Making Broken Links A Valuable SEO Tool

Making broken links a valuable SEO tool

So-called building up of "dead link mass" has become extremely popular in the SEO industry. The essence of technology is to assume site owners to replace a link to the non-existing page with a link to your site. As a rule, broken links are leading to the page "404". A link that is located on the relevant page for your resource is an excellent base for placing a link to your own website. So you just show the webmaster of the third-party resource the non-available page of their website and offer in return to place your link there instead.

Why Broken Links Technology Is So Popular Today?

• SEO specialists actually care about improving the web pages. They help the webmasters to identify "spoiled" links, and, thereby, improve the quality of sites. So the fewer there are broken links in the network, the more reasons SEOs have to be proud.

• In an effort to get your own benefit, you get an excellent opportunity to do it beautifully. After all, before offering a third-party website owner cooperation, you give him valuable information.

• It is beneficial for quick reference. If your letter is in the framework of the "broken links" campaign is perceived positively by the third-party site webmaster, you get the link in just a day or two after that. That is much faster than if you try to persuade the site owner to examine your site and products / articles.

• It is a relatively new method that gives consistently good results for many professionals of link-building.

Tools For Broken Links Technology

Website of decent quality. No one would refer to a low-grade resource, even in exchange for the detection of bad links.

Google Chrome with the expansion of My Links or Domain Hunter.

Open Site Explorer (OSE).

You can also use the following tools to improve the efficiency of methods:

Xenu Link Sleuth.

Screaming Frog.

W3C's Link Checker.

• Plug-ins for Gmail - Rapporative and Boomerang.

• Automatic answers for emails (this would really accelerate the process of reaching out).

How To Find Broken Links

• Use Check My Links extension on any of the pages you ever attend.

• Check the Top Pages panel in OSE with respect to any potentially interesting site in the search for an error page 404. External links to them will appear in the Top Pages.

• Use search operators at Google to find relevant sites. This should lead to hundreds of sites with lists of links related to your industry. Use the search settings to see the top 100 results and export them to CSV, using SERP Control Panel in MozBar. Rank available options by the page or domain importance. Pick the most promising ones for your broken links campaign or look for more effective searches on Optimizesmart site. Visit selected sites, checking them through the Check My Links extension.

  1. intitle:KEYWORD inurl:links -exchange
  2. intitle:KEYWORD inurl:resources
  3. inurl:links KEYWORD –

• Add the lists of links to the Xenu / Screaming Frog in search of 404 pages and pass them through the OSE. Alternatively, you can run one of the pages to find the status of its outbound links codes.

• Check the resource through the W3C's Link Checker looking for broken links.

• When you find broken links, scan them through the OSE, to determine who else refers to them. Just one such link can lead you to 5-10 potentially interesting links.

• Export all available profiles backlinks of your competitor through OSE. Combine the results. Filter the URL, containing the word «link», «directory», «where to buy», «resources» or any other words that are relevant to your industry. Sort sites by PA / DA, visits, links running test programs, e-mail.

Determination Of The Quality Of The Target Reference

Once you find a site with the bad link, you will need to decide whether it is worth all of your attention.

When to ask for the link

When better not to

  • A good Pagerank/ MozRank

  • More than 1000 links placed on one page

  • Social activity goes on
  • Spam-links

  • Good web design

  • More than 10 bad links

What To Do If There Are Too Many Broken Links?

If you find the page with too many broken links (10 or more), you can select one of the following options:

• Decide that this page is of poor quality, so you are just not interested.

• Send e-mail to site administrators and specify a couple of broken links, like you don’t know about the rest of them.

• Send e-mail to site administrators and specify all the broken links. In this case, most likely, a potential partner will either decide not to refresh the page, or remove it totally.

The decision about which of the suggested behaviors to choose depends entirely on you and the needs of the site that is the main goal of your campaign.

At the same time try not be too meticulous in this issue, because there are quite high chances that you just do not get a response to your email.

Find Site Owner contact information

• Look for his e-mail on the contact page or in the footer of the site.

• Use the formula: «Google site: DOMAIN.COM email».

• Or: «Google site: DOMAIN.COM @ DOMAIN.COM».

• Look for a resource on Twitter. This is the easiest way of communication.

• Check WhoIs.

• Try to use the feedback form posted on the website (if available).

• Use The Contact Finder, if you are working with a large address list.

Templates For E-mail Distribution

Once you have successfully discovered interesting pages, you will need to implement properly the "capture" of the identified target audience. Implement it you will, as already mentioned, by means of e-mail messages to the address of the site owner or his administration.

We offer 5 successful options for setting the letters that will allow you to strike up a dialogue with a potential partner. Each of the examples is adapted to the different groups of sites / clients. In the process you can determine for yourself which of the options (or a combination of templates) is the most effective for you.

Option 1: Fast and defiantly.

Subject Line: (DOMAIN.COM) question


Are you still updating (DOMAIN.COM)? I found a broken link I'd like to show you.


Where to send it? It’s ideal for sites that look like they were created in the 90s and since then have not been updated. Also suitable for resources, the quality of which isn’t really high. No need to spend too much time on the sites that are not worth waiting for the response.

Why does it work? Paradoxically, but this form of writing is one of the most successful. Being as simple as possible, such a letter asks specific questions honest and openly makes an offer. That is why, as a rule, it always catches the attention of webmasters actually engaged in the resource update. After receiving the answer, just share the page link, as well as your offer, explaining why it is useful and valuable for the owner.

Option 2: Pressure.

Subject Line: (DOMAIN.COM) broken link



I'd love to have (OUR / MY) website (WWW.DOMAIN.COM) added to your great list of (LINKS / RESOURCES).


Also, I found a few broken links on your site. Is this the right place to report them?

Look forward to hearing back from you


Where to send it? To any site that has pages with broken links which you are interested as a platform for placing links to your site.

Why does it work? You initially give to understand that you want to obtain a reference. That is the webmaster immediately understands that in order to get information from you about the non-working Link, he will have in return to place a link to your site. After all, no normal person will answer you: "No, I won’t give any links to your website. But give me the information on broken links on". So, either you get what you want, or they will be left without such valuable information.

Option 3: Both of you gaining results.

Who should use this template? All professionals link builders who don’t want to spend time on the templates selection. This option is quite multi-purpose.

Subject Line: (FIRST NAME), (DOMAIN.COM) broken links


My name is (YOUR FIRST NAME) and I wanted to let you know I really liked your post about (TOPIC OF ONE OF THEIR BLOG POSTS - NOT THE EXACT TITLE AND NOT THE MOST RECENT ONE). The part I particularly enjoyed was the part about (QUOTE FROM POST BECAUSE....).

However, when I was looking at your (DESCRIBE PAGE/POST), I noticed (A/SOME) broken (LINK/LINKS).

(LINK 1)

(LINK 2)


When you are fixing the page, I also think you should consider adding these two resources:




I hope this email reaches you safely and helps you out a bit.

I look forward to hearing back from you soon.


Where to send it? To any site that has broken links problem, which is interesting to you as a partner.

Why does it work? By offering two seemingly random sites, you don’t show your interest. The administrator simply decides that you want to help them. Just be sure first that the recommendations about second site are not about your competitor.

Option 4: The power of the brand.

Who should use this template? All link building specialists running on relatively well-known company in its field.

Subject Line: (SITE OWNER FIRST NAME), (DOMAIN.COM) broken link


My name is (YOUR FIRST NAME) and I wanted to let you know I really liked your post about (TOPIC OF A BLOG POST - NOT EXACT TITLE AND NOT THE MOST RECENT ONE). The part I particularly enjoyed was the part about (QUOTE FROM THEIR POST).

I work at (COMPANY NAME) and after being in the INDUSTRY/NICHE field for a few years, I've become really passionate about INDUSTRY/NICHE and I'm happy to have found your site.

When I was looking at your (DESCRIPTION OF PAGE WITH BROKEN LINK) page, I noticed that one of the links was broken. The link labeled (BROKEN LINK ANCHOR TEXT) isn't currently working. (OPTIONAL: DO YOU KNOW WHERE THAT LINK IS SUPPOSED TO GO?)

Also, I hope you would consider adding our website (WWW.YOURSITE.COM) as an additional (RESOURCE/RECOMMENDATION/ALTERNATIVE) to your great (DESCRIPTION OF PAGE WITH BROKEN LINK) page. We'd be honored to be included on your site and I think the link would provide great value to your visitors due to our (BRAND UNIQUE SELLING POINT).

Have a nice (DAY/NIGHT).

I look forward to hearing back from you soon.



Where to send it? To any site with broken links that is a promising partner for you.

Why does it work? Any site owner will be glad to receive the recognition and flattering compliments from well-known companies. In addition, they will thank you for pointing on the bad links. How can they refuse you in a link after that?

Option 5. Link building Master.

Fifth template generally does not involve any templates. The true master builds relations with a potential partner before gaining benefit. The general mechanism of this technique can be described in the following paragraphs:

1. Leave a comment under one of the posts on the site of the potential partner. Make sure that the message appears adequate and honest.

2. Send an e-mail with praise and a question relating to their materials or the overall theme.

3. After receiving a response, send a letter of thanks. Repeat steps 1 and 2, it it’s available due to your conversation content.

4. Become a member of their group in the social network. Periodically repost their content, so that they won’t forget about you.

5. Again, send an e-mail, indicating a broken link in and casually suggesting your site to replace the non-working link or as an addition to the list of references on the desired page.

Where to send it?

It’s ideal for any site. However, due to the complexity of the process, the reception should be used only for the most high-quality and interesting resources. Get backlinks from these sites is usually difficult, and therefore will have to exert maximum effort.

Why does it work? Firstly, you are communicating on a personal level and showing your interest in the resource. Secondly, the site owner will be grateful to your support (letters, repost, comments). As a result you get what you want.

Note! This method is the best for increasing the reverse link mass. Also it is perfect for working not only with bad links, but also for other SEO-strategies.

Tips On E-mails

• Send letters one by one. Be honest and try to look as useful as possible.

• Do not use the full URL. This will increase the risk that your letter will go to the "Spam" folder.

• Search the name and the email address of the website owner. Be persistent in achieving your goal. Use Google, social networks and WHOIS to get the right information.

• The more personalized your letters are, the more effective are these recommendations. Be yourself. Being unique and eccentric sometimes is better than showing a low-key professionalism and old-fashioned style.

• Use a woman's name.

• End the letter with a question or with some suggestion, implying that you need a response.

• Always double check the correctness of e-mail addresses. Using templates can be dangerous if you are not too careful. Therefore, make sure that the letter reaches the desired goal.

• If you make a mistake while sending the letter template, fix it and finish the job.

• Remember that you will never get a link in response to the unsent letter!

Note! If you are a true professional in site promoting, try to find the phone number of technical support or website owner. Real conversation will greatly increase your chances of backlinks.

Broken Link Building - Page 301

Sometimes, in order to encourage masters to make adjustments on a particular page on your site, it is not necessary to have broken links. For example, it can work great with the error 301. You just tell the owner of the site, that you wanted to send the users to, but it actually sent them to He will probably want to remove the incorrect link. Therefore in this situation you can also obtain benefit.

Explore incoming links of your competitors’ sites and find the URL resource linking them through 301. For example, you have, which redirects to the website Your task is to contact with the administrator / owner of and explain to him that instead of sending users to a specific resource, they mistakenly send them to a completely different site. Also, of course, do not forget to offer your site as an additional facility for outgoing relink.

As a result, you kill two birds with one stone - your competitor will lose one external link, and you, on the contrary, will increase the number of inbound links per one unit.

This technique is not suitable for cases with a link leading to a page of the same company, but with a different URL. But in your e-mail you can, along with indication of broken links, also indicate on 301 error which will only be a plus.

Exchanging The Links And Directories

Pointing on broken links often becomes a great opportunity to enter the paid directory or website that requires a mutually beneficial link exchange. It is worth to pay attention to it if you are looking for a way to get a paid directory or dream about a partner site that is willing to exchange links without using spam techniques.

Restoring Content

Sometimes, chasing bad links can bring you to page 404 qith 5-20 external link leading to it. Some of these links will be a real treasure for you. However, don’t be too happy. The problem is that your site is not a 100% replacement for the content on the page 404. So you should think about how to remedy the situation.

Even if your site refers to the same topic, chances are that you have a once popular, but now no longer existing 10-year-old article are most likely quite low. So you need to restore the content. First of all you need to put a broken link in the Wayback Machine to find out what kind of information was provided on this page. Knowing this, you can re-create the content on their website. If possible, try to adapt the material for the resource, making it suiting for your company.

After the content will get a second life, contact the webmaster of the site with the broken links, and tell him about the absence of the webpage. Next, firmly but politely let them know what you have some content that is ideal for replacement of broken links.

This technique is time-consuming, but you will be with the results. After all, you're creating content that is sure to be highly appreciated by the webmasters of potential partner sites.


The given strategies of broken link building have much in common, though differ considerably in complexity. So every SEO specialist will be able to choose the optimal option considering his energy and time.

Just start with the simple, then adding more and more new techniques. As a result, links to your site will soon appear on the most interesting and effective platforms. But be prepared for the numerous failures. Do not focus on them and continue your way towards leadership in the PageRank.