Broken links are no fun!
The visitors are sent to a 404 page, which can be frustrating and could cause you to lose business over time.
In this article, by experts at leading SEO company in Mumbai will tell you what a broken link is, how to find them on your website, and how to fix them!
So let’s get started.
What are broken links?
A website comprises many different pages, each with its unique URL (uniform resource locator). When you click on one of these links, the browser requests the page from the server and displays it on your screen. The same process happens when you type in a URL directly into your browser’s address bar or open an email attachment.
As experts in SEO digital marketing will tell you that if any part of this process fails, it results in a broken link. For example, if you click on a link that does not exist anymore because it has been deleted or moved elsewhere on the site or no longer exists, it’s considered a broken link. The most common reason for this is when someone deletes an article, page, or post from their website.
Another common reason is when a webmaster decides to change the URL structure of their site without redirecting old URLs to new ones. For example, let’s say you have a blog post about “How to make roasted red peppers,” and it has a URL like this: https://www.example.com/blog/how-to-make-roasted-red-peppers/.
If you decide one day to change your blog post titles from singular words to plural words, then all your URLs will break except those that have been redirected (via 301 redirects). You would then need to update each URL to reflect the new title with an s at the end (https://www.example.com/blog/how-to-make-roasted-reds-peppers/).
The link is broken on the web page you are linking to. This can be tricky as you may have hundreds or thousands of links on your site or in other places, such as social media accounts and publications where you have referenced the old URL.
Types of broken links
There are three types of broken links:
- Redirected Links
Redirected links are often caused by a change in the URL structure of a website. When you create a website, you can choose how the pages are organized and whether they will have their unique address or if they will be accessed through the main index page.
For example, if you have a blog with multiple posts, each post may have its own unique URL that includes information about what post it is and its content. Suppose you decide to change the structure of your website and re-organize your blog posts into categories with subcategories.
When visitors click on old URLs for your posts, they will be redirected to the new URLs for those categories instead. This is called redirection because it directs users from one place (the old URL) to another (the new URL).
- Broken Internal Links
These occur when an internal reference within your own website has changed and no longer works correctly.
For example, if you have an old blog post with a reference in its text pointing to another resource, such as an image or video file, then updating that text without updating those references will cause them to break when someone clicks on them.
As experts from one of the best Seo company in Mumbai will tell you that this can happen for many reasons, including updates made by other team members, upgrades done by developers, or simply because someone forgot about them altogether!
- Broken External Links
External links are generally those that point outside of your own website to another resource, such as a news article, product page, or social media profile.
These are the most common link types that get broken due to changes made by others (either intentionally or accidentally).
For example, if you link to a product on another site and change its URL structure, all the links pointing to its product pages will stop working unless they update those URLs.
Broken Links and SEO
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing use web crawlers to scan the internet for new and updated content. When a crawler encounters a web page with links to other pages, it follows those links to find more content. If one of these links is broken, the crawler will not follow it and will therefore be unable to index the page in question.
Broken links can harm your SEO strategy because they cause your site’s authority score to drop. This means that search engines may rank you lower in their listings than you deserve. In addition, broken links can be frustrating for visitors who click on them only to end up at an error page or another site altogether.
How to find broken links
Finding broken links is an important part of site maintenance. It’s good for your SEO, and it helps visitors find what they’re looking for. But finding broken links can be difficult, especially if you have a large website with thousands or even millions of pages.
Use a broken link checker. This is the fastest way to find all of the dead links on your site. A broken link checker will crawl your site and look for any URLs that don’t have a corresponding file on your server (or a 404 error).
It’s important to note that this only works if your site has been crawled and indexed by Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
There are many tools to find broken links on your website. It is important to fix these broken links because they can cause a serious loss of traffic, leads, and sales.
Here are some of the most popular tools for finding broken links:
- Google Search Console
This is the most comprehensive way to find broken links on your website. Google Search Console is free for all websites registered with it, and it provides data about how users interact with your pages, including how often they visit, where they come from, and what they do when they arrive. You can use this information to identify broken links on your site.
In order to use Google Search Console, first create an account if you don’t already have one. Once logged in, click “Search Traffic” under the “Manage” tab at the top of the page. Click “Crawl” next to “Manual Actions,” then click “Fetch as Google.” This will open up a new tab or window with a live version of your website that’s being crawled by Googlebot — its automated web crawler that indexes pages for search results.
After this loads, look through the results to see if there are any 404 errors (which means that page doesn’t exist anymore). Next, check out each page under “Clicks” to see which ones have been clicked by users (and therefore probably still exist). If you find any broken links here, you’ll want to fix them ASAP, so people don’t get confused.
- Ahrefs Site Explorer (paid)
Ahrefs Site Explorer is a tool that allows you to find broken links on websites. It can be used with a specific target website or with a list of domains. The report shows the number of broken links, anchor text, and destination.
The tool also highlights the most common reasons why pages are not found. You can even export this information in different formats like CSV, making it easier to share it with your team or clients.
How to use Ahrefs Site Explorer:
- Go to https://ahrefs.com/site-explorer/.
- Enter the URL of your target website (or list of URLs) into the search bar and hit enter.
- Click on any page title that appears in the list – it should look something like this: https://www.example.com/page1/.
- Scroll down until you reach “Broken links” – this should show how many pages have broken links, their anchor texts, and their destinations (if available).
- Majestic Site Explorer (paid)
Majestic Site Explorer is the most popular link-building tool on the market. It’s easy to use and has many advanced features for SEOs and webmasters.
Majestic Site Explorer is a free tool that allows you to find broken links on your website. You can use it from their website or install it as a plugin in WordPress. You can use it for free, but some extra features cost money.
To find broken links on a site, you simply need to enter the URL of the site you want to check into Majestic Site Explorer and then press “Check.”
This will show you all of your internal links and external ones (links from other sites). If there are any broken links, they will be highlighted in red to stand out clearly on the page.
- Open Site Explorer (free) from Moz
Open Site Explorer is a free tool that allows you to see all of the links coming in and going out of your site. This can be especially useful if you want to find out which pages are linking to your content or if you want to see where all of your links are coming from.
Using Open Site Explorer:
- Sign up for an account at Moz.com (if you don’t already have one).
- Once logged in, go to the Open Site Explorer page and enter the URL of the page that you want to check.
- Click “Analyze” and wait for the results to appear.
If there are any broken links on your site, open up the “Outgoing Links” tab and click “Show only external URLs.”
You should see a list of all external sites that link back to your site with their IP address.
- Check My Links
Check My Links is a simple extension that checks the links on a webpage for you, so you can find and fix broken links quickly.
It’s free and works in most browsers, including Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Safari.
Check My Links is easy to use: just click the toolbar button or hit Ctrl+Alt+F (or Cmd+Alt+F on Mac). It creates a popup list of all the links on the page you’re looking at, with arrows indicating which ones are broken.
You can then click on any link in the list to open it in the browser or right-click to bring up a context menu that allows you to copy a link address or open it in your browser’s built-in inspector tool.
How to Fix Broken Links
When you’re working on a website, and you find a broken link, there are several ways you can fix it.
- Delete the broken link
If the broken link is on your site, delete it and replace it with another word or phrase. This will remove the old URL from your site and make it easier for search engines to crawl and index pages without errors.
- Replace with 301 redirect
You can also use a 301 redirect to permanently redirect users from one page to another. Create an HTML page with the new URL and then add a line of code that tells search engines to redirect users to the new page.
- Create an error page
Sometimes when you move to a new server or domain, this happens accidentally because of an error in coding or file permissions. If this is the case, create an error page with instructions on what went wrong and how users can fix it.
- Fix the typos
If you have a broken link, one of the words in your link has likely been misspelled. You can fix this by finding the word in your text and replacing it with the correct spelling.
So, now you know what broken links are, how to find them and how to fix them. Do not ignore this if you want a successful website. Search engines such as Google or Bing rely on links to rank your website highly, but when there are lots of broken links on your site, it will affect your site’s ranking. So do remember to check your links from time to time.
Links that point to pages that no longer exist can be frustrating, but spam is even more aggravating—take a look at our blog to learn about the 5 types of spam that need to be stopped quickly.