Broken links or dead links are links to a webpage – internal or external – that cannot be found or accessed by a user due to a variety of possible issues. Web servers will most likely return an error message when a user tries to access a broken link.
A broken link can make you lose potential customers or even just visitors because since they cannot access your information, they will try to find it elsewhere. To prevent this, you need to regularly check if your site has broken links and figure out why that is happening.
Most common reasons for broken links
So, there can be a few reasons why your links are not working, and it’s important you acknowledge them so that you can later fix them.
- The website owner entered the incorrect URL (misspelled, mistyped, etc.).
- The URL structure of your site changed (permalinks) without a redirect and it is causing a 404 error.
- The external site is no longer available, is offline, or has been permanently moved.
- Links to content (PDF, Google Doc, video, etc.) that have been moved or deleted.
- Firewall or geolocation restriction does not allow outside access to the site.
Impact of broken links on SEO
As you know Search Engines use a variety of measurements to rank your website, and broken links play a factor in it. So, this means links to your website and links within your website (backlinking) can affect how your website ranks in search results.
When you come across broken links on your website you need to understand why that is and how you can fix it. This way you will improve user experience by making the content on your website easier for users and search engines to access and navigate through. When you fix your broken links, you are also decreasing the probability of a higher bounce rate, because this means people will be able to access the information they were looking for on your website instead of leaving and searching it elsewhere.
You probably already know that user experience and bounce rate are huge SEO metrics and search engines use them to rank your website accordingly on the SERPs so let’s find how to fix broken links.
How to find and fix broken links
To find your broken links you can use a variety of SEO analyzers such as Wiredelta’s app or even Google Search Console. These tools allow you to identify any errors you may have on your website, including broken links which makes it way easier to fix them afterward.
So, after finding your broken links you need to fix them. How you fix these depends entirely on the reasons why they were not working in the first place. You can either correct the URL if it was misspelled or redirect and replace content if what you linked to is no longer available. There are various possibilities depending on the reasoning behind the error, the important things is that you find those errors and then correct them accordingly.