Broken links – also known as Dead links – are hyperlinks on a web page which when clicked result in an HTTP 404 error (URL Not Found). Broken links appear on a web page because of the following reasons:
- The URL provided in the hyperlink is wrong
- The destination website has changed the URL address or have taken down the specific web page
- The destination website no longer exists or has moved to a new domain
The major reason why one must monitor and check for broken links is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Think of links as pathways connecting different pages on the internet. Google’s web crawlers index different web documents using links and they cannot index pages they are unable to visit. Web crawlers make out the site map and store these details with Google. When a potential customer searches for your products or services, Google can show only those pages which it has indexed.
It is harmful to a web site to have a lot of broken links, as the user satisfaction and user experience quotient for the web site go down. Links are generally provided to web pages which you think are relevant or which add a certain value to the ongoing interaction with your reader. If the web page is not reachable, it stops the conversation dead and the reader might not be interested to re-visit your website.