Simply put, a broken link is a link that doesn’t lead to a working web page. A link gets broken for different reasons, including:

  • The destination web page has been moved to a different URL or removed entirely from the website
  • The URL for the destination web page was typed incorrectly when the link was created
  • The link points to content that has been moved or removed
  • The destination web page contains broken elements (e.g. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript)
  • External access to the destination web page is restricted, such as being behind a firewall, log-in security system, or geolocation restriction

Having a broken link or two may not be the end of the world for your website, but it’s still a problem that you should look out for and fix as soon as possible. There are two main reasons why you should work on repairing broken links:

  • Stifled on-site SEO — Links on your website contribute to your overall SEO, so broken links can hinder some of your efforts to improve your site in the eyes of Google and other search engines. A few broken links won’t necessarily tank your rankings in the SERPs, but they still prevent link equity from freely flowing throughout your site.

Taking both factors together, it then becomes clear that you should still make it a priority to fix your broken links. You don’t want visitors leaving your site out of frustration (which also increases your bounce rate), nor do you want your highly optimised link architecture clogged up.

Knowing how much of an issue broken links can be, here are simple steps you can take to find and fix ones you might have on your site:

  • Use Google Search Console to look for crawl errors on your website. With the Google account linked to your site, you can easily detect every single broken link and find detailed information that would help point to a solution.
  • Set up 301 redirects for links that you have changed the URLs for, so that users will be redirected to the new pages when they click on an old broken link.
  • Recreate or replace the content on the webpage where the broken link is supposed to lead to. The page may be important enough that it’s worth taking the effort to have quality content on it once again for people to see.

Broken links signal to search engines that your site needs fixing, and they turn away visitors to look for what they need elsewhere. Let this problem linger and you might lose user trust and search traffic.