Do Broken Links Affect SEO?

broken links

Broken links, also known as dead links, can significantly impact your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and user experience. These are hyperlinks that no longer lead to the intended destination because the target page has been moved or deleted. Understanding the effects of broken links on your website is crucial for maintaining a healthy online presence and optimizing your SEO strategy.

Impact on SEO

1. Search Engine Rankings:

Crawlers and Indexing: Search engine crawlers, like Google’s bots, use hyperlinks to navigate and index webpages. Broken links can cause crawl errors, making it difficult for search engines to index your site efficiently. This can negatively affect your website’s ranking in search engine results .

Link Equity (Link Juice): Links pass authority, or link juice, from one page to another. Broken links disrupt this flow, potentially reducing the overall authority of your site and harming your SEO rankings  .

2. Bounce Rate and User Experience:

Poor User Experience: Broken links lead to error pages, such as 404 errors, which can frustrate users and lead them to leave your site. A high bounce rate signals to search engines that your site provides a poor user experience, which can further harm your SEO .

Reduced Engagement: Users encountering broken links are less likely to engage with your content, reducing the chances of conversions and negatively impacting your site’s metrics and overall performance .

Detecting and Fixing Broken Links

1. SEO Tools and Plugins:

Google Search Console: This free tool from Google helps you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Google Search results. It can identify crawl errors and broken links on your site.

Screaming Frog: This SEO tool allows you to crawl your website and identify broken links, missing tags, and other SEO issues.

Ahrefs and SEMrush: These comprehensive SEO tools can identify broken links, analyze backlink profiles, and provide insights into your site’s SEO health  .

WordPress Plugins: Plugins like Broken Link Checker can automatically detect broken internal links and external links on your WordPress site, making it easy to manage and fix them.

2. 301 Redirects and URL Management:

301 Redirects: Implementing 301 redirects from broken links to relevant content can preserve link equity and improve user experience. This is especially useful for pages that have been moved or deleted.

Updating Links: Regularly update internal and external links to ensure they lead to valid destinations. This can be particularly important for product pages, blogs, and other frequently updated content.

3. Regular Site Audits:

Conduct regular audits using site audit tools to identify and resolve broken links. This proactive approach helps maintain the functionality and SEO health of your website.

Broken Link Building

Broken links can also present opportunities for broken link building, a strategy where you find broken links on other websites and suggest your content as a replacement. This not only helps in gaining backlinks but also provides value to website owners by helping them fix their broken links.


Broken links (aka broken pages)can severely impact your website traffic and user experience by disrupting the flow of link equity, increasing bounce rates, and creating crawl errors. Utilizing SEO tools like Google Search Console, Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, and SEMrush can help you detect and fix broken links. Implementing 301 redirects and conducting regular site audits are essential practices for maintaining a healthy, user-friendly website. By addressing broken links promptly, you can improve your site’s performance, enhance user experience, and boost your search engine rankings.


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Posted in SEO

Published on: 2024-06-16
Updated on: 2024-06-16

Avatar for Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands is the SEO Director at SEO North, a company that provides Search Engine Optimization services. As an SEO Professional, Isaac has considerable expertise in On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO, which gives him a leg up against the competition.