What is a Broken Link?
When a website is created, links are provided to other websites in order to provide more information on the subject. However, when these links break for any number of reasons (e.g., internet service providers change or companies go out of business), it can make accessing and updating content difficult at best; even worse if there’s no indication that something has been broken beyond repair.
A link rot occurs when an online page cannot be accessed through its normal URL address because either a server name or path was changed without informing users ahead of time about this change. Links rots have always posed difficulties with regards to linking within web pages as well as between sites themselves but now they're becoming major headaches, mainly due to changes made by Internet Service Providers.
Following are some error codes that are presented by the web server for a broken link;
404 Page Not Found: the page doesn’t exist on the server
400 Bad Request: the host server cannot understand the URL on your page
Bad host: Invalid host name, the server with that name does not exist or is unreachable
Bad URL: Malformed URL
Bad Code: Invalid HTTP response code, the server response violates HTTP spec
Empty: the host server returns “empty” responses with no content and no response code
Timeout: Timeout: HTTP requests constantly timed out during the link check
Reset: the host server drops connections. It is either misconfigured or too busy.
Why you need to fix Broken Links?
The internet is not a static entity; it requires constant maintenance to keep up with the constantly-changing web. Links are what link pages together on Google, which impacts page rankings and anchor text usage when they go wrong can be detrimental for SEO. The most common causes of 404 errors are either broken links or technical glitches (like server failure) that prevent them from loading properly in the first place.
One of the reasons that broken links are so common on websites is because people make mistakes. For example, if they remove a webpage but don't redirect it to another page or there's an error with how someone typed in parameters for a link. Due to these and many other factors, there are many broken links on the internet.
Users often come across broken links on websites, especially when the website is large and has been around for a while. This can be due to faulty URLs or references that point back to pages which have since been removed from the site. The presence of these dead-end destination points means users will sometimes get stuck in an infinite loop if they encounter them without knowing how to fix their browser's settings first.
So when a link is broken, it's usually not because of the Google ranking system. It could be due to many different factors such as outdated content or changes in coding across an entire website that caused all links on that page to stop working.
So when your site has lost its rank and you want them back - don't do anything drastic like losing faith but instead use tools like drlinkcheck which can help reclaim those losses with some simple steps.
Situations where fixing broken links are less effective
There are a number of issues that can lead to an inability for broken links to be repaired. Among these reasons include:
- Google has found that there are links they just don't count. Compared with the amount of data Google is processing, these could be spam links or manipulative ones.
- It is possible that Google may have counted some links, but they were considered low value or not fresh by Google’s Algorithm.
- Many people fix a link but redirect it to an irrelevant URL or one that is not as pertinent.
Top 4 Best Practices for Broken Link Building
Below are the mentioned best practices to minimize broken links and rebuild them;
1. Continue fixing broken links
There are several instances where Google won't count broken links, and when you fix them it can actually increase your ranking. Some people may think that fixing a few broken links is not worth the time, but in reality, this small change could be what makes all of the difference to an SEO campaign.
This is just good customer service because when visitors come across a problem they have no idea where else to go so fixing them may help keep everyone happy while also giving Google more accurate information as well since these signals can transfer relevance and value between websites too.
2. Prioritize pages with high authority
You may have thousands of broken links or millions of broken links, but that doesn't mean you need to fix all of them. It's better if you prioritize the high-value ones such as pages with lots of traffic and links from other sites which are also in demand.
The more visitors a site has and higher its authority, the less likely it is for any one link on your site to be detrimental because those visits will bring alternate sources through their own following; meanwhile, low-authority websites can easily drive away potential readers due to only having so many opportunities available before they're overwhelmed by bad content like spam posts linking back around.
3. Prioritize pages with fresh signals
Linking back to other websites keeps your site active and relevant. Some of the strongest signals that a website is fresh are when it gets traffic, has new content added regularly, and receives links from external sites or domains. If you're not sure if your page needs an update but want to be safe then the easiest thing you can do is to add fresh content on your page.
4. Relevant URLs Redirects
Redirecting to relevant pages will increase the user experience. We want to make sure we're redirecting users away from irrelevant information and towards a page that is more of interest for them, such as their homepage or category page they are looking for.
Asking yourself these two questions will help you determine if the page that is ranked higher than your old URL deserves to be a better rank for your business.
A question to ask when considering changing the name of an existing webpage or redirecting another one, is: does this new destination have content as relevant and engaging? Does it offer users what they want from their original experience with our company's website? Is there enough topicality between both URLs in order for any link signals within them (such as popularity) to pass onto each other just like before? These are important considerations because not only do we need people coming back but also finding something useful and informative upon arrival on either site.
Hope this blog helps you in understanding to fix broken links and to attain most out of an existing website or a page. If you have any query, feel free to connect with me via the following email address; [email protected]. Thank You.