Should you remove the old broken links to have an impact on SEO?

Linking works like a miracle in SEO. If you have the right links, your page will observe a soar in ranking. However, wrong links can have an equal and opposite effect on the ranks. One of the many problems while making SEO content is the issue of broken links. It has been a long-standing issue and the best way is to fix those broken links. There is no other way around.

Australian Internet Advertising is an SEO agency based in Sydney which provides SEO services to its clients. They have a cumulative experience of 20+ years in SEO. While preparing SEO for their client’s website, they ensure that the page lands on the highest rank of SERP. They also test the website’s SEO for backlinks, page loading speed, page errors, and all the other possible things which might impact its rank.

Broken links- 

What links do for your page is that they essentially send link signals to your platform. Google relies heavily on links for elements like anchor text and the ranking of a page. Sometimes, a link might be broken because it, due to some typo, points to a page that has no existence on the website. The other times, we remove a page and forget to redirect it to another page.

A page having 404s, or a page that doesn’t work, those links which have no chance to pass anymore, etc. are some other examples of broken links. In one instance, there can be hundreds and thousands of broken links on a webpage, and this damages your SEO. These must be timely cleaned to reap the real fruit of your page.

Points of consideration while performing the SEO clean-up- 

1- Fix the broken links- there is no shortcut to ranking up high in SERP. You have to fix the broken links because we are not aware of which link the search engine counts on.

2- Give priority to high authority pages and pages with fresh signals- Links to pages with a high value of organic traffic are the ones that need to be fixed at the outset. Such pages, when linked properly, work like magic to your SEO. You must also consider the freshness of the URL while linking to them.

3- Redirect to relevant URLs- it will be of no use if you redirect everything to the homepage of your website. The redirect must be specific and relevant to the requirement of the user. Irrelevant linking often creates confusion in the minds of users.

Cases when removing the broken link doesn’t help at all-

More often than not, we happen to remove the broken links but it has no positive or substantial impact on the SEO. A few things need to be addressed before latching our expectations from the clean-up ritual:

1- Some links don’t count at all- There are some, if not many, links on your pages that do not count at all. Removing these links will be of no avail for your SEO.

2- Some links are of low value- the other activity which will be of low value to your SEO is the removal of low-value links of those links which are not fresh. A link that is broken and belongs to a 5-6-year-old page plummets at the bottom because it attracts no traffic. In that case, Google does not bother to rank it.

3- “LIVE” links- Also termed as “ghost links” by Rand Fishkin, these are the links that do not require their presence for Google to pass signals. Google also suggests that while doing re-directs, we should leave these links in place for a year and the value of these links’ passes. Thus, for the value of such links to pass, their being live is not a requirement and their clean-up will have no solid impact on the SEO.


While linking is a major boon for the SEO of your page, broken links act as a bane and must be cleaned up regularly lest they pile up. They act like leeches you’re your SEO, they suck up the juice of your page. Even the clean-up of these links must be done with due diligence, taking into consideration what matters the most and holds no value.