What are Broken Links?

What are Broken Links? Learn more about causes, impact of broken links on usability and SEO, and how to identify, fix and prevent them.

What are Broken Links?

Broken links, also referred to as dead links or broken links, are links that no longer work because they point to a website or resource that does not exist. This may have resulted from an error when creating the link, removing a page, or moving a web page to a different URL.

Causes of Broken Links

  • Website Restructuring: When web pages or online resources are reorganized or moved, links pointing to those original locations may be broken.
  • Deleted content: When a page or content is deleted, but links pointing to it still exist, a Broken Link is created.
  • Incorrect URL structure: Typos or errors in the URL structure can result in the wrong link and a broken link.
  • Changes to the domain name: When a website changes its domain name, but links point to the old domain name, broken links are created.

Effects of Broken Links

Broken links can have a negative impact on the usability and SEO ranking of a website. From a user's perspective, broken links can lead to frustration and loss of trust, as they cannot access the content they want. This can lead to them leaving the website and possibly not returning.

From an SEO perspective, many broken links can cause search engines to question the quality of the website and indicate a poor user experience. This can lead to the website being downgraded in search results.

Identify and fix broken links

To identify broken links on a website, webmasters can use various tools and techniques, such as Google Search Console, specialized broken link checkers, or plugins built into content management systems (CMS) like WordPress. Eliminating broken links can be done by updating or removing the links, redirecting to a relevant page, or restoring the missing resource.

Broken Links Prevention

  • Periodic Review: Regularly checking the website for broken links helps to detect the problem and fix it early.
  • Correct linking: When creating links, webmasters should make sure that they do not contain typos.
  • 301 redirects: When changing the URL structure or moving a web page, 301 redirects should be used to direct users and search engines to the new URL without creating broken links.

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