How to Mine Competitors’ Broken Pages to Build Backlinks
How to Mine Competitors’ Broken Pages to Build Backlinks

A proper search engine optimization strategy requires focus on a number of aspects. Backlinks is one of them. Building links is not easy. However, if you are willing to spare a few minutes every day, you can successfully build some links but with a twist. The trick involves using your competitors’ broken pages to set up backlinks. 

What you are going to need

  • Time
  • Patience
  • Competitors’ 404 pages that are linked to by external sources
  • A few handy tools

The Handiest Tool

Screaming Frog SEO Spider – A free software that will crawl your competitors’ websites, analyze the website elements and list down the 404 pages. 

Here’s how you do it.

Step 1: Install Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Step 2: Enter your competitor’s domain in the field beside “Enter url to spider”, and hit Start

Step 3: Once the crawling is done, move to the ‘Response Codes’ tab

Step 4: Access the ‘Filter’ dropdown list

Step 5: Select the ‘4xx’ filter option

You are done. What you will get next will be a list of dead pages (with broken links). 

Another Method

This technique involves using footprints instead of a software and the ‘Check My Links’ plugin. Footprints in Google are a combination of search operators and keywords used to get desired results. 

Before you begin, install ‘Check My Links’ plugin for your Google Chrome browser.

You can use footprints in the Google search bar. Here’s the format.

“Keyword” + inurl:links

“Keyword” + inurl:resources

The keyword should be inside double quotes (“”).

For example, if your keyword is "Software Development", it goes like this.

“Software Development” + inurl:links

Many webpages will be shown in the results page. Click on ‘Check My Links’ plugin to analyze the results. You will now get a lot of broken links in the result. Create a list with the required broken links, and you will be ready to approach the webmasters.

Approaching the webmasters for links

Now that you have a list of webpages with broken links (404), you have to convince the webmasters to replace the broken links with your URL. 

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

1)  You should present yourself as an owner of a business in the industry (software development in this case) or as a fan of their website suggesting to remove the broken links.

2) Inform them that the websites they linked to are no longer available, and offer them your website as a replacement resource. Also tell them how it benefits them to add your website.

3) Let the webmaster know why they should remove broken links

4)  Your email to the webmaster requesting links should be simple and to the point. Don’t make it so that the reader will know that you are doing this selfishly for SEO. Let the webmasters know that this is beneficial for them as well.

Even if you do all these things, it will ultimately depend on the webmasters to make the choice of replacing those broken links with your website. But you do have a fighting chance.