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  • Link Reclamation: How to Reclaim Lost Backlinks

    Link Reclamation: How to Reclaim Lost Backlinks

    Backlinks are one of the most precious assets for SEO purposes as well as your online presence.

    On the other hand, link building is a difficult process for many people, which is why it can be very infuriating when your hard-earned links disappear without any notice.

    And when backlinks get lost, you tend to lose all the value of the link.

    Unfortunately, links get lost for various reasons, whether deliberate or accidental by the source page and that is where reclaiming them comes in.

    What Is Link Reclamation?

    What Is Link Reclamation?

    Link reclamation is the process of finding broken or lost backlinks and taking the necessary steps to fix and reclaim them.

    While link reclamation is not as flamboyant as link building, it is a significant element when it comes to maintaining your rankings, regaining your link value, and getting the most out of your link profile.

    Link reclamation is also an excellent chance for marketers to preserve link juice, maintain an optimistic user experience, and build new backlinks.

    Lost or broken links can be caused by the webmaster removing the link or removing the page that links to your website.

    This is the main reason for lost or broken links, however, it can also be caused by the webmaster simply redirecting the linking page to another page.

    Example of a lost link

    A good instance of a broken or lost backlink is when a highlighted anchor text on the hosting page is clicked and takes the user to a 401 error page. Keep in mind that when this happens, it not only gives the user an interrupted experience but also means that your link has lost its value and purposes.

    Advantages of Link Reclamation

    Most link building strategies put their focus on getting new links to their sites. However, it is equally important to monitor and maintain current backlinks. That said, there are various benefits of reclaiming lost or broken backlinks:

    • It gives you an edge over your competitors
    • You will maintain the value of your link
    • Google will not see 404 errors when crawling your website
    • It improves your website’s SEO and general credibility

    Should you Reclaim Links or Build New Ones?

    The decision of whether to reclaim lost links or build new ones is entirely dependent on the value of the link as well as the reason for the lost backlinks. Because there are many reasons for lost links, understanding them will be the key to the success of your link reclamation project.

    For instance, if you lost your link because it is no longer indexed by Google, trying to reclaim them will be a waste of time. Besides, you will be going after links that can be damaging the ranking of your site. However, reclaiming backlinks that had value and are of high quality will be worth your efforts and time. So, consider finding and reclaiming links that will be good for your site’s credibility and rankings.

    On the other hand, building new backlinks is also a worthy marketing strategy because, in the process, you will gain control over the external link you secure. This means that you can make sure all the links linking to your site are of high quality.

    Finding Lost Backlinks

    Did you know that you can reclaim backlinks from pages that are redirected, down, buried in old articles, or no longer link to your site? Besides, reclaiming lost links is the best link building strategy you can perform.

    While there are many ways to reclaim your lost links, there are three steps you should follow.

    Step 1: Find lost links

    Step 2:  Do a backlink analysis to determine their value and see if they are worth chasing after.

    Step 3: Contact every webmaster and have them remove the link and keep note of the ones that couldn’t be reached.

    In your reclamation process, remember to follow links that are worthy of your time. So, analyzing the links will be a huge task. Luckily, there are tools that you can use.

    Tools for Link Reclamation

    There are many tools that you can use to do a link reclamation audit.



    Ahrefs is a platform that provides some amazing tools that can help you identify lost and broken links. The site explore function will allow you to enter your field name and search for your lost backlinks, usually highlighted in red coloring. You can also see all your new backlinks in the calendar view, they are highlighted in green.

    Ahref will also help you see all your anchor texts and the errors they display when a user clicks them. The list is a good starting point for your link reclamation process.


    You can use SEMrush’s broken link tool to assess links that may have dropped or are now listed as 404 errors:

    Like Ahrefs, SEMrush can help you see which lost links are fitting for manual outreach.

    In some cases if the link is lost, but is low quality, then outreach is likely going to be a waste of valuable internal resources.

    Google Analytics

    Google Analytics Dashboard

    You can also use Google Analytics to track lost backlinks or referrals. Follow these steps when tracking your backlinks.

    1. Create the correct Google profile.
    2. Click ‘Acquisition’ on the left-hand list of options for a drop-down of all reports. Click, ‘All Traffic’, and click ‘Referrals’ in the drop-down.
    3. Use the referral report to check your backlinks

    The report you get will show you how many people tried to access your link. Use that information to determine if the links are worth reclaiming.

    Checking for broken links should not be a complex task. Besides, website editors can fix a link without telling you, so, you need to have a process where you can check the status of your links regularly. You can use the above tools or our Backlink Checker to look for new links and routinely check for link losses. You can also use it to check the performance of your content.

    Reclaiming Lost Links

    After finding lost links, the next thing is to reclaim them, and the best part about this section is that it is very easy to get a webmaster to change a current link than to have them add a new backlink. This is particularly true when fixing your broken links. Also, having lost links on a web page will interfere with user experience and SEO. Therefore, a simple reach out to a webmaster pointing out a broken link and giving them the updated one will greatly be of help, when it comes to maintaining the value of your link.

    Final Thoughts

    Link reclamation is among the easiest link building strategies that can deliver the highest ROI. With the appropriate tools, you have the chance to regain the value of your link, get an advantage over your competition, and improve the SEO of your website. However, reclaiming lost or broken links needs continuous effort and attention. Ensure that you check and track your backlinks to keep making the most of all the links pointing to your website.

    Do you need help with your link building campaigns? SEO.co can help you. Our team of SEO experts will be glad to help you reclaim lost backlinks, build high-quality backlinks, and improve your ranking on search engine result pages.

    Chief Marketing Officer at SEO Company
    In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International. As a technical SEO strategist, Sam leads all paid and organic operations teams for client SEO services, link building services and white label SEO partnerships. He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building. Connect with Sam on Linkedin.
    Samuel Edwards