Broken Link Building: How to Capitalise on Other Websites’ Broken Links

The internet is a dynamic and constantly evolving ecosystem. A significant aspect of this evolution is the phenomenon of link rot, where backlinks break over time, leading to a loss in the overall link value of websites. This occurrence is more common than you might think and has serious implications for your website’s SEO performance.

Link rot refers to the process by which hyperlinks on the internet cease to work over time. The web is constantly changing, and with it, so does SEO. Backlinking is a critical strategy in SEO, and the value of these backlinks can be lost when they break over time. According to data, approximately 8.03% of all links rot after the first three months, and close to 44% of all links are lost after 7 years. This is nearly half of all backlinks leading to your website!

Interestingly, link rot is a continuous process that occurs regardless of the size and authority of the website. While the speed at which sites lose links decreases within the first year, it reaches a steady pace that does not slow down afterward. The health industry has the best survival rates, with 82.29% of links surviving after the first year and 72.79% after 2 years. In comparison, 72.59% of links leading to business sites survive after 1 year.

Moreover, the type of links also impacts their rot speed. For instance, do-follow links rot slower than no-follow links, making them more valuable for SEO and referral traffic. Additionally, backlinks from higher domain authority referring domains rot slower than those from lower authority referring domains.

While link rot is a challenge for SEO, it also presents an opportunity in the form of broken link building, a popular link building tactic. Broken link building is a tactic that takes advantage of broken pages on the web. It involves finding a dead page and asking linkers to swap the links to a working page on your site. The idea is that they’ll do this as they don’t want to send visitors to a dead resource.

Despite its popularity, opinions are divided about its efficacy. However, this doesn’t mean there’s something inherently wrong with the tactic. Link building is hard to execute well—whatever tactic you use. The better you understand the tactic, the more likely you are to have success.

Broken link building is a four-step process:

  • 1. Find broken pages with backlinks
  • 2. Vet the backlinks
  • 3. Create a replacement page
  • 4. Do outreach

The first step is to identify dead pages with backlinks. This can be achieved by using SEO tools that can help you find these pages. Some methods include looking for your competitors’ broken pages with backlinks, searching for broken pages about a particular topic, finding broken links on competing websites, and looking for broken links on resource pages. The exact method of finding these broken pages can vary depending on the SEO tool being used​.

The next step is to vet the backlinks that the broken page has. This is important because not all backlinks are worth pursuing. There are several criteria you should consider when vetting the backlinks. Firstly, you should check whether the linking page is relevant to your website or not. If it’s not, the backlink won’t be beneficial. Secondly, you should also check the referring domain’s authority. Higher domain authority generally means a more valuable backlink. Lastly, you should also consider the relevance of the broken page’s content to your website. If the broken page’s content is not relevant to your website, it’s not worth creating content about​.

3. Create a replacement page

After finding a worthwhile broken page, the next step is to create a replacement page. This should be a page that offers similar or improved content compared to the original broken page.

4. Do outreach

The final step is to reach out to the sites linking to the broken page and suggest your page as a replacement. The article was cut off at this point, but the idea is to contact the owners or webmasters of these sites, explain the issue with the broken link, and propose your page as an alternative. The goal is to get them to update their site and replace the broken link with a link to your page.

While this process can sometimes be successful, it’s also noted that opinions about the effectiveness of broken link building are divided among SEO professionals. Some find it a useful tactic, while others believe it’s not worth the effort due to the time and resources it requires​.


Broken Link Building is a potent tool in the SEO toolkit. By capitalising on the natural decay of the web, you can find opportunities to grow and strengthen your website’s backlink profile. While it requires patience and skill, the potential rewards make it a worthwhile endeavour.