If you currently have a website, we are more than sure that you’ve worked really hard to make it a valuable resource for your consumers. But if your links are not working, it can destroy all of your hard work in a second. Broken links on your website can be a huge problem because of two reasons:
* They create a bad experience for users on your website. When they click on links and see 404 errors, they get literally mad and may never return back.
* They decrease your SEO efforts. Broken links restrict the flow of link equity throughout your site, which impacts rankings negatively.
To avoid these fails, you should regularly check for broken links on your whole website. If you are thinking how to do this, believe me you’re not alone. The good news is we’ve done this work before. Thus, we’ve documented everything through a step-by-step, easy-to-follow process. It will be useful for you to overcome this common problem. So here are five easy, or not that easy, steps to find and fix your broken links.
FIND BROKEN LINKS
You can use Xenu (on the PC) or Integrity (on the Mac) for finding broken links.
After you get the tools working, put the results that you get on a list. Then, by using your list as a guide and help, find all the broken links that you can fix. Afterward, correct any kind of errors so that each link starts working properly. There are some tools you can use for finding broken links and many of them are free.
* Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a great free tool for tracking website performance, and it is an easy way to find broken links. Firstly, log into your Google Analytics account and choose the period you would like to track. If you check for broken links for example weekly, set the period since your last check.
CREATE A CUSTOM ERROR 404 PAGE
It does not matter how diligent your efforts are, you can’t stop every error 404. Mostly, broken links are the causes of these errors. Though, simple typo reason for this result, too. Assume that some percentage of your consumers will become the reason to inevitably hit your error 404 page, and design your site accordingly.
If you have error 404 page, your visitors start looking for lack of any other direction. However, a creative, inventive, and hospitable page keeps visitors on your site and helps them find what they’re looking for. Your 404 page even works with Google spiders.
For human visitors, your error 404 page includes all your branding and navigation attributes including a header, logo, and a navigation bar. Make such error message that feels friendly and personal. You should keep your brand’s overall tone, making the message humorous and creative in all the right places. Add a call for action, make your latest posts more visible, or suggest the most popular, top products to guide your visitors toward something of use that keeps them on the site. Use lots of popups to inform them about it. Use of popups is one of the best tools you could use in such cases. Nevertheless, it not only works for this case but also if you want to have a sales boom.
For these spiders, try to include a randomly produced selection of internal links. Neil Patel used to use this plan with a TechCrunch page to expand traffic by nine percent in a month. He included 25-50 pages with an algorithm that randomizes and changes the pages with each visit. This gives Google Spiders a place to go and helps them guide your site more fully.
CHECK YOUR LINKS OFTEN
No one can say to be immune to broken links. Even tech behemoths in the S&P 500 have a standard (average) of 2.4 percent dead links. Link Tiger says that over 8 percent of the links on TechData.com are broken, as well as approximately 5% of the links on Cisco’s website. Minimize the broken links on your page by checking for them regularly.
Tools like the popular Screaming Frog SEO spider and Ahrefs Outgoing Broken Links Checker crawl the website and find broken links. You also have another option. Google Analytics which will help you to determine how many visitors have entered on your 404 error page and where they came from. If another site directs visitors/consumers to a page that is no longer available, you can have a 301 redirect, restore your site, or reach out to that webmaster and advice a better page for their link.
That is how it works. If you have links on your page that point to sites or pages that no longer exist, you should remove or redirect them. If the page was a source of some data, consider making your own post on the topic and redirecting the link internally, as you understand there is a gap in the online landscape where this link used to be.
USE A 301 REDIRECT
One of the causes for broken links could be the situation in which that link points to an already not existing page. The solution we call – a 301 redirect.
What is 301?
Servers send this code to visiting browsers and search engine visitors and it means “This page isn’t here anymore — go to the other page instead.” Thus, that is how it works. When a search engine sees that people usually follow to the another, recommended page, it applies all the link relevance of the old page to the new page, and replaces the old page with the new one.
Remember 301 NOT 302
What is the difference between this codes and why not use 302 instead of 301? A 302 redirect says, “This page isn’t here, but it’ll be back soon.” Thus, in this case, a search engine would not replace any link to the new page from the old one.
You can set up a 301 redirect on either of the most popular web servers out there — Internet Information Server (IIS; Microsoft) or Apache. However, you should have some skills to complete this process. If you have some difficulties – talk to your webmaster for instructions or hire a webpage developer. If you aren’t familiar with these web servers, it would be harder to do everything yourself.