By far the hardest thing to do in Link Building is getting those high quality links – whether they’re on .edu or .gov websites, on aged links pages, or even on a fellow blogger’s home page. We all know that to get these types of links, we have to bring something to the table. Sure, you can build a relationship with some of these webmasters, and in time you can work something out to get these links, but not all of us are willing to wait. This is where my favorite browser add-on comes into play: LinkChecker for Mozilla Firefox.
Some of you have heard of this tool, and some of you use other tools to find broken links on pages, but I’m personally a huge fan of what it does on the fly. This add-on, when activated, will give you the capability of right-clicking on a page and finding all of its’ broken links in seconds. Chances are that at least some of these high quality links pages feature at least one broken link, and when you find it (or them), you now have a way to contact the webmaster about a linking opportunity without making it spammy or not worthwhile for him/her. Informing them of broken links is a great way to break the ice.
If you don’t know how to find these pages in the first place, here’s quick lesson. Start by finding a top niche related website with high page rank, and plug in the URL into a backlink checking tool (I recommend either Open Site Explorer or Yahoo Site Explorer if you want a free one). Start by checking those pages and seeing if they’re quality link prospects, then use the backlink checker on THOSE pages, and so on and so forth. Over time, you will start seeing how all these pages are connected, and you should start generating a pretty big list of link prospects to use this technique on. Make sure you only look for niche related websites, because some of these top links come from pages unrelated, making your job 10x harder to get a link on those pages. Being able to tell the webmaster that your website is a perfect fit as a link on their page is vital, and if you can’t do this, your success rate goes down big time.
Now, here’s an example. After I’ve found a few broken links on a links page I want a link on, I’d find the webmaster’s email and title it “Broken Link(s)”. This will catch their eye and 9 out of 10 times they will at least open the email up. Here’s how I would compose the email:
I was browsing your website and I came across a few broken links that you should be aware of. The page is http://www.example.com/links, and the links are:
Personally I hate coming across broken links, and your other visitors probably feel the same way, so I hope you find this helpful. If I may, I’d also like to make a suggestion – I noticed this is a links page about *niche* related websites, and I’d really appreciate it if you added http://www.mysite.com to this list. It’s about *short description*.
Thanks for your time.
Now, I know this looks like just another link request email, but you’d be surprised how much success I’ve gotten with this. Webmasters realize that you’re fixing their pages by pointing out broken links, so they’re in a lot better mood then you would when just shooting an email saying “Nice page, can I get a link?” Personally, taking off 3 broken links in exchange for putting up 1 working one is a great deal, because sometimes I don’t have the time to check my website for broken links.
On occasion you will come across these pages that don’t have any broken links at all, in which case I just choose to move on. In most cases sending a generic link request email doesn’t work, and you could end up on a webmaster’s spam list really easily, so it’s not worth it. Instead, I compose a list on either Notepad or Excel of high quality links pages that didn’t have broken links at the time I visited them. A year from now, some of their links might break, so I wait until then to ask them for a link.
Now, like any other link building technique, you won’t always succeed. I have come across a few webmasters that fix those broken links, but don’t honor my work by not putting up my link. This is frustrating, but learning to move on to the next one is key. Now don’t get me wrong – this doesn’t happen often, because like I said I’ve had great success in landing my clients some of their top links.
Here’s a few of my success stories. I came across a high page rank website that was niche related and gave out tons of links to other niche related websites. I badly wanted at least one link on this website, so I started looking through the different categories of links. I found a few links pages that were related to my website, so I right-clicked and used Link Checker. After a few minutes, the amount of links I found broken was astonishing – On one page, out of roughly 50 links, 12 were broken (the page was PR3). Then, I checked another page. This time, out of about 500-1000 links, close to 100 were broken! So, I started composing the email to the webmaster, and listed the first 12, then about 40 on the other page. I told him there were still plenty of other broken links, but I’d tell him the rest once he got those fixed. He not only listed my links on multiple pages, but we created a great relationship, and we’ve talked about possibly in the future me getting a site wide link.
Another one was much simpler – a college professor’s favorite links page had a few broken links, I informed him, and I was awarded with a link. It took me 5 minutes to get a PR2 link on a page with about 50 other links. I’d say it was worth it.
Lastly, after doing this technique on a PR4 links page, I was not only awarded with a link, but was also told that this was an “Interesting technique for acquiring links!” I guess you could say I gained a fan :).
As you can see, this technique does work, and it doesn’t take too much time to perform. Check the links, write a short email, and boom you’re done. The power of finding broken links is by far one the most effective link building techniques.