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Broken Link Building Just Got Scalable: Tool Review

by Jon Cooper
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NOTE: I was not paid to write this review, nor are there any affiliate links. These are purely my opinions of a tool that’s relevant to all of you (we all love links) that I think is worth your attention.

A few weeks ago Garrett French launched the Broken Link Finder tool at Citation Labs. Since I’m starting to use it at lot more for my own client work, I thought I’d go through exactly how I use it and what I use it for.

First, lets’ talk about scalability.

Few quality practices truly scale in link building. The only two strategies that can performed on a large scale right now are guest posting & broken link building. I’ve always been a huge fan of BLB, but seeing that it really does scale when few other things do right now, it’s only making it easier to do it more & more. 

But since the process is so unique & specific to itself, there really hasn’t been any tools out there that has helped actually scale it (note: I said it can be scaled, not that it has).

That’s why the Broken Link Finder tool is quite awesome. The process is split up into 2 parts: finding broken link opportunities, and actually conducting outreach. This tool takes care of the first part.

So let’s dive right into the tool!

Step #1: Login & create a campaign

Getting started is very easy. Once you login, it’s as easy as naming a campaign.

Step #2: Test Keywords

In the next screen you need actual keywords, but before you do anything, make sure you test them! I’ll explain more when I get into pricing, but for now, you should be testing every keyword before you add it to your campaign, just because some keywords might uncover no opportunities while others will uncover a ton.

So here’s what a quick test uncovers for a set of example keywords.

As you can see, “science clubs” would uncover next to no opportunities while “scientific research” uncovers 5 more than any other I tested! A lot of times keywords that I thought would perform well turn out to be not so good, so this is a great way to gauge what’s worth keeping and what’s worth leaving off.

Here’s a video of Garrett walking you through this process as well:

Step #3: Add keywords & wait

Yep, it will take ~10-15 minutes to have the report for you, but it makes sense. There’s a ton of crawling & APIs at work.

Step #4: Profit

Here’s what a typical report looks like. I’ll break down each thing you see above:

  • Opportunity – the actual URL of the broken link
  • Links – the # of links to that page
  • nTopic – The relevance grade the page is given based off your keyword (A-F). In this example, it’s all F’s in the top 10 results, but usually it’s a mix.
  • Cache – This is the archive.org page of the broken URL so you can see what content used to be there.
  • Export– This is the best part! It’s a 4 column export of:
    • The broken link URL
    • Anchor text of the broken link
    • The linking page
    • The linking domain
    • Reserve – if the opportunity is very fruitful & uncovers an opportunity, you can stop your competitors from finding this exact opportunity with this tool by reserving it for a certain # of credits. The more links, the more credits.
    • Delete button – Speaks for itself. Delete opportunities (i.e. the 1st one in the report above since it’s irrelevant) so you can create a more refined list.

So that’s it! You’ve now saved yourself a ton of time.

Pricing

This is definitely one of the more pricier tools out there, but after doing the math and talking with Garrett, it makes sense.

The pricing model is 10 credits for $75 (or 10 for $67/month). One credit gets you one keyword, so basically it’s $7.50 each. That’s why you should test your keywords; it’s not wise generating useless reports when it’s this much.

But here’s why I honestly think it’s worth it. Before this I hand prospected for about 2-3 hours for what it took to uncover what this tool does in 10-20 minutes for 1 report. I think at least 1.5 hours of my time is worth more than $6.

You should also know that I asked Garrett why the pricing is what it is. He got into some detail in terms of what his servers were processing & the APIs he was using and the cost of both. So basically, the cost of running these reports for him is why it’s so high.

Before I wrap up this post, just want to emphasize again that I’m not getting paid to write this, nor did Garrett ask me to. My #1 goal is to genuinely help you build links, so if I find something that’s great, then I’ll tell you why.

If you’ve used this tool and had a good or bad experience with it, I’d love to hear so in the comments below! This is meant to give you a breakdown of a new tool and open discussion around it whether or not you think it’s worth using.

Thanks for reading! Make sure you follow me on Twitter & checkout my link building course (for experts & beginners).

This post was written by...

Jon Cooper – who has written 119 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jon Cooper+ is an SEO consultant based out of Gainesville, FL who specializes in link building. For more information on him and Point Blank SEO, visit the about page. Follow him on Twitter.

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16 Comments
  1. Thanks. I actually love all their tools. I have been using a lot of their free tools… the old school ones. I had not heard about this one, but will check it out. I don’t do any broken link building because it’s hard for me to train people on it. I’m interested to see if data this way makes it any easier. I’m assuming it works best if you have a specific resource your promoting. I am sure your link building post (or whatever it has grown into) works really well with this type of outreach.

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Whether or not you need content for this is dependent on each individual prospect; i.e. if it’s a broken link to an old competitor, then you won’t need content (would suggest linking to you instead of the other site). If it was a piece of content that’s broken, then yes, you’d need content.

  2. Usman says:

    Ahh .. the linkbuilding tools still work? After Panda? Penguin?

  3. Congrats on 100 posts Jon. This site has come a long way.

  4. thanks Jon

    Looking to trial this over the next few months to see the effectiveness…

  5. Great post Jon. I have been using Garrett’s Broken Link Building tool for a few weeks now and I think it is the perfect tool for scaling BLB. I am not sure how long BLB has been around, but I believe that it is well worth any SEO’s time to look into. The only aspect of it that I am struggling with, and I hope you have some insight into this, is the outreach e-mail.

    What type of approach are you taking when contacting the sites that are provided by the export function? Do you have a ballpark conversion percentage from one approach vs. another?

    I have been finding that a good chunk of anyone who responds will thank me for the information about the broken link and then replace it with a different page from the site they previously had the link from. Essentially ignoring the suggested relevant page that I provided for them.

    If you have suggestions they would be much appreciated. Thanks.

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks for the question Matthew! Although I don’t have any huge data points to back me up, what I’ve found to be the most successful is this:

      1. First email should be asking who’s the right person I should be getting in touch with. Even if I know it’s the right person, I always ask, just to get a response from them. Once they respond, even just with a “me”, they’ve invested in the conversation. Psychology shows it’s harder not to respond the second time than it is to not respond to an initial email (that’s why so many emails are ignored).

      2. The second email tells them the broken links, as well as two resources that they could be replaced with. The first is the best resource you can find on the Web, and the second is yours. Once they see the first, by association, yours will look even better; at this point, you’re looking to genuinely help, and thus, your link gets placed a lot more than by asking for it to be added by itself.

      Does that help?

      • Hello Jon,

        Thanks for sharing a valuable tool , i will use it .. One more thing i subscribed 5 months ago for your newsletter but i got 2-3 mails regarding your posts and then it stoped. I don’t know what happen .Now i am subscribing with this new emailid.

  6. Hey Jon, I actually love Garrett’s tool. Been using his link prospector and other tools a lot and, well, they do what they are supposed to and do it well (and that’s hard to come by amongst many SEO tools) :)

    This tool however is surely aimed more at agencies and freelancers, rather than small business owners like myself. I can’t see a benefit of this one for me. For an agency though, definitely a bless!

  7. Soma says:

    Congrats Jon on 100 posts. I appreciate you and hopping for some more informative posts. thank you for sharing great information to us.

  8. Norman says:

    Hi Jon,

    Thanks for the post. I would love to try the Broken Link Finder, but I have some doubts. I tested the link prospector tool before and to be honest I had some difficulties with keywords. For example the keyword “IT Support” resulted in many health related pages (support cancer foundation, support healthcare projects etc.) which was completely useless from the client. Others mentioned as well that it is difficult to calibrate keywords phrases.

    My question is: how do you see this improved in the broken link finder tool? How much percentage on average of broken links found is actually useful for your client?

    PS: Congrats for the 100 posts.

  9. Adarsh says:

    Hi Jon,

    Great post.

    I’m planning to try out this tool soon with a 10 keyword credit.

    I have tried broken link building prospecting using OSE + Check my links chrome extension + outreach and have had very few responses. I suppose it’s basically due to the industry in which I am working in (education and careers).

    Do you think it’s worth investing in this tool? Since there is no trial available, it’s basically going to be a gamble. Wish Garrett would provide a 1 keyword trial for 10$ or so so that we can try it out without burning a lot of money.

    One more problem is, once I am registered, I don’t see an option to subscribe. it’s just the credit purchase option that’s available.

    Thanks again for this post.

  10. Carlos says:

    Great post Jon!

    I use this tool and it’s awsome, good job explaining it!

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