If you want to connect with a larger potential audience online, you must invest time and effort into website development. From design to the build of your site pages, including elements, setting up your navigation, and linking everything together so everyone who visits your site has a memorable as well as a great experience is crucial.
An aesthetically pleasing user interface (UI) and a smooth user experience (UX) can make your site memorable and easily consumable by its users. Air-tight navigation and solid site architecture give search engine crawlers the space to assign the appropriate keywords to your pages. But any work devoted to a website can be deemed inconsequential when broken links come into play.
The Negative Effects of Broken Website Links
Broken links (or dead links) don’t just cause common issues, they can have a negative impact on your website’s overall performance. Make sure to regularly monitor your site for broken links and fix them quickly if you find them. Not sure where to get started? Here are the main issues related to broken website links and how to fix them.
1. SEO Ranking
A high percentage of your visitors will probably come from a search engine. While you might spend time installing appropriate keywords, creating positive verbiage, or engaging in other efforts to improve your site’s SEO ranking, broken links can displace your progress altogether. Search engines like Google use bots to label, sift, and sort through the pages of a website so that their own users can find content with ease. When these bots run into issues like dead links, a website can be penalized.
2. Brand Reputation
Social media is a key player when it comes to a business’ online performance. For better or for worse, online chatter is constant and unavoidable. If users land on your website only to encounter broken links, online sentiments surrounding your brand will likely pivot negatively. Broken links give users the impression that a site is outdated, poorly maintained, or even abandoned. Professionalism is vital on all fronts of your business, and dead links can stifle this.
3. Conversion Rates
Let’s imagine that a dead link happens to be on a user’s path while they navigate through your website. Not only will it affect their perception of your brand but it could also prevent them from completing the desired action. The more broken links left ignored, the lower your conversion rate becomes.
4. Bounce Rate
The amount of time a user spends on your website is also important for brand growth. When you look at a user’s journey through your site, you’d want them to easily perform targeted tasks or navigate towards resources and information for which they might be looking. When a user leaves your website after encountering a broken link, that’s another potential lost opportunity.
Fixing Dead Links on Your Site
Here’s the good news: identifying broken website links and addressing the issues associated with them can be relatively simple. For example, typos and misspelled words are common causes of dead links. They can be easily fixed once they’ve been located. Make sure to proofread your URLs and page names accurately.
Address Misspellings and Typos
Typos and misspelled words are common causes of dead internal links. They can be easily fixed once they’ve been located. Make sure to proofread your URLs and page names accurately.
Keep an eye out for 404 errors
Doing some spring cleaning on your site? Be careful not to create broken pages in the process. Removing information that’s no longer relevant can create 404 error pages that cause navigation issues for searchers and search engines alike. Properly amending links tied to pages that you’ve moved, or deleted can help to eliminate broken links before they happen.
You have two options to fix this problem. You can either replace the missing web page or set up a 301 redirect for the removed resource to a new page. This also helps your website maintain that valuable external link juice from other high authority websites that link back to yours.
Avoid hasty changes to file names
Changing the name files tied to specific URLs without correcting the associated URLs can cause broken links as well. Remember to always keep track of these changes, as well as the links associated with them. This will help prevent issues from happening in the future.
It’s also important to periodically use third-party tools to crawl your website and search for issues. Tools like Ahrefs, SEM Rush, and Google Search Console provide a lot of value when assessing your site even beyond their link checking features. Like any other site maintenance plan you may have in place, pinpointing link issues immediately can avoid unnecessary problems for your website.
With this simplified roadmap, avoiding the issues caused by broken links can easily become a part of your site’s routine maintenance. Here’s to a more successful and professional online presence!