Link rot refers to the gradual decay of the older links present in your backlink profile. Link rot can occur in two ways:
1. A loss of links a.k.a a 404 Error.
If your backlink is pointing to a webpage that has been moved by the publisher, then the link is no longer functional.
2. A gradual loss of link juice.
This happens to nearly all backlinks. With time, more relevant pages crop up on the internet and they will command more link juice due to their freshness, relevance and content quality.
Watch this video and discover our top 3 tips on how to fight link rot. Includes a step-by-step walkthrough:
Link reclamation is your best friend when it comes to fighting link rot. Your first step in link reclamation is to start off with a broken link analysis.
Ahrefs provides a fantastic tool to help you with that. If your broken link analysis reveals any 404 errors, then you need to assess whether or not you can create a 301 redirect to another page on your site. If the backlink is from your page to an external site, then you need to update your backlink to direct to a page that actually exists.
301 redirects are a pretty good way to ensure all the link juice of the old page is passed on to the new. However, you should be careful with your redirections. A redirection should be to a page of similar or better value. Redirecting to the home page is likely to be considered a “soft 404” by Google, which means that Google won’t pass on the link juice.
Some 404 errors are just honest mistakes by external sites. They might have misspelled your URL, such as by adding an ‘s.’ Or your internal links may include excessive tracking codes, preventing a user from landing on the page.
So, depending on the situation, all you have to do is fix the backlinks on your site, add a 301 redirect where necessary, or reach out to the external site and ask them to direct their backlink to the right site/page.