Many people jump straight to creating a “similar” replacement page after finding a dead page with backlinks. This is a mistake for two reasons:
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Your broken page may not have any good backlinks. In which case, there’s no point pursuing the opportunity or creating a replacement page.
You need to understand why people linked to the dead page to create a replacement page. This is how you keep your content and outreach in sync, which leads to higher success rates.
You can figure out both things by vetting the page’s link prospects.
Here’s the process in a nutshell:
Flowchart showing decision-making process of choosing whether to pursue a broken link opportunity
a) Check link quality
If a broken link building opportunity is unlikely to lead to high-quality links, it’s pointless pursuing it. So the first step is a quick spot-check to see whether the dead page has desirable backlinks.
Here’s how to see a page’s live backlinks:
Go to Site Explorer
Enter the dead page’s URL
Go to the Backlinks report
Set the grouping mode to “One link per domain”
Set “Show history” to “Don’t show”
Using the Backlinks report in Ahrefs' Site Explorer to check link quality
Then you can eyeball the report to get a sense of backlink quality.
You can do this by reviewing each link manually, but that’s inefficient for a spot-check. It’s quicker to filter the report for links with attributes that tend to align with quality.
Everyone’s criteria will differ slightly here, but these four filters are a helpful place to start:
“Dofollow” links only. This excludes most low-value links such as those from directories, forums, and blog comments.
Exclude subdomains. This excludes links from places like blogspot, which are often low-quality and spammy.
DR 5+. This excludes links from very low-authority websites.
Domain traffic: 20+. This excludes links from websites with little to no traffic.