Easy Broken Link Outreach Using the Free SEO Crawler

As snail is crawling upwards on a window on a rainy evening.

For years I have been looking for a both easy to use and free tool for so called broken link building.

I have tested lots of broken link checkers, advanced SEO tools and browser plugins but none of the really worked for me.


How to crawl sites to find broken links

One fine day I’ve found one by accident, SEO Crawler, a new SEO tool with a clean and simple interface design.

It offers a free plan which is perfectly sufficient to find broken link opportunities to reach out to webmasters.

Now let’s take a step back. What is broken link outreach or broken link building as some call it? Aren’t we mean to build links that are not broken? Yes, indeed.

We build links and we replace broken links at once, a classic win to win situation for both of us the link builders and the webmaster we approach to get a link.

Most sites have broken outgoing links that is links pointing to third party sites they do not control.

That’s a real problem because often you don not notice that the link is broken in the first place and once you do you don’t know what to do about it.

You need time for research to find a similar site or resource. In many cases such a link will be fixed in a quick and dirty way so that it disappears altogether.


Choosing the site

You have to find some sites first that you wan to get links from. Ideally you search for your topic + blog and check out which blogs look good that is

  1. have a clean readable design
  2. have great content
  3. get a decent amount of comments
  4. get shared on social media
  5. get referenced on other blogs/sites

Of course you can look up their backlink profile on Open Site Explorer but don’t consider SEO metrics first.

You need a good overall impression to make sure the blog is not solely built for search engines with a real audience.

In case you are after organic links you need to find sites where they really grow organically.


Locating the link

In order to find a broken link on a site you need to set up a “new project” on SEO Crawler.

That’s a very easy process that only requires you to fill in a simple form.

You need to add the URL you want to get a link from and thus find a broken link first. I tried right away with a site called Pacificguestpost itself where this post was originally published.

I wanted to find out whether it the technique works universally even with pretty new sites. It does as you will see below.

Make sure to check the “Check and log external links” checkbox (marked with a red border in the screen shot below) because it isn’t by default. In case you forget SEO Crawler will only test internal links.

Also note that I limited the number of pages to 200 in this case. The site hasn’t even that many but you want to make sure to stay polite.

Do not crawl thousands of URLs on a site because that may result in a heavy load on the server the site is hosted on.

SEO Crawler limits the number of pages crawled in the free plan

too so don’t waste your resources either. 200 – 1000 should be perfectly enough to find a broken link in most cases in my opinion.

I can’t show you the screen shot of the results here in full size because it’s too big but I have cut out the one result on the first page that we wanted to get. Click it to view the larger version.

As you see I’ve found a broken link right away. I have selected the URL of the page in question.

It’s a wonderful editorial link inside the post itself with a rich anchor text saying “content marketing” on top of that:


Sending the Outreach Message

Now you want to make sure to have a good resource matching the link that is broken. In our case it would be a resource on content marketing.

Write a friendly, on point and personalized outreach email. I have published an outreach example to show how it’s done in detail.

Also send the message when the person you want to contact is actually online. When they share vacation photos on their social profiles you’d rather wait.


More broken link building resources elsewhere:

  1. Broken Link Building for Content Promotion
  2. Link Rot – and the Most Amazing Free Tool to Find and Fix Broken Links
  3. 5 Ways to Increase your Link Building Efficiency
  4. Find Broken Links, Redirects & Site Crawl Tool
  5. Check for broken links on your website and get automated reports