How to Automate Broken Link Building to Grow Your Business

How to Automate Broken Link Building to Grow Your Business

Broken link building is one of the most scalable tactics. It’s a white-hat technique that can improve the quality of your website, although it is incredibly time-consuming. This is why it’s helpful to use automation tools when implementing a broken link building strategy. These tools will make it easier to earn high-quality backlinks that can improve domain authority and general SEO.

Broken

Finding Broken Links

You first need to find broken links on websites in your industry niche. Once found, reach out to the website owner and offer to replace that broken link with one that leads to your content. Manually this process can take time, but with automation, you will be able to quickly and easily:

  1. Find the broken links on websites that are relevant to your business.
  2. Create content or identify your existing content that will act as an alternative to the broken link content.
  3. Perform outreach to website owners to convince them that your content is a suitable replacement for the dead link content they currently have.

The Importance of Broken Link Building

Broken link building should not be your sole focus when building links, although it can inform your broader strategy. The key benefits of broken link building are:

  • You can earn links on websites and pages that have existing inherited authority.
  • Create links within your relevant content to improve your online visibility and target page growth.
  • You can replace the links of your competitors.

The best thing about broken link building is that search engines and internet users want you to do it. Broken links make using the internet that bit more frustrating. If a website displays a 404 error, people won’t hesitate to leave it. Therefore, websites could experience a higher bounce rate. If this percentage of people leaving a website without taking any action increases too much, it could negatively impact them. Though not directly affecting their ranking on the search engine, it drastically reduces the user experience. If websites don’t make their users happy, they certainly won’t make Google or Bing happy.

Offering to replace the broken links means you’re making the internet a better place.

Automating Broken Link Building

Broken link building will yield potent results if you scale the process, which means automation is the only practical option. Using the right platforms and software options will dramatically improve your ability to identify a wide range of broken link targets, understand the quality of those targets, and speed up your outreach to website owners. The list of tools mentioned below can all be useful in boosting your broken link building efforts, with some only focusing on specific aspects of the process.

1. Finding Broken Links

There is a wide range of tools and resources available that can streamline the entire process. When you first start with a broken link building plan, this aspect is always the most intimidating, but the good news is that it is no longer as challenging as it used to be.

CitationLab Broken Link Builder

CitationLab Broken Link Builder

One of the fastest ways to discover a wide range of broken links, CitationLab’s Broken Link Finder is an exceptional resource. Being more suited to larger brands with a robust marketing budget, you search through your industry keywords with this tool, and the Broken Link Finder will find you thousands of dead links across a massive range of relevant websites. Its ability to generate a list of broken links that are suitable for you to target can help you save a lot of time, making this far more efficient. Most users tend to go for the Pro subscription rate, which is currently priced at $277 per month, although you can buy more economical alternatives.

Ahrefs’ Site Explorer

For business owners with a small to medium marketing budget, Ahrefs is always worth taking a closer look at because it serves a wide range of purposes – one of which is making it easier to find industry-relevant broken links.

Start by making a list of your closest and most prominent competitors. Then open up the Ahrefs’ site explorer and enter the name of your biggest competitor. Filter the link results by ‘404 not found’, which you can find on the top of the page using the drop-down menu. Then, look at the ‘referring domains’ that you’ll see on the right of the page. A number there tells you how many websites are linking to the page that doesn’t exist anymore. The column next to the ‘referring domains’ column will show you the exact URL, including a link to the broken link. This is extremely valuable because the URL will often let you know what the page’s content is about.

SEMRush’s Full Website Checker

If you’re only concerned with checking for broken links on one particular website, such as one with a very high domain authority that you want to target, then SEMRush’s Full Website Checker can be a useful tool. To use it, enter the website URL you want to check and then enter your desired crawl parameters – look for broken links on a section of a website that’s relevant to your niche! For example, if you’re within the sports industry and want to find broken links on a popular news website, you can narrow the search to only focus on their sports section, saving you time.

Having this flexibility can be useful if you want to check the entire root domain, a specific subdomain, or a set of subfolders. This piece of software checks the overall health of a domain, so as well as detailing issues like broken links, it will show you any other errors such as redirects and the loading speed of a website. This makes it an excellent tool for checking the health of your website and the pages within it that you want to replace the broken links with.

broken links with

2. Email Outreach – Finding Contacts

Once you have a list of the relevant sites with broken links, you need to reach out to them, and that means you need to find the direct emails of the relevant people within the organization.

There are hundreds of platforms available that let you find email addresses at scale, and most of them are extremely accurate. The most popular one is Hunter.io.

Finding Contacts

All you need to do is upload your list of sites and hit the ‘Find Email Addresses’ button.

hunter

Hunter.io is so popular because it uses multiple sources to obtain the emails you need, and it verifies them. There are paid tiers with Hunter.io, but they also have a free account option that lets you perform 25 checks a month. If you want any more than that, you’ll need to make a monthly payment, with costs ranging from $40 to $399 a month. If Hunter.io doesn’t seem to provide the features that you need, have a look at these alternatives:

 

  • io: This allows you to build a list of leads and offers a range of free tools for scraping data. You can export the data that you get into any CRM very quickly, including email addresses, phone numbers, and company details. There’s a Chrome extension available too.
  • FindThatLead: Popular with SMEs, FindThatLead makes it very easy to build a targeted outreach campaign and comes with an impressive array of actionable analytics. Start with a free trial and choose one of the three tiers, ranging from $49 a month to $399 a month.
  • VoilaNorbert: This is a fantastic and simplistic software that allows you to find emails via an individual’s social media page, which can be effective if you can find an author on these platforms. By typing in their name or username and the platform you discovered them on, this service will find verified emails quickly, allowing you to send your pitches to the correct people that matter. This software enables you to obtain 50 leads for free before becoming a paid service that can be effective for sales, recruiting, wider content marketing, and PR.

Check out the following for a more diverse range of features and price points.

  • ContactOut
  • io
  • Anymail Finder
  • Sendinblue
  • Hubspot CRM

3. Email Outreach – Pitching

If your broken link building strategy is working at scale, it can take far too long to write personal pitching emails to each site owner. If you have hundreds of pitches to send out to hundreds of websites, you’ll need to use a tool like Pitchbox or Mailshake.

Pitchbox

With tremendous value in terms of automation, as well as an incredibly easy-to-use dashboard, Pitchbox is the industry leader when it comes to outreach tools. Most experts consider Pitchbox an essential component of the link building process, and for broken link building, it can be indispensable. Using a range of template emails, it’s quick and easy to send out what seems like personalized communications. Pitchbox allows you to schedule follow-up emails at set interval times, see the SEO metrics of the websites that you’re contacting, and make it easy to respond to replies directly through Pitchbox itself. The ‘Opportunity Pipeline’ function is an easy way to get a more considered overview of your existing outreach campaign.

smart template

The sheer range of Pitchbox makes it an industry leader. You can choose one of four plans, with the basic service priced at $195 per month. The Small Business Plan costs $295 a month and comes with more features. The SEO Agency Plan is $395, and the Enterprise Plan is $1500 per month but can be fully customized to suit your needs. However, you can save up to 20% of your price whichever tier you opt for if you pay the full annual cost in one go rather than monthly payments.

Mailshake

Mailshake is a very comprehensive pitching service. Like PitchBox, you can send mass personalized emails using a series of templates, depending on your purposes. Mailshake lets you manage those emails based on how they are interacted with by the recipient. This can save you a huge amount of time! It’s ideal for broken link building and even has templates built around the strategy. Mailshake has templates for sending out emails based on link requests, guest posting, content promotion, and PR pitches. It’s easy to see why Mailshake has become so popular. With a premium subscription, you can even access a virtual phone dialer, which makes it extremely valuable for those businesses working with sales and marketing teams. Mailshake even comes with a free tool to analyze your email copy and offer suggestions to improve engagement and deliverability, allowing it to become your all-in-one email marketing tool.

Ninja Outreach

Ninja outreach isn’t too dissimilar from the other two pitching software mentioned above, but it has a great feature that makes it stand out. While the others can allow you to send out mass emails to webmasters, you still have to create the content within this outreach. Ninja outreach has various email templates that you can edit to fit your brand voice and tone to save you time and make you look more professional. Appearing more professional stands you in good stead for being accepted for the link. They have one tailored to broken link building that has been tried and tested and can help you get results. It’s a straightforward software to use that doesn’t overcomplicate the process, allowing you to pitch your emails effectively at a large scale. The software comes with a free trial period, but then $119 to $199 per month.

Alternative Pitching Tools

Pitchbox and Mailshake are the two biggest names for automating your email pitches, but they aren’t your only options. Also, consider the following:

  • Buzzstream offers a range of prices that start at $29 a month and have plenty of customizable options.
  • BuzzSumo provides you with a range of plans that cost between $99 and $499 a month.

Alternatively, you could look at:

  • Traackr
  • AspireIQ
  • Klear
  • Percolate
  • Uberflip

Automating Content Creation

Content is at the heart of any link building strategy. You can find all of the broken links on the internet, but if you don’t have the content to replace the 404 pages, you’re doing a lot of work for no reason. AI can’t write an emotional and 100% coherent article from scratch (yet), but you can automate different aspects of the content creation process.

4.Tools For Broken Link Content

If you find dead or broken links and want to offer your site as a replacement link, you need to ensure that you have relevant, high-quality content. But how do you know what you need to write if the broken link is nothing more than a 404 error?

The Wayback Machine

Tools For Broken Link Content

If you want to find out what a broken URL used to look like, there’s no better tool than the Wayback Machine. This free resource allows you to see what an original web page looked like and has archived pages from 1996. That means you can see what the content of the broken links was, giving you a golden opportunity to rewrite that content and improve it. The more that you can add value to that content, the better. Add more up-to-date information, and go more in-depth. The better your post is, the more likely a website owner will be interested in replacing the dead link. The Wayback Machine can tell you if the broken link content is relevant to your industry or niche, dramatically cutting down wasted time.

Identify Subject Matters

Identify Subject Matters

Coming up with ideas for fresh new content is often the most challenging part of digital marketing for any business model. The best way to make sure that you are always in the process of creating something that you can use in your outreach emails is to type some industry keywords or the title of your top post into Google’s Search Console. This will give you a range of options to consider, making it much easier to write the content that’s going to the foundation of your campaign.

Creating The Content

Creating-The-Content

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is getting more powerful by the day, as is natural language generation (NLG). While sitting down and writing content is still the norm, you don’t always have to start from scratch. Generate visuals, audio, and text by various automation tools, but text, in particular, will rarely be suitable for publishing. However, it’s much easier to edit and rewrite slightly off articles than write one when starting from a blank page. Quality checks are much faster than content creation too. There are tools available that will generate those first drafts for you, with the most popular at the moment being Articoolo.

Wordsmith turns your documents into text, providing you with press-ready summaries of data points and can be the smarter option due to its better AI and processing capabilities. For images, Google’s DeepMind program is proving to be very useful for generating bespoke images to suit your content. Visual content matters just as much as text. Some would argue that they offer a lot more to those engaging with the content, as you can convey more information than you can do with words sometimes.

5. Link Management Tools

Any broken link building strategy will require a certain level of link management, and you’re going to want to automate as much of that management as possible. The market leader in this field is Monitor Backlinks. Another useful tool is Screaming Frog. There are some differences between them.

Monitor Backlinks

This is a software suite that monitors your existing backlinks and your competitors. The more you pay, the more sites (including competitors) you can monitor. It shares many of the main features of other link building tools, such as letting you see who is linking to you or making it easier to disavow any spammy links.

One of the most popular features that Monitor Backlinks provides is a Lost Link Checker, which alerts you whenever a website removes a backlink from you. It’s considerably cheaper than other link building tools like Moz or Ahrefs, and it’s far simpler to use too. You start with a 30-day free trial, and price plans range from $25 a month to $187.42 a month, although you can pay for customized plans.

Screaming Frog

This software is a top-rated SEO tool and can help in many different aspects of SEO, not just in broken link building. The main focus of this software is that it allows you to track link building profiles through detailed reports. These reports can help you better understand the value of each link which can help you make more informed decisions on what you want to do with them.

This is a great piece of software to check to see if all your current links are working as intended and that you don’t have any broken backlinks of your own that competitors can capitalize on. Don’t allow your competitors the opportunity to use you as the key to success.

Screaming Frog

6.  Improving Your Resources

Many of the resources you use daily have their own settings that you can adjust to make them work more effectively for you. This isn’t exactly automation but more a streamlined approach to your broken link building management.

  • Google Search Settings: When you’re looking for a large number of keyword-related websites, you can save a lot of clicking time by changing your search settings to display 100 results per page. You will need to deactivate Google Instant.

 

  • Link Clump: This is a Chrome extension that lets you copy a large number of destination URLs from a SERP so that you can paste them into a spreadsheet, document, or backlink finding tool.

Evaluating the sites that you have collected using your broken link finding tools is a lot harder to automate. While you can easily see the SEO stats and the Domain Authority of your target websites, it’s usually best to go through them manually. However, some useful tools can cut that manual task in half.

  • Open Site Explorer: You can use API to grab data from Open Site Explorer so that you have immediate access to a spreadsheet that shows domain authority, the number of linking domains, and page authority.
  • Majestic: The Bulk Backlink Checker tool from Majestic is a fantastic resource to include in your toolkit. Use your list of 404 pages and paste them directly into the Bulk Backlink Checker to see an ordered list of the 404s with the strongest/highest links pointing towards them. This is a fantastic and fast way to discover a whole new range of possible link targets.
  • Check My Links: This is another very underused Chrome extension that visually identifies any broken links on a page.
  • Link Sleuth Xenu: An incredible resource for saving time, Xenu is a downloadable tool that will check the resource pages on any list and all of the pages that those resource pages link to. This makes it incredibly fast for checking hundreds of pages in seconds, and you can narrow down your search parameters to search specifically for broken links only.

7. Measuring The Performance Of Your Automated Broken Link Building Strategy

If you don’t measure the impact of your broken link building strategy, you’ll never know if it’s paying off. Broken link building works, but too many brands dismiss it because of how complicated it seems and their lack of automation. Most broken link building strategies fail because:

  • The replacement content is a different topic.
  • You used generic outreach emails.
  • You’re not helping the website owner.

While you may not win every broken link that you find, measuring your performance will showcase what’s working more regularly and what’s not. Here are the metrics you need to keep a close eye on to ensure that your automation is working as intended:

· Domain Authority

There are two elements to watch when it comes to domain authority. The first is your website. A robust broken link strategy should result in you seeing your domain authority increase, even if only in small increments. Use the Moz Link Research tool, the most well-known domain strength testing tool (mostly because Moz created the concept of Domain Authority). The higher a website scores on Domain Authority, the more likely it will perform well on SERPs. If your website has a lower domain authority than your competitors, they will appear above you on relevant SERPs. However, you can use the Moz Link Research tool to check out the domain authority of the sites that you are targeting with your broken link building strategy. You want to target sites with high domain authority, as this will boost your own.

· Page Authority

Different pages on a website can have a range of authority scores. Google uses the Pagerank metric that rates a page from 0-10 – most professionals use the same metric. If you don’t monitor your pages, you have no idea what’s performing well and what’s not. There are automation tools available from a range of sources, but these vary in terms of effectiveness. Free options like prchecker.info are about as impressive as they come, but it’s usually faster and easier to stick with Moz for this metric. Remember that page authority will usually be at its highest on your homepage and gradually reduce as you splinter away from it.

· Link Totals

You must know how many backlinks you have earned. Monitor Backlinks remains the best tool to ensure that you always have clear access to this data, and it will alert you automatically when you lose a link as long as you are paying for the service. Alternatively, use the Moz Backlink Explorer – this can tell you about competitor websites! Input the URLs separately for each site to discover the data you need.

Having a high number of backlinks isn’t always the best option. The goal should always be to look for backlinks from high-authority domains that are relevant to your field. Search engines may penalize you if you have too many backlinks from sites that aren’t relevant to your business or your content. So when you’re in the process of automating your broken link building process, remember to choose the sites that are more relevant to you, even if they have lower authority scores.

Unique Domain URLs

Ideally, you want to have more links from more high authority domains than lots of backlinks from just a few websites. Search engines consider backlinks like a seal of approval. Six backlinks from six different domains are much more valuable than six backlinks from the same website. Majestic SEO has a site explorer tool that will tell you your total number of backlinks and how many different root domains are linking to your website.

Unique Domain URLs

These listed metrics will give you a robust overview of the impact of your broken link building strategy. While many of the metrics can be made available via automated resources like Moz or Ahrefs, in most cases, you will have to do some manual data input as well.

In Summary

One key thing to remember is that broken link building is an SEO strategy that positively affects all involved. Sending out pitches may feel invasive at first, but it’s important to remember that websites don’t want to have broken links on their pages, so you’re doing them a favor when you let them know that they have one or more of them. That’s a great way to introduce yourself and makes it more likely that they’ll appreciate your offer of replacement content. Finding broken links used to be very challenging, especially on bigger websites. However, the surge in automated broken link checkers has changed the game entirely, allowing anyone in business to capitalize on this useful SEO technique. That means making use of the best automation tools is more vital than ever. They can save you time and money when used correctly.