I feature another community question in this edition of my SEO tips from a toddler's bedroom.

"What do you think the impact of broken links has in SEO? Should it be part of your weekly/monthly checks?"

Chris Whatley

It depends.

Page removed

The official advice from Google is that if you have a page that genuinely no longer exists then it should throw a 404 / not found error. It shouldn't be redirected to a page that has no relevance to the original. If the page has completely gone, and has no value being redirected because its not relevant, then you should throw a 401 status error.

Google has no issue with genuine 404 errors.

If you have broken links that could be replaced with a live URL (e.g. within blog content) then it may be worth replacing the broken / removed page with a fresher live one. It's not always about 301'ing everything, but about removing where possible and either not linking at all, or replacing the broken link.

Page broken

If you have pages that carry equity, and rankings that somehow break due to a malfunctioned URL or a bad hyperlink from within your content or elsewhere, then yes you should tackle this 404 error by applying a suitable 301 redirect.

Loss of 404 error report in Google Search Console

The absence of this report indicates to us that Google doesn't consider the amount of 404 errors to be a major issue. However, you need to assess whether it will annoy or impede your user experience.

You can still review backlinks and 404 errors with other tools such as MajesticSEO and Screaming Frog.

If you want a more intense audit of your site's technical health, find out how to conduct a technical SEO site audit here!

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