Do you know what the worst thing about a website is? Bad design and confusing navigation.
Do you know what the next worst thing is? Broken links.
What’s so bad about a broken link? It is friggin’ disappointing for your visitors. They are so interested in your content that they click on your link. Instead of getting the expected content - BAM! They get an error message instead.
That’s simply NOT OK on a professional website or web shop. Besides pissing your visitors off, it also hurts your SEO immensely. It is actually so important that it was the original feature that Monsido sailed with, and the only feature we had for 6 months.
What Causes Broken Links?
Your website is a continually-evolving thing (At least, it should be! A website which never changes will bore your visitors to death and kill your SEO). With all the changes happening on your website and the web, it is inevitable that some of the content you link to is going to disappear, resulting in broken links. There are three main culprits behind broken links:
- You renamed or moved a webpage and forgot to update your internal links
- You linked to content (images, PDFs, etc.) which has been deleted or moved
- You linked to a third party page, and they changed or moved the page.
Broken Links Are SEO Killers
Think that content is what makes up the web? Wrong! The entire web and search system we use is based on links. Spiders are continuously crawling the links between web pages, over and over again. Without links to or from your content, it simply can’t be found by search engines.
Search engine spiders are really busy. They follow wherever links lead them. When they come to a dead link, they stop crawling that page. That means your page isn’t going to be properly indexed!
Remember that website usability is now a big part of SEO. If the spiders come across too many broken links, it sends a signal that your website isn’t very usable – which harms SEO. Just like an employee would be penalized for having a messy desk, Google will penalize you for having a messy, disorganized website.
Broken Links Are Terrible for User Experience
When optimizing your website, always think about the user first, and not the Google bots. Everything Google does is based on improving user experience. So, chances are if you improve user experience, you will improve your rankings with Google.
Think about how you would feel if you were browsing through a website, clicked on a link, and got a 404 Error message. Sure, webmasters have come up with cute ways of delivering these 404 Errors, but users aren’t very forgiving. It is immediately going to harm your reputation as a professional website.
Visitors might be so annoyed by the broken links that they leave your website. This reduces your Average Session Time and increases Bounce Rate – which are two very important user metrics for SEO!
Don’t Let Broken Links Happen to You
Even if you have a very tiny website, you couldn’t possible check every single one of your links on a weekly basis to make sure they are working. Even if you never changed a single thing on your website (which would be lame!), you still couldn’t be sure that one of your external links didn’t break because they might change something (which hopefully they do).
So, how are you supposed to make sure you don’t have broken links?
Luckily, there are tools which find broken links for you. Of course, we recommend the Monsido Webmaster and SEO Tool.
Monsido makes sure you never disappoint your users (or anger the Google bots) by monitoring your pages for broken links. It does this by scanning every single link on your pages on a weekly basis, or whenever you perform an on-demand scan.
After crawling your web pages for broken links (and other errors and optimization opportunities), Monsido will send you a report. That is totally fresh data for you to work with. Just look at the section “Dead Links” and see if it says anything other than Zero. If it does, log in to Monsido and go the area in the Dashboard for “Dead Links” to get them fixed immediately.
You owe this to your visitors – and to your SEO rankings!