Broken Link Building

Broken Link Building – SEO Guide

What is Broken Link Building?

A way to gain traffic to your site and improve your search engine ranks by fixing other peoples broken links. In the most simple of terms, you find broken links and get others to update that link to point to your site. You fix their problem and gain a valuable link in the process.

An import part of this process is that these broken links must be relevant to your site’s content. For example, if you own a snowboarding site you might look for broken links to pages called “how to begin snowboarding”. If you happen to have a tutorial on snowboarding for beginners, then this is the relevant content you need to replace that link.

So, how do you find broken links?  Can you scale this technique?

1. Before looking for Broken Links, profile your content

If you’re looking to promote anything, you first have to know what you have.  Get a list of content/resources you might be able to promote and figure out the associated keywords. For example, we recently launched “Seattleite Guide“.  Its a fun map based local’s guide to Seattle. Associated keywords for the site might be:
  • Seattle Guide
  • Seattle Local’s Guide
  • Seattle travel guide
  • Seattle map guide
  • Seattle map
  • Guide to Seattle
Now that you’ve come up with all the keywords…

2. Finding broken links with Google

Broken link building would be hard without Google!  So, to get started, you should try searching for a few keywords with a little add-on to the query.  For this example, we’ll use “Guide to Seattle”.  Copy and paste an example query below into Google:
  • “Guide to Seattle” intitle:links
  • “Guide to Seattle” intitle:resources
  • “Guide to Seattle” inurl:links
  • “Guide to Seattle” inurl:resources
Open up a few of these sites and you’ll start to see a pattern.  A lot of them have outdated links and content. You can click on individual links to check if they’re broken or not.  But there is a better method!

3. Enter the 404 checker

Check out LinkMiner LinkMiner is a Chrome extension that can find all the broken links on a page.  The page’s links will turn red when LinkMiner can’t access it.  On the diagram above, you would use it at the point that you’re in a Links or a Resources page. With LinkMiner, you can export CSV files of all the broken links you find, and view these in Excel. It is important to stay organized at this point, so here is what I recommend:
  • In an Excel sheet, list all the sources of broken links you find (these are pages that do not exist anymore, etc.)
  • Under each source, list all of the URL’s you find that link to that source (these are the links we want to fix!)

4. Now that you've found all the broken links....

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you knew how important each link could be?  A way to prioritize your outreach targets? Here’s how you can do that:
  • Go to
  • Signup and login
  • Get your URLs from Sheet 1 (Sources for broken links)
  • Copy and paste it into
  • Get the DA/PA data!
So, why is this helpful?  What is DA and PA? DA is a measure of how strong the Domain is.  DA stands for Domain Authority. PA is how important the page is.  PA stands for Page Authority. Both DA and PA are values assigned from 0 to 100.  The values are logarithmic FYI.  Google of course is at 100. Based on DA and PA, you should be able to sort your targets to figure out who you should do outreach to first.

5. Outreach and context for links

Unless your content is mega cool and useful, its going to be hard to convince someone to replace a broken link.  They could just say “Thanks for letting me know! I won’t link to you though!”  This is most likely an issue with Content Context. Let’s say that your content is about speakers and audio.  You have a speaker building business.  You’ve created a piece of content outlining the Thiele/Small theories of speaker construction (  This would describe the volume of the speaker against its driver size.  Its a rather technical piece of content. So, with that in mind, below is a list of places where the content’s context matches the audience: Here are some places where outreach may fail you:
  • Direct competitors
  • Large Manufacturer of similar products
When you’re asking for a link, here’s a few things that work well for us:
  • Tell them about who you are.  Use your real name and your title.  Be legit.
  • Tell them about all the broken links you can.  Help them be successful.
  • Save the link you want to replace/have fixed for last.  Then mention your site and why its a better replacement
  • Be neutral, but cordial and welcoming

6. Recapturing more links from existing broken links

Look back on the excel sheet where you stored all the broken links/sources.  We can recycle them to find even more broken links pages (more sources of links for us)! There might be many reasons why those links may not be working:
  • Site no longer exists
  • Site changed direction and no longer caters to previous audience
  • Page no longer exists on site
  • Site is down
Whatever the case, this is an opportunity!  There are ways to find other sites that link to this broken content. Let me introduce you to Open Site Explorer. OSE (for short) allows you to look at all the places in the web that links to a URL.  Place one of the broken resources into OSE and you’ll see how that all works.  Click on where they’re linking from and figure out if the context makes sense.  See if you can replace the link.  Do outreach!

In Conclusion

Hope that this tutorial has been helpful to your link building and outreach strategy. Keep in mind that the most important part of Broken Link Building is about building relationships.  Put yourself in the shoes of the person receiving the email.  Read the email a few times before sending it.  Remember, you have 1 chance! If all of this seems too much, you can always contact us.  Find out more about our content marketing services!   Some Awesome Resources for Broken Link Building: