While you take so many approaches to increase your website authority and reputation in front of the search engine, certain thing happens, that impact your website's SEO.
Broken links are one of them. They have a huge impact on your search engine optimization and user experience. For websites who have huge traffic on a daily basis and gained already so much reputation, having a couple of hundreds of broken links might not seem to affect their ranking at all but for a medium website broken links would cause damage.
That’s why it is important to understand what broken links are, what they cause, and eventually what’s the solution.
So, let’s get started the article with,
What is a broken link?
A broken link is simply a web URL that is not accessible or down when someone try to reach that page. Each time when a user tries to reach a broken link page encounter an error code. Typically users end up displaying a “404” page error while trying to get on a broken link.
But the “404” is not the single type of error code at all. Depending on the situation, there are several types of error codes often shown.
If your host server is unable to understand the URL the visitor is asking for, it will show “400 bad Request,” “Bad URL”, “Bad code”, and many more.
Here, one thing is needing to mention is that broken links are also expressed as “dead links” or link “rots”
However, now as you understand what broken links are, you might be wondering what are the reasons behind the broken links?
Absolutely, we are going to that point, but here is one thing that needs to be clarified. Broken links occur in either way; internal and external. If any URL from your website is down it is considered a dead link and if your website link is placed to a third party website and is no longer available, visitors are still likely to see the broken link.
Another aspect is that, if any third-party website is linked to your website and it is not accessible, the same thing happens.
However, let’s see,
Why do broken links happen?
There are several reasons why links get broken and we have some of them.
The website is no longer available:
Link exchanging or link building is considered a genuine approach to gain more trust and authority in search engines’ eyes. That’s the reason we often try to spread our website link. We place a link to a website tailored to our website back. In that case, many websites got eliminated. So, if you have a link from that website live on your platform, it will show as a broken link. It mostly happens with new websites. Compared to an old and reputed website there is zero to a low chance of website closure.
The post deletion:
That is quite similar to the above one here the website is live but the page is deleted. When we just simply link exchange with another website, we find the content of the website and place our link to an anchor text. Now, if by mistake or intention, the content got deleted, we are likely to see the same broken link issue.
URL structure change:
Sometimes, the URL structure, also known as the permalink has been changed by the website owner but the link has not been redirected yet. In that case, a broken link issue also would come.
Website content removal:
On the website, there might be certain kinds of files such as videos, photos, documents, and others. All these files have their own URL that links to the website and through which people can access them. If those files got removed, the broken link error takes place.
Placing wrong or misspelled URL:
Sometimes when we put the URL to any anchor text or somewhere else that is going to link back, if it’s not correctly spelled, it might create a broken link error. So while you place links better check them precisely.
Impact of broken links to your website:
The broken links are not a good thing at all. They are really bad and needed to be fixed as soon come into knowledge. It has two prospects.
- Search engine prospect.
- User experience prospect.
Let’s first discuss the user experience prospect.
It will create a bad impression:
Consider thinking you are reading this article and you are still on. People usually place useful and related links to content. But the amount of frustration cannot be calculated when you see the link is broken.. That is an awful experience for the visitor.
Higher bounce rate:
If the link you are placing is an internal link, you are likely to see a higher bounce rate for a broken link. People when seeing any broken link, they click on the cross icon straightaway. Now, most of the users are closing your website quickly, it will certainly increase the bounce rate.
Now let’s come to the search engine prospect.
Effect on search engine due to broken links:
Search engines have sophisticated crawlers and bots that check websites. It checks almost everything from content to layouts, from bounce rate to every link.
With a specific time period, these bots crawl through the website and find if there are any issues available.
When a search engine finds that you have multiple broken URLs, it first lets you know about it and urges you to fix that.
After a certain period of time, if you do not fix that issue, search engines start downgrading that URL as well as your search engine reputation.
Now, why so?
The search engine is aimed and programmed so that it can offer the best and most reliable source of information to people. Once you have broken links, that means, visitors won’t find what they are looking for. That matters a lot to search engines. Once they find you have so many broken links on your website, it will impact your search ranking as well.
There are certain ways to deal with the broken links whether it is internal or external. But before taking action, you have to identify them. If your website is quite new and does not contain so much internal and external linking, you can do it on your own. The links you have to third-party websites can be monitored within a specific time.
But what about quite aged websites that have lots of footprints over the internet and have so much content?
For that situation, you are going to need some specialized tools. Otherwise, you may end up losing so much time and effort.
Here we are mentioning some popular and useful tools that perfectly do the job for you.
Google Search Console:
It is an in-house tool offered by Google to website owners. It is a free tool and used by most websites to discover the broken link issues and fix them. Not only that dead links but there are also many other reasons to use the Google Search console.
Google Search Console is the best option if you are just looking for a simple tool that does not cost you. But if you are looking for more precise, and additional information about the links, you may look for premium tools such as Semrush. The tool is quite helpful in finding the broken links of your site and fixing them with ease. SEMrush is widely sued to improve SEO rankings for websites.
Ahrefs Broken Link Checker:
Ahref is yet another popular like Semrush that helps you gather various information about your website. It helps you find keywords, your ranking on a search engine, analyze your site health, and many more. They have a tool for broken link analysis too. Ahref is widely well-known for its link checking capabilities.
Now let’s see what solutions we can take
How to fix broken link issues?
As we have mentioned above that we get two types of broken links one that is from third-party websites and the other one is internal.
Let’s first see,
How to solve the external backlinks problem?
Once you notice that any third-party website is down or the URL is no longer available, you can tell them about the issue. That is the first approach.
If you don’t get any response when or if the link would be live again then you can simply remove the link.
Another approach you can take is redirecting. In most cases when reaching the original link is not possible, people redirect the broken link with a similar link or similar content.
Internal broken link fixing:
In case you have mistakenly deleted a page or URL, the simple thing you can do is recreate the content. If not possible, you can simply redirect the link to similar content. Suppose you have an article about website performance increasing. If for any reason the content you cannot recreate, you tailor traffic to another related post when clicking on that URL.
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