Dead Link Definition & Meaning

What Is a Dead Link?

A dead link is a hyperlink that points to a non-existent URL and is permanently unavailable. Dead links are also known as broken links.

Dead links exist for a variety of reasons:

  • The hyperlink has a typo.
  • The URL structure changed.
  • The original link to the intended website is no longer supported by its server.
  • The domain’s registration may have lapsed so the URL cannot be fetched.
  • The web page was deleted and delivers a 404 or 410 error.
  • The web page was moved without a redirect being put into place to the new URL.

Dead links also come in three types:

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  • Dead internal links pointing to pages on the same website.
  • Dead external links pointing to pages on other sites.
  • Dead incoming links (or backlinks) pointing to non-existent URLs on the domain.

It’s important that internal links on your website are not dead links because they can impact the crawlability of your content by search engine spiders. Also, fixing dead external links makes your website seem more up-to-date and a credible resource for users.

As for dead incoming links, it’s a good practice to log 404 and 410 errors for broken links and fix them by redirecting users and search engine crawlers to the correct URL or another relevant page on the site.

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Go to the SEO Glossary to find more terms and definitions that relate to the field of search engine optimization.