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Why Broken Link Building is a Big Hearted Thing

by Stephen Moyers

oops 404

Broken links are human errors. They take you to a 404 page, saying: Oops! The page you are looking for cannot be found. Broken link building is a moderate approach to fix them. It has become one of the super-fast emerging trends in the online marketing community.

Until Google’s Penguin Update, no one talked about broken link building. But, the SEO community started picking up on this link building method to fix the broken link errors which are otherwise harmful to a site.

In this post, we will try to find out how broken link building can be established and made effective to yield to better results.

What is Broken Link Building?

Broken link building is a smart way to regain a good link. How?

broken link buildingA good, big site that is running successfully may have created broken links, unknowingly. This means some of that site’s pages are landing on 404 pages. Having come across such links, what SEO professionals can do is that they can inform site owners about these broken links and ask them to fix these errors, and simultaneously request to add new resources to that page. By doing this, the site becomes updated and optimized, and the web becomes a better place for the Internet users.

In small steps, broken link building can be described as:

  • Locating broken links or 404 pages
  • Informing site owners about broken links of their sites
  • Offering to add your site or new resources to the fixed URL

Now, there could be two situations: It is possible that you have 404 pages on your site, other than third-party sites. Common reasons behind broken links are site restructuring, altered ISPs, etc.

Why Fix Broken Links?

Fixing broken links is important as it is good for our sites and the web space. Despite this, let’s admit, many webmasters do not like to perform this daunting task. But, here are some great reasons why you should be fixing broken links and establish backlinks.

  • A site with broken links looks stale and unattended.
  • Broken links are capable of sending back its viewers.
  • Spiders can navigate only valid links and not broken links.
  • Broken links harm the indexing process. You got to fix them!
  • Your content may be located on broken links.
  • Fixing broken links is a better than endorsing a dead link.
  • Get improved SEO by fixing broken links.
  • Google recommends fixing broken links.

Broken Link Building Tools

There are tools available to perform broken link building. These tools help in finding out broken links on the web which are related to your specific niche. Following are some tools you can use to find broken links and fixing them.

Google Alerts: This tool is good for monitoring the web for new and exciting content. It also helps you in keeping updated on your competitors.

Check My Links: An extension for Google Chrome, Check My Links quickly finds both valid links and broken links by crawling through web pages.

Link Checker: A browser extension for Firefox, Line Checker helps you in finding out broken links on web pages. This tool is helpful in finding out-of-date sites for link building.

CognitiveSEO: This tool is good to locate best backlinks for broken links. It allows you to filter backlinks by keywords and sort them by authority.

Xenu’s Link Sleuth: This tool checks sites for broken links and displays a list of URLs to sort further under different criteria.

Discovering Broken Links

Sourcing broken links and establishing backlinks can help you connect with an authoritative site. Let us look at some of the ways to locate broken links.

Resource Lists

This is one of the most common ways to look for broken links in your industry. You can simply type your search in the Google search option.

Some of the other results that you can type in a Google search are:

Keyword + “resources”
Site:.gov keyword + “links”
Keyword + “related links”

You can use any of the results and use an extension to highlight the broken links. You can establish broken links with a backlink checking tool.

For example, you are link building for a finance related site. For this, you can type finance related keywords or a combination of keywords. Let’s say you type ‘Finance resources inurl:links,’ the following will be your results on Google search.

finance resources

With the help of Link Checker, we checked the entire site – http://ecampus.adelphi.edu/sfs/links.php – to highlight the broken links. The result showed: All links that are valid turned green while broken links turned red in color.

line checker

Clicking further on the (red colored) broken link, it took us to a 404 page.

Local Broken Links

It can be a good opportunity if you can find broken links of local business sites. Take help of good sites like Yelp that can help you find local businesses in particular locations. You can also use the following link in Google search for finding results for “shopping” in Vancouver.

site:www.yelp.com intitle:closed intitle:vancouver shopping

Approach Webmasters

Webmasters are mostly concerned about all links on their sites functioning properly. In case there is any broken link, they would like to fix it as soon as possible. It is normal to expect that webmasters will be willing to add new resources to the fixed pages.

Therefore, on knowing about broken links, you can approach the webmasters and inform them about such links on their sites. You can offer them to recommend your products/services. When you make your request, focus more on making it helpful to the webmasters. You can ask for adding new resources and give a description of your site to be included.

What precisely you can do is:

  • Check your (already written) content that relates to dead resources for adding to fixed URLs.
  • Create entirely new, fresh content related to broken links for publishing opportunities.

How to Use Broken Known Broken Links

Link building is a good way to utilize broken links you have painstakingly found out. Create a list of broken links and visit each broken URL to find out those sites that are using it. You can do this with Open Site Explorer (OSE). This is what you will get by entering your broken link in OSE.

You can visit all the sites – appeared in the OSE report – where the broken URL is being used and work for your link building strategy.

Best Practices for Broken Link Building

Broken link building is a valuable method to yield good results for two parties at one time. Additionally, you are also doing efforts to make the web a better place by fixing the broken links. Following are some best practices you should adopt for broken link building.

  • Look around for broken links in your related industry.
  • Search top pages for broken sites on Open Site Explorer.
  • Use a language to inform webmasters that implies you want to help them, and not just fulfill your own SEO goals.
  • Only mention about one or two broken links.
  • Track the URLs of those broken links you fixed.


Broken link building is a valuable approach that offers to fix the broken links. It is indeed a great help to webmasters to inform them about broken links and ask them to fix such links to gain high standards for their sites. In return, they will make a rush to fix the broken links and also add your new resources. Therefore, if you can locate broken links and establish backlinks with some good, authoritative websites, broken link building really helps you to expand your business.

How did you find it? I would look forward to reading your comments about the information I shared above regarding broken link building. If you found it useful and have some new ideas to share, please write in the comments!

oops 404 image credit: mashable.com

Article by

Stephen Moyers is a writer, web designer, blogger and technology lover. He is currently associated with SPINX Digital, a Los Angeles web design agency. You can follow Stephen on Twitter and Google+.

Stephen has written 7 articles at iBlogzone.com

1 Nhick March 12, 2014 at 2:55 pm

This is what I’m looking for, thanks for listing some useful sites. Checking broken links now and hopefully be able to fix them properly.

2 Stephen Moyers March 13, 2014 at 6:52 am

Thanks. Am sure you would be able to fix them. If you can locate them, your first task is done, and the second is to put them back together. Best of luck!!!


Dean Saliba

March 13, 2014 at 10:51 am

How do you handle broken links on your own site? This is a question I have been pondering for a while – Say you run a plugin like Broken Link Checker and you find some broken links on your pages and the domain that is being linked is no longer active, do you just delete the link and put (link deleted)? Do you find a similar site and replace it? Or do you do something else?

4 Stephen Moyers March 14, 2014 at 10:47 am

Hey, good question, Saliba. In cases where the link is no longer active, do not delete it. Instead find a similar site which you find relevant to replace the broken link. Hope this helps..

5 Razvan Gavrilas March 13, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Tks for mentioning cognitiveSEO , Stephen.

In terms of broken link building a great strategy would be to check for example on your competitor link profiles for broken links and filter those down and contact those websites owners in order to get a link back to your own product by offering a better alternative to the webmaster πŸ˜‰

Great work Stephen πŸ˜‰

6 Stephen Moyers March 14, 2014 at 11:53 am

Thanks Razvan! That’s an awesome idea. Our competitors can shake their heads for a moment and am sure they are going to like it. I feel it would be surprising for the webmasters too. πŸ™‚



March 14, 2014 at 10:30 am

Hey there.
Well broken links are or could be the worst nightmare of any concern blogger. Having a site with good link can bring you in the search engine rankings. On the other hand broken links can bring you down.


8 Stephen Moyers March 14, 2014 at 10:48 am

Yep! You have mentioned right. Broken links are terrible errors and a big concern for any blogger. What good sites can do, broken links can do just the opposite. So, stay at bay.

9 Worli March 15, 2014 at 11:38 am

Hello Stephen,

Its a great strategy but very time consuming. I think its more easy to build new links then to hunt for broken links on other websites. But its also worth to try if the link is from high authority domains.

10 Stephen Moyers March 18, 2014 at 7:25 am

Hi Worli. I do agree that finding broken links is time consuming. But at the end, linking matters. Broken link building has a major advantage as authoritative sites give your link a strong foothold on the web.

11 Debu Shah March 15, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Completely agree with you.Broken link always bring problems and down the ranking.your blog has given useful information to work out.

12 Stephen Moyers March 19, 2014 at 10:20 am

Hi Debu,
Glad that you liked the post! Broken links or 404 are definitely a No due to the reasons you mentioned. On the other hand, broken link building is impressive and effective in getting high-quality links. That’s why it is becoming one of the popular tactics in SEO and inbound marketing.

13 Juan March 16, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I have 21 broken link right now. My friend told me that I need to solve that broken link and my blog will see as a good blog in Google eye. Yes I agree with him

14 Stephen Moyers March 18, 2014 at 7:26 am

Juan, I suggest the same what your friend asks you to do. That is fixing your broken links. Broken link building is one of the simplest ways to fix 404 error pages and take advantage of them.

15 Ahsan March 17, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Checking broken link building is very important. It makes a site to stop getting good rank in search Engine as well as make bad impression. You added some useful sites as well as WP plugin. So its helpful for all bloggers.

I think we must check the broken link regularly. Happy Blogging πŸ™‚

16 Stephen Moyers March 18, 2014 at 7:26 am

Thanks Ahsan. Broken link building hasn’t been explored in a great way, mostly because it requires both time and labor. You need to be unique and creative, and be able to reactivate broken links successfully. Once you do that, you are sure to rebuild trust among users and promote your attractive links without any break.

17 Monu March 29, 2014 at 8:04 am

Great post. Identifying broken links and making it workable improves user experience and satisfied users means more optimised website. Thanks for sharing.

18 Stephen Moyers April 2, 2014 at 11:52 am

Hi Monu, Thanks for your great comments. Broken link building indeed is a great link building tactic. Lately, it is getting more popular. It gives you quick links and makes the web a better place.

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