What are Broken Links? And How Do you Find and Resolve Them

Broken link or Dead link is a website’s link that is no longer functional. This can be due to the web page being deleted, moved, or the link simply not working.

If you’re running a website, it’s important to make sure that all of your links are working properly. Not only do broken links look bad to visitors, but they can also hurt your site’s ranking in search results.

Search engines use links to crawl the web and discover new content. If your site has a lot of broken links, it can hurt your SEO because the search engines will have a harder time crawling and indexing your site. In addition, if people are coming to your site from other websites (via inbound links), and those websites have broken links to your site and users becoming frustrated and leaving a website altogether.

There are four main types of broken links:

1. 404 errors. This is the most common type of broken link and occurs when a page can’t be found.

2. Redirects. Redirects can occur when a page has been moved to a new location and the old URL isn’t redirected properly.

3. Soft 404s. Soft 404s occur when a page exists, but it’s not the right page (for example, a page that returns a “not found” error).

4. Links to non-existent pages. This type of broken link occurs when a link points to a page that doesn’t exist.

Broken links can frustrate website users and cause them to leave your site. But did you know that broken links can also hurt your website’s ranking in Google search result? That’s because search engines use links to crawl and index websites and broken links can prevent them from doing so.

There are a number of reasons why broken links occur. 

  1. The most common is when a website is redesigned and its pages are moved to new locations. If the old page URLs are not redirected to the new pages, any inbound links pointing to the old pages will be broken. 
  2. Another common reason for broken links is when your website’s URL structure (permalinks) recently changed without a redirect, which resulted in a 404 error.
  3. If you have linked any external website and that is no longer working or permanently moved.
  4. If your content is linked to moved or deleted PDF, Video, Google doc.

Status CodeDefinition
400 (Bad Request)Server unable to process the request because the URL is incorrect
400 (Bad Request – Bad Host)Server unable to process the request because host name is invalid
400 (Bad Request – Bad URL)Server cannot process request because you typed wrong URL
404 (Page Not Found)Page is not available on the server
403 (Forbidden)Page require authorization to access
410 (Gone)The requested file is no longer available at this URL
408 (Request Time Out)Server has timed-out waiting for the request.
503 (Service Unavailable)Server is temporarily overloaded and cannot process the request

Fastest and easiest way to find broken links can be done through broken link checker tools.

Another way to find broken links is to check on Google Search Console:

Google Search Console helps us to identify any website health issue such as broken links once their bots crawled your site and also send notification to you.

Note: GSC only shows URLs on your website and not any external links.

  1. You can find broken links error in Google Search Console -> Indexing -> Pages -> Not Found (404)
How to find broken links in Google Search console

2. Choose Not Found (404)

How to find 404 pages in Google search console

  1. Identify broken links: Use a broken link checker tool to find broken links of your website or check Google search console and download the list 404 error pages
  2. Fix or remove broken links: If the broken link leads to a page that no longer exists, remove the link. If the page still exists, update the link to point to the correct page.
  3. Use redirects: If you have to remove a page or change its URL, use a redirect (301) to ensure that users who click on the old link are automatically redirected to the new page.
  4. Check regularly: Broken links can occur at any time, so it’s important to check your website regularly to ensure that all links are working correctly.

To redirect broken links in WordPress using Rank Math SEO Plugin, follow the below steps:

  1. Install and activate Rank Math SEO Plugin in your WordPress site if you haven’t already done so.
  2. Go to the Rank Math Dashboard and click on the “404 Monitor” option in the left-hand menu.

3. Here, you will see a list of all the 404 errors (broken links) on your website. You can also filter them by date, status, and source URL.

4. To redirect a broken link, simply click on the “Redirect” button next to the error you want to redirect.


5. In the next window, you can choose the type of redirect you want to create (301, 302), enter the target URL (where you want the broken link to be redirected), and add any additional notes.

6. Once you have entered all the required information, click on the “Add Redirect” button.

7. That’s it! The broken link will now be redirected to the new URL you specified.

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