Link Building Health Research by

Your valuable and expensive links die, rot, get manually deleted or naturally disappear

With this research, we analyzed how many and why those created links “die” as they age

Base data team found out how many of your costly “live, doFollow” links get deleted, noFollowed, their whole pages die, or domains don't get renewed after 3, 6 and 12 months time periods.

We analyzed 12,042 anonymized "guest post" type backlinks built in the 12 months. Analyzed period: 01. Jan 2022 to 31. Jan 2023.

The research results are a bit depressing, but fortunately, Base can fix and recover many of those removed links.

SEO Industry Problem

90% of SEO agencies and consultants still use Google Sheets to manage created links, link builders and link building processes.

Unfortunately, webmasters constantly delete or noFollow links (paid or free guest posts), redirect whole pages or their domains, and hostings expire.

By using Sheets, they lose the chance to recover almost 90% of those links intentionally deleted by webmasters.

Link building is hard, so we built

Base is the advanced link building platform that SEO agencies use to improve their link building team management, enable complete control of paid links expenses and expiry dates, and keep links alive and healthy.

Link health analysis results

According to our analysis, around 5% of your costly links die before you show them to your client. That usually leads to the salty reply, “This is an awesome website with great SEO metrics, but where is our link?”

In just three months, approximately 10% of all links you build will die or manually get removed.

After 12 months, due to webmaster removals or "natural" causes, you'll lose an eye-watering 26% of your expensive links with all the SEO value they added to your landing pages.

Live Dead
Month in which monitored links were built as guest posts by manual outreach Total built in that month (Live, With target, doFollow) Total link still healthy (Live and doFollow) Total links dead / removed / lost Avg. $ cost of dead links for agency to replace (if link cost $90) Recoverable $ value if reason was "URL target removed" or "noFollowed" (avg. 85% of removed links can be recovered if contacted on time)
October 2022 - links are 3 months old 776 737 95% 39 5% $3,510 21 $1,878
July 2022 - 6 months old 883 781 88% 102 12% $9,180 42 $3,757
January 2022 - 12 months old 809 597 74% 212 26% $19,080 110 $9,861
Entire 2022 year 12,042 9501 79% 2541 21% $228,690 1553 $139,774
Date of analysis All data was compiled and analyzed in January 2023
* Timeframe Month in which monitored links were built as guest posts by manual outreach
** Total links created Total number of healthy links for whom we tracked health changes from the month they were built till January 2023
*** Total average value / cost of all lost links Value of links lost due to all reasons, which agency will need to replace / build again at its own cost
**** Recoverable amount of lost links If the reason was "URL target removed or noFollowed," avg. 85-90% of removed links can be recovered if a webmaster is contacted in a timely manner
Link death reason Facebook Group

If you want us to do additional audits, research and analysis on the links, jump into our Facebook group and let us know your ideas.

Why do links mostly die?

Two-thirds of all lost links died, i.e., the link got removed or noFollowed due to manual action by the webmaster or editor, even if that link was paid or rented.

Fewer links died because webmasters chose not to maintain the website, meaning the domain or hosting expired or our crawlers got continuous connection timeout or 500 error.

The smallest % of links is classified as dead because of the updated website URL structure without implementation of proper redirections so our crawler got continuous 404 or redirection chains after multiple recrawls.

Reason why links died
Manually removed by webmaster Various "natural" reasons for link death
URL target removed NoFollowed 404 4xx 5xx Continuous connection issues Other
21 3% 3 0% 6 1% 0 0% 0 0% 5 1% 4 1%
45 5% 3 0% 22 2% 1 0% 3 0% 16 2% 12 1%
103 13% 23 3% 31 4% 3 0% 3 0% 18 2% 31 4%
1561 13% 225 2% 247 2% 19 0% 28 0% 260 2% 201 2%

How many links are we losing as they age?

  • After 3 months, the survival rate drops to 95%, meaning 5% of links will die or get manually deleted.
  • After 6 months, the link health rate dropped an additional 7% compared with the previous period to 88% fully healthy links.
  • After one year, you are losing an average of 26% of all your expensive links and SEO results they were bringing to your projects.

We Fixed Link Building

Base is the best advanced link building management platform that SEO agencies use to monitor their backlinks, increase profits, manage their created links and link builders, and generally deliver better SEO results for clients.

How fixes main link building problems

Automatic backlinks health check crawler and email notifications to prevent losing your hard-earned or built links

Nenad Stamenković

Director of Link Building

“Just by using Base Chrome extension, our teams saved 70% of the time needed for daily link building workload”

Methodology of the research

By having a significant portfolio of (fully anonymized) confirmed / created links to dissect in multiple ways, we got some interesting data about general links' health, delete percentages, noFollow rates and other metrics.

We analyzed 12,042 anonymized "guest post" type backlinks built in the 12 months. Analyzed period: 01. Jan 2022 to 31. Jan 2023.

The main portion of tracked and analyzed links was built in January 2022, being 12 months old at the time of analysis.

Link builders submitted all mentioned links to the database as "Alive & DoFollow," and tracked their health status continuously.

All non-healthy calculated links from the table at some point acquired the change of status from "Alive & DoFollow" to "Dead (link removed, link noFollowed, page deleted, website dead)." That status wasn't changed back to "Alive" even after the follow-up crawls (to avoid false negatives from temporary 500 errors or similar).

Schedule a Demo Call

Our link management tool is both - easy on the eyes and easy to use. Check out our demo video to see just how user-friendly our link building tool is, how you can use its features to monitor backlinks, check link health and streamline your off-site SEO workflow.



When are my links most likely to die?

From our current findings, around 5 to even 10% of your costly links die before your first reporting period. So those links you need to replace ASAP before the client finds out.

Or even worse, you get treated by the famous ironic client feedback "This is an awesome website, great SEO metrics and relevancy, and the article is great, but where's our link in it?"

Why do links mostly die?

The majority of links (manually outreached guest posts) we analyzed died because webmasters, for some reason, after some time deleted or noFollowed the link, even if it was the paid or rented link.

Fewer links died because webmasters chose not to maintain the website, meaning expired domain or hosting, parked pages or permanent 500 errors.

The smallest amount of links classified as dead in the system is because the webmaster redesigned the website or updated the URL structure without proper redirections, so the crawler gets 404 after multiple visits.

Those links still exist and provide SEO value, but we cannot find them since that would require crawling the whole website sitemap.

How many "dead" links can be recovered?

Depending on the reason for the change from "Live (dofollow target, index)" to "Dead or Without Target," recovery of the paid links can be up to 85-90%.

If the cause of the negative link status change is the intentional action by a webmaster who deleted or noFollowed the link, timely notification by health crawler enables link builders or their team leaders to react and contact the webmaster, which in most cases restores the dead link.

How Base handles link health status changes from Live (dofollow target, index) to Dead or Without Target?

If the Base link health crawler registers the negative status change, that link is automatically crawled again (different proxy, user agent, etc.) after 30 minutes to avoid temporary hosting/server problems.

If the link isn't marked alive and dofollow, it goes to the recrawl list, meaning visiting it the next day, then three days afterward, then every seven days for three weeks, then recrawl every 30 days.

You can always request a manual health check / recrawl by selecting the link and hitting the "Health recheck" button.

How do you prevent false negatives from triggering a "dead link" notification

Several mechanisms activate when a link changes health status from "Alive, DoFollow" to any other status.

Before visually changing the status of the link, we recrawl the URL with a delay and new "crawl profile" to ensure that hosting / server issues or blocked IP aren't the reason.

We also follow up to 5 redirections to ensure that any link gets a health check.

High-Performing SEO Agencies Love Base

See Use Cases
cross cross cross cross cross

We Know How To Build Great SEO Tools!

See Use Cases