Do Dead Backlinks Still Help SEO: Unveiling the Truth


Get free, instant access to our SEO video course, 120 SEO Tips, ChatGPT SEO Course, 999+ make money online ideas and get a 30 minute SEO consultation!

Just Enter Your Email Address Below To Get FREE, Instant Access!

Do Dead Backlinks Still Help SEO? Well, the short answer is no. But before you chuck those lifeless links out the digital window, hold on! There’s more to this story than meets the eye. 

Join us on this delightful journey as we uncover the secrets of backlinks and their role in the ever-evolving world of search engine optimization.

What is Link Building?

Link building is a crucial aspect of SEO that involves acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. 

These backlinks serve as pathways for users and search engine crawlers to navigate between web pages. 

When reputable websites link to your content, it signals to search engines that your site is trustworthy and authoritative, ultimately boosting your rankings in search results.

The Evolution of Link Building

In the early days of SEO, link building was primarily focused on quantity rather than quality. 

Webmasters would engage in practices like link exchanges, directory submissions, and even purchasing links to artificially inflate their website’s ranking. 

However, as search engines became smarter, they began prioritizing quality over quantity.

Google, in particular, rolled out updates such as Penguin and Hummingbird to penalize websites that engaged in spammy link building tactics

These updates aimed to provide users with more relevant and reliable search results. 

Consequently, link building practices shifted towards a more natural and organic approach.

Is Link Building Really Dead?

Despite claims that link building is dead, it remains an integral part of SEO. 

The focus, however, has shifted towards building high-quality backlinks that are genuinely valuable to users. 

Search engines now place emphasis on factors like relevance, authority, and user experience.

In today’s SEO landscape, link building involves creating compelling content that naturally attracts backlinks from authoritative sources. 

This can be achieved through content marketing strategies such as guest blogging, creating shareable infographics, or developing valuable resources that other websites want to reference.

Do Dead Backlinks Still Help SEO?

Now, let’s address the question at hand: do dead backlinks still help SEO? Dead backlinks, also known as broken or inactive links, are hyperlinks that point to non-existent web pages. 

These links might occur when a website undergoes structural changes, pages are deleted or moved, or external websites are no longer active.

From an SEO perspective, dead backlinks do not directly contribute to your website’s ranking. However, that doesn’t mean they are entirely useless.

Dead backlinks can still have some indirect benefits for your SEO efforts.

For instance, even though a dead backlink might not pass direct link juice to your website, it can still attract organic traffic if it is present on a popular and relevant website. 

Users who click on the dead link might then navigate to other pages on your website, increasing overall engagement and potentially leading to conversions.

Moreover, dead backlinks provide an opportunity for link reclamation. 

By identifying and reaching out to webmasters who have linked to your website with broken links, you can request them to update the links with the correct URLs. 

This helps ensure a seamless user experience and prevents potential loss of traffic.

Characteristics of ‘Good’ or High-Quality Backlinks

When it comes to building backlinks for your website, not all links are created equal. 

High-quality backlinks possess certain characteristics that make them valuable for search engine optimization (SEO) and contribute positively to your website’s authority. 

Let’s explore the key characteristics of good backlinks:


Relevance is a fundamental characteristic of a good backlink. It refers to the alignment between the content of the linking page and the content of your website. 

When a backlink comes from a website or page that is topically related to your own, it sends a strong signal to search engines that your website is a reliable source of information in that specific field. 

Relevant backlinks not only enhance your SEO efforts but also attract targeted traffic from users interested in the topic at hand.

Link to Trusted and Authority Websites

Another important characteristic of high-quality backlinks is that they come from trusted and authoritative websites

Search engines consider links from reputable sources as an endorsement of your website’s credibility

When authoritative websites link to your content, it can significantly boost your own website’s authority and improve its chances of ranking higher in search results. 

Look for websites with a strong online presence, established reputation, and a track record of providing reliable and valuable information.

Generating Traffic

Good backlinks have the potential to generate significant traffic to your website. 

When your content is linked from a popular or influential website, it exposes your website to a broader audience. 

Users who click on the backlink are directed to your website, increasing the chances of engagement, conversions, and even potential customers. 

Backlinks that drive relevant and targeted traffic can have a positive impact on your website’s visibility, brand awareness, and overall growth.

Unique Links

Diversity and uniqueness of backlinks are essential factors to consider. 

It’s more beneficial to have a diverse portfolio of backlinks from different domains rather than relying solely on a single source. 

Search engines value a wide range of links because it indicates that your website is being recognized and referenced by various entities within your industry. 

Aim to acquire backlinks from a variety of websites, including blogs, news sites, industry directories, and authoritative publications.

Non-Reciprocal Links

Reciprocal links, also known as link exchanges, occur when two websites agree to link to each other’s content. 

While they can be a part of a natural linking pattern, excessive reciprocal linking can be seen as manipulative by search engines. 

High-quality backlinks are typically non-reciprocal, meaning they are given to your website without the expectation of a link back. 

These one-way links carry more weight and demonstrate that other websites genuinely find value in your content.

Links on Social Media Pages

In today’s digital landscape, social media plays a significant role in driving online engagement and traffic. 

Backlinks from social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram, can contribute to your website’s SEO efforts. 

While these links may not carry the same weight as traditional website backlinks in terms of authority, they can still generate traffic and social signals that indicate user engagement. 

Additionally, social media links can enhance your online presence, expand your reach, and foster brand recognition.

5 Broken Link Building Best Practices

When it comes to broken link building, there are several best practices to keep in mind to maximize your chances of success. 

By following these guidelines, you can effectively leverage broken links to acquire valuable backlinks for your website. 

Let’s explore five key best practices:

1. DO fix broken links

The first best practice is to actively fix broken links on your own website. 

By regularly monitoring your website’s pages and performing link audits, you can identify and correct any broken links. 

This ensures a smooth user experience and helps maintain your website’s integrity. 

When other webmasters discover that your website provides reliable and functional links, they are more likely to trust your content and link to it in the future.

2. Prioritize pages with high authority

When conducting broken link building, it’s essential to prioritize fixing broken links on pages that have high authority. 

These are pages on your website that receive significant traffic, have strong backlink profiles, or are considered valuable resources in your industry. 

By fixing broken links on authoritative pages, you increase the chances of attracting high-quality replacement backlinks from other webmasters.

3. Prioritize links with freshness signals

Links with freshness signals refer to broken links that were once pointing to recently updated or relevant content. 

When you come across broken links that previously directed users to up-to-date information or timely resources, prioritize fixing or replacing them. 

This strategy increases the likelihood of webmasters replacing the broken link with your updated and relevant content, ensuring that you receive a valuable backlink.

4. Redirect to relevant URLs

Sometimes, when fixing broken links on your website, it may be appropriate to redirect the broken link to a relevant URL rather than the exact original destination. 

For example, if the broken link was pointing to a specific product page that no longer exists, you can redirect it to a relevant category page or a related product.

This redirection ensures that users and search engine crawlers can still find valuable content on your website, while also preserving the backlink’s relevance.

5. You don’t need to fix every link

While it’s important to fix broken links on your website, it’s not necessary to fix every single broken link you come across during broken link building. 

Some broken links may not be relevant to your website’s content or target audience. 

Instead of spending time and effort fixing those links, focus on identifying and fixing broken links that align with your website’s niche and provide an opportunity to acquire valuable backlinks. 

This approach allows you to prioritize your resources effectively.

Tips for Successful Link Building

Link building is a critical component of search engine optimization (SEO) that can significantly impact your website’s visibility and authority.

To help you achieve successful link building, here are some valuable tips to consider:

1. Guest Posting

Guest posting involves writing and publishing content on other relevant websites within your industry. 

This strategy allows you to showcase your expertise, reach a new audience, and acquire valuable backlinks. 

When guest posting, ensure that the websites you choose have a good reputation and a solid readership base. 

Craft high-quality, informative content that adds value to the target website’s audience while incorporating relevant backlinks to your own website.

2. Niche Edits

Niche edits, also known as curated backlinks or contextual backlinks, involve adding your link to existing content on other websites within your niche. 

Look for websites with relevant content where your link can naturally fit. 

Reach out to the website owner or content creator and propose adding your link to enhance the value of their content. 

This approach allows you to leverage existing authoritative content and acquire valuable backlinks without the need for guest posting.

3. Skyscraper Content

Skyscraper content refers to creating exceptional, highly valuable, and comprehensive content that surpasses existing content on a particular topic. 

Identify popular topics within your industry and conduct thorough research to produce superior content that covers the topic in more detail, offers additional insights, or presents it in a more engaging format. 

Once your skyscraper content is ready, promote it to relevant websites, influencers, and industry publications to attract natural backlinks.

4. Acquire Editorial Links

Editorial links are links naturally included within the body of an article or webpage, indicating that the content creator or website owner finds your website or resource valuable and references it as a credible source. 

To acquire editorial links, focus on creating high-quality content that is informative, unique, and backed by reliable data or research. 

By consistently producing valuable content, you increase the chances of your website being referenced and linked to by authoritative sources.

5. Backlinks in Business Profiles

Take advantage of business directories, review platforms, and other online business profiles to include backlinks to your website. 

Claim and optimize your business profiles on platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and industry-specific directories. 

These profiles often allow you to include a website URL and a description of your business. 

By optimizing these profiles and ensuring they contain relevant backlinks, you can generate traffic and improve your website’s online visibility.

6. Backlinks to Your Webinars

If you host webinars or online events, utilize them as an opportunity to acquire backlinks. 

When promoting your webinar, reach out to industry influencers, bloggers, and relevant websites, offering them the chance to collaborate or provide value to their audience. 

They may include a backlink to your webinar registration page or a related blog post, attracting targeted traffic and establishing your website as a reputable source of valuable information.

7. Comment Backlinks

Engaging in relevant discussions on blog posts, forums, or social media platforms provides an opportunity to earn comment backlinks. 

When leaving insightful and constructive comments, you can include a link to relevant content on your website that adds value to the discussion. 

However, ensure that your comments are genuine, contribute to the conversation, and avoid appearing spammy or self-promotional.

FAQs About Do Dead Backlinks Still Help SEO

Do dead links affect SEO?

Yes, dead links can have a negative impact on SEO. When search engine crawlers encounter dead or broken links, it disrupts their ability to navigate and index your website effectively. 

Dead links can result in a poor user experience, leading to higher bounce rates and decreased user engagement. 

It’s important to regularly monitor and fix dead links to maintain a healthy website and ensure optimal SEO performance.

Do backlinks still matter for SEO?

Yes, backlinks still play a significant role in SEO. Backlinks are like “votes” from other websites, indicating that your content is valuable and authoritative. 

Search engines consider backlinks as a trust signal and use them to evaluate the credibility and relevance of your website. 

However, the quality and relevance of backlinks matter more than sheer quantity. 

Focus on acquiring high-quality backlinks from reputable and relevant sources to improve your SEO efforts.

Do dead links affect website ranking?

Yes, dead links can impact your website’s ranking. When search engines encounter dead links, they may interpret it as a sign of poor website maintenance or outdated content. 

This can lead to a decrease in your website’s credibility and authority, resulting in lower search rankings.

It’s essential to regularly check for and fix dead links to maintain a positive impact on your website’s ranking.

Do backlinks help SEO in 2023?

Yes, backlinks continue to be an essential factor for SEO in 2023. While search engines have evolved and consider various other factors, backlinks remain a strong ranking signal. 

However, the emphasis has shifted towards the quality, relevance, and natural acquisition of backlinks. 

Building a diverse and authoritative backlink profile is crucial for SEO success in 2023.

Do toxic backlinks affect SEO?

Yes, toxic backlinks can have a detrimental impact on SEO. Toxic backlinks are links from low-quality or spammy websites that violate search engine guidelines. 

When search engines identify toxic backlinks pointing to your website, they may penalize or devalue your website’s ranking. 

It’s important to regularly monitor your backlink profile and disavow any toxic or harmful links to protect your website’s SEO performance.

Are broken backlinks bad?

Broken backlinks, also known as dead or inactive backlinks, can be detrimental to SEO. 

When search engine crawlers encounter broken backlinks, they can’t follow them to index and evaluate your website’s content properly. 

This can result in missed ranking opportunities and hinder the overall visibility and authority of your website. It’s advisable to regularly monitor and fix broken backlinks to maintain a healthy backlink profile.

Is SEO becoming obsolete?

No, SEO is not becoming obsolete. In fact, it continues to be an essential aspect of digital marketing and website optimization. 

While SEO practices evolve due to changes in search engine algorithms and user behavior, the core principles of SEO remain relevant. 

Optimizing your website for search engines and providing valuable content that meets user intent is crucial for long-term success in the digital landscape.

Is getting 100 backlinks from 100 different websites better?

The quality of backlinks is more important than the sheer quantity. 

Obtaining 100 backlinks from 100 different websites can be beneficial if they are from authoritative and relevant sources. 

However, acquiring a high volume of low-quality backlinks can have a negative impact on SEO. 

It’s crucial to focus on building a diverse backlink profile that includes high-quality, reputable, and relevant backlinks to maximize SEO benefits.

Can you rank high without backlinks?

While it’s technically possible to rank high without backlinks, it’s challenging. 

Backlinks remain a crucial ranking factor for search engines, and websites with strong backlink profiles tend to have better rankings. 

Backlinks provide credibility, authority, and relevancy signals to search engines, helping them understand the value and quality of your content. 

To improve your chances of ranking high, it’s advisable to focus on acquiring high-quality backlinks from reputable sources.

Do 404 links hurt SEO?

Having a few 404 links on your website doesn’t necessarily hurt SEO. However, if you have a significant number of 404 links or broken pages, it can negatively impact your SEO efforts. 

Search engines may interpret an excessive amount of 404 errors as a sign of poor website maintenance and user experience. 

It’s important to regularly monitor and fix 404 links, redirecting them to relevant pages or providing custom error pages to minimize any potential negative effects on SEO.

What types of backlinks are bad for SEO?

Backlinks from low-quality, spammy, or irrelevant websites are considered bad for SEO. 

These types of backlinks can include paid links, link farms, link exchanges, and links from websites with thin or duplicate content. 

Additionally, backlinks from websites with a poor reputation, excessive advertising, or unrelated content can also be detrimental to SEO. 

It’s essential to focus on acquiring high-quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant sources to maintain a strong backlink profile.

What percentage of links are dead?

The percentage of dead links can vary depending on the website and its maintenance practices. 

Websites that are actively managed and regularly monitored for dead links tend to have a lower percentage of dead links. 

However, it’s not uncommon for websites to have a small percentage of dead links due to content updates, page deletions, or external websites removing or changing their content. 

Regularly conducting link audits and fixing dead links can help keep the percentage of dead links to a minimum.

Will SEO exist in 5 years?

Yes, SEO is expected to continue evolving and remain an integral part of digital marketing in the next five years and beyond.

As search engines become smarter and user behavior changes, SEO strategies will adapt to meet new challenges and opportunities. 

While specific tactics and techniques may change, the fundamental principles of optimizing websites for search engines and providing valuable content to users will remain relevant in the ever-changing digital landscape.

Final Thoughts About Do Dead Backlinks Still Help SEO

In conclusion, the impact of dead backlinks on SEO is not as straightforward as it may seem. 

While dead backlinks themselves do not directly contribute to SEO, they can still have an indirect influence. 

Dead backlinks can negatively affect user experience, website credibility, and search engine crawling. 

Additionally, if a dead backlink was previously a valuable and relevant source of traffic, fixing or replacing it can help retain that traffic. 

It’s important to regularly monitor and fix dead backlinks to maintain a healthy website and backlink profile. 

However, focusing on acquiring high-quality, relevant, and active backlinks remains the key to driving SEO success.

Julian Goldie

Julian Goldie

Hey, I'm Julian Goldie! I'm an SEO link builder and founder of Goldie Agency. My mission is to help website owners like you grow your business with SEO!

Leave a Comment


Get free, instant access to our SEO video course, 120 SEO Tips, ChatGPT SEO Course, 999+ make money online ideas and get a 30 minute SEO consultation!

Just Enter Your Email Address Below To Get FREE, Instant Access!