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I finally got around to making a commitment; from now on I will publish link building tips. Basically it will be a post explaining one single aspect of link building in detail. To tell you the truth this was inspired by Rand Fiskin’s Headsmacking Tips on SEOmoz blog. For some posts I will obviously have to go in great detail, some will be smaller, some will be quite extensive. Let’s start with the basics, and yes, if you want a certain part of link building covered send me an email and I’ll get to it very soon.
Broken Links on Your Website
So back to the topic at hand, no one likes to follow a link and see a page like the one above, no matter how good it looks! So we need to find broken links on our website and on our competitor websites to scale our link building campaign. There are many ways to find broken links, many tools that can help you with that. For your own website you shouldn’t move any further then your webmaster tools. If you go to the Diagnostics – Crawl Errors – Not Found you will see a list of 404 pages and the pages that link to them.
From this step you can see what is wrong with your pages, you can make them active again if there is a great number of links pointing to those pages or you can just correct those links to point to the right pages. Of course that is if we are talking about your internal links, if these are external links you will probably be better of activating that URL, or you can always contact the webmaster and ask them to change the links to point to the new page where your content can be found. And if you simply want to get rid of the broken pages with no links you can do so by going to Remove URL page in Webmaster Tools.
What if your broken links point to external domains? Well, you can use various available WordpPress plugins if you use WordPress, one of which is SEO Ultimate. If you want to check a regular website you can use Xenu Link Sleuth or other broken link tools.
Broken Links on Competitor Website
Next stop checking for broken links pointing to your competitors. This is easy, all you need to do is scan the competitor backlink profile and look for 404 pages, I use Open Site Explorer for that, if you want full functions and all the data available you will have to buy SEOmoz Pro package, but if you are serious about your SEO and link building this shouldn’t be an issue.
After you finish scanning the links you can export the list to a CSV file and extract only links with 404 errors. You can than run a backlink check with open Site Explorer or Yahoo Site Explorer to see if there are any websites linking to those broken pages, simple as that. After you compile a list of websites and pages that have broken links all you need to do is contact those webmasters and point out that they have a broken link on their site and somewhere in between mention you have similar content they might want to link to instead.
If you find broken links of your competitors that link to dead websites, expired domains you can do some dirty work and buy the domain name and get your competitor links. After that all you need to do is 301 redirect the domain you bought to your pages and you have yourself some nice link juice flowing directly from your competition. Nice trick!
Bottom line, once a month check for broken links and pages on your website, and always look for competitor mistakes when link building. These are some of the easiest link building opportunities you can find when talking about quality links.