The ‘Wayback Machine’
So how on earth do you find out what the original content looked like?
If it no longer exists what chance do you have of emulating it in a familiar, yet new and unique form on your site?
Ready to have your mind blown?
Visit something called the ‘Wayback Machine’ at https://archive.org/web. This thing is like the CIA archives of the Internet.
Here we can enter the broken link to see exactly what the non-existent page used to look like. If it’s something we can recreate on our website fairly easily then we’re in business.
Once you’ve resurrected the content, this is an example of the email you might then send…
Subject: Annoying Broken Link on Your ‘SEO Tactics’ Page…
Hope you’re well.
I also operate in the SEO industry, and I come to your blog regularly to keep myself updated in the latest SEO news and tactics.
I was reading your ‘SEO tactics’ post, and when I went to click on a link to the ‘101 SEO tips’ infographic, it went to a 404 error!
Thought I better let you know before it’s flagged up in your Google search console!
I created a very similar infographic a few weeks back you can find here – https://www.mysite.com/blog/seo-tips-for-business – if you wanted to update your link with a working resource?
Anyway, keep up the good work.
P.S I’ve given your post a quick shout out on Twitter as I thought it was great!
At this point you may be wondering ‘what if they don’t take the bait? That was a hell of a lot of work for just one link?’
Fear not, because here’s the good bit. If you enter the broken link’s URL into Majestic, it’ll reveal every website on the Internet linking to that same broken bit of content – all of whom don’t have a clue it’s no longer working.
How to Automate the Broken Link method
If you want to automate finding broken links across the web based on commercial keywords, our agency uses www.brokenlinkbuilding.com.
It’s quite pricey so if you’re just starting out, I’d try finding broken links manually first. Once you’ve built up confidence in the method, this software will let you go ‘pro’.
To start with you can find the broken links manually simply by choosing websites in your industry you’d like to get a link from, then running their site through brokenlinkcheck.com.
You can subscribe to my mailing list to have access to the video where I explain the broken link method of acquiring links in detail.
Help A Reporter Out (HARO)
News and media is big business. There are just under 1,500 daily newspapers in the US alone, and they’ve pretty much all got an online presence.
Add to this the huge amount of online media outlets and magazines in operation, and we can begin to get an idea of the demand for stories and articles.
Journalists are therefore desperate for good sources of information and content they can include in their online articles to make their content appear more thoroughly researched.
They’re always on the hunt for experts in various fields to provide soundbites, snippets and insider advice.
These sites form the middleman between writers, who want quality information on an article topic, and experts in the topic field who can provide insight.
Journalists and reporters from various online publications will pitch a query to HARO’s database. Anyone interested in being featured in that publication can then submit a response to that query.
The journalist is left with a list of responses from which they can choose one, or several, to include in their article. The successful contributors are usually referenced in the article with a link back to their website.
This represents a huge opportunity for us as we try to attract good quality, relevant links to our site.
Let’s say we run a real estate agency website. How would using HARO – my preferred portal – work in practice?
Well, firstly we sign up at www.helpareporter.com and fill out our biography, positioning ourselves as an expert within the property industry.
Everyday we’ll receive an email from HARO with all the latest journalist requests for soundbites and info surrounding our industry topic.
This is an example of a HARO opportunity that would be emailed to an active account:
Summary: Estate Agents! What are your predictions for the housing market this year?
Name: Bill Jones from HousingTimes.com
Category: Real Estate
Media Outlet: HousingTimes.com
Deadline: 5:00 PM PST – 27 April
Query: Estate agents, mortgage brokers or financial advisors – what are your predictions for the housing market for the rest of the year? Are we in a bubble? Will the government’s lack of supply of affordable homes support the ever-growing rise of national house prices?
An answer to the above questions in 100 words or less, a 1 or 2 sentence bio. Bonus points for Los Angeles or San Francisco/Bay Area residents.
If we think we can write a good response, we just need to do a quick due diligence check on Majestic.com first to make sure the publication is worth our time.
You may have noticed an ongoing trend with Majestic, but it really is our sentinel guard dog when it comes to sniffing the quality of a link opportunity.
Use Majestic to interrogate any website you want a link from
In this particular example of HARO, if we think a link from www.housingtimes.com is good enough, we can reply to Bill Jones’ query with our response to email@example.com.
Check us out! Contributing to society and getting a link for it!
It’s a great way of acquiring links from good quality sources around the Internet.
Better yet, the links coming to your site via HARO are usually contextual, meaning they’re located within the heart of the body of text within the journalist’s article.
However, before you get too excited, of course the downside is that you’re competing with other people to get featured, so the result can be a poor return on your time investment if you don’t put systems in place.
Without a carefully considered system, you’ll potentially be spending a lot of time writing, and not a lot of time getting links.