours to continuously rank high in SERP for your target keywords.
Use Majestic to Find Broken Opportunities
Now that you have a list of related websites, you’ll need to perform a little excel magic. You don’t want a list of homepages. You want a list of domains.
While you’re doing this, purge your list of irrelevant websites. For instance, DMOZ links to Twitter and other search engines from almost every page.
Now that you have a list of domains, visit Majestic’s “Bulk Backlink Checker.”.Paste your list of domains into this tool.
You might have to break your list up. Majestic only allows you to check 400 domains at a time. Be sure you “Use Historic Index” to get around this.
Once you’ve created this report, sort by the number of Referring Domains. That means you’ll start by reviewing the websites with the most websites linking to them. This is a numbers game, after all.
Next, you’ll go down your list of domains. Hover over the gear icon and select “Pages.” This is because you need a list of pages for each domain so we can find pages that are 404. Pro tip: right-click the “Pages” link to “Open in new tab” or you’ll lose your place on the Bulk Backlink Checker report.
As you peruse the list of pages, here’s what you’re looking for to find a broken link opportunity:
- What is the header response code on the page? It might be a good opportunity if it’s a 404 (or any 400 code) or a 500-level code. These are pages that are no longer live. Sometimes poorly setup websites to use 302 or 307 to display “Page not found.” This might be wrong (from an SEO perspective) but it could be an opportunity for broken backlinks. Unfortunately, now and then, a website does not allow the Majestic bot to crawl. If you see a bunch of 403 errors, you’ll just have to move on to another website.
- How many referring domains link to this page? If you want to convert this into links to our site, we’re not when one website links to one page 10,000 times. It’s even better if you use Majestic to test C-level IP addresses. Assuming a success rate of five per cent, how many websites will have to link to this broken page, for this to be worth your time? Don’t settle for less than 250 links.
- Since the page is no longer live, you’ll need to use the Web Archive to view the old page. From there you’ll decide if this is something you can re-create or update. Pro-tip: if you type http://web.archive.org/web/ before the broken URL, you’ll see the Web archive’s latest version of this page.
- Double-check to make sure the page hasn’t moved to another location. Sometimes redirects get overlooked. If this is what you find, you may still have an opportunity for links. However, it’s more like the skyscraper method than broken backlinks.
- You might not find anything that is directly related to your product or service. You have to think more broadly then. Ask yourself: “can I relate my company to the topic of this page?” If so, put together a creative pitch.
Use Buzzstream to Contact the Broken Back Link Opportunities
Now that you’ve identified relevant websites and the broken pages on them. Next, you need to prepare to reach the websites linking to the old one, so they can link to your new and better page.
From the broken page in Majestic, click on the icon and list all the backlinks to that page. When you see the list of links to the broken page, make sure you exclude all “deleted backlinks.” In this case, you only need one link per website. Download the list of links and upload it into Buzzstream. This will be your list of sites to pitch.
It will take Buzzstream some time to collect the contact information for each website. Let Buzzstream do the work while you create the asset. If you want to take it a step further, involve these websites in the creation of your new asset. If they take part in the creation, they will be more likely to link to you.
If you search for broken links and insert yours, you’ll get high quality, relevant links to your website. This will also be difficult for your competitors to duplicate. These links have a way of attracting more links, organically, without even trying. Although it’s going to take some work, it’s an opportunity for big SEO gains.
Do you need more links to your website? TechWyse can help! Call us today at 866.288.6046 or contact us here to learn more.