Posted by jrcooper
This post was originally in YOUmoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.
Not too long ago I was dead link building with the Mozilla Firefox LinkChecker Add-on. I started recommending it in a few posts, saying how great of an add-on it was, when in reality I had no idea there were other broken backlink checkers out there. But one day Ross Hudgens was kind enough to tweet about one of the greatest link building browser extensions known to man – Check My Links, a chrome extension. From that point on, I was fully converted to the Chrome toolbar, but arguing Firefox and Chrome is a topic for another time. In a nutshell, Check My Links will become your best friend for building some of the top links on the web for multiple reasons.
Here’s a little history of what dead link building was before this extension. All I knew in this area was the LinkChecker Firefox add-on, but it posed a few problems.
- Because it was so slow, you had to make sure you were pursuing high value pages that were worth your time. Checking a low PR page with a low domain authority was never an option.
- You couldn’t check multiple pages at the same time, so you usually had to do something in the mean time when one page was getting checked. While this was OK, I lost focus frequently and got annoyed that I couldn’t find the links that were broken ASAP.
- I got stuck on links – the add-on wasn’t smart enough to skip links with long load times and check other links first, rather it went down the page in order link by link, with some links taking up to 30 minutes to check (and in some cases longer!). This was the exact opposite of efficiency, but at the time I was unaware of any other options.
Now, time to brag about my new great find (or Ross’ that is). Pretty much, it’s the greatest link building browser extension I’ve ever used. First of all, it’s extremely fast. Like almost too fast. It usually checks half the page in under 10 seconds. It also finds the links that are quickest to check, saving the links with long load times for last (I still don’t know how they do this). Best of all, I can check multiple pages at once, which saves some serious time because I usually find 50 pages at a time to check. As a bonus, it even tells you what kind of page error the broken link got (i.e. 404, 500, etc.). If you’d like to install this extension, first install the Chrome browser here, then click on this link to go to the extension install page. Once it’s installed, all you have to do is click the icon in the top right of your browser and watch it work its magic.
Some of you are asking this question: How do I build links by finding broken ones? My answer: welcome to the world of high quality link building with minimal effort. There are a few ways you can build links doing this, so I’ll break down each of my favorites.
1. Direct Find and Replace
My first favorite is finding broken links on blogrolls and links pages and asking to replace one with a link to your site. The way to find these pages is by finding a few top industry blogs. Bring up tabs of all the links on their blogroll and links pages, and then check out each site individually and look for pages with a high amount of external links (for blogs, this is on every page if it’s their blogroll. For other sites, look for a "links" or "resources" page). After doing this you should have at least 25 pages (use other blogrolls to find other related blogs to check if you want more). The next part is my favorite – put your newly added Chrome extension to work. Once you’ve checked all the links, find the pages that have at least one broken link. This is your "in" with the webmaster. Shoot them an email telling them you’ve found a few broken links and then ask he/she to replace one of them with a link to your website. Here’s a sample email of what I generally say:
Hi *insert name here if you can find one*,
I was browsing your website when I stumbled across a few bad links I thought you should check out. I know you don’t have much time on your hands, so I went ahead and listed the links here:
Broken Link #1
Broken Link #2
Broken Link #3
I hope this helps! I for one hate broken links, and as a webmaster myself, I know links break all the time. Also – do you think you could replace one of the bad links with a link to my site? It’s a great resource about *niche*, which is completely relevant and your readers would enjoy. Here’s the URL: http://www.mysite.com
Thanks for your time!
Your name here
Sometimes I like to only notify them of the broken links, then wait for a response and then pursue a link, but lately that hasn’t been working for me. I’ve found it’s best to catch them in the best mood, which is when you’re letting them know about a problem on their site. Now, don’t follow the above email word for word – it’s best to get as personal as possible. Mention their name at the top and at the closing (if you can find a name) or even say something like how much you enjoyed one of their blog posts. The more personal, the more they know you’re a real person. One thing that always seems to work is to comment on a few of their posts a week or two before you contact them, so hopefully by that time they know who you are and know you actually read their blog.
2. Content Replacement
Wow, that first one was long, but only because that’s what I use Check My Links for 90% of the time. My second favorite is taking the dead link building a step forward by looking at the pages that are broken. By using the wayback machine, I’m able to find what exactly was on that page that they were linking to (and probably others were linking to as well). After seeing what they’re linking to, I recreate this piece of content on my own site. Not only will webmasters be more willing to replace the bad link with a link to the same content (but in your own words), you’re also able to use Open Site Explorer or Yahoo Site Explorer to find others linking to this page as well. This allows you to find other people who have the same broken links on their site, thus giving you another chance to email them and ask for a link replacement. You can also use the two site explorers mentioned above on broken links in regular blogrolls, because again, chances are someone else is linking to that page too.
3. Broken Blogger Blogs
The last is something I recently tried and is a little grey hat depending on how you look at it. Before you read – I sincerely want your feedback on this, so leave it in the comment section below J. Here’s what I do – I find broken links on blogrolls and check for which ones point to subdomains on blogspot.com. I look to see if I can register the blog myself (only roughly 10% allow it), then I throw up a static page with a big link to my blog using the keyword I want to rank for. I then state below to click on the above link to find this blog at the new location. This gives you your own anchor text and a link with a higher amount of link juice depending on how many outbound links are pointing to that page. Yeah, it’s a little sketchy, and I don’t know if I should continue doing this, but again let me know in the comments below.
I’m a real link builder with real results, and I’m not telling you a lie when I say this is genuinely my top strategy in obtaining high quality links. I’m not hiding anything and I’m not asking you to pay for information on strategies like this, so all I ask is if you leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!
If you’d like to find out more high quality link building techniques, check out Jon Cooper’s Link Building Blog. Point Blank SEO is a fairly new SEO blog dedicated to providing real link building strategies that really work. Check out the blog and see the latest things he’s trying out, such as his new niche site challenge.