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5 minutes

Do Broken Links Affect SEO

Are broken links harming your website’s SEO? The answer could have a significant impact on a site’s online visibility and search engine rankings.

A survey by digital.com revealed that 90% of users will leave a webpage if it takes more than 2-3 seconds to load. However, even worse than slow loading speeds is encountering a broken link — a dead-end redirection that leads to nowhere.

You click, but instead of the page you were anticipating, a ‘404 Page Not Found’ message pops up. But why does fixing these matter and do broken links affect SEO?

Broken Links Affect User Experience

A positive user experience is essential for a website’s success, as it directly impacts visitor satisfaction, engagement levels, and ultimately, the site’s reputation and effectiveness in achieving its goals.

Broken links can frustrate users, creating a poor user experience which can lead to a negative perception of a site and may encourage visitors to seek information elsewhere in the future.

Broken Links Do Impact SEO

Search engines like Google strive to deliver the most relevant and high-quality results to users. When a search engine crawls a site and encounters broken links, it may interpret this as a signal of poor quality or neglect. Here’s how broken links can impact SEO:

  • Broken links are interpreted by search engines as signs of poor quality or neglect, which can lower your site’s trust and authority.
  • Search engines prioritise websites with fresh and relevant content. Broken links may signal outdated or unmaintained content.
  • Broken links hinder search engine crawlers from effectively indexing your site, resulting in missed opportunities for your pages to appear in search results.
  • Search engines prioritise sites with positive user experiences.

The combined effect of these issues can lead to a decrease in a site’s online visibility and its chances of appearing higher in search engine results pages, ultimately impacting its overall SEO performance.

 

How to Check and Fix Broken Links

  1. Crawling Tools – Consider using website crawling tools like Ahrefs’ and SEMRush’s Site Audit feature, or Screaming frog, to check for broken links on a site, providing detailed reports, along with other issues like 404 errors and redirect chains.
  2. Redirecting Broken Links – If you discover broken links on your site, the quickest fix would be to implement redirects to the most relevant page to ensure a seamless user experience. Always ensure there is only redirect in place, straight from broken to valid page.
  3. Contacting Journalists or Publications – Alternatively, if broken links pointing to a site from news articles or blog posts consider reaching out to the journalists or publications responsible. Politely ask if they would be willing to update the broken link with the correct URL.
  4. Regular Maintenance – Make regular maintenance a priority by incorporating scheduled crawls to help to promptly identify and address any new instances of broken links and minimising their impact on user experience and SEO performance.

 

In summary, broken links are not only detrimental to user experience but can also have an impact on a website’s SEO. They can signal neglect to search engines, hinder indexing efforts, and lower a site’s trust and authority. It’s advisable to address broken links to uphold website credibility and ensure optimal online visibility.

If you have concerns about how your broken links could be impacting SEO, get in touch with a member of our team today. We offer many SEO services from auditing through to strategising.