Are Broken Links Hurting Your SEO?

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Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) helps your business in many ways. First, SEO helps increase your company’s visibility on the internet. This happens through the process of getting your web page to the top of search engine rankings which increases the probability of people finding out about your business.

When you hire an SEO company, you can expect to have services like analysis of your website’s content and structure. You can also expect the optimisation of onsite content, website structure and code, and offpage factors.

The foremost advantage of SEO is that it increases your customers. When you appear at the top of search engines, your business is instantly visible to visitors. These visitors in turn will most likely be converted into customers. Because SEO provides an analysis on how search engines work, you can figure out which search and keywords are used by target audiences and integrate those search words in the content of your webpage.

Outbound links and their benefits

Another strategy used by SEO is increasing outbound links. Outbound links, when used as a part of your website design, send your visitors to other websites. You’ll usually link to other websites for references or for additional relevant information. This is beneficial to you in that they increase your relevance and improve your value and reputation. Moreover, including outbound links to your websites may encourage the websites that you link to include you in their outbound links as well.

To make sure that outbound links benefit you, you must make sure that your linking strategy is organic. That is, look for natural ways to incorporate outbound links into your articles and content. Remember that your goal is to make your website more relevant. Your users can recognise if your outbound links are forced or contrived. This may affect user experience negatively. In addition, like anything, use outbound links with care and caution. Do not overuse outbound links to the point that your visitors are distracted from your own website.

Another thing that you must worry about is the quality of content your outbound links offer. Make sure that you only link to authoritative and well-respected websites.

Although including outbound links will certainly improve your SEO strategy, you must actively check the links from time to time. This is necessary because you never know when websites or links change. In the process of checking the links, you need to be on  the lookout for broken links.

What are broken links?

Broken links, also called defective links, broken hyperlinks, or dead links, are links that lead visitors to non-existent external web pages. This is frustrating to visitors and can turn off potential customers to what your company might offer. Imagine clicking a link, expecting content, only to be confronted by a website that does not exist. It’s deceptive, frustrating, and will certainly affect visitors’ perception of your website. When a user clicks a broken link, a 404 error message appears.

Why are broken links harmful to your website?

· They create bad user experience.

As mentioned earlier in this article, broken links leave a negative impression on your users. When users encounter broken links on your website, they will get the impression the site is not maintained or up to date and possibly never visit your website again, and worse, never patronise your products and services. They will leave your site and not explore what other possible things you might offer. Even if you have the best services and products in the world, if your online presence is weak, then you will only experience a limited amount of success and patronage.

· They damage your reputation.

A good business has to have a good reputation. This can be built through trust and credibility. If your website continuously links to broken links, this dents your credibility and people will stop visiting your website, browsing your products, and sharing links about your business.

Another thing that benefits a website is an inbound link, a link that redirects users to your own website. But for other websites to link to your webpage, you must first establish credibility by checking of all your links are working.

· It affects your bounce rate.

A high percentage of your website’s success depends on its low bounce rate. A bounce is the “single-page session on your site”. Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors that check your website and leave immediately. This may be caused by different factors, one being that your visitors encountered broken links on your website. Bounce rate can be calculated with a tool like Google Analytics.

· They leave a bad impression on search engines.

Broken links are also the bane of search engines. They will hurt your search engine rankings because the moment the algorithm see that visitors do not spend a significant amount of time on your website, it will assume that you are not a credible website and you do not provide what users are looking for. A higher search engine ranking means more chances of visitors checking your website and browsing your pages. This is the reason why your priority is to be on the top of the search engines.

How to address the problem of broken links

If you have a small website, you can perform a manual check to see if all your outbound links are working. However, if you have a large website, you might want to invest on an outbound link checker. These programs will make your life easier by performing fast checks and providing you with a report on any broken links.

After recognising broken links, you have the option of removing them, if the context can stand alone without a link. If you think that the context needs a link, evaluate it and look for relevant link by checking the anchor content. You can redirect the URL to another link that has a similar topic.

According to Kissmetrics, a whopping 79% of customers do not buy from a website again if they are dissatisfied with the website’s performance. This is why you should make sure that all the components of your website are working to provide your users the best possible online experience by hiring professional web design services.

Need a SEO expert to look at your website? Contact Jezweb today!

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