What is broken link building and how it works

working on laptops

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Within the world of SEO, link building is an incredibly important technique, especially for a business looking to expand its awareness online. There are many strategies that you can effectively carry out that will bring you desired results. However, it isn’t just about building up high-quality links. There is one scalable strategy that can really help in your mission to dominant your industry online: broken link building.

What is broken link building?

The broken link building process revolves around finding a broken or dead link, recreating the effectively ‘dead’ content that comes with it, and then informing those sites that have the broken link that you have a new link. You can then ask them to link to your newly created content instead.

The reason this strategy works so well is that no one is going to want broken links. Whether it is a link to your site that is broken or a link that a competitor has, which is broken, it won’t just look bad on you or your competitor; it will look bad on the website the link resides on. A broken page will lead to poor user experience, potential bounce rates, a drop in SEO efforts, and even a negative effect on their reputation and revenue. Therefore, most will be more than happy to replace a link with one that does work. As a bonus, if they accept your link, you are going to be building an even stronger link building strategy. It’s a win-win for all involved, unless, of course, your link replaced your competitors, it wouldn’t be so good for them.

However, this isn’t to say this will work every time. This is why you need an effective broken link building strategy in place. We will take a look at the top broken link building tips on how to find broken links, how it works, and what you can do.

What causes a broken link?

From simple acts, such as making a typo and forgetting that a page has moved, to more substantial errors, such as deleting the entire page, there are many common causes for why links could be leading to 404 pages. It doesn’t even have to be that the entire page has been deleted, just removing or moving an image, video, or file can result in a 404 page.

Discovering broken links on your own website is pretty easy; you likely visit your site often and so will quickly discover if you have a broken link. However, finding broken links on other websites is not so easy. The question is: how do you find these broken links in the most effective way possible? More so, how do you find these broken links when they aren’t even your own?

ahrefs tool broken link building

How to find broken links

The chances that you will stumble across relevant broken link building opportunities or even just broken links by accident are very slim. Instead, you need to deliberately seek all of the sites linking to 404 pages. It is important to discover any and all links that are relevant to your industry, including any that you might have created on your link building campaign.

Fortunately, there are very handy tools that can minimise the time spent searching Google for these links. One such tool that might help is Ahrefs Site Explorer.

You can explore a database of over 2 trillion external backlinks, which includes the broken links. You should start by checking your own to ensure that all of your links are working. If they are not, turn to our broken link building service. Whatever the issue you are facing is, we can ensure the broken page is a thing of the past.

Then, you can get started on the juicy bit – finding out your competitors’ broken links.

Enter their websites into the search field. You then need to filter the best by links results for HTTP 404 errors. This will then display the most linked-to page that doesn’t exist and how many domains it can be found on.

This might be 10, 15, 21, 30, or more.

You then need to discover what this original content was by looking at the anchors and surrounding text.

You don’t just have to look at your competitors. If you truly want to increase your conversion rate, you can also look at the most desirable sites that you want to feature on. This might be a resource page or a reputable site within the industry.

With the results that come up, you need to take the time to look through carefully to find opportunities to build links. If you come across a broken link, don’t stop there. Discover where else this link is on the web, and you have an opportunity to use our link building services to create a bespoke campaign to build up links.

However, what do you do once you have found all these broken links? How do you remove broken links?

ahrefs tool broken link building

How does it work?

Simple. First, you need to create an outstanding piece of content. You want to be providing as many positive reasons as to why someone should take your link. When you supply them with a blog post that fits Google’s E-A-T requirements, is optimised correctly, and is engaging to reach, you are increasing your opportunities.

However, this is only step one. You then need to start reaching out to the owners of these websites with an email explaining that they currently have a broken link, but you have an excellent piece of content that is relevant and high-quality.

Top tips for reaching out to websites:

  • Keep it short, sweet and simple
  • Follow up if you don’t get a reply
  • Find the right people – just be careful of emailing founders of companies

Don’t be fooled, though. While this might seem easy, the process can be long. This is why we recommend reaching out to our broken link building services. By outsourcing this process to our blogger outreach team, they can do all the hard work for you and have more chance of finding success.

As we mentioned before, even with a killer piece of content, not everybody will take you up on your offer. You need to remember that you likely aren’t the only one to be looking for broken link building opportunities. Therefore, relationships matter hugely. Our blogger outreach team might already have a very good relationship with the website you are seeking out.

Broken link building could be the ideal way to build up your traffic and stay one step ahead of your competitors. So don’t hesitate to take advantage of this strategy.

Author: Self

FREE Download:
6 Powerful Link Building Tools

Everything you need to know in a Free Guide


You might also like these

The Importance of Guest Blogging

As one of the most effective ways to promote a business and gain brand authority, guest blogging is

9 Signs You’re in Love with Link Building

From keyword research to local searches and link building, search engine optimisation is not for tho

How To Backlink Correctly

Learning how to backlink correctly can drastically improve your search engines' performance, so gett