One SEO professional asked John Mueller in a hangout about broken links.
More specifically, their situation is: they have a website that has about 40,000 pages and double the links.
So they have approximately 20,000 broken links that were caused by a migration gone bad from one platform to another platform. Since then, they began noticing a decrease in organic traffic that they used to rank, for 20-25,000 per day in organic traffic.
Now they are only getting approximately 2-3,000 or 4,000 per day max in traffic.
Their main question: Is this a good metric to use to address their ranking in order to remove these broken links and 404 pages?
John asked when they did the migration.
The SEO pro responded that it was in 2020 – approximately 2 years ago.
John guesses that it doesn’t matter anymore because of how long it’s been.
This is something that he would watch out for during any migration, however. Because, the main thing you want to catch is the situation where somebody externally links to your website, and that link to your site essentially goes nowhere.
If you see somebody externally linking to a page, that is now a 404 page, because you forgot to redirect it, that link is lost.
And if you see that happening at a larger scale, then those links are things that you will lose.
And this can be reflected in the search results over time also.
John would say for certain that, while you can still go back and add a redirect for those individual links that you see, he doesn’t believe that it will make a big difference after two years.
But, you could still go and see if there is something you can do. You can also estimate this type of thing roughly, by examining your server logs, if you have access.
If you see a lot of crawlers from search engines going to 404 pages, sometimes this is a sign that they think there’s going to be something useful there and then they get lost. So this may be a way to look at it and see the 404 pages that were accessed by search engines.
Which of them could be redirected to something useful currently?
This happens at approximately the 19:45 mark in the video.