Chances are, if somebody is visiting your website and they find a broken link or a 404 error message, they’ll hit the back button and go find another site.
And just like that, you lost a potential customer! And who knows how many more before that?
In this article, we’ll look at why broken links hurt both users and search engines, and how to go about fixing them.
What is a broken link?
A broken link is a link that no longer works. This could be caused by a dead page, deleted file or broken links in external websites.
You can find broken links on your website using a link checker tool such as [linkchecker]. This will tell you which pages have broken links and where they are located so that you can repair them.
So why do broken links hurt your website?
Broken links can be a bad user experience.
Broken links not only frustrate users, but they also hurt your SEO and make your website look unprofessional.
How does a broken link affect the SEO of your website?
We’ve all been there—you click on a link and it doesn’t work. You try again, but still nothing happens. If you were to run an audit of your website, you might find that you have dozens of broken links that are affecting its SEO and usability. Broken links can be one symptom of a bigger problem with your website: spammy backlinks, outdated content or redundant pages.
Broken links hurt your SEO because they make your site look sloppy and unprofessional. Search engines penalize sites with broken links because they don’t trust them; Google specifically states that this is one reason why pages might get de-indexed (removed) from SERPs (search engine results pages).
The same goes for other search engines like Yahoo!, or Bing —they don’t want to show their users bad sites either! So if someone searches for something relevant on those engines while viewing the results of Google’s indexing efforts? They’ll see yours first if it ain’t working right! That’s not good at all.
How to find and fix broken links on your website
There are two ways you can find broken links on your website:
- Check the HTML of each page and see if there are any tags that have no href. If there are, you’ve found a broken link. You can also use a tool like Testomato.com to do this for you.
- Check the section of your site’s HTML code for references to any files or URLs that don’t actually exist anymore. If they’re missing in action, then it will be up to you (or whoever built your site) to either recreate them or let people know why those links aren’t working anymore!
Make it a habit to check on old links now and then
Now that you know how important broken links are, it’s time to make a habit of checking on them from time to time. Use the Broken Link Checker tool to find out if there are any broken links on your website. If you find one, try an approach like this:
- Update the link by adding an HTTPS version or changing the regular HTTP version to HTTPS (if possible).
- Remove the link if it’s no longer relevant.
- Find a new home for the content elsewhere on your site (or someone else’s).
If you have old blog posts lying around that need updating, do yourself another favor and check them for broken links as well!
We hope you found this article helpful. If you’re looking for more information on how broken links can affect your website and how to fix them, please feel free to contact us at any time!