Broken links negatively affect multiple aspects of your website and are particularly detrimental to your SEO efforts. As a result, it’s crucial that you learn what broken links are, what they do, and what you can do to minimize or eliminate their influence on your business.
What are Broken Links?
As the name implies, broken links are links that aren’t working properly anymore. This means they either direct to an incorrect URL or the page they direct to has been changed or removed causing the link between the pages to no longer work. They affect your website’s search rankings, the user experience, and ultimately your bottom line.
How do Broken Links Affect My Website?
Organic Search Results Rankings
Broken links can hamper the indexing process of your website pages by Google. Indexing is done by Google Crawlers (Googlebots), and they do so by checking each of your website’s pages to determine its contents, indexing it accordingly. A broken link can halt this process and prevent you from displaying in a higher rank than you would otherwise because Google cannot index a broken page.
A bad link also damages the user experience on your website. Think about it—what do you do whenever you perform a Google search for something and land on a page with a 404 error? Chances are, you simply click away and try to find what you were looking for in the next search result. Error pages are annoying to your visitors and leave potential clients with a bad impression of your business. Google is constantly making efforts to maintain a user-friendly experience and to do so it actively protects its users from broken links (thus, it will actively lower your rank until the broken links are gone from your site).
Broken links also increase your website’s bounce rate. Having visitors click away shortly after they land on your page gets registered as a bounced visit. This means the visitor didn’t stay to consume your content and, if you get enough bounces, it can signal to the search engine that your content isn’t good and that the content you have isn’t relevant to the search results for which you’re ranking. In turn, Google or Bing may consequently deem your site as less credible and lower your placement on the search results pages.
All of these SEO metrics ultimately affect your ability to attract new patients to your practice. Losing ranking due to broken links means less traffic and less money coming your way.
What’s more, when a visitor does come in and finds an error page instead of the information they expected, they’re less likely to trust you in the future so returning traffic and conversion rates are negatively affected as well.
Finally, broken links could also be costing you money, time, and resources because even world-class SEO becomes meaningless if the pages you’re directing visitors to end up with a 404-error page.
Continually tracking, checking, and replacing broken links might seem like a never-ending task. That’s why the Sesame SEO Team is here to take care of these issues for you so you don’t have to! If you have any questions, feel free to Contact Us here.
—Jonathan Giraldo, SEO Specialist, Sesame Communications