Broken link building guide

Broken Link Building Guide: Steps to Build Quality Backlinks

Table of Contents

You know it, don’t you?

The more high quality backlinks your website earns, the higher its search position will be.

That’s why every digital marketer is crazy about backlinks. But you have to invest a lot of time and effort to build a high-quality backlink. And, that’s why people spend hundreds of bucks for a single link from sites like HuffingtonPost, Entrepreneur, etc.

But you don’t have to spend a lot for a high-quality backlink if you understand the art of broken link building. You can apply this to your own blogs and your client sites as well.


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What Exactly is Broken Link Building?

I don’t think you need an explanation on broken link. But for the sake of the introduction, I am going to describe concisely what broken link building really means.

No, it’s not as it sounds like! Broken link building is not building broken links (which obviously has no advantages to anyone). But it is reaping benefits out of a broken link by reaching out to the site owner (who has a broken link on his site) to get a backlink.

But it is easier said than done! Unlike any other marketing method, the conversion rate of broken link building is very less- mostly under 10%!

You may think this is not worth your time. Still, SEO maestros like Neil Patel and Brian Dean use this way to boost their search rankings. (And, I really think 10 HQ backlinks are far way better than 1000 GSA blasted links for your main site).

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How to Start Broken Link Building for SEO?

I have divided this guide into several parts for your convenience. As I said earlier, broken link building is not a quick process, and it needs time to see the fruit.

Step 1: Finding the Targets

You need a bunch of HQ target sites to have links to your website, don’t you? As we are aiming for the high-quality links, this process may take some time to filter out gold from the coal.

The target finding can be done in three ways.

  • Keyword Based: Here, you hunt for broken links on pages targeting the same keyword. So, you need to be extra vigilant in selecting the keyword.
  • Domain Based: You search an entire domain for broken links. Say Your quest doesn’t go out of it.
  • Single URL Based: You select a URL, for example, And, you check every link on it to find a broken one.

I always recommend going with the first one due to the number of opportunities it brings. So let’s find out how to unleash the broken links.

We have a keyword, ‘natural remedies for pimples’. In order to find the broken links, we have to get the search results first, right? So, I searched for the same on Google. (You can use this advanced Google Search Operators to get URLs as well).

Find Natural Broken Links

As you can see, it yielded 4,47,000 results. And, we don’t need more than 50 pages (further results lack quality most probably).

You can adopt several methods to grab the list of URLs from search results. Either you can manually copy and paste the web addresses into a Notepad window, or you can use Scrapebox. The first method is time-consuming while the second one is expensive.

Don’t worry! I have found a free and easy way to export the URLs of the search results. 😀 

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How to Bulk Export the Search Result URLs for Free?

All you need is a Chrome extension called LinkClump. Soon after you add it to Chrome, you will see a new Y-like button on the toolbar. Clicking on it will give you a list of option among which Options should be your pick.


You have to Add an action here.


Choose the pair of activation keys (I’ve selected Mouse Middle Button), Now select “Copied to Clipboard” as the action and Change the Copy Format to “URLS only”. Then, hit the Save button.

Now Google your query and press the activation keys. You can see a rectangle on each link. Don’t release the keys unless you select all the links. (In my case, I have to hold the Mouse Middle Button and select all the links by dragging the mouse over the links.)

Open a Notepad window (or any note taking tool) right away and press Ctrl+ V. There you go!

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Similarly, you can go to the second page and copy the URLs.

Isn’t this easy?

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How to Bulk Check for Broken Links?

The next task is to check each URL for broken links. As we have about 50 URLs, visiting each of them manually and checking the links will not be practical. So you need a tool here as well.

Xenu Link Sleuth is the one.

Download and install the tool. Open the tool and go to Options, click Preferences !!

You will see a Maximum level field there. If you only want to check the exact URLs for broken links, you must keep them as zero. In case you want to check the linked pages from the URL, you can raise the number. The higher the value, the deeper the checking will be.

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Now go to File menu. There you can find a couple of useful options- Check URL and Check URL list. For the bulk checking, we use the second one (Check URL list). After clicking “Check URL List”, upload the .txt file that you just made.  

Xenu Link Sleuth

On execution, you will get red results for broken links and green for healthy. (Keep in mind that we are going to earn links from the websites that have the broken links).

What if You Choose Domain or Single URL Based Link Hunting?

For domain-based checking, you can use Xenu Link Sleuth and increase the Maximum level for the deep check.

And for Single URL-based link hunting, you are provided with a lot of tools. Check My Links and Domain Hunter are two Chrome Plugins to check for broken links on a particular page. Alternatively, you can use W3C Link Checker as well.

A broken link building campaign becomes a success when you target on a bulk level; that’s why I explained the bulk checking more.

Incentive: Do you mind having more links with relevant broken links on it? But for this bonus method to work, you need a backlink checker (Ahrefs, Moz or Majestic preferred). From the above method, you must already have at least ten broken links. Just copy the URL of one of them and check the backlinks. There you go! The list you get here are the URLs of web pages linking to the non-existing page. Iterate the process with remaining broken links for more results.

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Filtering the Results

So you have a number of web pages with broken links on it. Now, we have to realize the gold from coal. As we all know, a backlink can make or break an entire site. That’s why you should exclude the low-quality sites from the list.

To determine the quality, carry out the following.

#1. Check Link Profile: Take the URL of a web page from which you want to get a backlink and check its link profile. You can sense the presence of spamming at once by visiting the linking domains, checking the anchor texts, etc.

#2. Analyze the Website: A manual analysis will not hurt either. If a site is loaded with unnatural sitewide and contextual links, you must cut it from your list within no time.

#3. Social Share: The higher the social shares, the better its search performance will be. Apparently, the SEO juice will flow into the linked pages as well. So, you must also check the social shares (I know it can be manipulated. Still, it’s pivotal).

#4. Site Metrics: There will be nothing wrong in checking Alexa Rank, DA, PA, CF, etc. But you should not rely entirely on them. Use SEMRush to check how a particular website performs on Google. You should pick it up if it has a lot of good search positions. (I prefer at least 20 DA).

You have a filtered high-quality list of web pages with broken links on it. The next step is outreaching.

But before that, I have a question for you. For which content you want to do broken link building, already written or to-be-written?

If the former is the case, you can jump directly into outreaching. And, for the second case, a content generation part comes in the middle.

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Step 2: Content Generation

Say, you have targeted a good keyword and found a good amount of high-quality websites with a broken link on the same topic. A good internet marketer smells an opportunity there.

If you are lazy to generate new content for the sole purpose backlink earning, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a content writer either. But for writing the content, you must understand what the site owner really meant to give to his/ her audience with that broken link (at the time of writing the post, it was active for sure).

For that, you can seek the help of Wayback Machine (make sure you put the broken link into the field). To make your research cunning, you can switch the date to the day the backlink became active or the day the post (with the broken link) was published.

Wayback Machine

And, read the content carefully. Then, make a compelling article with the information he shared and with your own researched data as well. Don’t forget to keep the core topic the same. Or else, you will fail to get the link.

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Step 3: Outreaching

You have the list of websites and a compelling article published on your blog. If you have multiple blogs on the same niche, you can publish two different posts on the same topic to present the both before the site owner (avoid spinners for God’s sake).

The first task you should do for the outreach process is grabbing the contact details of site owners who keep the broken links.

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How to Get the Contact Details of the Site Owners?

I feel social media is not the best place for backlink outreach, so I keep the same out of the picture.
Most of the sites have a Contact Us page link on the top navigation bar (or at least on the footer). You can use it. Some admins put their emails as well.

Or you can check whois details of the domain to get the email. There are some paid tools to find out the contact details like Link Research Tools Contact Finder, Buzzstream, etc. As we are on a shoelace budget, I overlook them too.

Whois Details of Domain

If nothing works out, you can ask your blogging buddies, who the owner of a particular site is. I am sure that they will help you in any possible way.

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How to Contact them?

Here is the tricky part. No one ever cares to give a backlink for a guy who says, “Hey, I found a broken link on your site. I want to see a link to my site there. When can you give it”?

So you should take each step carefully. I hope the following tips will help you.

  • If you have multiple sites, you don’t have to mention the content is yours. (In case, you put your name everywhere on the blogs, this may yield negative results. But for client sites, you should act as a regular reader who needs their site to be seen perfect).
  • Be polite.
  • Start by calling their name.
  • Try to appreciate their content in a natural way in a line or two.
  • No grammar mistakes or typos at all.

I have written a template for those who want a readymade email. You can customize it each time before sending. The template are at the end of the post 🙂


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Step 4: Keeping the Log

In order to prevent sending emails twice to the same person, you should log your process. MS Excel is my best companion when it comes to logging anything.

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I have created a sample template for you. But you can make it more innovative with your ideas.

And, you should manually check the web pages to find out whether they put the links or not. Some website owners do reply and some other don’t. So it’s your job to check the pages for your links.

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Get your Email template for outreach. 🙂

[et_bloom_locked optin_id=optin_6]

Subject: – Appreciating the {Post Name} article and Broken Link Alert

Hello {Name of the Site Owner},
I have stumbled upon your article on {topic of the post} during my research for a new blog post. With every tiny bit of detail, your guide helped me a lot.
But I found out {number of broken links} broken links on that page.

They are
{URL of broken link 1}
{URL of broken link 2}

I got a couple of other articles during my research as well, and I think the anchor texts of the above-mentioned broken links will be meaningful with these.
{URL of your first post}
{URL of your second post}

Thanks a lot for crafting such a useful guide. And, keep on providing the knowledge from your experience and wisdom.
{Your Name}


Wrapping Up

I know your thoughts now. 😛 

‘Hey dude, this takes hell lots of time. And, how can I be sure about getting links as it depends completely on the other person’s mind?’
Yes, I admit it. You are right by every word. But imagine the result if you bag at least five quality links (niche specific, authoritative and non-spammy).

You have to keep doing it continuously as I said earlier. The higher the number of emails you send, the greater the backlinks you get.

Neil Patel and Brian Dean believe in the power of broken link building, and you still are skeptical??

Come on, shake of your laziness and try this for a month. You will thank me later for insisting on doing this.

About The Author
Pranay Khatri
Hey Mates, I am Pranay Khatri author of Reviews Pilot, I started this blog to share reviews of various digital products/tools & now expanding this blog with more interesting topics to learn about basics of Blogging, SEO, Internet Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, etc.

70 Responses

  1. Congratulations for your great post about link building. I am a big fan of the broken link building strategy and have had good success with it. My favorite tool is the “Check my links” Google Chrome extension to check web pages for broken links. If I find a broken link, I email the webmaster and ask him/her if they would like to replace it with my link.

    I think the broken link building strategy is a great way to obtain new backlinks because you actually help fellow webmasters fix their websites and you establish a healthy relationship with them in the same time.

    With this one strategy, you get more backlinks, your website ranks higher on Google, and you help the Internet be a better place ????

  2. Hello Pranay, This article is really very informational. Thanks for writing such an amazing article. I want to ask you that what if the whole website is broken (not available). Can I copy the content of it? Or any strategy by which I can use their contents or keywords?

  3. Hey Pranay Thanks for sharing this wonderful article. This is what I was looking. I have just start blogging. Very useful information to setup a website to look and work more professional.

  4. Hi Pranay Thanks for simplifying broken link building method. I appreciate your work but it will consume a lot of time. I personally use Blog Commenting to increase my backlinks (Nofollow links are still working for me). BTW Thanks again.

  5. Hello Pranay, it’s really worthy to read. I’ve heard about broken wikipedia link tricks before. And for that someone have to create any post equivalent to the previous post or more better. Hope your article will help me to improve my offpage SEO even better.

  6. Thanks for this awesome guide Pranay. Loved the way you described all this practically. Really excited to work on these aspects of link building.

  7. Awesome thing, But can we buy expired domain with good backlinks and redirect 301 to our main website?

    Can i get penalized by this way?

  8. Loved to read the full article on link building. This is the new thing I get from here and also one of a very important thing which I can improve for my blog. I agree with your point that making 10 high-quality backlink is far better than 1000 low-quality ones. Yes, this majorly plays an important part in SEO. Again thanx for writing such wonderful article

  9. Hi Pranay,

    What an amazing guide about broken link building, this is an extensive post which is packed with precious information. You have nicely explained each and every step that who one can benefited form this method and earn some quality backlinks.

    Thanks for fantastic share once again 🙂



  10. Great article. I’ve tried this technique, but it’s too much time-consuming, we gave up. I know how important it is and have to get back to doing it.

  11. Hi ,

    I am searching very authority and healthy creative link buildint techniques. I found the tips from your blog and i have got the tips from kulwant nagi youtube tutorials. All the pros recommends the pure broken link building, as it it very effective and safe. Thanks pranay khatri for this excellent post.


  12. Well again a great post to share. I am wondering how u guys invent these kind of strategies. Still lot to learn from you Guys and cannot leave without saying “Best link building technique”.

  13. Very explanatory article, mentioned all the required points for building broken link.
    This will surely get the better results.
    Thanks a ton for sharing with us , Sir!

  14. Hi Pranay,

    I used Xenu in past for scrapping some of the expired domains, but I never thought of this use of it. You do have shared some great strategy to follow which I will apply for sure. Thanks a ton for your work brother.

  15. I would like to add one more thing; we can use Ahref tool also for Broken links. Just put your competitor’s links and find broken links and outreach them.
    It is the easiest way to find broken links

  16. Hai, Pranay Khatri, this is an amazing article which gives the hell lot of info about ‘broken link building’,From my experience I use XENU, it is an awesome tool. I use it extensively and I Highly recommend it to everyone.

  17. Hey Pranay Khatri Great list man,

    Amazing resource here, 🙂 I’m happy this was helpful 🙂 I’ve tried broken link building but because it takes so long, we gave up. I know how important it is and have to get back to doing it. I was trying broken link building technique, but some tool like check my links is not showing right result.

    I used to use Buzzstream….when I did outreach at scale, but that was a few years ago….getting back into the game, so trying to figure out what works now 🙂 This is a quality article for sure it will make webmasters to give time for checking broken links as well.

    Thanks a’lot great post.This is a quality article for sure it will make webmasters to give time for checking broken links as well. Again big thanks for this valuable information, Keep Posting!

    Have a Nice Day 🙂 Happy Blogging 🙂

  18. Hi Pranay,
    I was familiar with Broken link building technique through Brain Dean. But here also you have done a great job, I was able to learn some new things.
    Thanks for sharing. Have a good day.

    1. It totally depends on How you approached? How many emails was sent? To whom emails was sent? How was email drafted?
      If you do in a proper way, I am sure you will get some excellent results. You can follow my email templates which I used.

  19. Quality backlinks are the backbone of any successful blog. Doesn’t matter how good your content is, or how many hours you put to produce the content, if you are not making relevant backlinks, there is no worth of your content.

    I have personally used this technique around 5-6 months back for one of my niche sites and I got good results.

    This technique is bit hectic, but once you do it in a right way, the outcome you get is huge.

    Bravo for putting such a nice guide and helping the fellow bloggers by explaining in easy steps.

    1. Hey Kulwant,
      First of all, thank you so much for spending the time to reading my post and sharing your views here.
      Yes, when I start digging these methods it was hectic task to build HQ backlinks from broken links. I wasn’t sure that this is going to be work or not but when I applied and approached some webmasters, the outcome was excellent as few of them was agree to give backlinks (Success ratio was about 6% – 10%).
      Thanks again for appreciating my post, it is my pleasure to have such words from you 🙂

  20. Great article. I’ve tried broken link building but because it takes so long, we gave up. I know how important it is and have to get back to doing it.

  21. Hello Pranay

    Thanks for sharing the worth article with us. I am using this technique so effectively. MY traffic and ranked boost up and I received approx 16k dollar from my money site in just 5 months of working and gaining 80% of do follow links. Keep writing Brother your writing is too good. I believe that You making some good money through it. Hit me the mail if you wish to connect with me at [email protected] or connect me on skype at vipin192 . Love to talk.

  22. Hey Pranay,

    Thumbs up for this awesome post ,excellent explanation I wish you had added a video tutorial also with this post.

    Everyone would have love more 🙂 anyways worth reading.


    1. Hi Shahnawaz,
      Thanks for your suggestion, in future I’ll consider that and will try to make video tutorials too for my upcoming posts and will explain each and every aspect 🙂

  23. HQ is actually a fantastic way to build backlinks. Broken Link building is extraordinary the way you explained. Thanks for giving detailed information about the broken link building.

  24. Hey dude, this takes hell lots of time. And, how can I be sure about getting links as it depends completely on the other person’s mind? 😉

    U already read our Mind …..

    1. Yes Shahin,
      Because I also thought the same as if I am doing these hectic tasks, will I get positive results but finally I got and thought to share my A to Z guide to show you guys that how it actually works 🙂

  25. Thanks for explaining innovative way for broken link building. New blogger like me also understand the concept behind this, it shows quality of this post. Thanks.

  26. I always thought that Broken links are not so useful. But today i knew a lot of things.
    One Question: Pranay, can we boost our SERP thorugh these types of links?

    1. Hi Ravindra,
      Yes, Of course ! when you are building HQ backlinks, the ultimate result will be increase rankings in SERPs. Actually not only in HQ broken link building, any type of authority/high quality backlinks can boost up your site’s ranking.
      Good luck

  27. Thanks Pranay for telling us in such a nice & easy way. This will help a newbie a lot to understand broken link method. I will definitely going to test this.

  28. Hi Pranay,
    Really a great article on broken link building. I never found this type of in-depth guide on this topic.
    Here I also find some great tools.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much Atinder. Its my pleasure to have these type of comments from you guys. Keep reading, more awesome posts are coming soon by Ifti bro 🙂

  29. Hey,

    Here are my few words about this technique.
    Since I have used this technique earlier. The Main challenge I find here is to convince the website owner to insert your link.

    So writing compelling post is a must when following this strategy.

    Thank-you for awesome alternative websites.

    Punit Mahajan

    1. Hi Punit,
      Glad to hear that you applied these techniques already.
      Can you please share your previous expereince how you succeeded, how do you approach webmaster. Please do share so readers of IftiSEO can take benefits out of it.
      Thanks 🙂

  30. Hey Pranay,

    That was really a wonderful way to build the HQ backlinks. The way you explained about the broken link building is extraordinary. Thanks for giving the detailed information about Broken Link Building. Waiting to see more articles from you.

    1. Hi Rama,
      Thanks for appreciation. Must try these steps and I am sure your list of HQ dofollow links will increase.
      Do share your results after applying these tactics. Good luck 🙂

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