Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Broken Links are Horrible for Your Site

by M. J. Joachim

“A single broken link can impact your search engine rankings, your site’s user experience, result in lost customers and revenue, or everyone’s favorite- all of the above,” states Mike Waterson from Site Improve. Lucky for us, http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com makes it easy to find every broken link on our blogs and websites so we can easily fix them. Okay, it’s probably going to be a little bit time consuming, especially since we probably don’t even realize how many broken links we have, plus, we have to manually find them and make the necessary amendment, but the alternative is having broken links on our sites, which quite frankly is really bad for business!

Frustration ensued for me immediately while researching this article, to give you solid, sound advice. We all know broken links are bad, and it would probably be easy enough to rant about them, but that’s not the point of this article, so I’m doing my homework to back up everything I’m trying to share here. Sure enough, one of the first links I clicked on was broken. No information! Nada! And by all accounts in the description, the article likely had some very important information I could have used in conducting my research!

Most of what I’ve read indicates frustration is the number one problem with broken links. I concur! The outflow from this is loss of customers, reputation and income. Social media frowns big time on broken links - bots don’t scan them like they should, fans don’t share and your general audience that loves you, might unlink or stop linking to you altogether.

Causes of broken links include updating your site. When you move pages around, delete them, return them to draft status and the like, you have a trail to follow, making sure that anything and everything linked to those same pages is updated as well, removing the link that will end up broken, if you take it offline. Also, when you link to others, they do their own updates, which means you should regularly check links within your site to find out if someone else’s page is no longer viable, thereby causing you a broken link on yours. This includes any and all documents, pdf’s, blogs, websites, products etc.

Broken links are bad in other ways too. Waterson explains it this way. “Crawlers are busy little guys (they’ve only got an entire Internet to scan over and over again), so when they run into a broken link, they stop crawling that page and move on to the next one, meaning any pages it hasn’t crawled won’t be indexed or receive a ranking.” Talk about a red alert! Your blog or website risks not being entirely scanned, and therefore ranked accordingly, because you have broken links that are sending mixed messages to the crawlers. Hey, they’re automatic, computerized, programmed little guys, and there’s nothing they will do to help you in this matter. They won’t send you a fix it message. They won’t do anything but move on, leaving you with nothing but less page views, lower page rank and fewer visitors to your site.

So, when you index and update each page on your site, something I’ve been advocating in several articles here lately, which I’m in the middle of doing myself, check the links, check the labels, check the content. Check your photos. Check the comments too. If people added hyperlinks in their signatures, those might be broken as well. Then, once you’ve checked everything, follow your own trail and determine when and where you’ve linked to anything, making sure you unlink to any and all broken links, because they are detrimental and can cause a lot of problems for you and your blog or website.

Thank you for visiting today. May all your chains be linked together efficiently, effectively and without undo hassles,

M. J.

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