Broken links are web pages that a user cannot find or access for a variety of reasons. When a user attempts to access a broken link, web servers frequently return an error message. Broken links are also commonly referred to as “link rots” or “dead links.”
Let’s learn more about how to fix all issues related to broken links through this guideline by SEO Agency.
Broken Links Examples
Let’s take some examples of Broken link error codes and error codes that a web server may display for a broken link:
404 Page Not Found:
The requested page or resource does not exist on the server.
400 Bad Request:
The host server does not recognize the URL on your page.
Or invalid hostname; the server with that name does not exist or cannot be reached.
Incorrect URL, such as a missing bracket, extra slashes, wrong protocol, etc.
Invalid HTTP response code, when the server response is in violation of the HTTP specification.
The host server responds with “empty” responses that contain no content and no response code.
HTTP requests were constantly timed out during the link check.
Note: When the host server is reset, all connections are terminated. It’s either misconfigured or overcrowded.
Causes of broken links
Broken links can occur for a variety of reasons, including:
- The website owner typed in the wrong URL (misspelled, mistyped, etc.).
- Your site’s URL structure recently switched (permalinks) without a redirect, resulting in a 404 error.
- The external site is no longer accessible, is unavailable, or has been permanently relocated.
- Links to previously moved or deleted content (PDF, Google Doc, video, etc.).
- Outside access is not permitted due to a firewall or geolocation restriction.
Why is it important for SEO to have broken links?
Broken links will affect your Google Search results, but not your overall SEO. We even ran a test on Apple’s website, scanning 2000 URLs and receiving 9 failed responses. This does not imply that Apple will begin to lose ground; however, having too many broken links on a single page may indicate that a site has been neglected or abandoned.
Broken links are used to determine the quality of a site by Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines, but as long as you’re currently monitoring for broken links or fixing broken links when Google notifies you of a new issue detected on your site (as in the example below), you should be able to maintain a high-quality site:
1) The User Experience
Don’t overlook the impact of a dead link: user experience is a significant factor that influences SEO. When search engine algorithms change, it is because the primary goal is to provide users with a better search and experience. Although search engines will understand that there will be some broken links, actual users may not be as forgiving. This will undoubtedly harm your reputation.
2) Bounce Rate
Whether you have one or several broken links, each visitor to your page will base their decision on usability, experience, load time, and content. If there are broken links on your site and the visitor cannot access the information, they will move on to another site that can provide them with the information they require. The higher the bounce rate, the less time they spend on your site.
How to Locate Broken Links on a Website
The simplest and quickest way to determine if you have any broken links is to run your SEOptimer report and look for any broken links on that page:
If your site has hundreds of pages or posts, you can use a tool like SEOptimer’s DIY SEO to crawl all of your pages to identify broken links – or you can download a plugin for your CMS platform that can check these.
Google Search Console can also assist you in identifying any issues with your site after their bots have crawled it. They will notify you if a page on your website is broken. It is important to note that they only display URLs from your website and not external links.
These errors can be found in your Google Search Console >> Crawl >> Crawl Errors:
Keep in mind that crawl errors are prioritized; if the URLs aren’t important, the errors won’t affect your search results.
The following is a list of actual existing pages that have yet to be discovered. This report demonstrates how critical it is that broken links be fixed; without one, these pages will suffer in their current search results.
Here’s an example with URLs that aren’t typical page URLs, so you can ignore the crawl error issues detected by Google bots:
Best Practices: Resolving Broken Links
Depending on how much content you create each week, you should set aside time each month to check for broken links. Whether you do it once a month, once a quarter, or another time frame, you should follow these best practices:
1) Examine Google Crawl Errors:
Error 404 The search console simplifies this by prioritizing crawl errors for you. If the report’s top errors are all irrelevant, you can be confident that there is nothing pressing further down the list of 404 crawl errors.
2) Deep links on a website should be avoided unless (or until) absolutely necessary:
A deep link is one that points to a specific page rather than the homepage; other synonyms for deep links include internal linking and anchor text. Deep links, whether internal or external, should be used if you believe the site is a reliable source of information. If you run an eCommerce store and are linking to your own product pages that may disappear when you run out of inventory, you’ll need to schedule a monthly checkup to ensure none of your links are broken.
3) If the link is an external one, contact the website that is linking to you and requests a fix:
If the linking website made a mistake when linking to you, it’s worth contacting them and informing them of the problem. They may be able to fix it, or you may have a link opportunity with them. If the URL source or website is no longer available, you can try replacing it with another source or removing it entirely.
4) Utilization of redirection mechanisms:
In the event of broken links, this will redirect users to a new location of information. Of course, you need some tips related to the programming language that is used on your website.
5) Recreate and replace the broken URL’s content:
Determine what the broken page was and replace or recreate it.
6) Redirect (301) the broken page to another page on your website that is relevant:
Locate a similar piece of content on your website and redirect the broken page there. For example, if you have a broken page titled “how to do broken link building,” you should redirect it to a working page titled “the complete guide to broken link building.”
7) Leave as a 404:
This is a completely viable option; you need to ensure that you display a “hard” 404 rather than a “soft” 404. Do you want to know how to make a 404 page?
How to Redirect Broken Links in WordPress
Although WordPress does not provide an out-of-the-box redirect solution, there are two options for repairing broken links and redirecting them to a new page.
Too many plugins on your WordPress site can degrade its performance. To avoid issues, install Simple 301 Redirect for WordPress if your site has thousands of pages.
When you’ve found a broken internal link, you can replace it with a different URL and redirect it to a different page:
Another method for configuring 301 redirects is to use the web server configuration file.htaccess. It’s a much faster and easier way to create a 301 redirect that has no effect on the performance of your site.
However, any minor error can result in an Internal Server Error for your website. As a result, before making any changes to your.htaccess file, make a backup.
You must connect to your web server via FTP to access your.htaccess file. Most hosting companies will be able to show you how to get an FTP client.
Your.htaccess file will be located in the root directory of your WordPress site. This is the same folder that includes files like wp-config.php
You’ll need Notepad or TextEdit to open your.htaccess file.
Enter the following information (replace the URLs with your own):
301 redirect /your-old-post-product/ http://yoursite.com/new-link-to-replace/
301 redirect /another-old-post-product/ http://yoursite.com/anothernew-link-to-replace/
After saving, you can upload the file using FTP. Your previous link has been redirected to the new page.
How to Redirect Broken in Wix Platform
LinksWix does not have any plugins that can detect broken links, and it does not support.htaccess. They do, however, offer an in-house solution in which you can enter your old page URL and be redirected to the new page URL.
To access your site’s dashboard, click here.
On the left, select Manage Website.
In the Manage 301 Redirect section of the page, click Get Started after clicking SEO:
Enter your old URL to redirect to the new page, then save:
How to Redirect Broken Links in the Shopify Platform
Shopify provides an in-house redirect solution from any broken URL to a new relevant, live page.
Click Online Store and then go to the Navigation section to get to the redirect page:
Click on URL Redirects, which is located directly beneath the word Navigation:
Click the Create URL Redirect button:
Fill in the Redirect from box with your old URL and the Redirect to box with your new URL: