What is broken link building?

When looking for the right SEO strategy and policy you are tempted by several paths you can take. There are black and white hat strategies that are all very effective and produce results. However, today’s SEO effort is leaning away from black hat practices. With Google’s algorithms and manual actions, the black hat is difficult to perform without being penalized. So it seems that white hat SEO is the right way to go. One of the most effective and scalable content-based white hat tactics is surely broken link building. It is part of the SEO toolbox for many professionals and companies such as the Link Department. However many do not understand the way it works and the benefits it can bring. So, we should really deal with this issue and get an answer to just what broken link building is?

The definition

Simply put broken link building means replacing dead web pages and substituting missing content with your own. It means that you have to find where broken links are. After this, you can offer web page administrators to fix the issue by creating your own content as a replacement. Ultimately this means that you are creating content that benefits the internet as a whole. It also provides value for webmasters, decreases the number of broken, links, dead pages, and 404 errors. Ultimately the result of your link-building campaign will be only as good as the content you provide. Only if the content is valuable the webmasters would want to link to it and there is where you can profit.

404 error indicates broken links that can be used for broken link building
Broken link building utilizes missing pages to link new desired content that is missing

This type of tactic is good because it is the desired activity making it a white hat SEO practice. No one wants to have dead links on their webpage so this type of activity is welcome. This is what makes webmasters likely to make the change and link to their own content. So once you understand just What broken link building is you can presume to use these tactics in your own SEO effort. Here is a short How it works and how you can do it.

How it works

Well, link building through broken links demands a list of activities is performed. In addition, there are multiple tools to make the whole process of parts of it easier and faster. The first activity is obviously to find relevant dead web pages. Usually, there are three tactics. Aside from direct URL targeting which is specific and not that common two major tactics are:

  • Resource page targeting using Keywords and
  • Resource page targeting using URL

Keyword resource targeting

One of the most straightforward ways of doing those is to do it through keywords. First, you have to define a list of keywords that are relevant to the content that you can provide on your website. You have to be specific and within the right category to have any success. Once you have this list you should couple them with phrases that will make prospecting easier. Then it is simple, you use Google’s search engine to find the web pages that contain your target keywords and are therefore relevant to your needs.

There are many tools you can then use to scrape the search results and use them as you need. It is advisable to find at least 100 links to different websites containing your keywords. You can then use domain hunter plus or check my links to extract all of the links contained on these target webpages. These automated tools will also provide a list of 404 web pages that you were searching for. However, if you are not using them you will have to use some form of HTTP checker or do the search manually.

Website code
There is a number of activities to go through in your effort to start broken link building

Check the links

Once you have your list of links you should really check them out for relevance and backlinks. First of all the number of their backlinks is important. You must search for the pages that are strong targets. This means that they have many different domains pointing to them. If this is that case you then have a lot of opportunities to contact multiple web pages with the offer of fixing their broken backlinks. You will also gain a large number of inbound backlinks to your content later. Look for web pages like this and try not to waste time on pages with few links.

After this you then have to check the relevance, meaning that you have to see what was the content of these pages in order to try and recreate them. So try to utilize a few tools and shortcuts. First check the Wayback machine to see if the content was saved there, also research the linking pages in search of their description. You can also research anchor text and scrape the URL itself for hints of the content.

URL resource targeting

This method goes the opposite way. It takes a relevant URL and searches for broken links on it. Basically, the starting point of this method is different while all other steps are the same. Once you get a list of relevant URLs then the process is the same from the link extraction and so on.

So, for this method the selection of a relevant URL is critical. A good starting point would be an URL that is authoritative and has many backlinks to it. It also has to be relevant and important to its industry. Also, try to find one that is not too commercial. These web pages tend to have some sort of manipulation on them and link noise that will decrease broken link options.

PC with a 404 error on screen
This link building tactic is desirable and needed in today’s SEO


Whichever way you decide to go be aware that there are tools that can make the link building process easier and faster. Most notable is the Broken link builder that you can make use of. This tool automizes the whole process. All you have to do is input the starting parameters and this robust tool will do the rest.

So, with the nature of broken link building in mind, you should know just what is broken link building and how to utilize it in your SEO strategy. This easily scalable and clearly white hat activity can be quite beneficial for your whole SEO marketing effort. Ultimately this means that you should definitely work on mastering this tool and try to use it as much as you can.

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