Editor’s note: the following is a guest post contributed by Anastasios Koutsogiannis, marketing coordinator for GenieBelt, a construction management software start-up based in Denmark.
Outreach is a critical part of marketing. But with so many people doing it, how do you rise above the noise to get any attention? The answer lies in a form of networking known as deadlink outreach.
By nature, this form of outreach focuses on providing demonstrated value upfront to those with whom you wish to connect. Consequently, you can expect a higher success rate using deadlink outreach as opposed to other link building methods.
In addition to developing mutually beneficial relationships with key influencers in your industry, deadlink outreach can provide significant SEO benefits from the creation of additional high-value backlinks to your site.
What Deadlink Outreach Is
Deadlinks are broken links which for some reason are unable to transfer you to the URL’s initial destination. To the contrary, a 404 error page appears. It goes without saying, that 404s make your site look bad, even abandoned in some cases. It is calculated that 2.4% of the total links of every website are broken. This may sound like a small percentage, but it’s not.
Keep in mind that everyone wants to know whether there are deadlinks on their site. So naturally, they would be thankful to someone who not only points out those broken links but offers a solution for them. Sometimes a simple 301 redirect may be enough. However, there are many instances where this is not possible.
In such cases, deadlink outreach can offer great value both to the owner of the website and to you who would like to get a backlink from this domain. That, in a nutshell, is what deadlink outreach is all about. It’s a smart and helpful way to get the websites that you want to connect to your page. Even if when direct link substitution isn’t possible, deadlink outreach can be a great method to reach to someone’s “door-step” and initiate a partnership (eg. blogger exchange).
The Benefits of Deadlink Outreach
Now that we have made a bit more clear what deadlink outreach is, it would be useful to list some of its main advantages. In short, we could sum the up to the following three:
Smooth Way For Networking
Deadlink outreach is a particular type of outreach due to its nature. To put it simply, it’s a technique of high value for both sides. You are doing the website owner a favor by pointing out to broken links on their domain. In return, you get some SEO value back through a new backlink.
Connect With The Top Influencers in Your Industry Easier
Working on deadlink outreach can significantly help you connect with top influencers in your industry. They are more apt to respond to someone informing them about the broken links on their site. This, in turn, sets you up for potential collaboration in the future.
Direct Hit to Your Competitors
Another important benefit relates to your competitors. After having found those cool websites from which you want to get links, it’s time to take your game to the next level by targeting broken links of your competitors. In other words, suggest to the website hosting the broken backlink of your competitor to substitute it with one of yours. You get a new backlink to your website while you’re competitor loses one. Pretty good deal I would say!
Deadlink Outreach: How to Do It
Deadlink outreach can quickly get you a number of links if done right, as this broken link building case study shows. What does “right” mean, though? Let’s take a closer look and see:
Choosing Your Targets
The first and probably most fundamental step of this process has to do with finding the right and most beneficial targets. Let’s say that you have a blog about construction. In that case, you want to find the top blogs/influencers of your industry and establish a connection with them. The simplest way to do that is to start by a thorough Google search. Start by typing “Top 50 Blogs In Construction” (or something similar) and you’ll have more than enough leads.
Another tool that can help during the research process is BuzzStream. Simply by making use of the “Discovery” option and by clicking the right keywords you end up with an exhaustive list of influencers of your industry.
Searching for the Deadlinks
As soon as you find the websites that you would like to connect with, it’s time to start your broken links quest. There are many tools that can help; here are three:
Deadlink Checker simple yet useful tool for finding broken links. Just add the URL of the site you want to search for and press check.
When the checking process is completed, a detailed report with the problematic URLs will appear.
Another solid tool for finding broken links is BrokenLinkCheck.com. Similarly to Deadlink Checker, you add the URL of the site you want to investigate and wait for the results.
Check My Links is a great browser extension that helps in detecting the broken links on a given page. Unlike the previous tools, it can’t scan the whole site at once. However, it’s a very useful tool when used in combination with one of the two mentioned above. Simply click the extension button and a table like the one below will appear as soon as the scanning session is completed.
Start the Outreach
Now that you’ve found some broken links, it’s time to reach out to these sites so you can achieve your ultimate goal. There are three main ways in which you could do that:
1. Ask for a direct link substitution
That’s the ideal scenario! You have made your detailed deadlink outreach research and you have encountered some broken links in the site of your interest. If those broken links are related to a topic that you have already written something about, then all you have to do is ask for a link substitution. In that way, you can get great value with almost no effort.
2. Ask for them adding a link to your site
But what happens when those broken links aren’t related to a topic you’ve covered on your blog? In such cases, you can point out the broken links and ask them to link to your blog in return. There is a good chance they will be open to your request, given that you just helped them locate some broken links in their website.
3. Ask for a blogger exchange
Instead of asking for a link to your blog, there is another option. Ask for a blogger exchange and potentially build a long-lasting content partnership with that website. Of course, there always is the option of combining a blogger exchange with one of the above choices.
Deadlink Outreach Template
One of the most challenging parts of this endeavor is creating an email that will get read and acted upon. This is frequently harder than it sounds. There’s a good chance you won’t get a reply if you don’t choose your words wisely. Below are two tactics to try:
Reveal the Broken Links Upfront
The first and more direct approach when writing your email is to reveal from the beginning the broken links that you found. That way you immediately offer them a good overview of why you are contacting those people. This can be appreciated in some cases. Here’s an example of how your email could look like:
I was wondering around your blog and stumbled upon this page:
It was truly a page of great value! However, I found a couple of broken links on the page:
List of broken links
If you go ahead and update the links, it would mean a lot if you would be open to link to our blog post about…Your readers might find it valuable. Please find below a link to our post:
Link to the suggested post
Let me also know if you are interested in a blogger exchange.
Pro tip: Even if you have found many broken links on the site that you are contacting, never reveal more than four or five. Any more than that and they’ll feel overwhelmed and uninclined to take action.
Use an “Ice-Breaker”
Getting a response isn’t always easy. That’s why you have to be a bit more creative from time to time. For instance, you could start your connection with the targeted site with the use of a one-sentence opening line:
“I would like to report a few broken links found on your website. Is this the right place to do it?”
In that manner, you capture their attention from the beginning and you are increasing your chances of getting an answer. As long as they respond to your first email, it’s more probable that they will engage in a good dialogue with you.
Deadlink outreach can be a very efficient growth hack as long as you are ready to work hard and try different techniques. There are no specific steps to success, just suggestions based on personal experience and countless outreach attempts. Feel free to put together your own deadlink outreach strategy and make sure to let us know about it!