For instance, you have a great website rich with quality content, high-authority links, conversion buttons, and much more. You did everything on point for SEO.
Do your visitors actually get to information for which they click your link from the result pages?
OR all they get is this.
Are they going to stay longer after this experience? Because I definitely won’t.
Everyone knows that dead or broken links are a user experience nightmare, but most people don’t know how costly they can be to your website’s performance. I know that sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, but it’s crucial to have none of them. If you want someone who can find and fix broken links for you, you can hire a top-notch web agency for your website maintenance.
Read on to discover why broken links are so harmful to your site and how to identify when you have them in your content.
What are Broken Links or Dead Links?
Broken links are those hyperlinks (either in text, navigation or button) that don’t work or are unable to take users to the intended web page. Web servers land users at a dead end (often 404 error) when they click on these links. In some cases, the link won’t take the user anywhere at all. Either way, a click on a broken link is a lost opportunity.
There are a few reasons broken links might happen, but the effect on users is the same. If your user got to interact with any of such broken links on your website, they’ll go back and probably never return in future.
What causes broken links?
Some reasons why links don’t work are –
- If there is any typo in entered URL
- Link rot – when hyperlinks become older or dead with time, they become permanently unavailable or redirected to a new address.
- When the linked source (media, files or page where the link used to take you) has been deleted.
- When you change your page source or URL structure (new permalinks) but haven’t redirected your link.
- If you got a new domain but haven’t redirected your old SEO links to a new domain.
- After redesigning, you may be left with some broken elements within your website structure (broken code or plugins).
Why are Broken Links Bad for your Website Performance?
1. Poor User Experience
Websites must be filled with things that influence users to stay. One inefficient link can ruin your user experience. Users who cannot find what they’re looking for on your site feel they’ve wasted their time and get frustrated enough to leave.
2. Lost Traffic
When broken links exist on your site, users who click on them are misdirected to an error page or are sent back to their previous page. This means the users can’t access the information they’re looking for. In turn, fewer users will return to your site for future content and promotions. You just lost a potential lead.
3. The Credibility of your Business
Your website has significant dominance on credibility and quality of your business. If your potential customers come across your website and encounter dead links, will they recommend or buy for you?
4. Bad for SEO
We know that internal linking is an essential practice for SEO. But here is a flip side story. If these links are dead, it indicates to Google that your page or content is probably no longer available, reducing your ranking for particular keywords a page used to contain. This impacts your overall site ranking. Also, bad UX is a core ranking factor that lowers your SERP position.
5. Irregular Conversion Cycle
Once your conversion improves in a while, broken links can again hinder it, and it could be even worse than before. Users are likely to give up when your CTA buttons or conversion page links aren’t working as intended. As a result more users abandoning your site and fewer conversions.
Steps to Detect Broken Links in Your Website Content
Regularly scanning your website for broken links is essential, depending on the count of web pages and content your website produces. Below are two ways you can find broken links from your website.
Finding broken links in this Google broken link checker is a cakewalk. All you need to do is :
- Click Google Search Console > enter domain > crawl > crawl errors. It takes a few minutes for a system to crawl all your web pages for errors.
- Check for broken or dead links under the “URL errors” option.
Google Console is limited to internal links of your website. It doesn’t crawl for issues related to third-party external links you have.
If Search Console is unable to index any of your website pages (as not found), make sure to visit those URLs and check if the content still exists or has moved. Fix their links if they are not accessible or indexable, as these pages reduce your rank on SERPs.
2. Other online tools –
There are various broken link checker tools (like Semrush Broken Link Checker), from free to paid ones. Most of them are very easy to use. They crawl thousand of your web pages with a single click and locate your dead links in a comprehensive list.
You can use Google Console or any free broken link checker tools if your website has few pages and only internal links. Huge and complex websites looking for detailed analysis of their internal and third-party links may need paid and exclusive plans.
How to Fix Broken Links
Here are ways to remove broken links from your website –
Know the cause behind the broken link before moving any further
Check your links for misspellings and typos first. If you find some, Rewrite your links and check again now if they’re working or not. If there still an issue exists, fix it using the steps below.
Redirect (301) is the most effective mechanism for broken links. This makes it easy for site owners and marketers to refresh all their links to a particular page in one go. There isn’t a need to manually make changes to each hyperlink and backlink. Depending on your website’s programming or CMS, ask your developers to redirect your broken links to a new, shifted location.
Reach the backlink provider for a fix
Many times, websites having your site links make a mistake when linking to you. Contact and inform them about the issue/cause. Request them to fix the broken backlink. In case when your URL source is permanently deleted, you can ask them to replace it with a new source or else remove it.
Remove broken links if pages or files are deleted
After redesigning a site, many links are directed to media or files we removed during the process. When a broken link happens because the resource no longer exists, the best thing to do is delete that broken link.
Shift the broken link to another resource
You can edit the hyperlink to relocate that dead link to a new relevant page or file.
Ask a technical team for internal issues
Ask your developer to fix broken links or buttons in case they’re broken with time tendencies or any problem in the core structure of your website.