Broken Link

What Is A Broken Link?

A broken link is a hyperlink on a website page that points to another page or resource that no longer exists.

Typically, broken links are created when a website owner removes or deletes a page on their website and doesn’t redirect the URL.

Broken links are often called “dead links” and can refer to both:

When a user or search engine follows a broken link, the server usually returns a 404 status code.

broken link 404 page example

This status code tells the user and search engines that the page is “Not Found”. That link would then be considered broken.

Broken links in SEO are usually divided into 3 categories:

  1. Internal Broken Link – A broken link from one page on your website to another page on your website
  2. External Broken Link – A broken link from one page on your website to a different website
  3. Broken backlink – A broken link from someone else’s website to your website

The good news is that you can easily find and fix all of these links. You just need the right tools and process.

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Are Broken Links Bad For SEO?

Yes, broken links are bad for SEO and can harm the quality of your website in both Google’s and your site visitors’ eyes.

Broken links lead to a poor user experience, making it difficult for visitors to navigate your site effectively.

This can increase bounce rates and decrease the time spent on your website.

But Broken links aren’t only bad for user experience…

They also affect search engine crawlers.

Google uses a search engine crawler (called Googlebot) to crawl and index the pages of your site.

crawling vs indexing

Broken links stop crawlers from navigating your pages effectively.

This can lead to:

  • Wasted crawl budget
  • Indexing issues
  • Damaged website reputation
  • Disrupted link equity
  • Lower SEO rankings

The truth is that 1 or 2 broken links won’t affect your SEO that much.

But over time, lots of broken links will start to impact your overall rankings and reputation online.

That’s why you must find and fix broken links as quickly as possible.

How To Find And Fix Broken Links On Your Website

Here’s how to find and fix broken links on your website step-by-step:

1. Find All The Broken Links On Your Site

You will need to use the right tool to find the broken links only on our site.

The free version of the SEO spider Screaming Frog should work for most people.

Download Screaming Frog, add your site and click “Start”.

screaming frog website crawl

Once Screaming Frog has finished crawling your site, click on “Response Codes” and select “Client Error (4xx)”.

4xx response code screaming frog

Now you have a complete list of your site’s broken links.

Pro Tip: It’s important to check both internal and external broken links to ensure you’re not missing anything.

2. Redirect Broken Links

The next step is simply to redirect the internal broken links.

The best way to do this is the redirection tool in RankMath.

Install RankMath on your site, click on “Redirections” and click “Add New”.

rank math redirection tool

Add your old source URL, the new destination URL and choose the 301 redirect method (permanent move). Click “Save” and you’re done!

For broken external links, simply find another relevant page on someone else’s site that you can link to.

Ensure that you are linking to authoritative websites with quality content.

How To Find And Fix Broken Backlinks

Fixing broken backlinks isn’t as straightforward.

But because external links have such a significant impact on your website’s SEO – It’s the effort!

1. Find Broken Backlinks On Ahrefs

You will need to use a more powerful tool like Ahrefs to find broken backlinks.

Here’s how to do it:

Sign up for Ahrefs, add your website and open the Site Explorer tool.

site explorer

Enter your website’s domain. Under “Pages” on the left, select “Best by links”.

best by links ahrefs

Use the “404 Not Found” filter at the top of the page. In the “Links to page” column, you will see all of the backlinks currently linking to any 404 pages on your site.

2. Fix Any Broken Backlinks

Fixing broken backlinks is different to fixing broken internal links because you can’t just edit and redirect them yourself.

The best thing to do is contact the website with the broken link and ask them to update it. Use a tool like hunter.io to find their email address.

Send them a message about the broken link and ask them to replace it with a new one.

Ensure you provide an alternative similar piece of content they can link to.

What if you don’t get a response?

The best thing to do is redirect the broken page on your site with the backlink pointing at it. That will pass the link equity along to the new URL.

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