If you are not familiar with the concept of broken links, we are going to use this post to explain how they affect your website's SEO and why it is important to fix them.
what are broken links?
Broken links, as the name suggests, are links to a website that are no longer useful, either because they no longer exist or because the address is incorrect. Surely on more than one occasion you have gone to click on a link and you have opened a page indicating "ERROR 404: not found". This indicates that the page that we have accessed through the link is not found. That is, the link is broken or down.
If this has happened to you, you will have been annoyed on more than one occasion not being able to access the site you were waiting for. But broken links not only affect the quality of the user but also the SEO of our website.
Firstly, because if the user enters our website and finds broken links, he will leave our web page and our bounce rate will increase, which directly influences the SEO. As we already know, Google uses the bounce rate statistic to highlight the quality of the websites it shows in its search engine as search results.
Secondly, because broken links have a direct impact on the off-page SEO of our website.
Off-page SEO is the task of knowing which external factors influence the positioning of our website and working on it consists of applying a series of strategies and techniques that help us to obtain external links that point to our website. As we have already mentioned, if we have a high number of external links that lead traffic to our website and, moreover, it is quality traffic, success in SEO positioning is assured.
Off-page SEO is linked to the Page Rank of a web browser such as Google. The Page Rank is a score that Google assigns to all the web pages it displays when a search is performed and which is updated and modified from time to time. This score that Google assigns is based mainly on links received, total page visits and site quality in terms of design, updating, content, participation, etc. In other words, Google will assess the quality of our page to decide our positioning based on links from other blogs, publications or social networks that link to our website to guide traffic.
However, just as external links help to improve our off-page SEO, the inclusion of broken, fallen or non-functioning links on our website will have a negative impact.
As we have already mentioned, Google values the quality of a website by the number of links pointing to it, but also by the number of websites that this blog links to as a reference. Therefore, we will not serve as a reference if all the links we include, or at least some of them, do not work for users.
how to detect broken or defective links?
Sometimes, it is normal that we do not realise that a link is down, if we continually include links in our posts, it can be difficult to find which ones do not work and repair them. That is why we are going to talk about tools that can help us with this process .
The more posts we have on our website or blog, the more complicated it is to check how many of the links we have included no longer work, especially if you are thinking that this task has to be done one by one. Don't worry!
Not so, there are many tools that can help us with this task. Here are some of them:
- Google Webmaster Tools: One of the many functions of this macro tool of Google itself is the detection of broken links. To do this we only have to go to the tab Crawl/Crawl errors and remove or correct the addresses of the fallen links that appear. Yes, it's that easy!
- W3C Link Checker: This is one of the most used and highly valued tools by webmasters. If you are wondering why, it is because it practically does all the work for us. Not only does it tell us which links are broken or down on our website, but it also provides us with suggestions of new URLs that we can use to replace them, since they are related to the previous one.
- Webmaster Toolkit: The differential factor of this broken link detection tool is that it allows you to choose the type of link you want to analyse.
- Broker Link Checker: If you have your website or blog hosted on Wordpress, this may be the tool that helps you the most. It is a Wordpress extension that alerts you, even automatically by email, of the broken links of the blogs created on this platform.
Surely if you are interested in improving the SEO of your website, these tools will help you to correct those links that are negatively affecting your good positioning. In addition, not knowing which links are broken on our website, not only affects the off-page SEO as mentioned at the beginning of the post, but has other negative consequences, such as:
- These errors detract confidence and credibility to our website,which in the case of online shops can mean a decrease in sales.
- We hinder the indexing of Google robots, which can cause us to lose positions in search results.
- Google can also "penalise" us for considering that our website is not sufficiently revised and updated.
- We cause a negative image of our website, a lack of quality and abandonment of our corporate website.
Therefore, it is important that we review our broken links and that we are up to date with them, as the more mistakes we make, the more the search engines will take them into account when it comes to positioning us organically.