The Easy Guide to Broken Link Building

The Easy Guide to Broken Link Building


Broken link building is a lesser known strategy that has more recently started to gain the attention it deserves. Otherwise known as ‘dead link building’, this SEO practice is described by Moz as:

“A technique that involves pointing out a link on another website that is no longer working and also asking for a link to your website.”

The target link is one that is found on a site that is relevant to your own, and easily substituted with a link to your site.

There are several reasons broken link building is a good SEO strategy, in particular because you are providing a service to the webmaster by pointing out their broken links. This is appealing as broken links are a sign to Google of a bad user experience. So it is in the best interest of webmas-ters to keep all their links in order—Giving you a prime opportunity to do them a service while at the same time conveniently offering your site as a replacement link. There’s no doubt it’s a win-win situation.

So instead of laboriously chasing guest posting opportunities, you can be obtaining links and mak-ing the web a better place for all. Now, let us guide you through how you can go about finding bro-ken link building opportunities.

What You Need

There a several tools out there to help identify broken links on authoritative websites. But before we get started, there are several things you first need to do:

• Make sure you have a website that offers clear value to the webmaster—This includes having a good level of design, usability, and content.
• Have Domain Hunter for Chrome installed on your browser, ready to quickly analyse pages for dead links.
• Also have BuzzStream Buzzmarker for Chrome installed to help you find a webmaster’s contact information.
• Adopt a discerning mindset. Once you find a site, you need to figure out if it is worth your time to pursue obtaining a link. Thanks to Moz, its easy to evaluate a site’s potential by using the follow-ing criteria:

Avoid if there are:

• Over 1000 links on the page
• Visible spammy links
• Over 10 broken links

Pursue if the site has:

• Good design
• Activity on social networks
• A decent Domain Authority

Search Strings

Once you are fully prepared, get started by heading over to Google and using search strings. En-tering specific queries into Google will help you find potential sites with broken link targets. The goal here is to find relevant pages with a relatively high number of outbound links. Use the follow-ing search strings to get started:

• keyword + “resources”
• keyword + intitle:resources
• keyword + “links”
• keyword + “recommended sites”
• keyword + “related links”

Once you have found a site, it is then time to put Domain Hunter Plus into action. The tool will ana-lyse the page for broken links and present you with a list of all the dead links ready to send the site’s webmaster. Here’s where Buzzmarker comes in, running the tool will help you find the web-master’s contact information.

Time Spiral by gadl, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Com-mons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  gadl 

Date-Based Searches

A logical but rarely discussed method of finding broken links is through date-based searches. As you may guess, the older the page, the more likely it is to have broken links.

Again if we head over to Google we can use the ‘Search Tools’ option to refine our results. Choose ‘Custom Range’ from the time category and then enter a time period from a few years ago, for ex-ample 2008-2013. With the results we can use the same methods from above to find our broken link targets.

Broken link building is a unique SEO method in the sense that it is a reciprocal process—You offer a helping hand, and in return you are granted with a link. Take advantage of the numerous oppor-tunities on the web for building broken links, along with the free tools for helping to identify them, and you will soon be sawing up the rankings.

Header Image credit:, unmodified under Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License’ (’).


Author Gyles Seward

Gyles is our Managing Director and knowledgeable in all things WordPress.

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