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Broken Link Building: A Powerful Technique for Getting High-Quality Backlinks

 Links remain one of the strongest ranking signals for SEO in 2023. However, getting editorially given links from reputable websites is easier said than done.

That’s why savvy SEOs utilize creative link building tactics like broken link building.

In this post, we’ll explore what broken link building is, why it should be an essential part of your SEO strategy, and how to do it successfully.

What is Broken Link Building?

Broken link building identifies websites linking out to broken resources that lead to 404 errors. You then create useful content around the same topic and contact the site to request updating the link.

For example, let’s say Site A links to a detailed blog post on informational article. But that page now shows a 404 error when clicked.

You could create a brand new, better article about that same topic. Then politely email Site A about the broken link, recommending your content as an ideal replacement resource to link to instead.

The site benefits from restoring a useful link relevant to their audience. And you secure an editorial link from a credible domain. It’s a win-win.

Why Add Broken Link Building to Your SEO Strategy

There are a few key reasons broken link building should be part of your ongoing link earning strategy:

Gets links from authority domains

Fixing broken links allows you to earn placements on large sites more likely to have resource pages with dead links, such as universities and media companies. These are often powerful domains.

Links are editorially given

These links are provided intentionally by site editors, unlike say scraped links from low quality directories. So they pass more link equity and anchor text.

High conversion rates

Studies show properly executed broken link outreach converts to earned links around 20-30% of the time on average. Much higher than standard cold outreach conversion rates.

Low maintenance tactic

Once you have a workflow in place, broken link building can generate a steady stream of high quality links with minimal repeated effort. Identify broken links once and the opportunities last for months.

Step-By-Step Guide to Broken Link Building

Follow this broken link building blueprint to start securing editorially given links from authoritative sites:

Choose a Site to Target

First, use a tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush to identify sites relevant to your niche that are ideal for broken link outreach.

Some key criteria to consider:

  • Domain Authority 50+
  • Publicly lists resources, sources or external references
  • Related topically to your site
  • Has existing broken external links

University sites, news companies, government sites and in-depth bloggers are great places to start.

Identify Broken Links

Next, scan through the site’s pages to identify broken links showing 404 errors. Browser extensions like LinkMiner or Check My Links make this easier.

Keep a spreadsheet of each broken link URL, page it’s on, anchor text and topic covered.

Create Replacement Content

Now create new, compelling content around the same subject of those broken links on your own site. Make sure it offers significant additional value above the currently missing resource.

For example if they linked to “basics of baking bread” and that page no longer exists, create a very detailed new guide going way beyond the basics.

Reach Out

Finally, politely reach out to inform them the resource they previously linked to no longer exists. Provide a short summary of the new guide you created around that topic and recommend it as an updated replacement link.

Follow up if they don’t respond after about 2 weeks. Rinse and repeat across all the broken link opportunities you find.

Tips for Broken Link Outreach

Follow these tips to maximize broken link building conversion rates:

  • Personalize emails referencing page with broken link
  • Send from domain email address matching your site
  • Highlight additional value you offer over broken pages
  • Remain professional and helpful, no aggressive sales pitch
  • Follow up once if no initial response after 2 weeks

While broken link building is powerful, always focus first on creating resources that truly benefit audiences. Chasing links should be secondary to providing value.

Execute properly and broken link building can become a consistent source of authoritative backlinks over time though.

What creative link building tactics have you tried lately? Let me know in the comments below!

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