Broken Link Building in 2023 – Complete Guide


Broken link building stands out as a link-building strategy with remarkable potential for superior conversion rates, surpassing numerous established methods in the field.

Within this comprehensive guide, we delve deep into the intricacies of broken link building, dissecting its mechanics and uncovering the reasons behind its impressive effectiveness. Additionally, we present an effortless and highly successful broken link building technique, tailor-made to deliver concrete results, regardless of your niche.

These strategies have been meticulously curated from our own extensive experience, consistently proving their efficacy.

What You’ll Need:

  1. Ahrefs.
  2. Web Archive.
  3. A blog section on your website where you can post content.

Key Takeaways

  • A malfunctioning hyperlink leads users to a dead end, resulting in a frustrating 404 error page instead of the intended website.
  • Engaging in a broken link building initiative entails the identification of web pages within your specific industry that contain inactive backlinks.
  • The core strategy of broken link building revolves around the creation of top-notch content, followed by outreach efforts directed at other websites in order to secure an inbound link. This approach is considered ethical and falls under the “white hat” SEO category since website owners voluntarily link to your content because they find it valuable.
  • While it may demand a significant amount of time and effort, broken link building remains an efficient means of acquiring multiple high-authority links, thereby bolstering your website’s standing in Google’s search rankings.

What Is Broken Link Building?

Broken link building is a valuable strategy that revolves around discovering web pages within your specific industry or niche that contain inactive or broken backlinks. Once these pages are identified, the next step is to initiate contact with the respective website owners and propose the idea of linking to your content in place of the dead link.

This approach offers a mutually beneficial arrangement: the webmaster enhances their site’s quality and user experience by replacing a broken link, while your page gains the potential for a new inbound backlink.

It’s important to note that broken link building is considered a white hat technique in the realm of SEO. This is because it entails the creation of high-quality content and reaching out to external websites with the goal of earning an organic inbound link. The website owner will only choose to link to your content if they genuinely find it valuable and relevant to their audience.

The Process Involves a Few Steps:

1️⃣ Begin by scouring the internet for broken hyperlinks within the realm of your specific industry or area of expertise.

2️⃣ Pinpoint opportunities to craft fresh, valuable content that can serve as a worthy substitute for the outdated or unavailable webpage.

3️⃣ Establish connections with website administrators and employ persuasive communication to encourage them to exchange the defunct hyperlink with yours.

A broken link is like a forgotten path in the digital landscape, leading users to a dead end represented by the dreaded 404 error page. These links can become fractured for a multitude of reasons, creating a frustrating experience for internet surfers. Some of the most prevalent causes of link breakage include:

🚫 The destination website has decided to dismantle or retire the linked page, rendering the pathway obsolete.

🚫 In some cases, the link’s inception might have been flawed right from the start, making it destined to falter eventually.

🚫 Changes in the URL structure of the linked page can cause previously valid links to lose their way in the web’s labyrinth.

🚫 As the digital landscape is ever-evolving, websites undergo transformations, making previously working links defunct.

Are Broken Link Building Tactics Effective?

Opinions on the effectiveness of the link building process vary widely, with some enthusiasts praising its potential while others find it to be a time-consuming and uncertain endeavor.

When approached with the right mindset and employing effective strategies (which we’ll delve into shortly), broken link building can yield impressive results. This approach can lead to swift victories when webmasters replace broken links with your own, and it can also serve as a means to expand your network of valuable contacts within your industry.

By nurturing relationships with experts and fellow content creators in your niche, you increase the likelihood of them reaching out to you in the future for collaboration or link opportunities. Moreover, there’s a substantial bonus: if your content is linked by multiple high-authority websites, it not only boosts your SEO ranking but also multiplies the benefits by generating several valuable backlinks to your content.

How to Find Broken Link Building Opportunities

The crux of broken link building lies in the challenge of locating those elusive broken pages. Let’s delve into various methods for pinpointing these elusive gems.

The tactics I employ hinge on a couple of critical factors:

  • The amount of time at my disposal for this pursuit.
  • The pendulum of my emotional state, swinging between despair and enthusiasm.

Strategy #1: Nerdy Time Traveling

⌛ Estimated Time Required: A considerable number of hours.

😄 Level of Enthusiasm: Feeling quite fortunate today!

Here’s an uncomplicated yet effective strategy: embark on a quest to uncover locations brimming with links and seize the opportunity for broken link building.

A splendid starting point is to delve into resource pages. These pages serve as repositories of valuable links.

📖 To aid you in this endeavor, here’s an insightful guide on the art of identifying resource pages for your outreach, as provided by the Snappa Blog.

To execute this strategy, you’ll require a handy Chrome extension known as LinkMiner.

Upon accessing a resource page and activating the extension, it will promptly unveil any broken links lurking on the page.

Following this, assess the count of referring domains (RDs) that lead to the ailing page and ascertain whether it aligns with your campaign objectives.

Rinse and repeat this method for each resource page within your purview until your quest yields the desired results. Happy link hunting! ⛏🔗

Why is this strategy useful?

  1. Resource pages serve as a valuable repository of curated links, offering a one-stop destination for a wealth of useful resources. Within these extensive lists lie opportunities to discover broken links amidst a trove of relevant connections.
  2. Typically, resource pages feature high-caliber and authoritative articles, making them fertile ground for uncovering potent broken links. These broken links, often rich in referring domains (RDs), can significantly boost your Domain Authority (DA) score and enhance your search engine rankings.
  3. Harnessing the power of LinkMiner, a user-friendly and free browser extension, becomes a seamless process.

Why is this strategy not so good?

  1. LinkMiner occasionally provides inaccurate results. An instance of this is when it flagged the coconut oil link as broken, which, as shown in the screenshot, was actually functioning correctly.
  2. The process can be quite time-intensive, unless, of course, you stumble upon a fantastic 404 error page early on in your search.

Pro Tip

Exploring resource pages from the 2000s, specifically spanning the years 2008 to 2018, is a strategy I affectionately refer to as “Nerdy Time Traveling.” Why indulge in this temporal journey, you might ask?

Well, within this time frame lies a treasure trove of potential. Firstly, there’s a heightened likelihood that some of those vintage links have succumbed to the digital ravages of time, becoming the elusive “404 Not Found” errors we seek. These broken links hold the promise of hidden gems waiting to be rediscovered.

Secondly, the past offers us a chance to uncover authoritative links, the kind that once wielded substantial “Referring Domains” (RDs) and held sway in the online realm. These links, like relics of a bygone era, may still have relevance and value today.

So, if you’re willing to embark on this nerdy odyssey, you’ll need to embrace your inner time traveler. Through the annals of the internet’s past, you can unearth forgotten digital artifacts and potentially boost your own online endeavors with these discoveries.

Strategy #2: Tricky Star Chasing

⏰ Time-Efficient Approach: Targeting a Maximum of 40 Minutes.

😟 Initial Regret Level: Oops, I Should Have Done This Sooner!

Imagine you’re on a mission to unearth dead links within the most prominent websites in your niche. To accomplish this, you’ll need the assistance of Ahrefs, as it offers a specialized tool for this task that’s hard to replicate elsewhere.

Let’s suppose you’re delving into the health niche and want to uncover broken links within this domain. Your first step is to pinpoint a popular website that specializes in health-related content. For the sake of illustration, let’s focus on EverydayHealth.

Now, let’s venture into Ahrefs Site Explorer and zero in on the “Broken Backlinks” option for EverydayHealth’s website.

Ahrefs promptly reveals a staggering 19,594 broken backlinks within EverydayHealth’s digital realm—seems like a treasure trove waiting to be explored!

So, what’s your next move? Previously, you might have embarked on the arduous journey of manually scrutinizing each of those 19,594 broken backlinks, hoping to find the perfect one—a process that might leave you exasperated.

However, a recent revelation came to light when I stumbled upon Ahrefs’ guide on broken link building. It dawned on me that there’s a more efficient way to approach this task. Ahrefs suggests the following streamlined method:

👀 Head to “The Best Pages by Backlinks.”

👀 From the dropdown menu of HTTP codes, select “404 not found.”

👀 Further refine your results by filtering them based on the number of referring domains to the page.

This approach entails checking broken backlinks in a smarter and more systematic manner, drastically reducing the time and effort required. Discovering this technique brought a wave of relief and excitement, and I can’t wait to put it into action! 🙌

Why is this strategy useful?

This method stands out as the fastest approach I’m aware of for uncovering broken links. It excels in identifying broken links related to broad subjects like “healthy living” rather than pinpointing a specific link within niche topics such as “low carb diets” or “weightlifting.”

Why is this strategy not so good?

Identifying broken links within a specific niche can be quite a challenge. I recently encountered this while attempting to locate broken links related to strength training. Surprisingly, even well-established websites in the fitness field had no apparent broken links. However, in certain industries, such as health and wellness, there seems to be a plethora of opportunities to discover broken links on general topics.

Not everyone has access to premium tools like Ahrefs, and for those who don’t, the task of finding broken links on prominent websites can be daunting. This strategy, which I like to call “Star Chasing,” involves the pursuit of prominent websites in the hopes of uncovering their imperfections, particularly broken links.

This approach is not without its challenges, as it relies on capitalizing on the 404 errors of other websites. In essence, “Star Chasing” is akin to a cosmic quest where we aim to capture the brilliance of significant websites while also recognizing their vulnerabilities.

Strategy #3: Meticulous Hell Exploring

⏰ Timeframe: The clock’s ticking, but we’re staying patient.

😓 Enthusiasm Level: Searching for hope amidst the despair.

In our previous two strategies, we delved into the art of identifying broken links on resource pages and renowned websites.

Now, let’s embark on a journey toward pinpoint precision in finding those elusive broken links!

While we’ve already scrutinized the backlinks of top-notch websites in our earlier strategies, let’s not forget about the links they send out into the digital abyss.

Instead of bidding farewell to Ahrefs, let’s extend our research by navigating to the “Outgoing links” section and embarking on the quest for “Broken links.”

Making the most of top websites’ broken links.

EverydayHealth seems to have a concerning issue with a whopping 1,214 broken links on their website. These problematic links are originating from authoritative websites, and as any savvy SEO enthusiast knows, that spells a golden opportunity for acquiring valuable backlinks.

Now, let’s delve into another valuable nugget of wisdom from Ahrefs’ comprehensive guide on managing a plethora of outgoing broken links. Their recommended strategy involves exporting all the broken outgoing links, followed by the nifty trick of copying and pasting them into the Quick Batch Analysis tool. This nifty tool helps you identify which of these broken links are associated with websites boasting a significant number of referring domains (RDs).

One critical caveat to keep in mind is that the Quick Batch Analysis tool can handle a maximum of 200 links per check. So, for optimal results, it’s essential to break down the analysis into manageable chunks of 200 links each. This strategic approach will help you pinpoint the most valuable backlink prospects hidden among the sea of broken links.

Here’s why:

When a website is plagued by an excessive number of outbound broken links, often exceeding 10,000 in number, it becomes burdened with an overwhelming amount of redundancy and unproductive connections, including links to outdated affiliate programs and past projects associated with the same site.

Managing this issue can prove to be an extremely time-consuming endeavor, compounded by the continuous discovery of broken links that are either thematically similar or entirely irrelevant to the website’s current focus.

Pro Tip

What I’ve found effective is manually inspecting the initial five to ten pages in search of valuable broken links.

If you don’t come across any valuable broken links early on, the likelihood of discovering them through a bulk check across all pages diminishes significantly.

Another approach to uncovering broken links through this method involves scrutinizing the reverse direction of links. If you stumble upon an exceptional resource page, it’s worthwhile to investigate its backlinks to identify additional broken links.

In a similar vein, when you come across a valuable 404 error page that has garnered a substantial number of referring domains, you can take it a step further by delving into the backlinks of the broken link itself, thus uncovering potentially more broken backlinks.

Recreate the Content for Your Blog

After pinpointing a webpage containing a broken link that aligns closely with your niche, the subsequent course of action involves the revival of that particular blog post.

Bear in mind that the broken link merely leads to a 404 error page. To gain insights into the former appearance and content of the page, we recommend utilizing the Wayback Machine.

This invaluable web archive tool provides a historical perspective on the page, showcasing its evolution, changes, and original content.

This approach is instrumental in ensuring that the recreated page by your writer not only serves the same purpose but also addresses similar subject matter.

Now, there exist two distinct methods for regenerating a page.

1️⃣ Simply Copy the Dead Page

We strongly discourage adopting the “lazy” approach as it may be perceived as plagiarism. In this approach, the writer merely duplicates the initial content from the page and appends an acknowledgment at the conclusion.

This acknowledgment will elucidate the source of the original content and clarify that it has been removed from the initial web page.

2️⃣ Create a New and Improved Page

In this strategy, our writer will draw inspiration from the existing page but elevate it with fresh and original content, as well as captivating visuals.

There are several avenues through which our writer can enhance the original page:

  • Refreshing Outdated Information: Our writer will ensure that any obsolete statistics or references in the content are replaced with up-to-date and accurate information.
  • Clarifying Complex Ideas: We will simplify intricate concepts to enhance comprehension, making the content more accessible and user-friendly.
  • Harnessing Visual Aids: Our approach includes incorporating eye-catching graphics and visuals to effectively convey key messages and concepts.

The Outreach Process

After crafting a replacement page, the next crucial step is initiating contact with webmasters and persuading them to substitute the broken link with your own URL.

However, there’s a common challenge: webmasters receive a constant influx of such requests. If your outreach is poorly composed and lacks personalization, it’s bound to be disregarded. Without the right strategy, securing even a single response or building a valuable backlink can be a daunting task.

Leveraging our proficiency in link-building outreach, we’ve developed a meticulously personalized outreach methodology that consistently delivers exceptional results for our clients.

Here’s a Breakdown of How We Personalize Outreach at LinkCrafters:

✍️ Personalized Subject Lines

In order to grab the webmaster’s attention effectively, we employ subject lines tailored to their website. To demonstrate the personalized nature of our email outreach, we will:

  • Personalize with their name: Crafting a subject line that includes their name will instantly signal the individualized nature of our message.
  • Engage with a thoughtful question: Pose a relevant and intriguing question that piques their curiosity and encourages them to open our email.
  • Highlight a recent project or content: Mentioning a recent piece of content they’ve worked on or a specific achievement related to their website shows that we’ve done our homework and appreciate their work.

🔍 Research

We take the extra step of thoroughly researching the target website to craft an email that’s tailored to perfection. Our approach involves delving into the identity of the person running the blog and understanding the unique content they curate. This in-depth knowledge enables us to create an enticing offer that truly resonates with their interests and preferences.

Pro Tip:

  • Examine the website’s authorship or navigate to the “About Us” section to locate contact information for the website’s administrator, editor, or content creator.
  • You may discover a contact form that requires completion. It’s crucial to provide comprehensive details and ensure that you include a means for the site owner to reach out to you.

💰Include Your Value Proposition

This is where you let the webmaster know that a link on their website is broken and explain why they should use yours instead.

It’s crucial that you look at the content they’ve published in the past and explain why you think your article will add value to their audience.

You should also include links to other content you’ve produced so that the webmaster can see that your work is high quality and worthy of the backlink.

🔁 Follow-Up

Many webmasters find their inboxes flooded with outreach messages on a daily basis. However, it’s crucial to understand that a lack of a response doesn’t necessarily signify disinterest.

It’s a smart practice to send a follow-up email after three to four days to ensure that your initial message hasn’t been overlooked.

Additionally, if you’re curious about the precise steps I employ to establish numerous high-authority backlinks, I encourage you to watch this informative video for a comprehensive overview. 📹

Happy Broken Link Building!

As we’ve explored throughout this guide, uncovering the ideal broken link for your purposes can be achieved through a variety of methods. It simply requires a bit of dedication and persistence.

The subsequent phase in securing that coveted backlink revolves around crafting a flawless outreach strategy. This is the pivotal moment where you demonstrate to webmasters how your content can truly enhance the quality of their website.

If you find yourself in need of assistance throughout this process or if you seek to execute it consistently on a larger scale, our link building agency stands ready to lend a helping hand. We specialize in the art of building valuable connections through backlinks, and we’re here to support your efforts.

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