TheBigK - 4:23 pm on Dec 4, 2012 (gmt 0)
Okay, I almost feel like I'm spamming this thread. I'd however appreciate thoughts on the following post in my thread by John (Googler) -
This thread is moving too quickly :-) - let me respond to your questions:
The number of broken links -- assuming the links point to URLs that don't exist -- generally does not affect your site's crawling, indexing or ranking at all, regardless if it's a handful or millions of them. This does not make us assume that a website is of lower quality (personally, it's more like a sign that the website is technically handling these invalid URLs correctly, which would be a good sign). The number of 404/410 crawl errors would also not negatively affect the crawl rate of the website -- it might even increase the crawl rate since the server can likely respond to these requests a bit faster than to normal requests.
The caveat that Luzie mentioned still applies though -- if these links were meant to point to legitimate content, then of course those links won't work, and that can make it harder for us to find that legitimate content. In other words, if your website is linking internally with broken URLs instead of correct URLs, then that would be worth fixing. In your case, these links appear to be pointing to invalid URLs, so that's not a worry here.
The reason for the "generally" is somewhat technical and not something that most websites would need to worry about. In particular, we try to limit our crawling on a per-server basis to avoid overloading the server and its websites. If we were to crawl invalid URLs instead of useful URLs, then it could take longer for us to recrawl the useful URLs. Since we try to prioritize normal URLs that we know about over URLs that we're just double-checking to see if they exist, this wouldn't be an issue; we'd still crawl your normal URLs normally and just try to squeeze these extra URLs in on the side. Even if we were to crawl some normal URLs a bit less frequently, that would generally not affect their indexing or ranking.
Hope this helps!