Are Broken Outbound Links Bad For SEO?

  • Oops! 404 error page not found.
  • The requested resource is no longer available.
  • Sorry! The page has been deleted. 

These types of errors are “broken links.” Broken links are one of those issues search engines hate; most of the time, it leads to de-ranking. Another problem is these links waste the crawl budget. 

But hey, don’t worry! 

This isn’t something that can’t be solved. I’ve solved the issue of broken links countless times, and I’ll tell you exactly how below.

So stick around, and let’s untangle the mystery of broken links!

What Is A Broken Outbound Link?

A broken outbound link is simply a link on your website pages that leads users to a dead end. It means after clicking on you’ll be redirected to a page of another website that’s showing errors like: 

  • Oops! 404 error page not found.
  • It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. 

These errors show the link you’ve clicked on is broken. It happens for various reasons; sometimes, the user mistyped the URL, the page has been deleted, or the website’s owner has changed the URL. 

No matter the reason, outbound broken links hurt website SEO. When Google crawlers find broken links, they’ll consider putting your website in a category that doesn’t meet search engine guidelines and provides value or a good user experience.

All of this will affect website SEO performance, and you’ll notice many of the website’s pages will go to the second or third page from the first one. 

How Do Broken Links Affect SEO?

I’ve discussed that broken external links affect SEO, but HOW? Here’s what I observed in the past few years. 

1- Bad User Experience

One of the most important things for Google as of 2024 is “user experience.” And with a lot of broken links, you might be messing up your audience’s reading experience. People don’t like to end up on a page that doesn’t have content.  

This is a big problem because websites that don’t provide real value or annoy users usually end up beyond the top 20, 30, or 40 search results. 

2- Doesn’t Prove You an “Authority.”

Google has updated its policy and published detailed guidelines about EEAT in which “Authority” and “Trustworthiness” are important factors. The problem is that broken links are bad for both “authority and trustworthiness.” 

Broken links pointing to other websites give readers a suggestion that you can go to this website for a solution or more info, but if it’s broken, they won’t trust you again. No trust means you’ll never become an “authority” in the niche. 

Related Read “Does Google EEAT Boost Organic Traffic?

3- Waste Link Juice

Outbound links come in two types: Dofollow and Nofollow links. Dofollow links boost the credibility and popularity of the linked websites in search engine eyes by passing on link juice. On the other hand, Nofollow links don’t pass link juice.

When you’ve given Dofollow links to other websites, and they’re broken, it means you’re wasting your website’s link juice.

4- De-ranking of Blog

All of the above points, like the bad user experiences going against the EEAT guidelines, will impact your SEO performance. Search engines, especially Google, use these signals to decide whether the website is reliable or not. 

The moment search engine crawlers find that you’ve given broken links from your website to other websites, it will become unreliable for Google. And they might push your blog down the search results ladder. This is why you need to fix the broken links issue as soon as possible. 

How to Find Outbound Broken Links?

Before you read the solution, you need to find the exact number of outbound links that are broken. For your help, I’ll share the best method to check for broken links below. 

1- Use SEO Tools  

There are many SEO tools that can help find broken outbound links in your content. For example, you can use Ahref or Semrush

2- How to Use Ahref to Find Broken Links? 

In Ahref, you only have to add the domain name in the Ahref Site Explorer. The tool will show you all the details of your website, like traffic and ranking keywords, along with the outbound and inbound links report.

After adding the website link, click on “broken links” under the “outbound links” options, and that’s it. You’ll get a list of broken page links on your website. 

How to Use Semrush to Find Broken Links?

To find out broken links in Semrush, first buy the paid subscription. Then, add the link to your website to the “Backlink Audit” option. Semrush tool will do a backlink audit for your website, where you’ll get all the information about the backlinks. 

Once the audit is done, go to “Target Pages” and click on the “Target URL error” tag. That’s it, and you’ll get a list of broken lists on your website. 

Free Broken Online Link Checker Website

The next way to find broken links on your website is to use “Broken Link Checker.” This website is a free and simple way to find all broken internal links and outgoing links without purchasing a subscription to keyword research tools. 

It offers a free version that has a limit of 3000 pages, which is more than enough for a small to medium-level website. You just need to add the link to your website, and the list of broken links will be in front of you. 

The only drawback is you’ve to filter out the outbound links separately, as this tool shows all broken links. 

How To Fix Outbound Broken Links? 

Here are the three ways that you can use to fix outbound broken links on website. But before you come to the solution, ensure you have a list of links that are broken and need to be fixed.

  1. Update Outbound Links: Sometimes, we make mistakes when adding links. Maybe you’ve typed the wrong web address, and that’s why the link is broken. If that’s the issue, you can fix it by updating the web address to the right one.
  2. New Link: If the outbound link is broken because the page has been deleted. Just add a new link that’s relevant and provide the same value as the last link. 
  3. Remove the Link: Always make sure to check if the link you put in your article is actually helpful. If it’s not adding any value, it’s better to remove it from your web page rather than having a broken link. 

Final Words

In short, repairing broken links is not just a technical chore; it’s a strategic move that directly impacts your website’s SEO and search engine rankings. Avoiding linking out to broken pages is crucial for maintaining a seamless user experience and ensuring that your website is seen as trustworthy and authoritative. 

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