How To Find Broken Links And Broken Backlinks That Hurt Your SEO [OSEO-08]

By | August 27, 2019

Hey guys, this is Tim soulo from Ahrefs, and today I wanted to talk about broken links and broken backlinks because both of them hurt your website’s performance in Google You’re watching episode number
8 of the oversimplified SEO. [Music] Okay, let’s start from a quick FAQ. A broken link is when a page on your site is linking to some other page that no longer exists. This is bad for two reasons. First it’s just bad user experience because when people click a few links on your site that bring them nowhere, they will simply
get discouraged. And second, Google will check
every link on your page and once it sees that some of them bring people nowhere, it will just value your page less because it’s apparently linking to some
really outdated resources. Now let’s talk about broken backlinks. A broken backlink is when some other site is linking to a page on your site that no longer exists. This kind of link doesn’t send you any link juice and it doesn’t help your
website rank better in Google. So now, let’s see how do you find both broken
links and broken backlinks and how do you fix them to improve the performance
of your website? And as usual, I’m going to use Ahrefs’ tools to help me
discover broken links and broken backlinks. This is Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and
I’m going to put my personal blog there and see if it has any issues with broken
links and broken backlinks. So it’s and I’ll click search. Let’s search for broken links first. I want to know if I’m linking to any
pages that no longer exist. To do that, I go to the outgoing links menu and click on broken links report. As you can see, from this report, my personal blog has 81 pages with broken links. This is super lame because when I check how many pages are indexed in Google using the site operator, I can see that
in the Google index, there are 188 pages from my personal blog. And 81 of these pages
have broken backlinks! How lame is that? This is super lame and this is actually
the reason why I decided to record this video for you. So let’s take a detailed
look at one of the pages on my blog that has lots of broken links. For example,
this one. This is an article about the so called “link roundups” and in this article, I have created a list of over 40 different blogs that publish link
roundups. And apparently as you can see, from Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, quite a few of
these blogs actually, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, are no longer live. Let’s click on this page and
see if it’s live or not. Nope! It returns a ‘not found’ error
and what I can do is find this link on my page, like this, here it goes and
simply delete this link or probably update it to a live one. Actually, to be honest, going through the list of 81 pages and removing or fixing all the
broken links is not the most fun work in the world. So, I would probably
outsource it to a freelancer or virtual assistant. And I’m sure once they fix all
81 pages on my blog, my organic traffic from Google should visibly increase. Now, let’s see if my blog has
any broken backlinks pointing to it. Now, I go to the inbound links section of the reports and click on the broken backlinks report. As you can see, there are no broken backlinks
pointing to my blog and actually this is because I used to keep an eye on broken
backlinks and fix them immediately as I see it. But there’s a website that I’m
sure has tons of broken backlinks. And this website is of course, Let’s see how many broken backlinks we have pointing to pages on our site.
Again I go to the inbound links section broken backlinks report. And as you can see, we have more than 13,000 backlinks that are pointing to our site,
but Google doesn’t count them because the pages that they are pointing to
don’t exist. For example, let’s take a look at this first one.
It comes from, which as you can see is a perfectly legitimate site,
but Google doesn’t count a vote from this site because it links to this page,
Ahrefs’ news, Ahrefs’ close keywords analysis, which is no longer there. And there are two ways for us to fix this issue. The first one is to simply
redirect this URL, for example to our home page, This can easily be
done with robots.txt. Now, I’m sure many of you know how to do redirects
from one page to another page. And the second option is to actually
recreate the content of this page and put it by the same URL: /news/ahrefs close-keywords-analysis/. We no longer have the content of this page, but luckily there’s
a great site, Internet Archive. You can put any dead URL there and it will show
you lots of cached versions of this page, For example, let’s go to a year, 2013, and I’m sure in March, there was a cached version of this page. So yeah, we pretty much see what was there and we could just copy and paste
this content and this banner and put back the page so that links coming to
this page will no longer be broken and Google will count them and help our site rank better. But again, we have 13,000, actually more than 13,000 broken
backlinks to our site and recreating pages or redirecting them is not the
most the most fun thing to do, so probably we will hire again some
freelancer who will analyze this whole report and fix all the broken backlinks
for us, which will again, help our website to rank better. To be honest, I was very
surprised today when I saw how many pages on my personal blog have broken
links and how many broken backlinks there are pointing to Both of these reports show that we have lots of work to do and this is a huge
opportunity to improve these sites. And I’m sure if you run these reports for
your own site, you’ll see quite a bunch of broken links and broken backlinks
that you can easily fix and improve your website. [Music] That’s it for today’s episode of
oversimplified SEO. I hope you’re enjoying my series so far and I hope you’re
already subscribed to a Ahrefs’ youtube channel. Because I’m recording these
episodes every single week. See you in the next one. Bye!

16 thoughts on “How To Find Broken Links And Broken Backlinks That Hurt Your SEO [OSEO-08]

  1. Michael Ellsworth Post author

    Good stuff. However for broken backlinks I think there is a 3rd option besides 301 directing everything to home page or recreating old content. For broken backlinks I'm just doing a 301 to the nearest matching (or similar) page. For example /schedule-appointment/ is a 404 but I have many backlinks to it because in 2014 it was changed to simply /appointments/. So I 301 /schedule-appointment/ to /appointments/.

  2. Cristian Calin Post author

    From my experience, almost every time you will find the same or any other relevant content on your website before redirecting to root domain.

    The first thing you should look is if the content still exist on the website with a different URL or maybe moved to another category/section.

    Starting with the example given by Tim Soulo, you could easily find the old content with a Google search by URL or by title. And it took me about 5 seconds to find the exact same content on this URL:

    If your page is permanently gone, or you don't want it anymore on your website, you should find a related page to point your URL redirect, because as we know 301 redirects pass authority and link juice from the old pages.

  3. Aviral Bhardwaj Post author

    this is really fantastic i loved it thanks for making this for u tim

  4. Kim Omdahl Post author

    Is it possible to use Ahref to check for competitors broken backlinks in a larger scale ???? Like say ex. 200 domains (and all its inner pages) for broken links ??? Im looking for a software that can check for broken links, so I dont have to do this 1 at a time. Though I have to say, I like all your videos. Very helpful, and its nice learning about ahref and about SEO in general.

  5. Bilincin Ontolojik Izdırabı Post author

    Adamın Türkçe ve Rusça arası bi aksanı var. 😀

  6. Helder Oliveira Post author

    Hey Tim, after fixing those backlinks we should have an option to re-check all of our website because they took long time to disappear. That option should be added to Site Health section.

  7. Patrick Artounian Post author

    Hey Tim, any suggestions for who to outsource work like this to?

  8. daniels hvac philadelphia llc. Post author

    great job love your work

  9. Webiens Post author

    nice tutorial thanks for share with us

  10. Priyanka Durai Raj Post author

    I have installed seo backlink plugin in wordpress to add backlinks. After it crossed 450 above it doesn't get submitted. Can you please say what will be the issue? ([email protected]) otherwise say here itself


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