Unlike diamonds, links are not forever. They tend to break over time. Whether it is intentional or a result of updates or lack thereof, a link has to be tended to or it withers away. This may not seem like such a big deal but it is a factor that can affect your SEO and rankings.
There comes a point when you have to reclaim your links. If you don’t then you will start losing authority and your rankings will suffer. Even if that were not the case since you spent so much time, energy, and even money to build those links it would be good practice to protect them from being lost and reclaiming them if they do get broken.
Knowing where to begin is not easy to figure out on your own. From identifying the lost links to inserting redirect codes, it can be overwhelming to get started. In this article, we will go over how to get started and what you need to pay attention to when it comes to rebuilding your lost links.
Finding broken internal links
The very first thing on your to-do list is to find the broken links. Interlinking is important for Google and other search engines to crawl your site and also get a better understanding of what the main topic is. And it is good for the usability of the site for your visitors as they are clicking a link to get more information. If they click a broken link then it sends a signal that the site is not up to date.
Taking the time to find the broken internal links is essential. This sounds tedious, and it can be if you don’t have the help of a script.
If you are a coder then you can create your own crawler that will go through all of your URLs and scope out any links that are broken. Even taking the time to write the code is less time consuming than going through each URL and checking individual links.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to write your own script, then there are a number of paid tools out there from companies like Ahrefs. They will crawl hundreds of URLs in no time and make your life a lot easier.
Finding broken backlinks
The links coming into your site from outside sources are what signal to Google that your site is a trusted authority on a particular topic. This helps them determine which sites should rank on the first page of the SERPs. The problem is that a lot of times these backlinks get lost.
You need to either have them fixed or replaced so you don’t lose any of those “votes of confidence” in the eyes of Google. This is a much bigger challenge than your internal links because they are coming from someboidy else. You don’t have control over fixing those links yourself. It will depend on the goodwill of the person who created the link to begin with.
Just as with internal links, you will need a script that crawls your site to find those broken links so you don’t have to manually go through them one by one.
Fixing your links
The easiest links to fix are the internal ones. You simply replace the link with one that directs the reader to a live URL. Yes, it can be time consuming to do this, but you aren’t waiting for somebody else to do it for you.
Reclaiming the lost external backlinks presents more of a challenge. This will require a manual outreach to the site owner for the backlink in question. In many cases this is simply an oversight and the owner didn’t intentionally change the backlink. It can happen when the site is updated or even in the case that a site is not updated enough. In any case, reaching out to let them know the link is broken will often be enough for them to simply fix it and it is thus reclaimed.
However, there is a big chance that you are not going to hear back when you’ve reached out. In this case, you may have to make a list of the backlinks that you’ve lost for good and start another outreach campaign to other sites asking if they would like to link back to your article.
You can find the competition of the original site and reach out to the owner and let them know that their competition lost the link and maybe they would like to link to the same article as it is helpful to their audience, too.
This is a big reason why you should only use trusted agencies for your backlink campaign as they will have a lot of trusted partners in their network. Buying cheap backlinks off of Fiverr is raising the risk that you will lose backlinks that you paid for. And they likely weren’t valuable links to begin with.
What happens if you don’t reclaim backlinks?
It all depends on the type of backlinks that you’ve acquired as to how much your site will be affected by their loss. For example, if you did buy a package of backlinks from a shady PBN then you are likely not losing much of anything. Those sites in the PBN are usually low quality and high spam scoring sites that don’t pass on much authority.
If you have acquired those links by manually reaching out to high authority sites with low spam scores, then this has a greater chance of affecting your site’s authority. A link or two lost may not do much, but if the links are dropping off regularly then Google will take note and assume that your site has lost authority and act accordingly with the search results.
For the time being, backlinks are very important for your site so until Google finds a way to understand how to treat your site without the use of backlinks, it is essential that you take care of these broken links.