Understanding Broken Links
11 Sep Understanding Broken Links
There are three types of broken links: Internal, Outbound and Inbound. When visitors follow links to, from, or within your site, they are expecting certain content to be available to them once they get to that page. When your site has broken links, it can affect user experience and your site could potentially lose a bit of hard-earned trust you’ve earned from search engines, such as Google. Google’s web crawlers collect data about each page and rank pages according to their accuracy and content.
Let’s tackle outbound links first.
You may not even know that your outbound links are broken because you don’t have control over the external content you are linking to. A link could have been removed or relocated on that site. The first step is to find out if your site even has broken outbound links. At Toolbox Studios, our Google-certified staff employs a powerful array of programs that scan your site and deliver reports of how well your site is performing—this includes any broken link issues.
Finding the outbound links that are broken is only half of the job. Fixing them is the more time-consuming step. Things to consider:
- Can the context of the content stand alone without the link? If so, consider removing it altogether.
- Have you performed a site search on the external site to see whether the content has a new location?
- Are there more recent versions of the content to replace the broken link with? You can always refresh your content to accommodate a new source.
Inbound Broken Links (the dreaded 404 error).
A 404 error occurs when content on your site was either removed or relocated without proper redirects in place to lead visitors to the correct page. Remember that report that Toolbox Studios can provide? It also lists out any 404 errors.
There are a few ways to fix your inbound broken links. Rather than removing pages, try to update and refresh the content that is on the page. If your URL structure has changed, then employ 301 redirects. This is a permanent redirect that Google approves of—meaning your page will retain its ranking power. It will be a seamless experience for a user.
Internal Broken Links- Links within your site.
Often, there can be broken links within your own site—this is the way pages interact with each other. Common problems include:
- An inconsistent structure to your site. Google likes it when pages are linked together in a way that provides context to your structure.
- Orphans are pages that aren’t linked by any other pages. They still exist, but the only way to get to them is via a direct URL address.
- Duplicated versions of pages such as: mycompany.com/homepage/ mycompany.com/homepage (without the slash) www.mycompany.com/homepage, etc.
Auditing and fixing broken links is an ongoing process because websites are constantly changing. Toolbox Studios can fix the errors—but we also work on your user experience, relevant content, driving traffic, building links, page ranking and authority, and many more aspects of SEO to get your website humming.