Improving Corrective Value-Adds in Link Request E-mails

by on November 15, 2011 | posted in Miscellaneous Strategies

Broken link building is a bit of a recent fad – you correct broken links, add value to the webmaster by doing so, and therefore increase the likelihood you get a link back to your website. That’s true, but what is lost in this transaction is not that you are truly aiming to solely solve broken links, your goal is to add value back to the webmaster. Correcting broken links is not the only way to do this. A second and third “mistake” we can solve comes in the form of correcting spelling and/or grammar errors for webmasters, which can be checked just as quickly.

Firefox has a quick and effective add-on for spell checking. You can find it here –

There is a need for a combined spell check/grammar check combined add-on, particularly for Chrome. With that, we have a complete “value add” equation to help maximize potential webmaster errors to reciprocate the value equation to get links built when we combine it with the super-fast Chrome broken link builder add-on.

If you know of any other add-ons that check web documents for grammar and/or spelling mistakes, please leave a comment.

Otherwise, the SEO community could use a tool such as this to improve our link building efforts. Who wants to step up and get it done?

  • Garrett

    “hey webmaster you can’t code. or spell.”

    srsly tho this is an interesting idea – have you had any success with grammar/spelling corrections in link building? what are your thoughts on segments/targets who’d actually give a shit about spelling and award a link for finding the error (thinking librarians)?

    • Ross Hudgens

      I literally just thought about this idea, so I haven’t tested it. But any kind of small value add we can supply in our link request e-mails (as long as it doesn’t take tons of time) – has to be beneficial. This post was triggered by this –

      You can see in his link request e-mail he makes a spelling/grammar correction, which is basically a flip for the most recent broken link building corrections most are making.

  • Jon Cooper

    *Scratches head* How have I not thought about something like this before?

    This is awesome, I’m definitely putting this into practice & I’ll let you know how much success I get. Posting this to G+!

  • Moosa Hemani

    Very Interesting idea Ross! I believe if in an email one indicate 2 or 3 major mistakes and tell them that he will audit the complete web content (for small website with 15 to 20 pages) then chances of getting link from that website might increased!

    Just a thought!

  • Christian

    Great suggestion, thanks Ross! I feel the tricky part may be drawing the line between coming off too strong versus providing tips. In these emails, do you generally ask for the link as well, or let them know of the broken link, and then on the follow-up recommend your link?


    • Ross Hudgens

      I like being subtle and then suggesting a link at the end, generally using a persona so there is not a commercial association. This way there is no “this person just wants me to link to them” flare up. Also checking spelling could come off as dickish but if you use subtle language it can help. It also offers an alternate correction as sometimes broken links just aren’t there – but perhaps there are other mistakes we can offer, right?

  • Jeremy

    I use the broken link technique almost exclusively for outreach now – its works great. Assuming there are no broken links of spelling mistakes on the page, what do you think is the best way to make the approach. Keep the persona up and come across like a fan of the site suggesting a resource?

  • Trevor McKendrick


    Per your Exit the Link Building post it sounds like you spend extremely minimal amounts of time per email during outreach. But making a link request by pointing out a broken link or type feels like it requires a relatively large amount of time, due to the amount of customization required for each site (compliment the site in some unique way, point out the unique link, etc).

    Spending that much time per email even feels supported by the article that inspired this post (

    So, questions are: how much do you customize and how do you minimize time/email?

    Thanks and cheers,
    Trevor McKendrick

    • Brian

      Good question Trevor, I was curious about that too.

      Also, I’ve actually used this technique not only in linkbuilding, but believe it or not I’ve signed clients by initiating a conversation pointing out some spelling/grammatical mistakes. If it helps the person improve their site (add value), it’s always a good idea to let them know in my opinion.

      • Trevor McKendrick

        Interesting. How does that conversation go once they thank you for pointing out the error?

  • Ross Hudgens

    By creating a persona for each group (detail well in Justin Briggs post – you can create the facade of customization without actually being that customized. Find some weird niche thing that is niche to *just* that large group and they won’t think you’re Internet Marketing Shmo #50000000000. This could be something like “person on X’s blogroll”. Or “I saw you commented on X post” (that had tons of comments). Etc. This makes it custom, but a little *less* custom without them hopefully realizing it.

    • Trevor McKendrick

      Fantastic, thanks. Creating the right personas from the beginning of the link building effort is a challenge, but pays in spades when done correctly.

  • Isaac Bullen

    This Chrome bookmarklet could be of some use for spell checking documents:
    – Thanks Phil Taylor.

  • Yasir

    A google search for ‘spell check website’ came with a good list of websites that can spell check a website/webpage such as Not sure about the grammar ones though.

  • Anthony D. Nelson

    What do you do when you find a nice page that has about 15 broken links on it?
    A) Decide the page sucks and you don’t want a link
    B) Point out 2 or 3 broken links and act like you don’t know about the rest
    C) Point our all 15 and risk overwhelming them with the effort needed to clean up the page

    Your idea above would be a great tool. Whoever you find to build it, get them to add the ability to ‘export broken links.’ This would allow us to easily copy/paste multiple broken links into an email. Useful if you want to go with option C above.

    When I run into the above circumstance, I’ve gone with each of the choices at various times.

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  • Mark

    I guess you would have to be 99.99% positive that your speling, grammer and punctuation were 99.99% right before you might be percieved as picking up another websmaster’s errers.

    or was that

    I guess you would have to be 99.99% positive that your spelling, grammar and punctuation were 99.99% right before you might be perceived as picking up another websmaster’s errors.

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