What are Broken Links? And How Do You Find and Fix Them?
You might have heard about broken links that are horrible for quality assurance. Broken links can destroy your conversion rates. They directly affect the seo by moving bounce rate, on-site time, and many more. Broken links may also directly harm seo ranking by sending signals that your website is outdated. The reason can be anything; let’s say the link you followed may be broken. When a search engine sees that your site is full of links that do not go anywhere, it will hit your site, and you can risk losing its position in the top ranking. Broken links are a big problem, but they can be fixed. With the help of this blog, you can learn details about what is a broken link, why they matter to seo, and how they can be fixed.
What Are Broken Links?
Broken links are the ones that cannot fulfil the purpose of bringing the user to a new location. Most of you know what links are. They are usually coloured differently and underlined to indicate a clickable element. Once clicked, they will take the user to a new location; it can be a new page on your site, a related website like an eCommerce store, or an external website. But when a user cannot assess a webpage, the link is officially broken and will often take a reader to an error message instead of a page they are trying to access. Sometimes a broken link is also known as a dead link or link rot. You can find different types of broken links on your website and pages.
Mainly there are two types of broken links that are commonly known: broken internal links and broken external links.
Broken Internal Links:
A broken internal link is meant to take users to a different page on the website. However, if you have changed your website URL, removed a page from your site, or had pages dropped during a page migration, you might have broken internal links on your site. These broken links make it difficult for google to crawl your pages, and when links are broken, google cannot move to crawl for other pages. Sadly, your site’s ranking goes down as google thinks either your website is damaged or unfinished. However, if you wonder how to fix broken internal links, then don’t worry. Specific ways can help to fix this issue.
Broken External Links:
An external link takes the user to a website that supports the content you have on your site. However, these broken links on a website could mean either the website is no longer in existence, it has moved locations, or it doesn’t have the correct redirect. These broken external links can harm the user experience and the authority of search engines, as links to exhausted sites make your website less trustworthy.
Backlinks are links on other web pages that link to your site’s content. They are the external link from other organizations. However, when you make changes in your content or have any errors like changes in URLs or deleted pages, then the backlinks will not be able to support your website and create authority.
Examples Of Broken Links:
Although a 404-page error is a common sign of a broken link, some other ways might present when a link is broken.
This error indicates that the page does not exist on the server but can serve as a purpose for pages that have been deleted.
This type of error shows that the server does not understand the URL a user is trying to reach.
The host server has misconfigured the link or is too busy to process the request, so the connection is dropped.
The HTTP request from the link has timed out because of the link check.
An invalid hostname means that the server with that name does not exist or is unreachable.
The URL was put together wrong and with a missing bracket, has extra slashes, or has other wrong obligations that are breaking the link.
The server tags the HTTP code as violating the HTTP specs.
This error signifies that the server views the request as empty and returns the response with no content or response code.
What Causes Broken Links?
A few different things can cause broken links, and most of them are unintentional consequences that happen when pages are updated or moved or come across as small human mistakes. Knowing the common causes of broken links can help you be more cautious about what to look for when working on your seo and linking strategies. Mentioned below are some of the common reasons that contribute to broken links.
A type is a human error that can occur when words within the link URL are misspelled. When the link is not spelled correctly, the server cannot tell where the link is trying to get and shows an error page.
- Some page has been deleted-
When the page to which you linked your website has been deleted, the link doesn’t have to direct to it, and an error message will be displayed. It is among the common reasons behind broken links, so you must ensure a clear linking structure and redirect strategy when you delete a page.
Similar to typos, when a page is renamed, the URL changes, and without the new URL being updated in the links, the server does not know how to process the requests and will display an error page. When a page is renamed, ensure the links to that page are updated appropriately.
When you launch a new site on the same domain, you can have a combination of issues where pages are renamed, deleted, or content is combined. This means that links to the pages in the old structure will not be able to link anymore and will need updates.
When a domain name changes, which happens during rebranding, the domain changes and sometimes internal links are forgotten about during the change. But when you already have a plan regarding domain name changes, you can have a successful linking structure.
Sometimes a code can be broken, whether it is HTML, CSS, JAVA, or any other plugins; when the code is broken and needs to be fixed, the links won’t work and will show errors, so you need to look for codes carefully.
How To Find Broken Links?
Some specific ways can help you to fix google analytics broken links, but before that, you must learn how to find them. Although you can manually go and click on every link on your site, there are more effective ways to find them.
The Google search console uses the information pulled together with a report that you can access. It will help you identify any issues the algorithm has found and can help you determine if Google notices broken links during the crawl. However, this will only work for URLs on your site, not only external links you might have.
As a brand, you already have a tool that you use for seo. These tools have options to create a site audit that examine the links on your pages, and this can help you to understand the causes of the broken links that can be helpful with your strategies.
- Quality assurance testing-
When you add a new page, combine an old page, move a domain, or restructure your website, it is essential to have a stage in the process for quality assurance. The best thing is to check all the links and ensure that they are not broken and if they are redirected or changed so that you don’t have errors when the page goes live.
How To Fix Broken Links?
Fixing broken links is necessary for seo strategy and ensuring that the user gets the best possible experience on your website. Below are some of the ways to fix broken links.
Redirecting your pages using 301 redirects will inform google that the link in question is not broken. You can shift to a page with relevant content, like a page in a similar category or have a matching tag.
- Request for fixing external links-
If it is a broken external link, then you can send a request to the domain holder to know if they are willing to fix the link. However, if you do not receive any response, you need to think of another solution to resolve the issue to protect your seo.
If you have numerous broken links for a missing content page, you might want to consider recreating the deleted or removed page. In such a way, you don’t need to remove all the links and can offer quality content to your audience.
If all the above steps don’t work for you, you can delete all the broken links. It is a quick way to fix broken links, but you must remember that too many deleted links can harm the internal linking structure of your site.
Finding and fixing broken links is vital to keep up the seo and improving your website’s ranking. If you have a lot of broken links, it can damage the search engine and creates a poor user experience. However, in the above post, we have mentioned all the possible steps you can take to find and fix broken links.