How to Use Article Directories for Broken Link Building

When I first started working in SEO in 2010, one of my main jobs was submitting 4 or 5 articles a day to these spammy article directories. It was tedious, but there was a reason for doing it – it worked.

link building

A lot has changed in seven years, including the fact that now, no decent link builder would touch these sites with a bargepole.

Rightly so. Entire SEO strategies used to rely on writing boring articles and fitting a couple of links with exact match anchor text at the bottom.

Being able to build a link that anyone can sign in and create shouldn’t be included in any link building campaign.

When Penguin hit for the first time in 2012, thousands of companies were penalized for having a high frequency of exact match anchor text, which included a great deal of links from article directories.

Because of Penguin, a lot of these links were cleaned up by SEOs, but some weren’t

There are millions of articles on these directories that are still there.

This is a potential goldmine for link builders.

Before I go through the steps of this method, I’ll explain a little bit about broken link building.

Broken link building is the method of finding links on the internet that no longer work. This could be down to a number of factors. For more detail on the method, check out this excellent post from WebMeUp that pretty much covers all bases.

broken link building
broken link building

This is where the old article directories can help you find some opportunities you might not find anywhere else.

Although you can always find links to pages that have been deleted, finding entire domains that no longer exist is potentially more rewarding.

Follow these simple steps, and you could find some great link opportunities.

1. Find articles in your niche

First of all, you need to run a Google search within the article directories to find articles about your specific niche.

Because Ezine Articles was far and away from the most popular directory at the time, I run a site search there first. I then enter one of my main keywords in there. For example, I’ll use the link building.

“site:ezinearticles.com” “keyword”

“site:ezinearticles.com” “keyword blog”

I also limit the search to results before 2012. You can choose earlier if you like, but I’ve had more success with the much older articles.

2. Open the articles and click on the links

Not every single article you open is going to be in your niche, so open each result up and quickly scan the content to see if it’s related to what you do. Once you’ve found a few in your niche, click the link.

3. Add broken links to the spreadsheet

It can take a hell of a lot of articles to find a broken link, but be persistent. There are potentially thousands of articles in your niche – some of them are bound to link to non-existent pages.

Check each link to see whether it’s a page or the entire domain that is no longer there.

4. Run all domains through a backlink checking tool

I would strongly recommend AHREFS, but there are a number of other link checking tools that also work. Export all these files and merge them together, so you’ve got a (hopefully) long list of link prospects for you now to target.

Visit each linking page in the list and mark what kind of links they were. You don’t want crummy directory links – you want to aim for the guest posts and editorial links.

ahrefs broken link building tool
ahrefs tool

Hopefully, you find a piece of content with a number of high-quality links that you can now steal.

If you want ahrefs tool in cheap price you can check this site.

5. Use Archive.org to find the old page content

This does not work all the time, but if the domain had a healthy link profile, there’s a chance that you can find out exactly what was on the page being linked to.

Just go to Archive.org and enter the exact URL of the linked-to content.

web archive
web archive

6. Re-create, or better, the content

Because this old page no longer exists on the internet, many SEOs just copy the content word for word and then ask the original linking site to change the link URL.

Although it works – you will get a much better response if you try to make the content better. For more of an explanation on this, take a look at the link building God Brian Dean’s Skyscraper technique.

7. Outreach

The final step is to contact the site owners and ask them to link to you instead. You can find some excellent examples of the Art of Emails on how to outreach for broken links.

outreach
outreach

8. Sit back and wait for the links to come in

Hopefully, your content and approach were so awesome that it wouldn’t be a long wait!

Thanks for reading. Please share if you like what you’ve read or leave a comment if you have any feedback.

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