For users, there’s nothing more frustrating than landing on a page that returns the message ‘404: Page not found’.
If this happens to someone visiting your site, their most likely response will be to exit the site immediately. This means that all the work you’ve put into driving visitors to your site has been wasted and your business has lost out on a potential customer.
In most cases, these customers won’t return to your site to try again as 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. As such, that error on your site was a costly mistake.
This is why checking all of the links on your site to ensure they are working properly is a vital element of SEO. Even if you think that your website is error-free, chances are you will have some broken links if you’ve ever redesigned your site, deleted images and videos or changed the URL of a page.
Luckily, most of the time, these errors are easily fixed. This article provides a helpful guide to finding and fixing the broken links on your website.
First off, what exactly is a broken link?
A broken link, sometimes referred to as a ‘dead link,’ is a link that can be clicked by the user, but takes the user to a URL that is not there anymore. In most cases, these pages will show a ‘404 not-found’ error page that tells the user that the page they are looking for is not available.
What causes broken links on websites?
The most common reasons for broken links on a website are as follows:
- There is a typo in the link
- An image, video, file, or web page has been deleted and not redirected
- A page has been renamed or moved, however, internal links have not been updated
- You have links to content such as images, videos and PDFs, that have been deleted or moved
- An entire domain name has been changed, or the site has moved to a new URL
Why do broken links harm a website?
Broken links on your site are a major technical issue that can damage not only the website but also your reputation and your business. The following are some of the issues that can arise as a result of broken links on your site.
- Bad User Experience: If your site has a number of broken links that get in the way of users accessing the information that they need, they will probably leave your site immediately in search of a competitor site that provides the necessary information.
- Impact Reputation and Revenue: You spend a significant amount of your advertising budget getting visitors to your site. All of this is wasted if they are directed to a broken page. They are unlikely to convert on a site that is unreliable with pages that don’t work.
- Damage SEO Efforts: Google and other search engines succeed because they send users to valuable websites that provide a good user experience. They know that a user doesn’t want to be sent to a broken page, so sites with a lot of errors will not rank as highly in the search engine results pages.
You want to ensure your website is performing to its full potential. As such, it’s important to find and fix any broken links on your site.
How to Find Broken Links on Your Website
There are lots of available tools that you can use to find broken links and errors on your site. The best part is, most of them are free.
Google Search Console is the starting point that we’d recommend for finding the pages on your site that are returning errors. Google Search Console is easy to set up and to use to start finding the broken links on your site. Once you have set it up, make sure that you are checking Google Search Console regularly for errors, and fixing any errors that you find as soon as possible.
How to Fix Your Broken Links
Once you find the broken links on your site, you have to fix them. First off, you should look at the page and the link and identify the reason that it’s broken.
For example, you may have deleted an old page and made a new one to replace it. The old page will send a 404 not found error if someone tries to access it. If this is the issue, it can be easily fixed with a 301 redirect that will send visitors to the new page and signify to search engines that the page has moved.
If the broken link is pointing to your site from another website, fixing the issue can be slightly more difficult. You will have to contact the owner of the website to notify them of the issue and ask them to update it.
Digital Squad is an award-winning SEO agency. Get in touch with us today to find out how to boost your website’s visibility in search engine results pages. We are more than an SEO agency. In fact, we can help you with your entire digital strategy. Whether that be social media marketing Auckland, Google Shopping Auckland, Bing ads and Google display network ads, we are here to help you out. Contact us and find out how you can improve your conversions.