Ok. You got me here with your click-baity title. Now give me a reason to stay.

SEO screwed up broken link building Absolutely, but first, repeat after me - "Broken Link Building does not work".

Well, at least not the type of broken link building that gurus have been suggesting from 2005.

(Yes - this strategy is at least that old, if not older)

There are so many articles that outline the following three simple steps to get hundreds of high-quality backlinks -

1. Crawl large website that you want a link from and find a broken link

2. Reach out to webmaster showing how your website is an alternative to the now broken resource

3. The webmaster is extremely pleased to get your email, that a link automagically appears in the broken link's place. A link to your website!

It's all crap.


To know why it does not work, put yourself in the shoes of such a webmaster.

Let's say your name is Jack.

You own a website that is a well-known authority in the space. Your website has hundreds of pages that link out to thousands of other websites. Some of those links are naturally broken. Not many, maybe just two links in total.

But you get 200 emails every day telling you that the link is broken and giving you a link they own to replace it with. They spam your inbox and have the audacity to write their email in a tone to imply they are doing you a favor.

Why the hell does Gmail not know how to auto-flag these emails as Spam? Why do you see red every-time you open your inbox?

Let's admit it - We, the SEO community, have screwed Jack over!

It's not that this strategy is flawed. I'm sure Broken link building worked for a few months sometime back in 2005. But SEOs rushed to it, automated tools started sending mass emails, and now every time someone like Jack sees an email reporting a broken link - their mouse auto-magically clicks the Spam button.

Ok. Smart guy. So broken link building is truly broken. What's an SEO to do now?

Simple. We fix it.

There are two reasons SEOs screwed this up.

1. Recency - Not looking at when the link broke
We don't care about whether the link has been broken for 10 years or 10 days. A webmaster who has not fixed a broken link for the last 10 years is never fixing it. The more recently a link has been broken, the higher the chances the webmaster will fix it.

2.Targeting - Not targeting medium authority niche sites
We keep crawling the top sites in our space, resulting in the same webmaster getting hundreds of emails on the same broken link. Every niche has thousands of websites with good backlink profiles, that are not well known in the space, and no one cares about the broken links on them.

It's not that the SEOs do not see these issues. There just has not been an easy way to solve these two issues. Not up until now anyways...

Aha. Here comes the sales pitch... I must be honest. I am intrigued. How do we fix these two issues?

Let's target the first issue with Recency. What is the best way to know about links on top websites that have broken today?

The typical method of finding broken links is by crawling a large website using software like Screaming Frog. You would need to have this run every day for every single website in your niche. Even Google does not crawl every webpage of every website every single day.

The answer is to turn the problem on its head and ask ourselves, what is the best way to know which websites have disappeared today, and left a bunch of broken links in their wake. The answer is expiring domains.

Expiring domains are domains that have not been renewed, and are in the 30 day period known as "Redemption Grace Period". They won't expire/drop for a few days; however, the websites on these domains now no longer work, and all the links to these expiring domains are effectively broken.

So the solution to the recency problem is to not find websites that you want links from, but to find websites in your niche whose domains have recently entered in the Redemption Grace Period, and therefore have left behind a bunch of fresh broken links that you can target.

Hmm. Interesting. Never thought about it like that. How do we find these domains that are in the Redemption Grace Period?

Sales pitch coming up....

But hey - it's for a tool that we've built ourselves. We never advertise tools that we have not built. Be assured that this tool is as high in quality as Keywords Everywhere.

The tool you want to use to find these expiring domains is DomCop.

The DomCop Newbie Plan gives you access to domains that are in the "Expiring" status - i.e. in the Redemption Grace Period we care so much about now.

Apart from giving you access to a list of these domains, DomCop also incorporates the top industry metrics from Ahrefs, Moz, Majestic, Estibot and many more.

This is how it solves, the second problem i.e. how to find broken backlinks on those domains that are in your niche but are not the top authority websites that get spammed every single day.

The solution here is to rely on the following metrics from top Backlink providers.

1. Majestic Topical Category - category must be in your niche
2. Moz Domain Authority / Majestic Trust Flow
3. Majestic Topical Trust Flow

Let me take you through a short tutorial on how I'd go about finding these domains.

Login to your DomCop account and click on "Advanced" to bring up the advanced search screen.

Find the "Majestic" widget, and select your Niche from the Topical Category and subcategory drop downs. Set the Topical Trust Flow (TTF) to a minimum value of 10. (you can see the full list of Majestic subcategories here)

Majestic Topical Categories

Find the "Ahrefs" widget and choose a minimum of 10 Referring domains (we want to ensure that each expiring domain has at least 10 backlinks we can target) and a minimum Ahrefs Domain Rating of 10.

Ahrefs Metrics

Click on Search and you should see a list of expiring domains matching the criteria we've set. You can now sort by Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR) or Moz Domain Authority or Majestic Trust Flow

DomCop Expiring Domains
You already know the rest of the process. Brian Dean has written a good article on how to find email addresses and draft an email, so no sense is writing about that. You can use a tool like hunter.io to get the email address for those webmasters and can email them manually or use a tool like Mailshake. Just don't spam the crap out of this. Be nice to Jack :)

Now I really can't let you go without an obligatory LOTR SEO meme

Broken Link Building