Frank Olivo

Frank Olivo is the founder of Sagapixel. He writes on a number of topics related to digital marketing, but focuses mostly on SEO.

Broken Link Building Techniques That Don’t Take Hours

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In this video, I’m going to share the techniques that we use at Sagapixel to find broken link building opportunities in less than 15 minutes.

Ahrefs Content Explorer and Pitchbox Really Cut Down on the Time Needed

So the biggest criticism that you’ll hear from SEOs about broken link building is that it takes too long. There really are two time-consuming parts of it: first, finding the opportunity in the first place, and then second, doing the outreach.

But there are tools out there that will really cut down on the time required to execute one of these campaigns. And in this video, I’m going to show you how to do this by using Ahrefs Content Explorer and Pitchbox.

Don’t Start Randomly Searching Websites for 404 Pages in Ahrefs or SEMrush

So to start, the big mistake that people make when they’re doing broken link building is that they’ll go into Ahrefs Site Explorer and they’ll just start randomly entering websites and checking for broken links on that website.

That is a slow process.

Ahrefs’ Content Explorer Has a Filter for 404 Responses

Ahrefs’ Content Explorer actually has much better features for it, so let’s take a look at it.

So the first thing we’re going to do is go over to Content Explorer, and we need to find some sort of seed keyword for this. And I don’t want you to get too specific about it when you enter it. In this case, I’m just going to throw in the word marketing and I want it in title.

So 12 million results. We’re going to need to cut down on that.

First, Ahrefs has the option to only look at broken pages here. So we’re going to check that off. T

he other thing that we’re going to do is exclude home pages. If an entire website went down, the homepage is probably not going to be a great opportunity for a broken link building campaign.

Don’t Do Broken Link Building Campaigns Around 404 Pages with <100 Referring Domains

Another thing that we want to do is add some filters here. I can tell you that a typical win rate for one of these campaigns is, on the low end, around 3%, and on the high end, probably 15%. So the truth is, we don’t want to spend a lot of time on articles that don’t have a lot of opportunities we can reach out to.

We usually filter out anything less than 100 referring domains. Sometimes maybe, if you want to expand this out a little bit, if there aren’t any opportunities at all, maybe I’ll go down to 75, but it’s usually 100 is the number because that’s going to guarantee us at least two or three links.

So first, we’re going to go over here, add the filter referring domains. I want at least 100.

Check the Types of Backlinks the Website Already Has

Now, you’re also going to find that you’re going to get a lot of spam in here. So if I were to filter this by referring domains, we’re going to see that pretty much all the ones that say … that are in the 700s and so forth, these are usually going to be spammy.

Another thing, I’m only interested in English. So I’m going to go over here, I’m going to add a high end too, just to cut down on the time required, and anything with over 300, we’re not even going to look at.

Now, I’m not going to sit here for the next 10 minutes and have you watch me go through all these, but I’m going to go through and start the recording back up when I find the opportunity and tell you how long, more or less it took to find it.

So about 20 seconds, I found this, “Four Ways how Inbound Marketing Works for Your App.”

Okay. That might be an opportunity. So let’s see. I’m going to click on it.

I’m going to look at the anchors. This looks a little spammy. I don’t think that this is really an opportunity. I’m not reaching out to or whatever this is here.

Here’s another one that I’ve found, Basics of Internet Marketing. And I look at the anchor and backlinks and it looks like a bunch of garbage. I’m about a minute and a half in. I found another one, all Blogspot links, not interested in those.

Okay, I’m about like three or four minutes in, and I already found a maybe. We don’t really do anything with email marketing at Sagapixel, so this may not be the most attractive article. I also notice that it’s on, and very often, when you have highly authoritative websites like this, it can be a little difficult to get the link. So I think I’m going to pass on it. But if we did email marketing, this would be a maybe.

One thing that you always do want to check as well as make sure that indeed it is a 404, which in this case it is. But regardless, I think I’m going to pass on this one.

I Found an Opportunity that Might Earn More Links Over time

So in this page I found an opportunity that looks interesting. First, I’m noticing that they have this 211 million statistic. This is how much online content is created every minute.

I’ve found the statistics tend to do a good job of passively accumulating links over time. So I think that if we were to reproduce something along these lines, that not only could we do outreach and be more likely to earn the links, but as the content is up on the website, I think it’s a lot more likely to passively accumulate additional links over time.

But I want to just make sure, is this a bunch of like spammy crap? All right.

So out of the gate, I’m seeing there’s some really good links here, Microsoft Medium, Entrepreneur. Not that these websites are going to swap out the links. They’re not. But what I think it does underline is the kind of links that could passively accumulate over time.

So really, everybody’s linking to it because of this 211 million and 1400 new blog articles a day thing. So I think that we have a winner here, although let’s take a look at the backlinks and then let’s also make sure that indeed this article is dead. Article’s dead. The page has … It has a decent amount of opportunities we could do outreach to. This doesn’t look like a bunch of spam, for example, a lot of the time like Blogspots and whatnot.

Now We Need to Write It

So right now I’m about 15 minutes in and I’ve found a good opportunity.

The next step is really to get a piece of content up that is similar to this, or at least that covers the same stuff. I mean, I can go over here, click right here and see what it used to look like when it was live.

It would probably make sense to update this because I bet that the number is a lot higher than 211 million now that it’s 2021. And that will be also an angle for the outreach, all these websites that are linking to this article.

So the next step is, get this thing produced.

Pitchbox Really Speeds Up Outreach

Once the article is rewritten, up on our website, then we’re going to have to go ahead and do the outreach. So for that, we’re going to be firing up Pitchbox. Okay. So I am in Pitchbox.

We’re going to go down to this CSV Import and I’m going to import the backlinks that I’m about to download from Ahrefs. So I’m going to go back over here. We’re going to export this entire list. Full export. 48 rows. So while that’s downloading, I’m going to fire up this campaign.

I have Pitchbox open. I’m going to go over to the CSV import. And then we’re going to import the file. The important thing right here to check off is this referring page URL. That’s where the link actually is living. So we’re going to set the as website. Next.

All right. So it is going to go find all of the relevant contacts that it can find. And of the opportunities we had, it was able to find contacts for 36 of them.

This isn’t likely to be a shoe-in for accumulating a ton of links. It may actually even not accumulate any. But the content topic is good. I think that over time, it could potentially accumulate links passively. It does align with the kind of content that we put on our blog. So I’m okay with this.

Even if we just earn two or three links to it, I think this will be a fruitful campaign. It will not have taken a ton of our time, aside from a couple of hours to write the article and a little bit of time from our VA to go through all the contacts that Pitchbox has found and see which ones are the most likely to be the valid ones, as well as just handling the emails as they come in and out.

I hope this was helpful. I hope that you give this a shot. If you’re an Ahrefs subscriber, use Content Explorer to see what kind of opportunities you can uncover for your broken link building and realize that broken link building doesn’t have to be a tedious, 14-hour process.


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