A dead link is an inaccessible website link - the link exists, but when clicked on, the website fails to load or it gives an error message. In other words, it is a broken link or a link that no longer works. It is a common issue encountered on the internet as links become outdated, damaged, or otherwise inactive.
Dead links can make it difficult for web browsers to access the information they are looking for. Depending on the page, this can frustrate visitors and lead them to look for the information elsewhere. For website owners, this can lead to lost visitors and potential business opportunities.
What Causes Dead Links?
Dead links can arise from a number of different causes. The most common cause is a change in the website address. This can happen for a number of reasons such as when the website owner decides to change the domain name.
In addition, a website can be taken down altogether, or a specific page may be removed resulting in a dead link. This can occur when the website owner decides to make updates or restructure the content, or when the content of the page is found to violate certain policies.
Deadlinks can also be caused by typos in web addresses. If a web user mistypes a link and it doesn’t match any of the URLs on the website’s server, they will be prompted with an error message.
How to Find Broken Links
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Finding broken links on your website is not always easy, particularly if you have a large website. The first step is to carry out a link audit. This is where you review the content of your website and check that links work correctly.
You can easily check the links on your website using a browser. Go to each page and click on any link to make sure it works correctly. If it doesn’t and you are prompted with an error message, then you have found a dead link.
You can also use a tool, such as Screaming Frog’s Link-checker, to detect dead links. This is a free desktop program that checks all of the links on a website and returns a list of any that are broken or missing.
What to Do About Broken Links
When you have identified the broken links on your website, the first step is to identify where the link is located so you can fix the problem. Look for the link in the HTML code, and then the page that it links to.
The most logical solution to a broken link is to redirect the page. You can use a 301 redirect which sends the user to another page on the same website. This can be useful if the page has moved or been replaced.
You can also simply edit the broken link and remove it altogether. This is an option if the link was present due to a typo in a web address. Additionally, you may want to link the page to different content, such as related content on your website.