(Mostly) Automated Broken Backlink Prospecting

What you’ll need: A broken link that has many links to it. The more the better, though technically this will work at any scale. 

  1. Take your link, plug it into Ahrefs Site Explorer. Set it to “URL Only.” Navigate to Backlinks. 
  2. Filter by RecentLive, English (I assume), DoFollow
  3. Export to Excel
  4. Open up the CSV
  5. Filter by DR >= 20 (or other value, up to you)
  6. Copy and paste those results into a Google Sheet
  7. Delete columns so you just have Referring Page URL, Referring Page Title, and Link URL (the broken link URL)
  8. Add columns for Our Link, First Name, Last Name, Root Domain
  9. In Root Domain, paste this formula and extend it to all rows:
  10. Now download the page as a CSV, delete everything but the Referring Page URL, and create an MTurk task to find the First Name and Last Name for each article. I set the task at $.10 and got 400 done in about 30 minutes. You can also use URL profiler Content Analysis- Readability function which can extract author names before sending to url  to MTurk  
  11. Once you have the First Name and Last Name data, paste it into your Google sheet. Now you should have URL, Title, Broken Link, First Name, Last Name, and Root Domain. Add another column called Company.
  12. Add the Hunter.io Google Sheets add-on. Then use the Addon to populate all the emails. 
  13. Tada! You should have a ton of emails you can reach out to directly to get the broken link fixed to your link. 
  14. Want more? Take all the URLs that MTurk didn’t get First/Last names for and plug them into Hunter and look for Editorial or Info email addresses. Never hurts to try. 

Trying to figure out if PBNs are bad or not so bad?

PBNs work. But the best way is to build your own. As noted, the economics of it are increasingly difficult, but they do help with money keywords. I’m not doing any right now, but have within the past 1.5 years.
Consider this: $10 for expired domain, $12/yr. for cheap web host, plus you need to get up unique content, or do a website rebuild (cost $12).
$10+12+12 = $34 per PBN site, if you’re doing it super-duper cheap. Better domains cost more, better hosting costs more. And if your VA or a service to build it for you, that costs more too.
Seems like most guys doing links at scale would rather pay $100+ for a guest post on a site with high DR and real organic search traffic. You’re one and done, and the link is permanent. Better than building out thousands of PBNs, which require ongoing upkeep.
The only people that seem to still be relying on PBNs are greyhat SEOs in the local SEO space, because local SEO doesn’t really warrant a huge content marketing campaign. Plus with many clients you only need 10-30 links to rank them #1 for their keywords. PBNs will make that easy.
But even then there are disadvantages to PBNs.
Personally I’ve never done PBNs at scale, but using them here and there they have helped quite a bit.
The key to not getting penalized is to not leave a “footprint”. This means creating websites that look and feel different. (Different content, WP themes, different CMSes, website layouts, etc.) The hardest thing is scaling web hosting.
You have to get hosting for your sites on different servers. So keeping track of a bunch of sites on different hosts is a pain.
If all of your websites look and feel the same and are all on the same web host, that is how you get penalized.
Or are all on the same Google Search Console or Google Analytics account. Stuff like that that makes a pattern easy for Google to find.

PBNs these day resemble real sites to the point that some (not all) actually are. One such PBN provider I know actually decided to start a niche relevant PBN network. By the time he had 10 websites, all of them were ranking for search terms and had actually useful content.
That is not to say that 1 hour PBN builds don’t pass juice anymore, but the guy has been building PBNs for years. If he doesn’t do quick builds anymore, I’m not going to bother.
After you build a PBN you also have to toxicity test it. This takes about a month. Basically means to create a post and link to a site ranking on page two for a low competition KW. Then see what happens to the sites.
I’m not saying “don’t bother”, but you definitely need a lot of research. The amount of footprints alone is staggering; around 60-70 you need to be aware of.
For myself, I’ve decided to only ever use PBNs if I’m in a niche where they are ubiquitous. Otherwise, it’s just not worth it for me.

What is the best rank tracking software on the market?

SERPWoo – tracking overall SERPs/markets. I don’t try to use this for tracking a bit list of specific keywords for my site, though you could do that
Accuranker – my specific list of terms I’m interested in – piped into GDS for quick views of head terms/overall trends.
aHrefs – more a backup. The rank tracking comes with the plan so… why not.
Serprobot.com is surprising even if it may be fugly, but it works and goes beyond top100 also it’s supercheap. 5$/300kws.

Isn’t pretty to watch, but if you’re testing out new batch or want the lay of the land, it is surprisingly good for the price.

There is also nothing too fancy like serp features etc. all that mumbo jumbo.

But you can also point it to competitor and see how their doing quite quickly. May not work for day to day long term professional check. But for shoestring budget and quick checks unbeatable

7 “leaked” Google UX Playbooks

Here are the 7 “leaked” Google UX Playbooks I have found so far that may be of interest to the group (fairly basic but a reminder that good UX is part of SEO):


Personal Review On WordPress SEO Plugins

So I’ve been testing out a variety of different WordPress SEO plugins. If you’re new to WP SEO, you won’t go wrong with choosing Yoast WordPress SEO. But if you’re fed up with their ongoing journey to completely take over your WordPress dashboard or still pissed about their attachments I’ve been looking at alternatives
1, All in One SEO (free/paid)
Offers a lot of options for a free plugin – it’s lighter than Yoast and doesn’t want to take over my Admin screen. Does what you’d expect robotst.txt, canonicals, sitemaps. Bonus for free WooCommerce integration. Sadly need to upgrade to Pro if you want to get access to SEO options for taxonomies
2. The SEO Framework (free)
Bloat free, one big list of options no messing around. Free support for WooCommerce and bbPress. Really impressed so far – https://wordpress.org/plugins/autodescription/
3. Rank Math (paid)
Really good migration options to migrate from Yoast – the main issue so far is handling of taxonomies can only choose to index/noindex Categories and Tags – not categories or tags. If this was fixed It would be a bigger step towards me recommending this to more advanced SEO

[GET]Search Console Explorer Sheet

Tool Features

1. Get inspiration for writing Title Tags. Simply enter in a primary focus keyword and get a SERP preview of the top-ranking and paid listings along with their title tags graded.
2. Enter in a current title tag or proposed title tag and get an instant CTR grade.
3. Get custom recommendations on what to improve based on previous studies to increase CTR.
4. It’s all free.







Crucial Factors to Consider When Building Links

Link vendors – easy access to relevant sites and they can save you a lot of hassle. Of course depending on your budget number of links will differ. This is good for affilaite sites as most link vendors sell only link insertion or sponsored posts
Building a team- You need to have a SOPs in place and monitor them, but gives you flexibility in what approaches outreach wise you can use. Cheaper in long term and easier to scale
SEO/Linkbuilding Agency- Least hassle, flexibility with outreach approaches but higher costs
Individual freelancer- A middle ground between your own team and agency. Bit tricky to find good ones that will consistently perform.
Digital PR Agencys- They can create a awesome piece of content and promote it to the highest DR news sites but as you might imagine the cost is the highest.

How to Sell SEO Over the Phone

When we get on the phone with a prospect. We shut the hell up.

When I speak to a prospect, I ask them to tell me about their business and what they feel they need help with.

I’m learning about them and understanding their pain points, then addressing those pain points.

Prospects reach out because they have specific problems they want fixed. Often, they might only see a fraction of the problems they have.

To bring those to light, I’ll share my screen and show them some quick finds.

Often, these can be:

  • Glaring on-site SEO issues
  • Fiverr type link building
  • Duplicate content issues

The conversation shifts into how they like to work with an agency, deliverables, budget, etc.

This is where I talk about how and why we work in sprints. I’ve yet to come across a prospect that was against our approach.