No, I’m not talking about sausages. (That was bad, I know!)
I’m talking about those dozens (or more) of URLs that your website is made up of. Every single one of them has to be functioning correctly, or you could be taking a big knock from Google – and your visitors.
What Broken Links Are
Have you ever been reading something on a website or browsing search results and saw a hyperlink, then tried to click it and were taken to an error page? It’s frustrating – and it’s a broken link.
This happens if, for any reason, the webpage a link is pointing to is unavailable. This could mean that the URL entered isn’t valid (as in it’s misspelled or has an extra character on the end), that the page has been removed from a website, or that the page has been migrated to a new URL.
If you are trying to change your website’s URL structure for SEO, this will probably be a problem. Let’s say you have a blog:
and then you change your URL structure to include categories:
Anywhere on your website that you linked to that blog post on the first URL, you now have a broken link.
How Broken Links Affect Search Ranking
Think of your website like a gopher tunnel system – it’s a network of links that all connect to each other, and if one gets “disconnected,” those gophers are going to have a hard time getting around. It’s the same with your users, so you want all “tunnels” properly connected at all times.
This is bad for two reasons that multiply each other.
First, users don’t like it. It makes it seem like your website is poorly constructed, like you don’t give a gopher’s butt about it, and like you don’t worry yourself over fixing website problems. On top of this, it’s frustrating. Visitors will jet and go to a site where they can actually find what they’re looking for.
Second, every search engine will knock your rankings for having broken links.
As visitors leave your site, search engines knock you down more, making the whole thing a big huge SEO mess.
How You Can Fix Broken Links
First, identify them. Try Broken Link Check – it’s free, simple, and can tell you EVERY broken link on your site and where it’s located.
Some of these are easy fixes. If you find broken links on pages where you hyperlink to URLs that have migrated, just go into your site or blog editor and swap out the URLs on those pages.
If you’ve got duplicate content, input a noindex tag into the pages you don’t want Google crawling. Once you’ve got all that down, here’s how to get Google to crawl your site.
If you’re not so tech-savvy, it’s worth it to hire someone to fix these for you. it’s a pretty straightforward job for developers and shouldn’t cost too much.
For more help with your website and online presence, check out the PuTTin’ OuT automation and SMM software, and be sure to check back here for more SEO/SMM essentials!
Got more broken link tips? Please share them in the comments!