You know when you come to a site, click on a link that looks useful or interesting, but it takes you to a nonexistent page or that famous 404 error?
Just even (LOT!) Lucky not to be “rewarded” with something so frustrating, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, finding broken links over the internet is more common than we think. But it’s not because they are a problem for content producers, businesses and users that they should be completely ruled out.
This is the kind of flaw that can become a beautiful business opportunity for websites that link to broken links.
Want to know how this is possible? Then check out this text until the end! We’ll talk a little more about broken links, how to link to them, and their main advantages. Check out!
What is Broken link Building
Broken Link Building (also known as Dead Link Building) is a technique of building backlinks by replacing links to 404 pages with a working link to a target website.
This tactic primarily involves finding links in your niche that are no longer live, recreating a valuable piece of the content and reaching out to web owners or moderators who link to that content and asking them to replace the broken link with a link to your newly created resource.
How do links break?
The most common way for a link to become invalid or non-existent is when a website or blog domain has expired over the years.
This is more trivial in older domains, especially those of projects that discontinued after a while.
Another way for a link to break is when a page URL is typed with an error, such as forgetting, adding, or changing a character, for example.
When this type of misconception is quickly fixed, the damage may be minor or nonexistent due to the short time to start linking to this URL.
The problem is if the error is perpetuated for a few weeks, months and thus a series of backlinks is generated. Imagine the headache this generates when the webmaster resolves to correct the error after this period?
Either way, it’s bad for a site that links to the pages of those domains. After all, it ends up hurting your visitor, who ends up going nowhere, and you, as Google and other search engines don’t welcome a bad user experience.
But the best way to solve all this and still benefit your site or blog is through link building with these links. Let’s see how this works!
How to link build broken links?
Also known as Broken Link Building, this technique consists of fixing and replacing broken links to links pointing to your site.
For example, imagine a post from a relevant site in your area is pointing to a nonexistent page.
You discover this flaw, contact the site owner, and suggest exchanging that redirect for content from your blog.
Ready! You fix a flawed user experience, contribute compelling content to that post, and still get a valuable backlink to your SEO strategy.
In showing this example, it even seems that the technique is simple. However, the processes are usually a bit more laborious.
Also, getting these links from other sites is just one way to do Broken Link Building.
For this reason, we have prepared a step-by-step with 9 best practices for broken link building. Follow:
1. Scan your site to find these links.
The first step is to tidy up your own home. Going through scouring link by link will take a lot of work and waste a lot of time, so it’s best to rely on the help of tools.
One of them is Xenu’s Link Sleuth. This is software where you can do a domain search and have access to all internal and external links on your site.
Those with some kind of error will appear red.
2. Repair or re-enable internal links.
Start the changes with your website links. Once you find one that is broken, click the button and select the “URL Properties” option – if you use Xenu software.
The program will show the pages that redirect to this problematic link. Then go to your content manager (like WordPress) and fix these backlinks.
You can remove them (if the broken link really no longer exists) or fix them (if the link has changed URLs).
3. Adjust or remove external links.
The software is also able to point out the external links that your site pages link to. If you find some that are inaccessible, it is time to fix or remove them.
In the first case, you would need to contact the administrators of the linked sites to find out what happened to the referenced pages.
If you get no replies or pages no longer exist, go to the second hypothesis: discard these links. In this case, you can choose to do another redirect or not.
4. Hit links on sites that redirect to you
When fixing or removing broken links on your site, it is also important to alert the pages that redirect to you.
To search for your backlinks, you can use Ahrefs, which is one of the most complete link, keyword and content analysis tools on the market. A real hand on the wheel when it comes to SEO.
However, this platform is paid (worth every penny), despite having a free trial period.
Either way, go after the pages that link back to your site and ask their owners to update their addresses so that none of the domains lose their value in the Google ranking.
5. Search for broken links in other relevant domains.
Now comes the hardest and most difficult part of Broken Link Building. At this stage, the search turns to link errors that are not your responsibility. The focus is on broken links from other sites, as we exemplified at the beginning of the topic.
But it’s not any site that should be looked into. To filter your search, look for domains that are relevant to your business.
By relevance, we understand the following points:
- Websites in your area of expertise;
- Sites placed on the first or maximum of the second page of Google;
- Sites that do not link to many links on their pages;
- Sites that point to poor quality pages (spamming, for example);
- Sites with weak and irrelevant content;
You can lower your margin of error if you search Google for keywords related to your business and key content.
The best positioned domains and pages will probably be the best options for searching for a broken link.
Again, it is recommended that you use link analysis tools to discover errors on these pages. After all, imagine the time you would waste to access each redirect made on these sites.
To do so, you can use two Google Chrome extensions that automatically scan these pages: Check My Links or Domain Hunter Plus.
6. Browse Link History
If the link is broken, you may even think it is dead. However, you can redeem a part of your content history.
As? Through a website called Wayback Machine. In it, you can check what a particular site or page was like a few months or years ago.
It is important to find out if a redirect was relevant to know if there are chances that other sites will also link to this page.
Go after other sites that link to these broken links.
This can be done the same way you found your backlinks. Just go to Ahrefs and start searching for this broken link.
The tool will display sites that link back to the link in question. Among these sites, separate the ones that are most relevant to your business and proceed with the process.
Select content to replace these links.
The next step is to choose a page with very interesting content from your site to offer to those pages.
The intention is to make a replacement, but it needs to be at a high level. It’s like a football game: if you want to change the outcome, get your best alternative from the reserve bench.
Link changes need to make sense so as not to hinder users and search engines’ understanding of that content.
So if you want these sites to link to you, try to offer something relevant to them and their audience – and obviously create interest around your brand.
Contact the owners of these domains
Go to the pages you want to replace the links to and get the email from your webmasters. Next, prepare a message with a more informal, direct and personalized approach.
Explain that you were looking for broken links and saw that the site was pointing to links to nonexistent pages, so make your intention clear and talk about the content you are offering.
Avoid mass and impersonal submissions. After all, it’s like a sales approach anyway. Both sides win, but the biggest interest is yours!
What are the benefits of Broken Link Building?
The cool thing about linking broken links is that it is a scalable and mostly useful White Hat technique for the internet.
The more people who practice Broken Link Building, the more users, websites, and search engines get rid of 404 error pages. In fact, you can clean up your domain yourself with this practice.
In addition to enhancing users’ browsing experience and content consumption, this technique helps improve their relationship with other webmasters.
You eliminate useless redirect, bring relevant content to the audience of another site, this audience will have a fuller experience, and both pages will be better viewed by Google and other search engines.
Anyway, putting broken link building into practice can be a lot of work, but it’s a rewarding effort.
After all, it is a technique that can bring traffic gain, search engine rankings, conversions, and broken links can become a great source of results for your site.
Well, if you’d like to know how to link-break broken links, stay with us and see how to reach Google’s first page with 5 advanced SEO techniques.