Why Checking For and Fixing Broken Links is Important
So, what causes broken links?
Broken links happen because of one or more of the following changes. A page was renamed or moved, and the internal links needed to be updated. Content linked to (such as PDFs or videos ) has been deleted. A link to another website may no longer work because a change has been made on that website.
Why are broken links a problem?
They’re similar to this window; while it looks like a window, because of the broken glass, it doesn’t keep the wind and rain out of the house. Broken links look promising yet don’t take the visitor to the content they were expecting.
When a visitor clicks a link on your site, and it doesn’t work, or they get the dreaded “404 error”, the result is one or more of the following:
- a frustrating experience for your visitor;
- the impression that your website isn’t kept up to date;
- a lost sale because they clicked away from your site;
- a negative impact to website SEO and page ranking.
How can a broken link affect SEO?
While Google doesn’t penalize your site for having broken links, links that work are one of the factors of search quality rating. Learn more about Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines here.
One way broken links can impact website SEO is when they they aren’t indexed by search engines. When search engine spiders get to a broken link they stop crawling that page and move on to the next page. Any pages that haven’t been crawled won’t be indexed or receive a ranking.
Broken links can also impact website traffic. If a visitor encounters broken links, they may click away from your site. When visitors don’t spend much time on a site, search engine algorithms interpret that as a signal that the website doesn’t provide visitors with quality content, which then results in lower ranking.
What can be done to prevent these problems?
These problems can be easily avoided by regularly checking and testing links on your website. Regularly updating the content on your website will keep your site in the queue to be indexed regularly by search engines. These Website Maintenance Guidelines include tips for updates that will provide value to your visitors.