It is common knowledge that the building of backlinks can be considered one of the most important factors in a digital marketing- or SEO campaign that you can call successful. There is an untapped resource just waiting to be used in your link building endeavors. You simply locate a competitor’s broken pages that have already been linked to by sources outside of their site. Let me flesh it out for you. To find the ideal backlink could take a few hours and it may take days, weeks or even more time to acquire. This is where the method for link building we are dealing with here comes into play. This method can be used regularly to build backlinks of some relevance from 404 pages of one’s competitors. So, are you ready for this? We will be walking you through the complete process for building links in this manner below.
As a first point of action you will need to establish who your competitors are. This is simple to do because you just search the keywords that you are targeting via Google then you select the websites that appear on the top of SERPs, above you. You will compile a list of these after which you will create a spreadsheet where you can enter each of these competitors. You need to include the date that you listed them as well as their position on the rankings. You also need to download the freemium tool called Screaming Frog SEO Spider. It will allow you to crawl the websites of your competitors and in doing this you will find their 404 pages. The way that this is done is by entering the URLs of your competitors into the search bar one by one.
After you have completed this step, click on Response Codes. Now click on the arrow next to Filter. Once the dropdown appears pick Client Error 4xx.You will now have all of the 404 pages that the brand has. Next simply click on the export button and all of the 404 pages will be exported into a file. This file can now easily be imported into Google Docs or Excel sheets. When you have done this you need to create new tabs called Trust Flow, Citation flow, Referring Domains as well as External Backlinks.
Once all of the 404 pages have been imported you will need to dissect all of the external links and images if you see any. A fast way of achieving this is to highlight a cell block with a click on the upper cell. Under the data tab you have to click filter. Seek out the dropdown arrow located on the first cell of the particular block. When you click on the drop-down arrow you will see Filter by values where the options for two links will appear, Clear and Select All. You will now click on clear. All preset options are now cleared. Enter your competitor’s website URL into the search box and press Select All. All of the external links will now be filtered out and you be left with only the 404 pages. Look over the entire list and highlight all of the pages that you are capable of rewriting.
You now have all the relevant 404 pages neatly in one place and you will need to run them through Majestic which is a paid tool or alternatively Open Site Explorer or OSE by Moz which is a freemium tool. This will give you the ability to see which of the 404 pages have external links which is what this entire exercise is about. Add all of the information you got from your chosen tool to your spreadsheet. In both of these tools you’ll find a part that says Request a CSV which you will use for the backlink data. You can choose to either import this data into a new tab on your existing spreadsheet or you could create an entirely new spreadsheet.
Locate backlinks that could be relevant to you that links to your competitor’s website. If you have located the relevant websites you can decide to highlight them or simply remove those that are not on your spreadsheet. Please keep in mind that running each of the websites that you potentially will be contacting through Moz or Majestic to determine their domain authority or DA, trust flow, and citation flow is not the worst thing you can do. You will be targeting the highest DA but as a matter of opinion, a site that has relevance to your niche and will give your visitors info that they can use may very well be worth targeting.
At this point you have link opportunities and 404s in your hands. Now you need to shift your focus to the creation of content that will be relevant to those brands that you are aiming to earn links from. Search for the contact info of a person at the brand you require a link from. This can usually easily be found on the website but if it isn’t, tools like Email Hunter and VoilaNorbert can be used to get the needed information. When you have the details, send them an email that resembles this one:
Good day (name),
I am (own name) and I am responsible for (role of your job, for instance marketing) at (company’s name or its website). I have recently found your blog post titled (title of the post) but when I clicked on a link found in the post I reached a 404 page. You know, without a doubt, that this doesn’t make for the best user experience which brings me to the reason for this email. We have published an article that dealt with the same subject as the broken link from your website in depth: (your post title).
Feel free to follow this link to take a look at it: (your article’s URL). I wanted to see if you wouldn’t be interested in linking to our piece instead of the one you now link to that leads to a 404 page due to the fact that it would make for an improved user experience. We plan on updating our article to keep up to date with the newest info according to the evolution of the industry and ensure that visitors are kept up to date too.
Thanks for taking the time to read my email. I am looking forward to our next contact.
Remember that this email is just an example and you need to edit it to fit in with how you would do things. As a closing tip, you need to keep detailed notes of all the conversations you may have with people while reaching out and when you connect, follow up with those individuals. Hopefully this little trick assists in your SEO efforts from here on out as it did for us in gaining links. Additionally it has added a lot of ideas for great content on a regular and continuous basis.