What are the Causes and Effects Of Broken Backlinks | How to Fix Them?

Effects Of Broken Backlinks

Table of Contents

The struggle for Backlinks has been ever since the start of SEO and digital marketing. Now, these links have evolved into the top three factors, being considered by Google in its ranking process. The backlinks are hard to earn and consistent and laborious efforts are required to maintain them.

All of us come across these backlinks during our daily surfing on the internet, and we intentionally or unintentionally click this hyperlinked text to move to another page and website.

This clicking process and staying at the referred site pass the equity or link juice to the visiting page or site and increase its ranking.

More backlinks mean more trust your peers and visitors show on your platform. It also shows that your content is good and related enough to capture visitors’ attention.

As I said, these backlinks require enormous efforts to earn, and if they stop working for any reason, it negatively impacts the reader and your ranking.

Read | 15 Free Link Building Tools to Help Link Building Process

What are the Broken Backlinks?

What are the Broken Backlinks

Broken backlinks are those links, which have stopped working for some reason. It means they will no longer take the reader to the referred site and these can be internal and external links. These broken backlinks increase your bounce rate and reduce your traffic.

So, the webmaster must be vigilant and keep auditing the site to find the broken links and their causes. Immediate actions should be taken to fix the issues, as they will badly hurt your on and off-page SEO.

Causes of Backlinks

There are multiple causes for these broken backlinks. Some of them are discussed below.

Moved Page

Likely, the page, picture, or video you are referring to is now moved to another location due to upgradation of the website. In this case, you need to update your link.

Change in URL

A website often changes its URL to avoid confusion with similar-looking web pages. In this case, websites usually set up a redirect, but if they have not, it will break your backlink.

Misspelled URL

Sometimes, while entering the text to insert a hyperlink, one may miss a character or an alphabet. So, the better way is to copy the link from the bar and paste it directly into the hyperlink option. This way, you may avoid this mistake. There will always be a chance of misspelling while entering the text manually.

Renamed Page

It is also likely while upgrading or revamping your website, you rename some of your pages. This will cause the link to break and no more effective.

Firewall Restrictions

This error is generated when a site contains some malware or toxic plugins, which causes the firewall to jump in and restrict the redirects. So, keep your site from such toxic things so visitors can visit easily.

Geographical Location Restrictions

Some of the sites are available only for a particular region. So, if you have added such links that are not for your region, it will take you nowhere. So, check the geographical restriction before inserting a link.

Nonfunctional plugins

Keep your plugins, HTML, and other scripts free of errors, as it will also restrict visitors from landing on your page.

Site is Down

When your site is down, it will take down all your internal and external links. So make all the efforts to keep your site up and take necessary measures to cater to all those issues that can hit your domain.

If you have taken down the site by yourself for maintenance, upgradation and revamping, then make a schedule of it and display it on your site before time. During the process, display the message of why your site is down and when it will be back.

Read | What is Backlink Analysis and How to Perform

Error Messages of Broken Links

401 Removed: This shows that the intended page has been removed from the hyperlinked URL and is no longer accessible.

404 Error: It shows that the host server has some issues that are stopping accessing the page.

Timeout: This is caused by accessing the HTTP, causing the link checking to time out continuously.

Bad Code: This message is also related to HTTP, meaning the HTTP response code is invalid.

Bad Host: This refers to an issue with the main host server, meaning the host server name cannot be read.

Bad URL: This is caused by the misspelled URL.

Reset: This error is caused when the server has lost its configuration for some reason or there is too much traffic, making it super busy.

Effects of Broken Backlinks

Effects of Broken Backlinks

Broken backlinks bring a bad reputation to your site. So take all the necessary action to remove or correct these broken backlinks. Following are the effects of these broken backlinks.

Loss in Traffic

If a link is broken, it takes you to nowhere, so the first factor that will affect you is the loss of some traffic. The traffic is everything for your business; if it is lost, it will hurt your business badly.

High Bounce Rate

The broken links on your site are going to cause frustration to your visitors, as they are not able to read the content they have intended. This will increase the bounce rate, as people will leave your site without spending the due time.

Decrease in Retention Rate

Broken backlinks will also decrease the retention rate of your hard-earned customers since customers will remain loyal to your services until you offer hassle-free services. These broken links will not provide the intended solution and will ultimately reduce the retention of your customers.

Loss of Business

With the loss in traffic, high bounce rate, and people not visiting your site to purchase or read the content, you will lose the business.

Loss of Trust and Credibility

Loss of trust and credibility of your customers and peers is another factor that is going to hurt you because of the broken links. This loss of trust will also affect your ranking in SERPs.

Loss of New Links

With the loss of trust, your peers and related platforms will stop referring you. It would be very hard for you to earn the new links organically. If your content is free of broken links and any other spammy links, then your content will be advertised organically, and you can get new and fresh links without asking.

Read | How to Find Competitor Backlinks

How to Find Broken Links

How to Find Broken Links

The best way to find these broken backlinks is to keep auditing your site at regular intervals. There are many SEO software that can help you schedule the auditing process and find broken links. We will discuss the three most famous SEO software that can be used to find broken links: Google Analytics, Ahrefs and SEMrush.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool of mighty Google and it is also part of Google Webmaster Tools, which will help you find broken links. This is helpful to find all your pages, which have 404 errors. Following is the procedure to find them.

  • Firstly, you must go to the site content with all page options under Behavior.
  • Secondly, select the range of dates you want to audit.
  • Then click on the advanced option to filter all pages with 404 errors.

This will provide you with the auditing report of all links with 404 errors. So, the next process is easy: update or replace the old links with correct or new ones. The snippet below is taken from WordStream, showing different options for broken links.

Google Analytics


Ahrefs broken link checker is an excellent free tool that gives you a detailed report of broken links. A simple procedure leads to awesome results.

  • Enter the URL and press the Enter key.
  • Then click on the broken, and you will get the data of all broken links.

So, you will have the report of external broken links instantly. This also helps you to eliminate the dead links. There are also plenty of useful filter options available in the Ahrefs that can help to squeeze down your data to the desired results.

Ahrefs broken link checker


SEMrush’s site audit can also be used to find broken links.

  • Add the URL of the website, start a new project, and run the site audit.
  • Then click “Issues” and search for broken backlinks, and you will get the data.
  • If you click on the errors, it will give you details of internal broken links.
  • Clicking on “warnings” will provide details of external broken links.

The report will provide the data of both external and internal backlinks and you can also filter the data to find your desired results. The picture below shows the project dashboard, and you can find the backlink using the backlink audit option.

SEMrush’s site audi

How to Fix Broken Links

Broken links are hard to earn; once earned, it is essential to retain them. If you do not take action to retain your hard-earned links, your competitors will try to loot them. So, keep auditing your website regularly and looking for broken links. Once you have done that, the following are the immediate actions you must take to retain these links.

How to Fix Broken Links

Change of URL

If the cause of your broken link is misspelled or the wrong URL, you first need to contact the webmaster and let him know about the mistake, which is causing a negative impact on their website.

 It is also necessary to send them the correct URL and lay emphasis on copying and pasting the link rather than writing it. Similarly, in the case of internal broken links, replace them with the right one.

301 Redirect

Setting up the 301 redirects on the updated URL is also necessary for a better user experience. If you have decided to remove that content, which has been referred to earlier, redirect such links to similar pages.

This redirect is essential, increasing the retention rate and lowering the bounce-back rate. This is also an effort to keep your visitors engaged with similar but updated content.

Configure 404

Like 301, it is also necessary to set up and configure the 404. This 404 page should be functional. You can also set up 404 to other pages, but the best way could lead them to your main content page.

This way, you can offer your visitors many more options to read and navigate. This is also a good option to retain your visitors.

Replacing Missing Content

One of the options for the broken links caused by the missing content is to replace that content with the updated ones. With the evolution of technology, technical details are changing at a very high pace. So, it often becomes inevitable to replace the existing content.

Similarly, if you find the broken links of your competitors, then there is an opportunity for you to earn links by simply creating similar but mesmerizing content. With the content ready, you may approach the webmaster for a request to replace it with your content.

Read | What are the Types of Link Insertion in SEO


Links are one of the most important factors in the eyes of Google to decide the ranking of a page or a platform. Earing these links requires consistent and well-directed efforts, which requires deep knowledge of SEO. Once you have earned links, it is equally important to retain them. Retaining links again requires enormous effort.

There could be multiple reasons that could break these links. These could be the change of URL, removal of old links, the server being down and many others. One can find these broken links using SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush and many others, which are easily available.

Once you have found these broken links, you must take immediate precautionary measures to retain them. These measures could be replacing the missing content with the new one, writing the correct URL and setting up the 404 and 301 redirects.

As said earlier, reclaiming broken backlink require a deep insight of the SEO and is the job of an SEO expert. Dlinx Outreach is an SEO agency with a penalty of experience in building new links and retaining and maintaining them. Their experts schedule the audit of your page for Broken links and take corrective measures as needed. Please feel free to contact us for further details.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the links important?

Yes, links are 2nd most important factor in calculating the ranking of search engine result pages after the content.

What are the causes of Broken Backlinks?

Broken backlinks are caused by misspelled backlinks, changes in URL, the server being down, geographical restrictions, nonfunctional plugins and many more.

What are the effects of broken backlinks?

These broken backlinks cause the loss of visitors, reducing the traffic and business and increasing the bounce rate. All these factors will reduce your credibility and ranking.

How Can we find these backlinks?

Most SEO tools have the option of finding the broken backlinks and the most important of these are Google Analytics, Ahrefs and SEMrush.

How can we fix these broken backlinks?

These backlinks can be fixed by correcting the URL, creating similar content, and setting up 404 and 301 Redirects.

Can Dlinx help you find and amend the broken backlinks?

Yes, Dlinx is an experienced SEO agency that can help you audit and correct broken backlinks.

Related Articles:


Haiqa Saleem

Haiqa Saleem

Haiqa is head of content at Dlinx Outreach. She is an avid writer and bookworm and has been with Dlinx since 2019. As a true tech geek and an extraordinary content strategist, she leverages her passion for the digital sphere and love for writing to share her knowledge through insightful content. She writes with a data-driven perspective.

Related Posts