What Is Link Rot?

What is Link Rot?

What is Link Rot?

Have you ever clicked on a link to find that it leads to a dead end? If so, you’ve encountered link rot. Link rot is a phenomenon that occurs when hyperlinks on websites become broken or lead to irrelevant or non-existent content. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including website migrations, deletions, and changes in URL structure. In simple terms, link rot refers to the decay or deterioration of hyperlinks over time, rendering them useless or obsolete.

Key Takeaways:

  • Link rot is the process by which hyperlinks on websites become broken or lead to irrelevant or non-existent content.
  • It can occur due to website migrations, deletions, and changes in URL structure.

Causes of Link Rot:

Link rot can be caused by a range of factors, including:

  1. Link Targets No Longer Exist – Websites are constantly evolving, and pages that were once accessible may be removed or moved to a different URL. When a link points to a non-existent target, it results in a broken link.
  2. URL Changes – Websites may undergo structural changes that impact the URL paths of individual pages. This can lead to broken links if other websites or internal pages are still linking to the old URLs.
  3. Website Migrations – When a website is moved to a new domain or platform, internal and external links may become outdated, leading to link rot.
  4. Expiration of Domain Names – If a website’s domain registration expires, all associated links pointing to that domain will cease to function.

Impacts of Link Rot:

The presence of link rot can have several negative consequences:

  • Poor User Experience – Broken links frustrate users, as they hinder the browsing experience and prevent access to desired information.
  • Loss of Credibility – A website that contains numerous broken links can appear untrustworthy and may deter users from returning.
  • Reduced Search Engine Rankings – Search engines use link analysis as a ranking factor. If a website has a high number of broken links, it can negatively impact its search engine visibility.

Preventing and Fixing Link Rot:

While link rot is a common issue, there are steps you can take to prevent and fix it:

  • Regularly Audit Links – Conduct routine checks on your website’s internal and external links to identify broken URLs. Fix or remove broken links promptly.
  • Implement Redirects – Use 301 redirects when URLs change or pages are moved. This ensures that visitors are automatically redirected to the correct page.
  • Monitor Domain Expiration – Stay on top of your domain’s registration, ensuring it doesn’t expire and cause all associated links to break.
  • Update Internal Links – If you make changes to your website’s URL structure, update all internal links to reflect the new URLs.


Link rot is an unfortunate but prevalent issue on the web. It can have negative implications for user experience, credibility, and search engine rankings. By actively monitoring and maintaining your website’s links, you can minimize the impact of link rot and ensure a smooth browsing experience for your users.