How to: Broken Link Outreach Using an SEO Crawler
For years I have been looking for a both easy to use and free way to perform so called broken link building.
I have tested lots of broken link checkers, advanced SEO tools and browser plugins for that purpose.
The best way is to use a so called SEO crawler to check out the site you want a link from and then to reach out.
How to Crawl Sites to Find Broken Links
One fine day I’ve found the perfect way to locate broken links on third party sites by accident, an SEO Crawler.
It offered a free plan which was 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 meant to build links that are not broken? Yes, indeed. Links break though and website owners and especially bloggers are often unaware of them.
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 outbound links that is links pointing to third party sites they do not control.
That’s a real problem because bloggers often do not notice that the link is broken in the first place and once you do you don’t know what to do about it.
As a blogger 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.
The obvious solution is using an SEO crawler tool, yet most bloggers do not engage in such high level advanced SEO techniques.
As a helpful SEO you can simply use the SEO crawler of your choice and help those who can’t do it themselves. Simply check the third party site you want a link from with it!
Choosing the Site You Want a Link from
You have to find some sites first that you want to get linked from. Ideally you search for [“your topic” + blog] and check out which blogs look good that is
- have a clean readable design
- have high quality current content
- get a decent amount of engagement
- get shared on social media frequently
- get referenced on other blogs/sites
Of course you can look up their backlink profile on a tool like Link 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 but has a real audience.
In case you are after organic links you need to find sites where they really grow organically.
Locating the Broken Link
In order to find a broken link on a site you need to simply add the website address to the text input of a SEO crawler. Sometimes you can or have to set up a “new project” on a SEO Crawler.
That’s a very easy process that only requires you to fill in a simple form.
You need to type in the website address you want to get a link from and thus find a broken link first.
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 tools often usually limits the number of pages crawled for free.
200 – 1000 crawled pages should be perfectly enough to find a broken link in most cases though.
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:
- Broken Link Building for Content Promotion
- Link Rot – and the Most Amazing Free Tool to Find and Fix Broken Links
- 5 Ways to Increase your Link Building Efficiency
- Find Broken Links, Redirects & Site Crawl Tool
- Check for broken links on your website and get automated reports