How do broken links impact SEO?

Broken links are easy SEO wins if you detect and fix them. They impact SEO negatively simply because of poor user experience.

It is a lot easier to manage a site when it is small but as it grows to several hundred or thousands pages, it becomes challenging if there are no checks and balances.

How do broken links get created on the website?

Broken links are often created due to manual errors or website/system upgrades without proper checks and balances.

  • Page removal: When the page is deleted while the links in other pages are still active.
  • Relocated page: When the original page is moved to another URL and no 301 redirection is in place.
  • Typing error: This happens when a URL is typed manually while linking and even a single character mistake can lead to a broken page.
  • External resource changes: When you have external links on your website and they change their pages and you fail to update then it can lead to a broken page. Its also true in the reverse.

How to check and detect broken links?

If you click on a link that goes to a “404 Page Not Found”, means the link is broken and the page doesn’t exist.

Always use tools to check for broken links as the manual process is time-consuming and inefficient.

There are many free and paid tools available to check broken links. Most of the SEO tools come with broken link-checking features.

Here are some tools which you can use to check broken links:

How do broken links impact SEO?

Traditionally, when the internet and webpage concept was introduced, it was a collection of pages internally linked together and that is the case to date.

Importantly, SEO has no existence without internal links or external links. When you have broken links in your website then it will impact your overall SEO performance.

Broken links lead to poor user experience and hence it impacts SEO.

Understanding broken links & SEO technically

Broken links are not a friend of SEO, meaning in simple words they impact crawling, indexing and ranking.

Crawlability issues: Page indexing is crucial for SEO, and if your website has broken links, Google bots (or any other search engine’s bots) may struggle to navigate through the website, which results in poor indexing.

Page ranking: SEO ranking is directly associated with the user’s experience and broken links do not provide a good user experience.

Internal broken link SEO impact

Internal broken links on a website can have significant SEO consequences. When users encounter internal broken links, their user experience is disrupted, potentially leading to higher bounce rates and reduced engagement.

Internal Linkbuilding

Broken links can hinder search engine crawlers from indexing your site properly, affecting your site’s overall visibility in search results.

It is a good idea to run the broken link scan regularly to check and fix if any broken links are present.

External broken link SEO impact

External broken links can also impact your website’s SEO. When your site contains links to external pages that are broken or no longer exist, it impacts user trust. Users may perceive your website as outdated or unreliable, resulting in higher bounce rates.

Importantly, when someone links to your page and that page is broken then this is worst of all. You just missed a powerful SEO signal that is backlink.

How to fix broken links to rank better?

As discussed above, internal and external broken links impact SEO, so it is important to know how to fix them to your SEO advantage.

Fixing internal broken links to rank better

First, you make a list of internal broken links, go to each page read the context and replace those links with related similar other links.

This will also give you an opportunity to assess the anchor text of your links and optimise them to boost your overall ranking.

Fixing external broken links to rank higher

When someone links your page and you remove that page without realising, this is the worst thing that can happen to your SEO campaign as noted above.

Now, reaching out to third-party site owners to get it changed is difficult.

  • Place a 301 redirect, the old page link redirecting to the new one.

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