Broken Link Building How-To Guide

Written by Nick Stamoulis

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Broken links happen for many reasons – websites go defunct, URL changes are made and pages are removed during redesigns and the webmaster forgets to 301 redirect, etc. The end result is millions of broken links out there that are not only causing bad user experiences, but are also missed SEO opportunities. You probably know what link building is – but what about broken link building? Broken link building is the process of finding broken links across the web, and fixing them to your SEO advantage. Here’s how to do it:

Start with your own website

Unless you’ve been working with knowledgeable SEO and web development professionals who understand the importance of the redirect from Day 1, it’s likely that you have some broken links floating around on your own site. In general, broken links aren’t going to be a huge threat to your SEO program but it’s still in your best interest to find them and fix them in order to provide a better user experience overall and in case these 404 pages are linked to anywhere on the web. A tool like Ahrefs allows website owners to pull a report of all of their broken backlinks. From there, they can determine where those links should be pointing to now and create a redirect to the most relevant current page on the site.

Move on to competitor broken links

Ahrefs also allows you to pull broken link reports for other websites, such as your primary competitors. Go through the list and visit the sites where broken links exist and determine whether that site would be a good fit for you to have a link. Even though the competitor is in your niche, some links might not make sense, like partner/sponsorship links. However, if it’s a resource link, it’s a great opportunity. Reach out to the website owner to notify them of the broken link (chances are good they aren’t aware of it), and ask them to swap it with your link instead. If you don’t already have the required content, add it to your content marketing strategy to create it before reaching out.

Click on all resource links you come across

In your everyday web browsing, always click on the niche resource links you come across. You might stumble upon some broken ones and these are also prime spots for broken link building.

Broken link building, especially fixing competitor broken resource links, can be time consuming but there can be some really great link building/SEO wins in there. A few authoritative links can make a big difference, since inbound links remain a top search engine ranking factor. And as an added bonus, you’re taking that link away from your competitor.


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