Over the last eight years that I have been doing link building and SEO, the game has changed considerably.
When completing link building in today’s market, you need to think of ways in which you can scale the process effectively and in a “Google-safe” manner.
Over the last 12 months my team has been doing a large amount of broken link building. The thing about broken link building is there are plenty of tools on the market, and they take a long time to run. The links they push out are usually not the best, and many of these tools are pay per use.
One tactic I decided to take on was looking at niche-specific dropped domains that develop into sitewide dead links. If one whole site is taken down, you may have from 50 up to thousands of root-level 404 links and dead pages. That being said, usually the higher the quality of the site, the faster spammers will pick up the domain.
In this post, I’ll be sharing a process we’ve been using with good results. The best thing about this method is that every day around the world there are dropped domain sales that number in the thousands.
Step 1: Selecting the Drop Catcher Site for Analysis
You usually need to sign up for the dropped domain auction sites and tools, with some even requiring you to pay a fee. I have found the better sites usually have membership fees.
A few example sites include:
- PR power shot expired domain auctions
- Drop Day expired domain auctions
- Go Daddy expired domain auctions
- Name Cheap expired domain auctions
Many more are market-specific to the UK or Australia. You really need to do research to find the best drop catcher for your market and test different methods.
Step 2: URL Analysis Phase Using Third-Party Tools or API
Some suppliers have APIs connected with majestic and OSE (Open Site Explorer), and even if they don’t have one connected you can set the system up yourself and download the daily lists to CSV. You should look at the top authoritative expired domains every day and even look at mid-tier domains. Personally I like to run my expired domain links using Open Site explorer’s API, looking at PA/DA on the domains.
Each day, have a team member spend 30 minutes to select any niche-specific dropped domains that relate to your client. For example, you may have a client in the travel space or education space, so make sure the team member picks up all the domains that relate to that niche that have a decent backlink count. Now make lists of these domains based on the level of authority/niche.
Here is a small sample of the type of thing you can end up with, from automation of a domain drop list based on niche domains. The key element we look for is the number in the “Links in” column.
Step 3: Waiting Period Before Approaching Sites
To be ethical, my advice is to wait a month after the domain has expired. If the new domain owner is a domain trader they will usually put a parked page on the domain, or they will 404 it.
If an affiliate marketer or black hat picks the domain up, they will quickly build a site on the domain to capture PR. Personally, I would not contact sites that have built a website on the site. We only contact sites that are still dead after 30 days. You can scrape your list of URLs using Scrape Box for example to check if they are still 404ed.
Step 4: Looking at the Domains Individually
Next step is to handpick the best links from this list. Usually try and go after higher quality .com/.edu/.gov links, which hold page authority above 30+.
Step 5: Sending Emails to Website Owners
The next process is to send emails to the sites where broken links are been held. You always need to inspect the page if the links out on the page are only .edu and .gov links, and you try to ask for .com placement on the page. In that case, the chances in acquiring a link will be low.
To devise an effective email to target the higher quality links, we usually test numerous methods of emailing. An example below is one format that has worked in the past. In other cases it may not work, so you really need to test.
The email above to a .edu site yielded in 2 x PR5 .edu links back to my clients site.
That being said, for every time the system works it will usually fail with a reply like this from a .gov website, it is usually quite hard to acquire .gov links in today’s market. I remember a few years ago it was easier to acquire .gov links.
Overall you have noticed the methods you can use and some of the process. The best thing about this process is that it is broken link building at its most effective—if you set up everything in the right way it can be a very effective strategy to acquire high-quality, niche-specific links.
Broken link building can help you acquire high-quality, niche-specific links. [tweet this]
This tip, and 19 more, can be downloaded in one PDF.