In "Backlinks" > "Lost report" in Site Explorer tool you might see a variety of tags that describe "link lost" reasons. Let's discuss what each of them means.

"Link Lost" Reasons

Generally, there are two groups of “link lost” reasons.

Those related to a linking page:

  • 404 not found: The linking page was not accessible on our last re-crawl, so we consider a link from it “lost” (but we will add it back if on the next re-crawl that page will be live).
  • Noindex: The linking page has got a “noindex” attribute and therefore we don’t count links from it (that is an arguable decision, but that is what we have decided to do for the time being).
  • 301/302 redirect: The linking page is now redirected somewhere else. And in the specific case where the page it redirects to does have a link to your target, this link will soon appear in your backlink profile (read what a "lost" link due to 301 redirect means).
  • Not canonical: The linking page has a “rel canonical” tag to some other page, which means it is no longer a unique page, so we don’t count links from it.

And those, related to the actual link:

  • Link removed: This means that the linking page is live, but it no longer has a link to your target.
  • Broken redirect: This means that both the linking page and the link are ok, but that link was reaching your target via a few redirects and one of them no longer works, so the link is now kind of “disconnected” from the target. 

Here are some examples of how the tags of the different "lost" links will look like in your "lost backlinks" report. 

Are These Reasons Reversible?

Please keep in mind that these reasons are “reversible” and often caused by webmaster making temporal changes on their website. So it is a common case for a “lost” backlink to go “live” pretty much the next day. There is a little caveat though, so read on to find out how long Ahrefs take to find your new backlink.

The only exception is “link removed” tag, as it refers to purposeful editing of the page with a goal to strip out that particular link.


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