Do you wish to ensure a steady stream of visitors to your website? Well, the journey won’t be smooth unfortunately.
Fixing those broken links will be well worth the effort in the end!
More traffic, better user experience, and most importantly more revenue, are all the bi-product of cleaning up and fixing those broken links on your site that are costing you big time!
According to Internet Live Stats, out of the 1.7 billion websites present on the web today, approximately 200 million sites are active and running. Despite the fact that this is a significantly lower number than 1.5 billion, that is still a lot of websites, and hence competition!
To emerge as a leader within your sector, you must ensure that you have a robust online presence. When people search for relevant keywords to your brand, you must be among the top five search results.
To reap the rewards of all that free traffic from the search engines.
Well, according to the Zero Limit Web, the first five search results account for over 67 percent of total clicks. Yet, the journey of getting to a respectable search result ranking is not easy. This is where SEO comes in. As per Backlinko, there are over 200 factors that Google alone takes into consideration when ranking your site.
Even though broken links are not one of them, SEO and your website’s worst enemy is still a broken link.
What are broken links?
Broken links refer to links that are no longer operational. When they are clicked on, they send visitors to a page that doesn’t exist anymore. A broken link may exist in three scenarios:
- The website is not functional anymore.
- The specific webpage was moved, but a redirect was not added
- The website’s URL structure was altered.
- Typo errors during link creation
In case a visitor clicks on a broken link, a 404-page error is displayed.
How do broken links impact your website?
It is essential to find broken links and fix them because they tend to impact a website, reputation, and hence the business negatively. It has the power to both reduce the rank of your site on a search engine and affect user experience, thereby leading to a loss in customers as well as revenue.
Effects user experience
Users don’t have the time to waste in trying to accessing your website. If your site is full of broken links, and hence obstacles towards a smooth navigating and purchasing process, site visitors will abandon your website and move to your competitors that offer a better user experience. And they might never return.
According to a survey conducted by SWEOR, 88 percent of site visitors are less likely to come back to a site after a poor experience.
Loss of reputation and revenue
SEO is not inexpensive. Campaigns like email marketing and social media marketing require a considerable budget. This and much more is needed to manage a thriving online business. Yet, something as minor as excessive broken links make all your effort go down the drain.
The moment a potential customer abandons your website, this signifies a loss of revenue in the short run and loss of reputation in the long run. It is bound to take a lot of time and energy, for the same level of trust to be built again.
The effect on SEO
Broken links tend to impact SEO. Yes, a few broken links might not be considered as a ranking factor by Google. But, it does affect SEO in other ways.
For instance, crawlers will waste a lot of time crawling the broken links to verify and categorize it properly. This leads to a waste of crawl budget, which in turn could have been used to check pages that are functional.
Hence, broken links reduce the chance of operational links of being viewed by Google.
Furthermore, when visitors end up landing on broken pages, they tend to abandon the page in seconds. In the language of Google, the less time a visitor spends on your site signifies that your website is not delivering the required high-quality content. This will lead to lower rankings.
How to fix broken links
There are two steps to fixing broken links. First, you need to find the concerned links and then take measures to correct them.
Find the links
In case you don’t have a large and heavy site and barely use external links, finding broken links won’t be hard. All you need to do is check your links whenever you update or alter them. In case you do have a handful of external links, make a point of checking for broken links monthly.
The problem arises when the site is large and heavy. Here, it is imperative to check the entire site once every week. This is because the larger the site is, the higher is the probability of broken links. Manually checking for broken links can seem too much work here. This is why it is advised that you take help from tools available for finding broken links.
Tools to use
Here are top tools you can use to check for broken links. You are free to use other tools you find suitable.
1. Broken Link Checker
When it comes to the link checking tool, Broken Link Checker is by far the most popular among website owners. This is because it is quite easy to integrate into any website. All that you need to do is add it as a plugin.
In Broken Link Checker, all data which pertains to broken links are detected and appear on a dashboard. The tool also highlights the reason for the broken link so that an appropriate measure can be taken.
One good thing about the plugin is that it is extensive in its check. Rather than merely checking the primary website tabs for broken links, the tool also checks all blog posts and reader comments. If a faulty comment or a missing image is detected, the site owner is informed.
2. Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is a simple web crawler that can collect data that is often required for SEO audits. There are two versions available for the crawler. The free version allows for data to be gathered from over 500 URLs. The paid version has an unlimited capacity.
To identify broken links, a relevant URL from the website can be entered into the crawler. It will then identify all broken links. The tool doesn’t just list down the broken links. Instead, it also showcases the list of pages that are linked to the webpage, which has broken links.
This helps in prioritizing which pages to begin fixing first.
3. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a broken link checker that helps in detecting internal broken link errors as well as web pages that are linked to your website using wrong URLs. However, one flaw of the tool is that it won’t tell you about links within your site that redirect to external pages with 404 errors.
A good thing about Google Search Console is that it provides a thorough broken link report for effective monitoring of a website.
Ahrefs is yet another tool that is quite popular among site owners because of its ability to deliver effective marketing and SEO analysis while also locating broken links. It also allows you to easily monitor your competition.
You can use Ahrefs to perform an SEO audit of your site. The reports delivered will also help in identifying the presence of broken links on your site. Since the identification of broken links is linked with an SEO audit, the process is not as regular and instantaneous as one would like.
You can integrate the tool with other broken link checker tools for daily reporting.
Fix the links
Once you have completed the cumbersome and important task of finding all the broken links, now is the time to fix them. The solution will depend on the problem. Here is how you can fix some of the most common problems for a broken link.
A moved internal page
In case an internal page has been moved, any link that directed to it would now showcase a 404 error when clicked. You must begin by updating all such links.
A deleted internal page
In case the internal page in question is deleted, you must also delete all links that lead to it and replace them with something similar.
External links directing to moved or deleted pages
If there are external third party links that are linking to your deleted or moved pages, first find these links via backlink analyzing tool. Then, add a 301 redirect.
Misspelled internal URL
Create 301 redirects for any URL that is a misspelled version of your original URL. Similarly, any link that features typos or other linguistic mistakes should be rectified.
Third-party broken link
If some of your link building efforts have gone down the drain due to broken links, begin by deleting the links from your content. Then, try to find where the page you previously linked to has moved. If you cannot find it, look for alternative links.
Broken links are your enemies. They negatively affect your SEO ranking as well as your reputation. Make sure to defeat them by taking a methodical approach. Identify broken links via handy tools and then fix them.
Your sites revenue, traffic, and user experience will all thank you!
Mary Warner is an enthusiast blogger. Her compelling research and communication capabilities exchange offerings that have value for the reader. Her passion for writing has been an ever-evolving affair. She loves to share her views related to latest trends in marketing, technology, ecommerce, and the like.