Have you come across websites that show you errors when you click on them?
It is not because of any connection issues or any server being down. These are lost links that have been detached from the web for numerous reasons.
What is a lost link?
The link you thought you had in place, and now it’s broken or lost for any particular reason. There can be several reasons you have lost the link as mentioned here.
- The author removes the link.
- The 404-redirect error (Page not found).
- The 301-redirect.
- The link has indexation issues with Google.
The lost link report demands the solution and answers to all these reasons. You can do three things to reclaim your links; namely,
- Find lost links with the help of Site Explorer
- Reclaim the 404 redirected links
- Reclaim the stolen link
Making a report is not just about knowing what’s wrong but also about making it right. Hence this guide helps you reclaim your lost backlinks.
Site Explorer Helps to Find What Links Are Lost
A link lost is always traceable, and doing this is possible if you just follow these steps.
Site Explorer > type domain name > Backlinks > Lost
The Site Explorer will automatically show you results for the last 7 days, but if you need more data, use the drop-down option, and set your desired timeframe.
You can then export the link lost report through
Export to CSV > Full Export > Include redirect claims > check format 'For Microsoft Excel.'
Find Out Lost Links
Finding these lost or broken backlinks is not as difficult as it seems;
Just go to,
Site Explorer > type your domain > Best by links > add the filter – 404 not found
The 404 redirect pages are the ones with broken link addresses. This means the formatting of links was not done properly.
Now, who would notice a simple ‘-‘ between Site and Explorer that makes too much of a difference.
But that is the factor where the whole formatting can go wrong, and the link can break. Ultimately the pages go wasted, and the domains end up being dropped or expired.
Reclaiming the Wasted Links (404 redirects)
Hundreds of thousands of pages and links have been dumped in the bin as broken. Luckily, they are not unusable; they can be reclaimed any time before they are completely taken off the server.
Reclaiming the lost links can be done in multiple ways.
- The lost or broken links can be redirected to the source.
- The lost or broken links can be redirected to the new resource.
- The lost or broken links can be repaired or reinstated.
- The destination of lost or broken links can be changed.
While at times, it may happen that you can still see the link on the web, but it is somehow reported at a loss. This might happen in the following circumstances.
- An issue with the crawler.
- The page may have been shifted to the https version.
- The page might have gone non-canonical.
- The www version turned to the non-www version.
The reasons for lost links are well-described below the page link with a red box stating the issue.
For example, on the page that has lost its link due to 301 or 302 redirect, the red box below the clickable web link will show the attribute “301 redirected”.
Ahrefs reports the most accurate attributes for the lost links and is very reliable. To make the best out of the lost links report on Ahrefs, make sure you export full data without filtering unlinked domains.
To Sum Up
Some final words would be justified with the fact that lost links are lost for a reason.
Reclaiming them needs careful attention to detail. Trying to reclaim the links that had an appropriate reason to be removed, it is only fair that such lost links are left as they are.
While link reclamation can be a little difficult for the newbies, Ahrefs require just a little practice, and you’ll be good to go!
Elena is an SEO and Keyword Research professional who contributes to the blog section and manages the chat system at 1stpageKWs. She is passionate about helping clients rank higher and drive more traffic with effective SEO strategies. She also loves spending her precious time with her family.