“When I first became interested in SEO a couple years back, I read every article I could on the subject. For a beginner, much of it was very confusing. It seemed like a good amount of the information was contradictory, and I had no clue which techniques would really help my websites shoot up the search engine rankings.
I eventually came across a number of posts on SEOmoz and Point Blank SEO touting a method known as broken link building. For those who don’t know what BLB is yet, it is discovering pages that have a high number of links pointing to them but have since been taken down, creating a page that is similar to the broken one, then emailing the original “linkers” telling them about their broken link and asking them to link to the new version on your site. Unlike article spinning and low-quality guest posts, broken link building is actually good for the future of the Web because it is cleaning up the broken links and making the user experience more satisfying. I have heard that something like 16% of links on the Internet break each year.
I am currently performing SEO work for my father’s business, which is in a tough niche to acquire natural links. I had a few content ideas for his website that didn’t really pan out, so I was stuck with ways to acquire real high-quality links for his business website. I eventually found an article from the early 2000′s that had been down since 2006, according to the Wayback Archives. This page had built up a number of links and authority before it was taken down, the content was related to his business, so I rewrote the article (the original author gave permission in his article that anyone could do this) and put it up on his site.
The next day I started emailing all the webmasters who had linked to the original article long ago. I wasn’t extremely confident; it looked like many of these pages were from 1999 and hadn’t been touched in over a decade. But I was just hoping for one very quality link – that surely could be attainable, right?
According to Open Site Explorer stats, the number one page linking to the original article was a PR5 .edu page from a very well respected institution. The page authority was 69 and the domain authority was a 92, so I put a lot of time into constructing an email to that webmaster, knowing very well how much it could pay off.
Click the image to see Brian’s email full size:
That same day I checked my inbox and saw that the person had responded. I quickly clicked it and gazed at the screen, “Thanks for your email, we have updated our page with the new link.” Score!
My father’s business website now has an incredibly valuable link pointing to it, search traffic went up immediately, and I was hooked on broken link building. If you are sick of sending out boring guest posts that probably give you a very low ROI, I cannot recommend broken link building enough. With broken pages all over the Internet, there will never be a shortage of opportunities to re-create some content for your site and capture those great links.
Author: Brian Klemm is the President of Northbound Digital, an SEO and inbound marketing firm in Chicago Lakeview specializing in helping small businesses in the area acquire more traffic and revenue through increased search traffic. Follow on Twitter @NorthbndDigital.”