What Are Broken Links and Why Are They Bad For SEO?
A broken link, or what some people would call a broken page, is a website that is no longer accessible, which can happen for many reasons. Broken links are bad for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), among many other ranking factors to consider. We aim to show you a few examples in this blog post to help you with fixing the links on your website.
Broken links can have a negative impact and hurt your website’s ranking because search engines view a broken link as a sign that your website is not well-maintained and not up-to-date.
A broken link can also lead to a high bounce rate, which is another factor that can affect your website’s ranking. If you have a lot of broken links on your website, it is important to fix them as soon as possible. There are many free tools available that can help you find and fix broken links and once you have fixed them, your website’s ranking should improve.
What Is A Broken Link?
As we’ve said, a broken link or broken page is a website that is no longer accessible. This can happen for many reasons such as the page has been deleted and the old link has not been updated, the website has been taken down, or inputting the incorrect URL because of typography errors.
Under the HTTP status code, it belongs under a 4xx or 404 code, to be specific, which is classified as a client error. Therefore, it makes sense from the definition that to fix broken links, it has to be from the clients or website owner, not from the server issue.
Why Are Broken Links Bad For SEO?
Broken links are bad for SEO because they can hurt your website’s ranking. There are many ranking factors for SEO to consider. Still, broken links can have a negative impact on your website’s ranking.
This has been stated by many sources from articles and blogs from SEO experts, but how exactly does it affect your website, especially in the SEO campaign effort?
Poor User Experience
The main reason why broken links are bad for SEO is that they give a poor user experience. It’s frustrating when someone clicks on a link and it doesn’t work. This can cause people to leave your site and never come back.
Broken links also make your website look unprofessional and can give the impression that you don’t care about your website or your users. This is a bad user experience and it’s something that you want to avoid at all costs.
As you have an increase in the poor user experience, it will directly impact your ranking position. Search engines such as Google will likely award a better ranking position to your competitor’s website over your website on the particular targeted keywords.
The reason behind this because Google aims to push the search community toward being credible and reliable to all users. A perfect website without a broken link with a better user experience, faster rendering and high-quality content will have a better chance of ranking higher on SERPs.
Losing All Channel Traffic
Many SEO experts tend to highlight that poor user experience, especially from the broken link, will reduce the organic traffic. However, that is not the only case that would happen to your website.
Broken links mean that you have no information and no content provided on your website. Even though you put so much effort into the other marketing strategies such as Google Ads, you will still get a huge disadvantage in the competition with other companies.
Eventually, the disadvantage you got on your website from the broken link will eventually prevent you from getting a top position even on the paid ads campaign.
Losing Business Opportunities
Losing rankings and traffic are not the only negative impact you will get from the broken links, but also the cost of your business reputation, as well as business opportunities.
For instance, your website is present on search engines so you might claim that customers still can come and visit your website via a direct channel. However, with the current website that you have and all its errors, it may cause frustration to the users and prospective clients. If all they see is an error message, they will eventually search for another website, which in this case is the competitor’s website.
A better website user experience and higher quality content and information will provide huge opportunities for your competition to leave you behind in the rankings. Isn’t that a huge price to pay just for having broken links on your website?
How To Fix Broken Links
The first step is to find out all the broken links on your website. There are many ways to fix broken links but the easiest way is to use a tool like Screaming Frog. And once you have found all the broken links, you need to fix them asap.
You can either delete the broken links or redirect them to a relevant page but make sure you use a 301 redirect so that you don’t lose any SEO value.
Apart from the 301 redirect and removing links from the website, another easy solution that you can do if the page is still important is to fix the page and fill it with quality content. As this page is likely to be indexed on SERPs as well as it getting referred to on other pages. There is no point in 301 redirecting this page if you are still offering this product or service and it is really just a temporary broken link. Fixing the page can be an easier and more effective solution to your website
Difficulty Dealing With Broken Links?
The most difficult task would be to find all the broken links on the website since one site can be hundreds or thousands of pages, especially if it’s an e-commerce page.
If you have a small website with less than 300 pages, then it wouldn’t be too difficult for you to go through each and every page one by one, but if your website has more than that, then it would be a nightmare to identify broken links manually and you do not want too many broken links on your website.
Apart from the number of broken links you might find, you might still end up struggling with fixing all the broken links and making a decision on each page whether which solution will be the best for your website. Remember that SEO is an ongoing process of site audits and optimisations, and making sure the entire website is as competitive and as user-friendly as possible.
Move Ahead Media is a digital marketing agency that specialises in SEO and has a highly skilled and trained in-house team. We can help you step by step and manage your SEO campaigns to new levels of online success for you!
Please do not hesitate to send us a simple message and book a FREE consultation if you need help with your SEO campaigns. Move ahead of the competition, with Move Ahead Media – you know it makes perfect sense.