Broken Links

Dealing with Broken Links on your website

Having broken links is a terrible thing for your website’s reputation. Everyone knows how frustrating it can be to be searching for some important information on the internet and think you have found what you want – only to discover that the page you thought was going to give you everything you needed ended up being a 404 page with the error message. Suddenly your hopes plummet as you get the message that ‘the page you were searching cannot be found’. Usually you give up on that site in a hurry and look somewhere else for your needed information.

Take this into account the next time you tell yourself that you’ll check all your links later, or fix that one tomorrow instead of today. Your website visitors too will face the same frustration if your website should have broken links. It’s not only human visitors who get frustrated with broken links in websites, too, but the search engine spiders hate broken links and will also give up on crawling and indexing your site they find too many broken links, causing you untold damage in lost traffic.

Your website maintenance should take into consideration broken links as a major aspect of your checklist. Not many webmasters are aware of the loss that they are incurring on daily basis due to what they consider as few broken links, but not only are you losing potential visitors, broken links can actually pull your website’s ranking down. Ask your SEO professional if you are unsure about this!

Immediately after you launch your website, your first act should be to check every internal link in your website. Don’t content yourself with thinking “Oh,the links have been tested completely offline before launching the website, they are fine”. So many things can go wrong when uploading your site to the server; Folders can be uploaded in the wrong places, or you can change the name of files, etc. Broken links are almost a given.

Of course, if you have a massive site, then manually testing your links will not be a practical thing to do; however there are number of online tools that are available online or as downloadable programs that will help you check your links. You can use such reliable tools to find the broken links; but you will have to expend real time effort in order to fix them, since the problem must be immediately rectified to stop you from losing any more traffic.

WordPress tip: Broken Links Checker plugin

As to the second issue, if you have broken links, search engine spiders will not be able to crawl your website completely. Search engine bots use your site’s navigation (or your Google sitemap in case of Google bot). In cases where links do not reach the landing page, the the search engines will consider your site to be under maintenance or construction. Search engines generally rank well only those sites that are fully complete, to ensure that they provide only valuable and high quality information to their users. Incomplete sites or sites under construction does not live up to this standard, and are therefore considered unworthy of good placement in the search results page.

Schedule enough time periodically to check the status of all your websites links, and fix problems without delay. Don’t assume any broken link is an isolated incident, delve deeper to find the cause and check all links both internally and going out of your site. Your SEO professional can help by checking your links and fixing them if needed.

Fix your broken links! You know it makes sense!

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