Link Rot

The phenomenon of hyperlinks ceasing to function over time.


Link rot, also known as link death or link breaking, is the process where hyperlinks on individual websites or the internet in general, point to web pages, servers, or other resources that have become permanently unavailable. The phrase also describes the effects of failing to update out-of-date web pages that clutter search engine results and make it difficult for the public to find relevant information.

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Usage and Context

Link rot is a common issue in the digital world, particularly for websites that have been around for a while or those that heavily rely on external links. For instance, a blog post that links to other sources for reference might suffer from link rot if those sources are moved, deleted, or changed. This can harm the website's credibility, user experience, and SEO performance, as search engines favor sites with functioning, relevant links.


  1. What causes link rot?

    • Link rot can be caused by several issues such as the linked content being moved or deleted, changes in the URL structure of the linked site, or the complete shutdown of the linked website.
  2. How can link rot be prevented?

    • Regularly checking and updating your website's links can help prevent link rot. There are also tools and services that can automate the process.
  3. What is the impact of link rot on SEO?

    • Link rot can negatively impact SEO as search engines see websites with many broken links as less credible and reliable. It can lead to lower rankings in search results.
  4. How can I fix link rot?

    • Fixing link rot involves identifying the broken links on your website, then updating or removing them. Tools like Google's Webmaster Tools can help with this.
  5. Does link rot affect website visitors?

    • Yes, link rot can affect user experience. Visitors may be frustrated if they encounter broken links, particularly if they were expecting to find useful information.


  1. Improved User Experience: Regularly checking for and fixing link rot can enhance user experience, as visitors are less likely to encounter broken links.
  2. Increased Website Credibility: Maintaining functioning, relevant links helps to build your site's credibility, both with users and search engines.
  3. Better SEO Performance: Search engines favor sites with functioning links, so preventing link rot can contribute to better search rankings.
  4. Reduced Bounce Rate: By preventing frustration from broken links, you can potentially reduce your site's bounce rate.
  5. Enhanced Site Usability: By ensuring all links lead to their intended destinations, you enhance the overall usability of your site.

Tips and Recommendations

  1. Regular Checks: Regularly check your website for link rot, especially if your site has been around for a while or heavily relies on external links.
  2. Use Tools: Use tools like Google Webmaster Tools, or other link checking software to automate the process of checking for link rot.
  3. Update Links: Regularly updating your site’s links can keep them relevant and functioning, improving both user experience and SEO.
  4. Monitor External Links: External links are more likely to lead to link rot, so pay particular attention to these and update them as necessary.
  5. Consider Link Relevance: When linking, consider the long-term relevance and stability of the page you're linking to. If it's likely to change or disappear, it might be best not to link to it.


In conclusion, link rot is a common issue that can negatively impact a website's user experience and SEO performance. However, with regular checks and the use of SEO tools, it's possible to manage and prevent link rot effectively. By investing the time in maintaining your website's links, you can improve your site's credibility, enhance user experience, and ultimately, boost your SEO rankings.