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How to Identify and Resolve Broken Pages: Comprehensive Guide

1. What is a Broken Page?

A broken page is a webpage that cannot be accessed or displayed correctly, typically resulting in an error message such as 404 "Not Found" or 410 "Gone." This can occur for various reasons, including deleted content, moved pages without proper redirects, or incorrect URLs.

Broken webpages are a common issue on websites, with various studies and reports highlighting their prevalence: around 5% to 10% of all links on the web are broken at any given time.

2. Causes of Broken Pages

Broken website pages occur when hyperlinks lead to non-existent or unavailable web pages. Common causes include:

1.     Deleted Pages: The linked content has been removed without setting up proper redirects.

2.     URL Changes: The URL structure of a website has been modified, causing old links to become invalid.

3.     Typographical Errors: Mistakes in the URL when creating the link.

4.     Server Issues: The server hosting the linked content is down or experiencing issues.

5.     Expired Domains: Links to external sites whose domains have expired or been taken offline.

3. How Broken Pages Affect SEO

Dead pages can significantly impact a website's SEO in several ways:

1.     Decreased User Experience: When users encounter broken pages, it leads to frustration and can increase bounce rates, signaling to search engines that your site provides a poor user experience.

2.     Crawling Issues: Search engines may struggle to crawl and index your site if they encounter numerous broken pages, potentially missing important content.

3.     Reduced Link Equity: Bad links can disrupt the flow of link equity (or "link juice"), affecting the ranking potential of other pages on your site.

4.     Negative Perception: Search engines view non-working pages as a sign of poor maintenance, which can harm your site's credibility and ranking.

Use tools regularly to identify and fix broken pages to mitigate these issues, ensuring your site remains user-friendly and optimized for search engines.

4. What is an Example of a Broken Page?

An example of a broken webpage is when a user clicks on a hyperlink and encounters, for instance, a "404 Not Found" error. This indicates that the linked page is missing or the URL is incorrect.

The 410 response code (“Gone”) is also an example of a broken page. However, it indicates a final state, meaning the webmaster has intentionally set this code for search engines to exclude the page from indexing permanently. This signifies that the content will never be available again.

In contrast, with a 404 error or similar codes listed below, there is no certainty that the content won't reappear in the future. These errors may be fixed, and the page might return to a 200 "OK" status, indicating the content is available once again.

Other examples of broken pages include:

1.   500 Internal Server Error: Server-side issues prevent the page from loading.

2.   403 Forbidden: Access is denied due to issues with permissions.

3.   301 Moved Permanently without redirect: The page has been moved but lacks a proper redirect.

4.    Broken Media Links: Links to images, videos, or files that no longer exist or have incorrect URLs.

5.    External Links: Outbound links to other websites that are no longer available or have changed URLs.

5. Key Pages to Monitor for Broken Pages

  • Homepage: Ensures first impressions are positive and navigational links work correctly.

  • Product Pages: Critical for e-commerce sites; broken links can lead to lost sales and customer frustration.

  • Contact Us Page: This is important for customer support and communication; it ensures users can reach out without issues.

  • Blog Posts and Articles: Often contain numerous external links; maintaining these helps preserve SEO value and user experience.

  • Resource Pages: Pages with downloadable content or references; ensuring these links work maintains credibility and user satisfaction.

  • Checkout Pages: For e-commerce sites, unavailable links here can prevent sales and deter customers.

  • FAQ and Help Pages: Important for user support and guidance; broken links can lead to user dissatisfaction.

Regularly checking these pages helps maintain site functionality, user experience, and SEO performance.

6. How to Find Broken Links?

Here are common methods and tools to identify bad links:

1.   Google Search Console: Provides reports on crawl errors, including dead links on your site.

2.   Web Crawling Tools: Tools like Screaming Frog SEO Spider or Xenu’s Link Sleuth can scan your entire site to detect non-working links.

3.   Browser Extensions: Extensions like Broken Link Checker for Chrome can quickly check links on a specific webpage.

4.   Specialized Services: Online tools such as Atomseo Broken Links Checker offer comprehensive link scanning and reporting.

5.   Manual Checks: Regularly review and test important pages manually to ensure all links are functional.
Broken pages report by Google Search Console
Broken pages report example by Atomseo
Broken pages report by Screaming Frog

7. How to Fix a Broken Website Page?

To fix a broken webpage, follow these steps:

  • Identify Broken Links: Use a tool like Atomseo Broken Links Checker to scan your website. Atomseo provides up to 1,500 free daily scans, detecting server errors, including non-working links.

  • Update or Remove Links: Correct the URLs or remove the dead links if they are no longer relevant.

  • Set Up Redirects: If the content has moved, set up 301 redirects from the old URL to the new one to ensure users and search engines are directed to the correct page.

  • Monitor Regularly: Regularly check for broken pages to maintain a healthy website and prevent them from negatively impacting your site.
Broken pages and links can significantly impact your website's SEO and user experience. By understanding what causes and using tools like Atomseo Broken Links Checker, you can effectively identify and fix these issues, ensuring your website remains functional and user-friendly. Regular monitoring and maintenance are crucial to preventing broken pagesand maintaining a high-quality website.

8. Relevant Links