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Every time you go to a web page, usually it loads; so you can view the content.
But other times when you click a link, instead of displaying content, you find this message: “404 Page Not Found”.
This is a broken link, and in this article, you are going to know what broken links are, how to fix it, and how they affect your SEO; keep on reading.
What are broken links?
The definition of a broken link is a web page that doesn’t load or can’t be accessed, for one reason or another.
When visitors try to access the web page; the web server will display one of the following error codes:
- 404 Page Not Found (which is the most common one).
- Bad URL.
- 400 Bad Requests.
- Bad host.
- Bad Code.
What causes Broken Links?
There are many reasons for broken links such as:
1- Moving or renaming a web page, without changing the internal links.
2- Linking to a third-party page.
3- Linking to delete or move the content.
4- The website owner entered the incorrect URL.
6- Location restriction.
7- Firewall Restriction.
8- The external site has been moved permanently.
9- The external site is no longer available.
10- Changing the structure of your website.
Do broken links affect SEO?
The broken link is a bad experience; I’m sure, your visitors don’t want to try it.
Not only your visitors, you should also avoid them; because it affects your SEO so badly.
According to Google’s ranking factors, having about one or two broken links on your website will drop your website down in ranking.
Google uses broken links; to determine the quality of your website.
Actually broken links also mean a terrible user experience, which means:
1- Your competitors will win your users:
In case your link is broken; here is the expected scenario: Your users will move to the next link, and never come back; actually the next link is one of your competitors, so they will win your users.
2- Waste of Money:
I know you spent a lot of money, and it took you much time to build your website and run campaigns. All that will go in vain because of broken links. Actually, it means a loss of revenue.
3- Not only your users:
Your visitors may spread the word; According to studies; 44% of your users may tell their interested friends.
How to find it?
Now you recognize how a broken link affects your SEO; so the fastest way to find the broken link on your website is; to use Google Search Console to identify the issues.
If any link is broken, Google Search Console will notify you.
How to fix broken links?
You found the broken internal link? Great; let’s fix the internal and external broken links:
1- The internal links:
- Check the spelling:
Most of the 404 errors are because of misspellings, to fix this problem simply check the spelling.
- Check your products:
If you have an e-commerce website, check your products, and remove the products you are not selling anymore, or offers you don’t need.
- Use the 301 methods:
Google recommends using the 301 redirects, to fix the broken internal links, it redirects your users to relevant content.
2- The external links:
The external link is any link from your website to another, so you can’t control it like the internal links, but they still affect your website.
You have only two options to fix the external links:
1- Remove the link.
2- Replace the broken link with a valid one.