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How Broken Links Affect Your Rankings

Should You Always Follow Marketing Trends?

Search engine optimization should be a part of every company’s marketing strategy. If your company is not seen on search engines, it doesn’t exist.

In fact:

  • 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles.
  • 93% of all online activities start with a search engine.
  • Leads from SEO are eight times more likely to become paying customers than those generated through traditional ad campaigns.

Whatever you are going to do on the internet, most of the time, it starts with a search engine. Your customers are searching for businesses and products just like yours, but if you are not ranking far up so your customers find you, you are leaving money on the table.

There are paid search engine marketing, and there are organic search engine marketing. With the statistic above in mind, that leads from SEO are eight times more likely to become paying customers than those generated through traditional ad campaigns, it makes sense to go all-in on search engine marketing in order to improve your customers and get more customers from search engines organically. Furthermore, organic search engine marketing will lead traffic and customers to your website for free, whereas non-organic SEO marketing means paying for being displayed as a result of a search query.

But how do you do in order to improve your rankings and be seen when your customers are searching for you? Well, to begin with, search engines and their algorithms are rather complicated. In fact, Google uses over 200 factors when ranking a website in search results. But the fact of the matter is that not all ranking factors are created equal. Some ranking factors play a much greater role in your site’s rankings compared to others. So in order not to get overwhelmed, to start with, you can begin working on the most important and impactful factors.  

One factor that has a huge effect on your rankings is links. This includes both internal and external links – to and from your sites. Backlinks are links from other websites that point back to your site, and internal links are links that you have on your site, pointing to various pages on your own site. In fact, studies have found that the more backlinks a page has, the more search traffic it gets from Google.

Something that has a negative effect on your search engine rankings, but is often neglected, is broken links.

Broken links can be both external and internal – just like regular links. Broken links are links that for different reasons, do not work when clicking on them. The most common reason is that the page it leads to has been removed or changed its URL. Another reason can be that the destination link is misspelled.

Broken links negatively affect your search engine rankings and keep you from ranking well on Google.

Missing out on SEO potential

First off, since backlinks to your site are so important for search engine rankings, naturally when you lose them, it will have an impact on your rankings. All broken links to your site are links that can be fixed so they actually bring value to your site. Many times, people go out trying to build links to their site (which is a time-consuming job by the way), rather than focusing on what they already have (or at least almost have). Because the good news is that with the right strategy, you can get the broken links up and running again, generating link juice to your site.

Broken internal links

Broken internal links are also something that affects your rankings negatively. The goal of any search engine is to offer as good user experience as possible. But If they direct you to a site that leads you to a 404 or dead page when clicking on a link, it will harm the user experience.

Not only that but if you have a bunch of broken internal links, it will harm the user experience of your visitors, which can cause them to leave your site. Which, of course, can lead to lost sales, but also indicate to search engines that the user didn’t find what they were looking for on your site, thus ranking your search results lower. In that way, it’s all connected when it comes to search engine rankings.

Therefore, if you have a lot of broken links, it will negatively affect your rankings. Make sure you identify your broken links and fix them. It’s an easy SEO trick that can have a significant effect on your search engine rankings.

Internal broken links are easier to fix than external since you have full control over the links yourself. So this is a great place to start.

How can you identify and solve broken links?

Finding broken links is extremely time-consuming when done manually. But thankfully, there are tools that can help you in this process.

DrLinkCheck

Dr. Link Check is an online tool for finding broken and malicious links on websites.

Rather than manually going through your site’s pages one by one, this tool will give you a report of the links that need your attention. Each link that Dr. Link Check finds will go through multiple checks to make sure it is correct. It will check broken links, perform a blacklist check (Does the link appear on any blacklists for hosting malicious content?), and parked domain check, which is if the link is pointing to a placeholder site without any valuable content. Furthermore, the tool allows you to configure your link checks to run automatically on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis so you can keep your link profile fresh and up to date.

Manually checking

One way to keep track of broken links is to manually check them. Of course, it is far from the most effective way, but it is possible (although we would advise using a tool to save a ton of time and energy).

How do you do this?

First off, to identify broken links on your own website, both internal and external, go through each and every single page of your site and check the links. If the links direct the user to a non-working page or site, make sure to change that link to one that works and is up to date.

Secondly, you also need to keep track of the links pointing to your site from other websites. This one is a little more tricky to do manually. If you are going to do it thoroughly, you want to note every single new domain that links to you. There are tools you can use to see which sites link to yours. Some links, you will also know when you get, for example, if you are interviewed in an article.

Make a list of the links you have received and then regularly go through the links that you have and check so that they are not broken. If you find that one of the links is broken, contact the website owner and ask them to fix it. The success rate will not be 100% since, for various reasons, the site owners won’t reply, but 10% is better than zero.

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