What does web site linking mean for your business? Do you allow links with a few select sites which may benefit your business or were you seduced by promises of hundreds of thousands of links, most of which turned out to be with useless link farms?
Of course, if you already use WebSearch SEO for your link building campaigns then you are benefiting from good quality links which are compliant with Google guidelines. And let’s take time out here to dispel a myth. Following the Penguin and Panda updates early in 2012 a number of web sites with multi-links sank without trace. The rumour went round that the search engines no longer liked web site links. That is not true. The search engines still love links, but they are looking for links which are relevant and helpful.
So how do you go about persuading another web site to link to you? One way is through a technique called broken link building.
What is broken link building?
“You don’t get owt for nowt” goes the saying and it is particularly true in business. Website owners need to have a reason to agree to link their sites to yours and a simple e-mail along the lines of “I really like your site, can we link” is in most cases heading straight for the delete button.
To stop this happening you take the first step towards building a relationship between your two businesses by identifying a link on the other site which is no longer working. Web-masters are busy people and a helpful e-mail pointing out that x link is broken saves them time as well as improving their site’s standing in the eyes of the search engines. All you need to do then is suggest a link to your own site as a replacement and you have not only identified a problem but also provided the solution.
How often do links fail?
But surely, you might say, links don’t break that often. Well actually they do. Recent studies have shown that up to 30% of links decay over a three year period. There is nothing sinister about this. Link rot occurs quite naturally as old blog posts are removed, pages revamped and businesses evolve. When organisations change their website they are doing it for the benefit of their business and of their clients. The last thing they are concerned about is the effect that the change may have on websites which have linked to them. So, link rot occurs and this creates opportunities for everyone else.
How to find broken links
The golden rule of broken, or any other type of, link building is to only look at sites which are relevant to your business. Pick a few key words and run a Google search.
Once you have identified a likely prospect then get checking for broken links. There are a number of link checkers available including Open Site Explorer, a check my links chrome extension and Xenu Link Sleuth.
Suggesting broken link replacements
Now you’ve identified the broken link all you need to do is fire off the e-mail to the web editor. Make sure that your suggested replacement link is relevant to the site though. If you already have directly relevant content, that’s great. If not you might want to view the original content and cerate something similar. Web archivists are constantly working to take snapshots of sites so using something like the Way Back Machine at the Internet Archive might bring you access to the original page.
Broken link building is not a quick process but it is surprisingly successful. Identifying a problem and providing the solution at the same time is a tempting prospect and who knows, it may lead to a whole new business relationship.