The Beginner’s Guide To Broken Link Building

If you’re new to SEO, you might have come across the term ‘broken link building’ quite a few times, but you may be unsure about what it actually is. It’s a very appealing tactic used to build links to your website, and can also help to improve the internet by replacing broken links. 

Here at Sweet Digital, we have come up with a comprehensive beginners guide to broken link building, explaining what it is, why it is effective, and how you can implement it. 

What is broken link building?

In a nutshell, broken link building is a link building strategy through the finding of broken links on websites.

Essentially, you are using a dead link to recreate content. To do this, you find a broken page (pages that have 404 errors) with links pointing at it, and you recreate a page on the same topic so that the dead link can be replaced with your new link. 

That particular dead link that people are using will be relocated to the new content.

It can often be tedious when clicking a link on a particular page to see that it has led you to a dead page that doesn’t exist anymore. Broken link building can limit the amount of dead pages on the internet, and this is beneficial to both marketers and publishers.

Why do broken links happen?

There are a number of reasons why broken links occur, and here a few of them:

  • The destination of the website has moved or it does not exist anymore
  • A 404 error occurred, in which the destination website got rid of the linked web page
  • The website link was not implemented properly
  • The website publisher entered a misspelled or mistyped URL
  • The content of the linked web page has been archived

Why is broken link building beneficial?

Broken linking building is a highly effective tactic as you will be able to produce backlinks for new content that you have created for your business. You will be able to efficiently build up links, which in turn can help to increase your rankings. 

Broken link building is often a much more targeted tactic than other link building strategies – the dead links you’re targeting are on highly relevant websites and the response rate is usually much higher as you’re helping the webmaster to solve an issue.

How to find relevant broken links

Finding relevant broken links doesn’t have to be difficult if you go about it the correct way.

Using Ahrefs, you search for a particular website that you know has links, and select the ‘Best by links’ option as this will display the web pages in order of who has the most links. After this, you need to hover over the HTTP drop down button and select ‘404 Not Found’. By now, you should be able to see all of the relevant dead pages, and you can decide which ones you want to choose to recreate.   Screaming Frog, Sistrix and Sitebulb also have options to have 404’ing pages on any domain.

Naturally some pages which are broken won’t make sense for you to create content for, so this is where your human eye and context need to come into play.  Find broken pages which would have been content heavy and informational – you can use Way Back Machine to get an idea of what the landing page looked like when it was live.

How to obtain the link

First of all locate the contact details of the webmaster – the details may be on the website itself – if not consider a little Linkedin or Twitter snoop!

Now it’s time to create the improved content that will be linked to.  Once created, send it to the webmaster explaining the situation with the broken link – extra points if you use your favourite tool to highlight how much traffic/how many rankings the page previously had and has lost by 404’ing.

Broken link building is just one of many SEO strategies you can utilise, but it shouldn’t be used alone; the best strategies combine a strong technical seo foundation, with link building, content and optimisation (plus much more) to gain competitive advantage.

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