As marketing specialists, we know that one of the biggest goals for creating engaging content is to keep users on your website. A common method to achieve that goal is to include links to more content or have a reputable source link back to you. Sometimes, though, we run into the problem of broken links that can throw a wrench into our plans. Fortunately, we can teach you how to fix broken links.
What Are Broken Links?
Link building is a great SEO practice to maintain, at least until a broken link occurs and messes with the quality of your page. Broken links are any links that no longer lead to the page they used to. Commonly, broken links occur because a page has been moved to a new location or removed completely. User error when entering a URL can also lead to an invalid page and create a broken link. Have you ever clicked on a link and received a “404 error” message? If so, you’ve experienced a broken link.
Broken Links & SEO
Believe it or not, broken links can negatively impact your SEO efforts in a few ways. You could put in weeks’ worth of work on link building only to have broken links affect your visitor rates, ranking, and overall SEO value. Let’s take a deeper look at just how broken links can affect your SEO efforts.
Imagine you’re deeply invested in an article, and you notice there’s an internal link offering further information. You click it, only to come face-to-face with a 404 error page. It’s a frustrating experience many of us have faced before. It makes all of us feel a little less interested in the content, and some of us may even click away. Broken links can impact a user’s overall experience, increase a website’s bounce rates, and lead to a decrease in conversions.
A high bounce rate is a major red flag to Google. When users quickly click away from your content, it warns Google that your content isn’t answering their questions. Clearly, it must mean something is wrong with your website, and Google will begin to rank your site lower and lower. By paying close attention to broken links, you can keep your website ranking high.
In the eyes of Googlebots, broken links are equivalent to a huge red “Stop” sign. A Googlebots’ job is to follow every link and scan each page to create the index. When it comes across a broken link, it no longer has a page to scan that will lead it to the next link. They take this to mean that there is no content left to be analyzed and will stop creating an index of your website. This means that even if you have more content, you’ll be forced to wait until another Googlebot finds your site.
How to Fix Broken Links
Leaving a broken link on your website isn’t exactly the best move you could make. Google will pick up on these links and adjust your ranking accordingly. We’d hate to see all your hard work and SEO efforts fall to the horror of broken links, so here’s how to fix them. We recommend using Ahrefs Broken Link Checker to find broken links. (Don’t worry—they offer a free trial!)
Once you’ve found your broken links, you may want to create a document to track all the links for future reference. While the goal is to fix the links, you never know what may happen later on, and you’ll want to make sure you keep an eye on those broken links.
Finally, let’s fix those broken links. Depending on the type of link you’re trying to fix, you’ll have to adjust your process for fixing the links.
You can fix broken internal links in one of two ways—replacing or removing them. Replacing them can be a time-consuming task but may also be beneficial for you in the long run when it comes to link building. If you decide to go down the route of replacing links, make sure you’re sticking with reputable websites that can further inform your audience. Your other option is to simply remove the broken links and leave the anchor text unlinked. This is the recommended route if you can’t find a new page to internally link that would still work with the initial intent of the article.
Fixing external links, or backlinks, can require a few extra steps since you have a bit less control over these links. The first step to try is to reach out to the website that is being linked or linking to you and let them know that a URL is invalid. The content may have elsewhere or been removed entirely. Another option is to request a 301 redirect to a new location or different content. The last option would be to recreate content on the broken URL to lead back to a valid page again.
The process of finding and fixing broken links can be tedious, but fortunately, there are plenty of resources available, like SEO agencies, to make the process a little smoother. Markitors is an SEO agency ready to tackle the challenge of finding and correcting your broken links. Contact us today to get started on defending your SEO efforts against broken links.