What Is Link Rot? How to Identify, Fix and Prevent It

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  10/12/2022

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Link rot is a phenomenon in which URLs gradually tend to cease functioning.

It can be a frustrating issue for marketers. It’s an insidious problem that creeps up on you without warning and causes major issues with SEO and user experience if left unresolved.

But what is link rot? And how do you fix it once it has occurred? In this blog post, we’ll look at the ins and outs of link rot to help marketers understand what they’re dealing with.

What is link rot

What is Link Rot?

Link rot, also known as link death or link decay, is a term used to describe the process of webpages becoming inaccessible due to broken links.

It occurs when websites are not updated regularly, and the content becomes outdated or unavailable. Link rot can have a major impact on SEO rankings and user experience.

Definition of Link Rot

Link rot is any webpage that no longer exists or has been moved from its original location.

This could be caused by an expired domain name, deleted page, changed URL structure, website redesigns, or server issues.

The result is a dead link that leads users to nowhere instead of the intended destination.

Types of Link Rot

There are two types of link rot – external and internal links. External links refer to those pointing away from your website while internal links point towards other pages within your own site.

Both types can lead to poor user experience if they’re not working properly.

Hence, marketers need to keep track of them regularly to avoid any negative impacts on their SEO rankings and overall reputation online.

Common Causes Of Link Rot

Link rot is a common issue that can lead to lost opportunities for conversions or sales.

It occurs when changes in URLs, deletion/expiration of domains, broken redirects and server errors (such as 404 Not Found) cause visitors frustration when trying to access certain pages.

This leads them to leave without taking action on your site, resulting in missed opportunities.

Link rot is an issue that marketers need to be aware of when creating and maintaining niche websites.

To ensure your website remains successful, it’s important to understand the types of link rot and their common causes so you can take preventive measures.

Key Takeaway: Link rot is a term that describes broken links that lead users to nowhere instead of the intended destination. It can have an impact on SEO rankings and user experience, so marketers need to keep track of their external and internal links regularly.

How to Identify Link Rot?

It occurs when webpages become inaccessible due to an expired domain name, deleted page, or changed URL structure.

Identifying link rot can be difficult, but it’s essential for maintaining the integrity of your website and ensuring users can access the content they need.

Signs of Link Rot

The most obvious sign of link rot is when clicking on a hyperlink leads to an error message such as “404 Not Found” or “This Page Cannot Be Displayed”.

Other signs include slow loading times for pages with multiple external links, redirecting to another page instead of the intended destination, or simply no response from the server after clicking on a link.

Testing for Link Rot

Testing for link rot involves manually checking each individual hyperlink on your website by visiting them one-by-one in order to determine if they are still active and leading visitors where you want them to go.

You should also periodically check any external websites that may contain backlinks pointing towards yours in order to ensure their validity as well.

There are several tools available online which allow you to quickly scan through your entire website in search of broken links, so that you don’t have to do it manually every time there is an update made somewhere within its structure.

For example, Screaming Frog provides detailed reports showing exactly which URLs are causing issues, so that you know what needs fixing right away without having too much guesswork involved in the process.

Link rot can be identified through careful observation of signs, testing and the use of tools.

Key Takeaway: Link rot can have a negative impact on SEO and user experience, so it’s important to identify and fix broken links in order to maintain the integrity of your website. Signs of link rot include 404 errors, slow loading times, redirecting to another page instead of the intended destination or no response at all from the server after clicking on a link.

How to Fix Link Rot?

It occurs when links become broken or outdated due to changes in website structure, content updates, server issues, and other factors.

Link rot can seriously affect SEO rankings and user experience (UX). Fortunately, there are strategies you can use to fix broken links and prevent future issues with link rot.

Strategies for Fixing Broken Links

The first step in fixing broken links is identifying them. This can be done manually by checking each page on your site or using automated tools such as Screaming Frog’s Spider Tool or Xenu’s Link Sleuth.

Once you’ve identified the broken links on your site, you need to determine how they should be fixed.

If the destination page still exists but has moved to a new URL address, you should update the link accordingly; if not, consider replacing it with an alternate resource, such as another relevant webpage or blog post from your website.

Tips for Avoiding Future Link Rot

One of the best ways to avoid future issues with link rot is by regularly monitoring all of your website’s external and internal links using automated tools like Google Search Console’s Crawl Errors report or Moz Pro’s Site Crawl tool. Additionally, it’s important to create quality backlinks from reputable sources so that any potential problems will be minimized over time—this includes avoiding low-quality directories and sites that could lead visitors away from yours instead of towards it!

Finally, make sure all outbound URLs are valid before publishing them on your pages; this way if something does change after publication, then at least you won’t have wasted time creating dead-end hyperlinks!

Proactively managing your website’s internal and external links can benefit successful digital marketing campaigns.

Regularly monitoring existing links for errors and proactively preventing new ones from becoming outdated through careful planning and implementation processes, such as testing outbound URLs before publishing, can save marketers a lot of trouble in the future when dealing with potential search engine penalties or user dissatisfaction caused by unresolved link rot issues.

By proactively managing your links, you can ensure that your website remains up-to-date and free from link rot.

Key Takeaway: Link rot can harm SEO rankings and user experience, but there are strategies to help prevent it. These include regularly monitoring existing links for errors, replacing broken links with alternate resources, creating quality backlinks from reputable sources, and testing outbound URLs before publishing them.

The Impact of Unresolved Link Rot on SEO and User Experience

Link rot occurs when webpages are moved or deleted without updating the associated URLs. This leads to dead links which can be frustrating for users and negatively affect search engine rankings.

Search engines use links to crawl websites and index content. When they encounter broken links, it affects their ability to accurately rank pages in search results.

This means that pages with unresolved link rot may not appear at all in SERPs or could be ranked lower than expected due to poor quality signals sent by the deadlinks.

User experience is also affected by link rot since visitors who click on these broken URLs will be met with an error page instead of the intended destination.

Not only does this create frustration for users but it can lead to potential loss in revenue if customers cannot find what they’re looking for quickly and easily on your website.

To prevent issues related to link rot, regular monitoring of internal and external links using tools such as Google Search Console or Screaming Frog Spider Tool is recommended.

Additionally, creating quality backlinks from reputable sources helps ensure that any changes made are reflected across multiple sites so outdated information does not lead visitors astray.

Implementing a systematic approach towards managing your website’s linking structure is essential in avoiding future problems with linkrot while improving both SEO performance and user experience at the same time.

Unresolved link rot can have a detrimental effect on both SEO and user experience, so it’s important to address this issue as soon as possible.

In the next section, we’ll explore some potential solutions for mitigating the impact of link rot.

Key Takeaway: Link rot can have a negative impact on SEO and user experience, leading to poor search engine rankings and frustrated visitors. To prevent this issue, it is important to regularly monitor internal and external links as well as create quality backlinks from reputable sources.

Best Practices for Managing Links and Preventing Future Issues with Link Rot

Link rot occurs when the URL of an internal or external link no longer works due to changes in the page’s location or removal from the web altogether.

Strategies for Regularly Monitoring Links

The best way to prevent link rot is to regularly monitor your website’s links and update them as needed.

This can be done manually by checking each individual link periodically, or you can use automated tools such as Google Search Console to detect any broken links on your site.

Additionally, it’s important to check all external sources regularly so that you are aware of any changes in their URLs before they affect your own website.

Tips for Creating Quality Backlinks

When creating backlinks, it’s important to ensure that they are coming from reliable sources with good reputations.

If possible, try linking out only to pages with high domain authority scores and make sure that the content is relevant and up-to-date before adding it as a source on your own website.

Additionally, avoid using too many backlinks within one post since this could lead to dilution of its overall quality score over time.

Implementing a systematic approach to managing links can be beneficial in many ways.

By having clear processes in place for monitoring existing links and verifying new ones before publication, you can minimize potential problems associated with link rot while ensuring maximum SEO benefits.

This way, all existing links remain active and any new ones are added correctly without any issues arising down the line.

By following best practices for managing links and preventing future issues with link rot, marketers can ensure their websites remain up-to-date, relevant, and provide the best user experience possible. Next, let’s look at strategies for regularly monitoring links.

Key Takeaway: Link rot is a common issue that can have a significant impact on user experience and search engine rankings. To prevent link rot, it’s important to regularly monitor your website’s links and use automated tools such as Google Search Console.

FAQs about Link Rot

What causes link rot?

Link rot is the process of a website’s hyperlinks becoming outdated or broken due to changes in web content, server issues, or other technical reasons. This can happen when websites are not regularly maintained and updated with fresh content. Link rot can also occur when pages are moved or deleted without updating the links that point to them. In addition, link rot can be caused by external factors such as domain name expiration or hosting provider shutdowns. As a result, visitors may encounter dead links on websites which could lead to poor user experience and damage brand reputation.

How do you fix link rot?

Link rot, also known as link decay or broken links, is the process of web pages becoming unavailable due to a variety of reasons. The most common cause of link rot is when websites are moved or deleted without redirecting their old URLs. To fix link rot, marketers should regularly check for any broken links on their website and update them with new URLs if necessary. Additionally, they should use permanent (301) redirects whenever possible to ensure that visitors are always directed to the correct page even if the URL has changed. Finally, using a tool like Google Search Console can help marketers identify any 404 errors so they can quickly address them before it affects user experience.

What is Rot on a website?

Rot on a website is the process of having outdated, irrelevant or broken content and links. This can be caused by not regularly updating content, using incorrect URLs in links, or simply leaving old pages online that no longer serve any purpose. Rot can lead to poor user experience and decreased search engine rankings as well as lower conversion rates for marketers. It’s important to stay up-to-date with your website’s content and ensure all links are working properly in order to keep visitors engaged and interested in what you have to offer.

When a user clicks on a dead link, they will be directed to an error page. This page usually states that the requested URL could not be found or is no longer available. It may also provide additional information such as alternate links or suggestions for further action. Dead links can occur due to changes in website content, broken URLs, or expired domains. As marketers, it’s important to regularly check and update your website’s links so that users don’t experience any issues when navigating your site.


Link rot is an issue that can have a serious impact on your website’s SEO and user experience.

Taking the time to identify, fix, and prevent link rot from occurring in the future will help ensure your website remains optimized for search engines and provides users with a positive experience.

By following best practices such as regularly checking links, using redirects when necessary, and avoiding broken links whenever possible, you can minimize the risk of link rot affecting your site.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to keep your website running smoothly without worrying about link rot!

Also read: this is how I keep track of internal broken links with Ezoic’s Broken Link Checker

Joost Nusselder is The Content Decoder, a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new tools en tactics. He's been working on a portfolio of niche sites since 2010. Now since 2016 he creates in-depth blog articles together with his team to help loyal readers earn from their own succesful sites.