broken link building
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Broken Link Building: The Definitive Guide

Imagine having an opportunity to lower your competitors rankings while improving your own. Broken link building can do that!

Do you want to know how broken link building works? It involves doing a lot of research, publishing a quality content, analyzing the potential backlinks and approaching the prospective linker.

You’ve published a new article and now you are waiting for it to naturally climb to the top of your target keyword. But you’re doing one mistake there!

You might be thinking, what’s the mistake?

The mistake is, you’re waiting for your content to climb at the top of your target keyword. Instead of waiting, you should have acted yourself to push it to the top of your target keyword.

How? Simple, by building links to the content.

Most SEO professionals believe, the real SEO begins after you publish your content. You should make various link building strategies to build quality backlinks towards your site. Broken Link Building is one of the best link building strategies.

What is Broken Link Building?

Broken Link Building is a white hat link building tactic which is one of the most popular link building tactics in which you find a broken link in any page and ask the owner of the page to replace that broken link with your updated link. Sounds pretty easy right?

This is one of the most common strategies for SEO. Many marketers and SEO professionals use this method to build quality backlinks on their page. And unlike many other “strategies” broken link building actually works!

How does Broken Link Building Work?

Believe me or not, but broken link building is pretty easy after you get familiar with it. All you need to do is check, write and send. What I really mean is you should follow these easy steps to build broken backlinks effectively:

  1. Write Quality Article
  2. Search For Articles Related Your Article
  3. Search for Broken Links In the Article
  4. Contact Owner to Inform About the Broken Links
  5. Mention to the owner that you’ve also written the same article but in more enhanced way 🙂

Search Pages With Broken Links

The first thing you have to do is, search for sites with broken links. In other words, search for sites that you can potentially get backlinks from. For this, Google will help us to find the pages for your link building. Here are some search terms you should use to find proper link building opportunities:

  • keyword” intitle:resources
  • keyword” intitle:recommended
  • keyword”intitle:resources intitle:submit —  gives results of sites looking to add sites to their resource page
  • keyword” -.pdf — If you want Edu links. Search excludes .pdf results 
  • keyword” -.pdf intitle: resources — very specific search that yields a lot of appropriate pages.

Some More Search Ideas

You can use minus (-) signs to exclude results. Sometimes pdf’s and other documents appear which are useless for building links so use this search term to avoid them.

  • -.pdf” — eliminates results that are PDFs
  •” — eliminates all results part of the domain
  • -word” — eliminates all results that contain the specific word you entered—great for when different concepts share the same word.

Also, you can specify where you want the keyword to appear. Doing this you can get more exact results.

  • inurl: keyword — displays results where the keyword is in the URL
  • intitle: keyword — displays results where the keyword is in the title
  • intext: keyword — displays results where the keyword is in the text

Find Broken Links With Ahrefs

Yeah, this giant SEO tool is also one of the great broken link checkers.

I believe this to be even better than most of the dedicated broken link checker out there. Ahrefs helps you to save a lot of your time and also makes you successful on broken link building.

You can find broken links with this tool just by copying and pasting the URL of the page into a text box. The free version of ahrefs also allows you to find the broken backlinks.

Go to the Ahrefs site explorer and just enter the link of your main competitor in the box.

broken link building with ahrefs

Now, enter the URL of the site at the text box. After that, go to Backlinks>Broken.

There you can see many broken links that are pointing to that site. It shows you the pages with broken links, then you can use CheckMyLinks to find that fixed link from that page.

Here in the screenshot, we found that one broken link from Moz to Backlinko. That only took us 30 seconds of our time.

broken link checker ahrefs

Similarly, you can use the same method for other websites and create quality backlinks.

Find Broken Links from Expired Domains

Do you know more than 100,000+ domains expire each day due you to failure to renew? Do you also know that some of these domains might contain the backlinks that you want?

Also, know that it is very easy to find these expired domains and find broken backlinks. In fact, this is one of the less known broken link building methods. However, I do have to mention that this method takes a lot of manual work.

Here’s what you need to do. Go to since it has the biggest database of expired domains. Now, what you need to do is create a free account in it. Now, you need to enter your niche here. For my example, I have chosen Fitness niche.

expired domains broken link checker

Now, apply some filters to find the more accurate filter. First, we will apply the domain filter. Only choose high-quality TLD’s to get high-quality backlinks.

expired domains link building

Now, we will set the minimum backlinks limit. This will help us to find us exactly the type of domain we are looking after. Ideally, I choose around minimum 1000 backlinks to find the expired domains I am looking for.

Expired Domain Backlinks Limit

Now, I can see the list of domains that are available. Last time when I searched for “fitness” only there were around 314,847 domains. Now, after I used these filters, there are only 72 domains which meet our requirements.

expired domains broken link checker

Now, I chose one of the domains from the list and imported it to Ahrefs Site Explorer. Then I went to Backlinks section. All the backlinks to this domain are now broken link since that domain no longer exists. Now, you have two option available:

  • Register that expired domain and 301 redirect that page to your article
  • Contact the linking website’s owner and ask them to change the link.

Here in the screenshot, I chose an expired domain, did its link analysis and now I found some cool backlinks opportunity.

Expired domain ahrefs analysis

This method works great and gives bigger results. However, there might be chances that you waste time analyzing spam domains. Most of the expired domains are used for spamming purposes and you must be really careful.

Use Internet Archive to Find Broken Links

Internet Archive is the biggest directory of the internet which contains past of almost all websites. Apparently, you can use the internet archive to find broken links for you. Do you want to know how?

To be honest, this is the most time consuming method and requires a lot of manual work.

Now, what you need to do is, enter the URL of your competitor in the search box. Enter the link of their blog. Then what you have to do is, check all the post’s link and find out which of them is deleted currently.

Backlinko broken link building

As you can see in the screenshot, Brian Dean has already deleted this article almost a year ago.

Backlinko 404 Error

After you find that deleted post, copy the link and you need to check backlinks on that article. Now, if there are still any backlinks in that deleted post then contact the owner and inform them about the dead link. Believe me, they’ll appreciate it. As seen in picture, above mentioned article still has high quality backlinks.

Backlinko Broken Link Building

How to Find Broken Links In a Specific Page

Above mentioned methods were to find pages with broken links. Now, these methods are to find broken links from that specific page.

A page might link to 100 other pages, and checking all of them manually is not a good idea. Just imagine, you need to click each and every link and manually check if it is the broken link you’re looking for.

Backlinks frustuation

Luckily, you don’t need to visit each page and check all the links manually by clicking on them. There are many tools available to check the broken links. The only thing you’ll have to do is choose any one of the tools from the list.

Below mentioned are top 2 tools which are used to find broken backlinks in a web page.


This is my first recommendation for checking broken backlinks. CheckMyLinks is the chrome extension so you must be the chrome user. Many people who are into broken links use CheckMyLinks to find broken links due to its accuracy. To take this extension to the action you should download it from chrome store.

Find Broken Links with CheckMyLinks

After that, it would be a good idea to restart the chrome so that the plugin can work efficiently. Now, what you’ve to do is, click on the tick icon which now appears at the top of the chrome.

Now the process of scanning the link has started. You can see that the links on the page are being highlighted in red and green color. The green one means the link is fine and links in red means that they’re the broken links. You’ll also get the quick stats in the box that appears after you click on the button

CheckMyLinks Scanning

Domain Hunter Plus

This is another awesome tool you can use to find a broken link from a page. What you’ve to do is just install the chrome extension from the Chrome Store. Now, click on the aim icon that appears. Sometimes you need to restart the browser in order to make it work effectively.

Now, the tool will start to analyze the page. After the completion, you can see all the broken links and even export the list (the best feature I like about this tool).

This tool is also a free tool and unfortunately can be used by Chrome users only. The export feature in this tool helps you a lot to create the list and write the perfect outreach email in very short time. Look at the screenshot below for more information,


How to Properly do “broken link building” Outreach

I assume now you have successfully found broken links by following above mentioned method, but how do we contact the owner in a proper way? If you want to get quality backlinks through broken links then you should prove that you deserve it.

You can do so by approaching the owner of website with broken link. And believe me, its not that easy.

Only certain percentage of outreach emails are opened by those website owners, and only very few of them actually link to you. So, you must be able to convince them to link to you on your first try.

For that we have prepared a dedicated guide on how to write perfect outreach emails, here in this article we have mentioned every possible approach you should take for effective outreach emails.

If you just want shallow knowledge then here is the summarized tips for writing broken link building outreach emails:

  • Always use your website’s professional email address to send email.
  • Make sure you are mailing the right person.
  • Keep your email as short as possible.
  • Never directly ask for link but instead just mention them you also have article on same topic.
  • Do not make any spelling or grammatical errors (proofread before sending).
  • Customize it by mentioning their first name and act as professional as possible (avoid lame jokes).
  • Send emails on right time.

Above mentioned method are the basic tips for broken link building outreach. If you want to learn more, then visit the dedicated article mentioned above.

Final Thoughts on Broken Link Building

As I mentioned earlier, broken link building is one of the most popular ways to gain backlinks in an effective way. I personally love this method, and will always use it. The methods mentioned in the the article are very much effective for broken link building. One important thing that you have to take care of is email outreach. Not all emails you send will be get a response, in fact if you get about 7 to 15 percent of response rate then you’re doing extremely good!

I also tried to make sure this guide works out for everyone, despite your experience levels and budget available. I believe I have covered all the important aspects in broken link building. Do leave me a feedback after you try this method out.

Which method do you want to try out first?

Did I help in giving you a better understanding of broken link building?

I look forward to hearing from you in the comments and do let me know if I can add something more in the article.

Also, please point out if there is any broken links in this article 😉

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