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How to use broken link building & content marketing to attract links

Written by Digital Impact Solutions on September 18, 2015
I stumbled across this method completely by accident but it really does work a charm. If you are in the education, science, health, training, research or coaching profession, then this is tactic will probably be something you want to invest in.

I call it my broken link building reverse content strategy or BLBRC for short. Basically what you are going to do is look for sites that have a favourite links or reference page, find some links that no longer work and then email them highlighting the offending sites and offer amazing content tailored to them.

What Is Broken Link Building

Broken link building is the art of finding useful resource or favourite link sections of a third party site that is relevant to your niche and then seeing if any of the sites mentioned no longer work. A lot of these suggested sites or resources have been around for a while and the keeping the list up to date can be quite the task for the webmaster. You basically find the broken links and let the site owner know that they have links that no longer work and offer your site as an alternative.


Finding Sites

The first part of this strategy involves finding the sites that you want a link from. There are a number of ways you can do this. You can go to Google and type any of the following in the search bar.


  • keyword "resources"
  • keyword "suggested sites"
  • keyword "links"
  • keyword  intitle:links
  • keyword  intitle:resources
  • keyword  intitle:recommended sites
  • site:.gov keyword  "resources"
  • site:.edu keyword  "links"
  • site:.co.uk keyword  "suggested sites"

Citation Labs

Another way to find them is to use specialised software that will find these kind of links for you. One of my favourite is by Citation Labs http://www.brokenlinkbuilding.com/ This tool seems expensive at $67 a month but the kind of authority domains you can find is well worth the investment. You basically add keywords for instance “business training, “business development”, “business coaching” and it will find sites that list resource or link pages.

Competitor Analysis

Another way is to use tools to reverse engineer what your competitors are up to. Again this is more fruitful for the niches above. Sites we recommend are:-

By entering your competitors URL you can find out exactly where they are getting their links from and approach the same sites. The above have free and paid options but you will only get a selection of the competitor’s links with the free version.

Filtering The Sites

So you should now have a list of sites as broken link building targets and you need to go through these and asses which will make best targets to contact as all links are not equal
  • Edu/Gov domains usually have the highest authority (but can be the most challenging to get links back from)
  • High Google Page Rank (Although bear in mind this hasn’t been updated for a while)
  • Use Browsers addon’s for Chrome/Firefox such as https://moz.com/tools/seo-toolbar to find the domain authority (DA) of the site. Anything above 25 should be a strong candidate
  • Avoid pages that you wouldn’t want a link from if Google didn’t exist

Finding Broken Links

Now we have a list of potential candidates we want to contact we now want to find out exactly which links on the third party site no longer work. A fast way to find broken links on a site is through a Google Chrome plugin called Check My Links. Basically go to a page where you want to check the links on and click the button in the top right corner and it once it has finished it will highlight all the broken links on the page in red.

Now here’s the clever part. Let’s say I provide business development and I write authoritative content on a wide range of business topics such as planning, strategic development, presentations, networking etc. My research brings up this page:-

This has a Domain Authority of 69!!! And it’s a university site brilliant!! Okay let’s see if they have any broken links

There’s one!! Excellent!! Okay so this is about Risk Management let’s see if I have any content to propose as a replacement. This one looks good http://inspire2aspire.co.uk/blog/dealing-with-an-uncertain-future-the-role-of-business-planning

Okay time to contact the site owner with a process called outreach (basically emailing them and making contact)

Brilliant they are already warm to the idea of linking to content. So as Blue Peter used to say, “here is one I prepared earlier”. I emailed the site owner with some links that were no longer working

As you can see I introduced who I was, the company I was working for, the offending links, offered our site as an alternative with relevant content they may like. Just a few ground rules for outreach emails:-
  • Don’t just template this and put “Dear Sir” or “Dear Website Owner” look around the site and find the contact details.
  • Always Introduce yourself and the company you are working for
  • Always mention the page you want a link from
  • Always link to the article direct
  • Sign it off with your name.
  • Don’t email via a gmail address use your company or domain email address wherever possible
I recommend using buzzstream for contacting sites. It will find contact details and social media profiles for any sites you enter. Tell you the page rank and domain authority and track  all conversations and mentions with the site.

Here is the email I got back

Don’t be put off if you don’t get a reply straight away. You may have to contact a few sites before you get a response and those that didn’t respond just make sure you follow up in a week or two. Also if they do link back make sure you say thanks.

If you don’t have any relevant content on the page but you definitely see the page as a great authority, why not consider writing a blog post on the topic and then use the method above to get them to link back to it!

Let me know how you get on using the comment section below.

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