September 9, 2014

Bloggers Guide to Link Building: Broken Links

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Published: 9 September 2014 

You may be creating awesome content, but are you giving your blog the best chance of being found? Whether you are a new blogger or you are known as a bit of a blogger veteran, high quality links are key to your online success. So put your SEO hard hat on, it’s time to build.

Why is link building important?

‘Link building’ refers to the process of having other websites link to yours. Acquiring links can be tricky and time consuming, even for SEOs, but there is a reason we stick at it. Links help Googlebot discover new web pages and decide where you deserve to rank in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). If you have reliable websites linking to your content, it shows Google that they think your content is valuable and relevant to the topic they are talking about.

The Broken Links Strategy

There are a number of ways to earn links, and I will expand on these in later posts, but I want to start by showing you a fairly straight forward method - the broken links strategy. This involves finding links to pages that no longer exist or are broken and suggesting your own content to fill the gaps. Let’s get started.

  1. First things first, make a list of websites that are relevant to your niche and who would benefit from the content you produce. It is sometimes helpful to use the keyword ‘resources’ when you are searching because some websites have a page specifically for helpful information links. Once you have your list ready, it’s time to look for broken links on your chosen websites.
  2. No, finding broken links doesn’t mean scouring over websites manually clicking around (feel free to pause for a sigh of relief). Thanks to a handy Chrome Extension from Google, you can run a link check that shows you how many broken links are on a page and where they are. It’s called Check My Links, and it’s a beautiful thing.
  3. Make note of any broken links that are a good fit for your content and save the contact details of the editor or webmaster (if possible).
  4. Now that you have a list of link opportunities it’s time to start outreach. The point of this strategy is not to spam websites with content that isn’t quite right. Don’t be a spammy spammer - only suggest content that will add value to the website you are pitching to.

For example, I found an article with a list of useful travel websites that can save you money. This post was originally posted in 2009, but was updated on 8 July 2014 - this indicates there is probably a good chance they are open to fixing broken links to keep their article up to date. By using Check My Links, I can see that the article has 8 broken links, one of which is a link to a Wikipedia entry about hometels.

broken links screenshot 1If you are a travel blogger and you have written an article about hotel, hostels and hometels this is a great opportunity to email the most appropriate person (editor or writer) and suggest your content to replace this broken link. You could also let them know about any other broken links you have found to give them a little extra help.

Note: Make sure you click on the broken links to test them manually before suggesting because occasionally Check My Links will falsely report a broken link. Better to be safe than to look silly and waste time.

Would you like tips about a particular topic? Each week our team will be publishing Bloggerhelp articles with tips for SEO, design, writing and PR. We are open to suggestions so please feel free to suggest a topic below or on our Facebook and Twitter (@mattersolutions) pages!

Ben Maden

Read more posts by Ben

2 comments on “Bloggers Guide to Link Building: Broken Links”

  1. Probably the most effective way to build great links known to white hat SEOs. Key to get the most of it are in my opinion the Google operators you use to find those link collections and resource pages.

    Example operators that helped me a ton:
    keyword phrase inurl:resources
    keyword phrase intitle:links

    Greetings from Austria,

    Alexander

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