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Have you ever been in a situation where you’re visiting a site to get answers, but ended up on a 404 error page? Broken links are not only annoying, but it can hurt your SEO efforts as well.
I did a Google poll recently on which thing that annoys the users the most, and look at the results!
When visitors found out that you have broken links, they wouldn’t want to continue to explore the other pages.
And when visitors spend lesser time on your site, search engines will assume that your website is not providing a good user experience to the visitors. Eventually, search engines will give you a lower rank.
Not only the users, but search engines hate broken links too. Broken links will chase your visitors away and hurt your SEO efforts. Therefore, it is best to fix them up. Nobody wants broken links on their website, but not many website owners are willing to spend their time to check on the links and fix or remove them.
According to LinkTiger, even the big companies such as Apple and IBM have the most broken links on their website.
Well, it will definitely take a lot of time to check all the links on your website, especially when you have a large site and don’t know where to start. Therefore, let’s start by identifying the broken links first.
Broken links are links that send a message to its visitors that the webpage no longer exists, triggering the 404 error page.
There are 2 types of broken links on your website:
The internal links refer to links that go from one page on your website to another. These links are the ones that you have the most control on your website. For example, in the ‘Tutorials’ page, you will see that I have linked the next tutorial at the bottom of the page.
So whenever you update or make any changes to your website, you should always check your internal links and make sure that the links are working. If you would like to read more on internal links, here’s another piece written by my team! Have a read: Why Internal Links Matter To Your SEO Effort?
The external links or outbound links refer to the links that are pointing to another website where we usually use as a reference. For example, I am referring to Neil Patel’s blog post on how he used a case study to grow his sales by 185%, and I’m linking it here. This will be an external link because it is linking to another website.
However, the thing about external links is that you need to spend more time on checking the external links because you wouldn’t know when will the link changes as we are not in control. So you’d have to check it from time to time to see if the link is still working or not.
Let’s say I have linked to a particular website, but a few months later, the website owner took the link off their website. So when Google Spiders crawl my site and follow that link to the other website, Google Spiders will read it as a dead end. When Google Spiders detected too many of the 404 error pages, your website’s value will decrease from the search engines’ perspective.
So if you think that having broken links on your website wouldn’t damage your site, you are wrong. Not only search engines might give you a lower rank, there are a few things that you should notice as well.
Broken links are roadblocks in the conversion process. No matter how much time you have spent in getting customers to your site, if they can’t get to the conversion page, all of your SEO efforts will be a waste.
Other than losing revenues, you are losing the customers as well. This is because when one customer is unhappy, he/she will let their friends know about it and you will end up losing not one, but more customers.
KISSmetrics has done a calculation about this and it has proven that 44% of users will tell the others when they have a bad online experience.
After all, you wouldn’t want to waste your time and effort building your website, but ended up having unhappy visitors, right? Just think about how annoying it is to find a link that you wish to get more information, but ended up on a 404 error page that the answer doesn’t exist.
404 error page is not just frustrating, but it could hurt your bounce rate as well. Bounce rate is measured by the amount of time a visitors spends on your page, and if the user doesn’t stay for a certain amount of time, they will be considered to have “bounced” from your page.
When you have unhappy visitors on your site, each of them will leave your website, resulting in a higher bounce rate. When search engines see the high bounce rate on your page, it will raise a red flag on your page, and the entire site will seem irrelevant to the search engines.
Therefore, it is very important to keep the visitors happy when they visit your site by providing a good user experience.
Like what I mentioned above, a high bounce rate can actually cause a lower ranking in the Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
When Google sees that visitors are leaving your page within seconds of landing, they will assume that the visitors didn’t find what they’re looking for. Then, Google will remove the page from the SERPs as a credible and reliable website.
Another factor that will affect your Google ranking is not having your page indexed. Google uses their Spiders to crawl through your entire site to gather valuable information that tells the search engines what is your page about.
But when Google Spiders reach a broken link, it is like hitting a brick wall. That first broken link is all it takes for Google Spiders to stop the indexing process, which can ruin your chances to get a higher rank.
Now, can you see how broken links hurt your site?
There are a few ways to prevent that from happening, which is to check all the links on your website. When you have healthy links on your site, you wouldn’t have to worry about the broken links anymore.
If you don’t have a large site and external links, you will only need to check your site each time you update or make changes to your site. But if you have just a few external links on your site, you should check for broken links at least once a month.
If you run a large site, then you should be checking the entire site for at least once a week. This is mainly because when you have a large site, there is a higher possibility that your site will create a larger amount of broken links, especially if you neglect the links.
The best way to keep an eye on these problems is to monitor your website. Whenever you notice changes in the conversion rates, bounce rates or your traffic, it might indicate a problem. In most cases, these problems are usually related to broken links on your site.
It will be overwhelming to check every single link on your website manually, which is why our team uses SEOPressor Connect, another alternative of website link checker that makes things easier for everyone.
Our latest version of SEO plugin, the SEOPressor Connect introduces a new feature – Link Manager to help check all of the links on your website automatically. With this, you don’t have to check for broken links post by post.
SEOPressor helps to monitor your broken links and address them to you in Link Manager so that you can fix them before it damages your site. Best of all, you don’t have to do it manually, but easily. Let me show you how!
Once you’re at the Link Manager, just look at the ‘Broken’ links and fix them.
If the broken links on your page are internal, it will be a quick and easy fix. Just simply make the changes within your page by renaming or moving the links to the correct places.
If the broken links are external, it may take a longer time to fix them. But you can still see the broken links on Link Manager, and then check on the site that you linked to.
You should check whether the site was moved or removed. If the link is not that crucial to your site, then the best solution is to remove or replace it with a new link that provides the same value to your readers.
It is definitely not recommended to leave the broken links on your site, so it is important that you fix, remove, or replace any of the links you find immediately. With SEOPressor’s Link Manager, you can now have a perfectly healthy sitewide link profile all thanks to the broken link checker!
There are also a few main factors that cause broken links. Here are a few that you should observe to avoid broken links. When you:
So make sure to take note of these factors and don’t forget to change your links.
Also, if you have recently purchased SEOPressor Connect, you can check out the tutorial on how to manage your website’s link profile here.
Do you think that this article is helpful to you? What do you think of our newly introduced feature to check for broken links? Share your thoughts with us down below in the comments box, we’d love to hear from you!
Updated: 15 November 2018