SEO Glossary: Broken Links

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SEO Glossary: Broken Link
SEO Glossary: Broken Link

Imagine you’re deep down a Google rabbit hole, ready to finally identify that mysterious movie from your childhood, when suddenly… error 404 not found. Talk about a buzzkill! That’s the experience of encountering a broken link. Just like a dead end on a road trip, it disrupts your journey and leaves you frustrated. In the world of SEO, broken links are more than just an annoyance; they can negatively impact your website’s ranking and user experience.

What are broken links?

A hyperlink (nowadays usually just called a “link”) is the text or image you click on to be taken to another webpage. A broken link, also known as a dead link, is a hyperlink that leads nowhere. Clicking on it might result in a frustrating “404 Not Found” error message, or simply take you to a blank page. This happens because the linked webpage either no longer exists or has been moved to a new location without the link being updated.

Why are broken links bad for SEO?

Search engines like Google value websites that offer a smooth and informative experience for users. Broken links create a negative experience by leading visitors astray. Here’s how they can hurt your SEO:

  • Reduced user trust: Search engine algorithms take user experience into account when determining rankings. A website riddled with broken links suggests a lack of maintenance and can erode user trust.
  • Wasted crawl budget: Search engines send out “crawlers” to explore and index your website. Broken links waste this crawl budget, as the search engine spends time trying to access non-existent pages instead of valuable content.
  • Poor link equity: Links from high-quality websites pass on “link equity,” which can improve your website’s ranking. However, broken links don’t pass on this valuable link juice.

Why are broken links bad for users?

Broken links don’t just hurt your SEO; they also frustrate your website visitors. Here’s how:

  • Negative first impression: First impressions matter online! Broken links create a sense of unprofessionalism and can lead visitors to bounce off your website immediately.
  • Wasted time: Nobody enjoys clicking on a link and ending up at a dead end. Broken links waste your visitors’ time and prevent them from finding the information they seek.
  • Reduced credibility: If your website is littered with broken links, it can make your content seem outdated and unreliable.

Fixing broken links and keeping your website up to date

The good news is that broken links are a fixable problem. Here are some tips to keep your website healthy:

  • Regularly check for broken links: Use online tools or website crawlers to identify broken links on your website.
  • Fix or remove broken links: Update the link to the correct URL if the webpage still exists. Otherwise, remove the broken link entirely.
  • Monitor external links: Links to external websites can also break. Consider contacting the website owner to inform them of the broken link.

By regularly checking and fixing broken links, you can ensure a smooth user experience for your visitors and improve your website’s SEO performance. Remember, a well-maintained website with functioning links is like a well-maintained highway–it keeps your visitors moving in the right direction and helps you reach your digital marketing goals.

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seoplus+ Team

The award-winning seoplus+ expert team includes digital marketing specialists and business advisors with a combined experience of over 75 years. Since 2012, seoplus+ has provided demand generation and business growth services to companies ranking from SMBs to multinational enterprises. Our team's rich and diverse backgrounds range from SEO, PPC, social media, content creation, digital PR, UX design, web development, and ecommerce, to customer success, lead generation, and growth strategy. seoplus+ is also an SEMrush Agency Partner, Google Premier Partner, and Shopify Partner.

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