What are Broken Links? Causes and How to Overcome It

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According to Ahrefs.com, a broken link is a hyperlink to a website page or resource that is no longer valid. Usually, when someone visits the link, a message will appear indicating that there is an error.

Broken links have a negative impact on a website because they can create a negative impression or appear unprofessional. 

For example, when a potential buyer visits a website page and it turns out that there is a "404 Page Not Found" error, the impact on brand reputation is because they are considered unable to manage their business assets properly. Therefore, this problem needs to be addressed immediately.

What is a Broken Link?

What are Broken Links? Causes and How to Overcome It

Reporting from SEOptimer, broken links or dead links are pages on a site that users cannot find or access. The reasons vary and can differ from one site to another. When clicking on a broken link, you will find an error message like the three example sentences above.

So, what is the effect of broken links on a site or company? The reason is, this type of link can give a bad or unprofessional impression to website visitors. They may assume that your site is no longer there. In fact, your website is still there. It's just that the site is not accessible.

As a result, they will leave your site. They will look for information on other sites. You definitely don't want that to happen, do you? Therefore, if you find a dead link, you must fix it immediately. Don't let lots of people see dead links on your site. However, how do you know if your site has dead links?

There are several ways to check broken links that you can try. Everything you can do with certain tools. To know the complete tools and methods, you can read this article to the end.

Broken links or dead links are links on a web page that are no longer working due to one or more of the issues listed below. Based on SEMrush, here is an example of an error message that appears when there is a broken link:

  • 404 Page Not Found: this error is caused by content that has been deleted from the server
  • Bad Host: in this case, the server cannot be reached, doesn't exist, or the hostname is invalid.
  • Bad Code: this problem is caused by the server violating the HTTP guidelines
  • 400 Bad Request: the host server cannot read/understand the URL of a page
  • Timeout: the server took too long trying to load a page

Broken Link Type

Broken links can occur on internal links, external links and backlinks.

  • Broken internal link: If the broken link goes to another page on the same website, this problem can be called a broken internal link.
  • Broken external link: If a website's link points to a page on a different website that no longer exists, it can be said that the external link is broken.
  • Broken backlinks: Broken backlinks occur if there is a link from an outside website that leads to a website page that no longer exists.

What are the Cause of Broken Links?

Web owners need to know the factors that cause a link to be inaccessible to internet users. That way, web owners can minimize the presence of broken links on their website. Some of the causes of broken links are as follows:

  • The wrong URL was entered by the website owner.
  • The destination site has deleted the intended web page (causing a problem known as a 404 error).
  • The destination site or web page has permanently moved or is no longer active.
  • The user has software or is behind a firewall blocking access to the destination website.
  • The site owner provides backlinks to sites that are behind firewalls that do not allow outside access.

Broken links can be a problem for website visitors, so they cannot access the desired resources or information. These visitors will eventually decide to use other sites to find the information they need. Sites that haven't been updated or haven't been checked in a long time may experience dead or missing links.

What Happens if a Link is Broken?

What Happens if a Link is Broken?

Broken links are bad for many parties, including website users and website owners:

1. Bad reputation of the website

When someone visits a website that has a lot of broken links, it is very possible for him to think that the website is not maintained or updated. As a result, trust in the website can be reduced.

2. Poor user experience

Broken links make it difficult for visitors to navigate a website. If there are a lot of broken links, visitors may be confused about using the website to find what they need.

For example, a web visitor wants to order tickets online but instead finds the payment page inaccessible. As a result, visitors are very likely to immediately leave and look for another website as an alternative.

3. Bad SEO

Users who run away when they find lots of broken links will certainly have an impact on the bounce rate of the website. As a result, the website's ranking will decrease because search engines like Google do not want to display websites that are deemed unable to answer user needs.

4. Decrease in website traffic

Due to broken links, a website can experience a decrease in the number of visitors because they tend not to want to visit websites that make them uncomfortable. In addition, a decrease in ranking in search engine results also causes reduced traffic because readers will prefer to visit websites that are in the top rankings.

How do you Handle Broken Links?

How do you Handle Broken Links?

An inaccessible link can result in a bad experience for website users. Therefore, web owners need to ensure that every link they have can work properly. Some ways to deal with broken links that you can try are:

  • Check for Errors in Google Crawl
  • Avoid linking to content deep within the website unless (or until) it is necessary
  • If the link is an external link, go to a website that has authority on the link and ask for a fix
  • Use of the redirect mechanism
  • Rebuild and replace the content in the broken URL
  • Do a redirect (301) from the broken page to another relevant page on your website

Obviously, to deal with broken links, there are steps that can be taken, including:

1. Using plugins

If you use a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress, there are plugins to deal with broken links. These plugins can help repair links automatically.

2. Perform redirect links

If a page has already been migrated or removed, one can setup a redirect to redirect visitors to the correct page. It can be executed directly on the website's CMS or using the .HTACCESS file on the website's server.

3. Utilize web archives

Broken links can be searched through web page archive databases such as the Wayback Machine. The trick is to enter the URL you want to repair, and this tool will present archived data that can be used as a URL replacement.

4. Removing links

When methods such as searching for web archives cannot be done, it is better to remove the link or replace it with another relevant link.
Overcoming the issue of broken links is something that needs attention in SEO activities. For this reason, fast action is needed so that the problem can be resolved without obstacles.

You can use the Broken link checker tool to see what URLs are being redirected. You do this by copying the URL of the site page you want to check. Then, select User Agent, click Check URL, and wait for the report to display.


So, those are the important things you need to know about broken links and how to deal with them. Finding and fixing links on your website can take more time when they are left to pile up.

Even though it doesn't have a direct impact on SEO, you must consider improving user experience so that the website works optimally. Hopefully this is useful for you in managing your website, OK?

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