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Why you need to fix broken links

We’re going to start this post with a little game of ‘spot the difference’. 

Here are two very different images of shops.

Obviously, the shop on the right is the more inviting of the two. 

And the one on the left is somewhere I would walk straight past. Even if I knew they had the product or service I was looking for.

I don’t know about you, but I’d make all kinds of assumptions about that business: 

  • What does this run-down appearance tell me about how they look after their products

  • Or their attention to detail?

  • Or their customer service? 

  • Or their reliability as a business to take care of whatever is necessary, both for themselves and their customers?

On the flip side, when I look at the picture on the right, you perceive the business very differently.

  • The shop is clean and well-maintained.

  • It looks inviting.

  • Products are visible in the windows and look DELICIOUS.

  • The door is open. 

And this is a lot like the way Google views websites. 

Some are like run-down old shacks, and others are trendy Scandi bakeries that attract people like bears to a honeypot.

And one of the most important ways Google sorts the run-down old shacks from the polished Scandi bakeries is through broken links.

If a site has high proportion of broken links, Google instantly marks a site as less trustworthy, and this can have a direct impact on your position in the search rankings. So it’s really important.

As an agency, this is one of the first things we look at when we’re evaluating the health of a website at the start of an SEO project. And it’s one of the first things we go in and fix.

The good news is that fixing broken links on a website is actually really easy. Here’s how you do it. We like using Ahrefs, but there are many free tools you can use to do this.

  1. Go to (no signup or login needed).

  2. Type in your domain in full (i.e. Click ‘Check broken links’.

  3. Review the results under ‘Broken outbound links’. 

These are links on your website to external website that are broken. Often, it’s due to a mis-type, or the external website has moved the page you were originally linking to. Often, all you have to do is correct the broken link. If you can’t find it to update it, it’s best to replace it with a link that does work or – if you can’t find a suitable replacement link, delete the link altogether.

4. Review the results under ‘Broken inbound links’. 

These are links on your website to pages on your own website. There will likely be more broken links within your site and to external sites. All you have to do is take a look at the page with the broken link, and correct the link. Sometimes, this can be as simple as changing a link from a ‘http:’ link to ‘https:’. 

5. Then you just need to work systematically through each of these lists to fix all the broken links on your site, and your site health will improve dramatically.

So take 5 minuntes this week is to take a look at Ahrefs broken link checker (I’m not an affiliate and this is a free tool), and start by fixing just 5 broken links on your site. Then gradually over the next few weeks keep chipping away at that list of broken links until you don’t have any left.

If you don’t have any broken links on your site at all, congratulations! Make sure it stays that way for as long as possible!

Good luck with fixing broken windows on your digital storefront.


My name's Claire and I’m an SEO and content strategy expert. I help startups and ambitious businesses improve their content, so that customers can find your website in search, and so that when they do, they convert.


I’m a former startup CEO, and I’ve worked for some of the world’s biggest publishers (Penguin Random House, Oxford University Press), as well as training with Google's in-house SEO team. I even built a website to attract 45k in organic search visitors/month. Drop me a line if you need help of any kind with SEO and content.


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