Broken links

Broken links, also known as dead links or broken links, are hyperlinks on a website that no longer lead to the originally intended destination. They result in an error message when users try to follow them. These links can be internal (within your own website) or external (referring to other websites).

Examples of broken link error codes:

  • 404 Not Found: The most frequently seen error code, indicating that the page cannot be found.
  • 400 Bad Request: Indicates that the request was not understood.
  • 410 Gone: Informs that the page once existed but has now been permanently removed.
  • 500 Internal Server Error: A general error code that indicates problems with the server.


Causes of broken links

Common reasons for the occurrence of broken links:

  • Page deletion: Removal or relocation of a page without updating the links.
  • URL changes: Changes in the URL structure without corresponding redirects.
  • Typos: Errors in the URL that were made when the link was created.


Technical errors that lead to broken links:

  • Incorrect redirects: Incorrectly configured or missing 301 redirects.
  • Server problems: Failures or configuration errors of the server.
  • External changes: Changes to linked pages that are beyond our control.


Effects of broken links

Broken links have a fundamental impact on SEO and the user experience.

Broken links can significantly impair the user experience. Visitors who encounter dead links often feel frustrated and may leave the site more quickly, resulting in a higher bounce rate.

  • User frustration: Leads to dissatisfaction and can reduce trust in the website.
  • Increased bounce rate: Users leave the page more quickly, which has a negative impact on the performance of the website.

Search engines such as Google use links to search the Internet and index content. Broken links can therefore have a negative impact on the SEO ranking of a website.

  • Poorer ranking: Search engines regard many broken links as a sign of poor maintenance and quality.
  • Lost link juice: Broken internal links waste link juice that could otherwise be used to strengthen other pages.


Solutions for broken links

So how can broken links be identified?

  1. Manual verification: Time-consuming and only practical for smaller websites.
  2. Use of online tools: There are numerous free and paid tools that make it easier to find broken links.

Broken links can be identified and fixed with Ahrefs as follows:

  1. First, the page should be crawled with Ahrefs and then various technical problems are displayed under Site Audit.
  2. Broken links are summarized under the following heading “Page has links to broken page”. If these are then removed, the page will no longer have any broken links.



Tools and resources for managing broken links:

Tool Description
Google Search Console Helps to identify 404 errors on your website.
Ahrefs All-in-one SEO tool that can also perform technical crawls of your website.

Prevention of broken links

But how can broken links be prevented?

  • Regular audits: Conduct regular audits of your website to identify and fix broken links.
  • Use of permanent links (permalinks): Avoid changes to URL structures wherever possible.
  • Set up correct redirects: Set 301 redirects for deleted or moved content.


Broken links and website audits

The role of broken links in SEO audits:

Broken links are a critical checkpoint in SEO audits and therefore also in on-page optimization, as they have a direct impact on the ranking and the user experience. A comprehensive SEO audit includes the identification and correction of broken links to improve website performance.

To ensure the long-term health of a website, broken link checks should be integrated into regular maintenance work. This not only helps to improve SEO performance, but also increases visitor satisfaction.



Broken links can have a significant impact on the user experience and the SEO ranking of a website. Regular checks, the use of tools to identify and fix broken links and the integration of these practices into regular website maintenance can minimize these negative effects. The prevention and correction of broken links is an essential part of website maintenance and should not be neglected.

By following these best practices, it can be ensured that a website remains optimized for both users and search engines. Remember that a well-maintained website is the key to online success.