What are Broken Links and How To Fix Them
What are Broken Links?
Broken links are links on a webpage that no longer lead to the intended destination. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as a website being taken down or a page being moved without a redirect. When a user clicks on a broken link, they are often taken to a 404 error page, which indicates that the requested page cannot be found.
Examples of broken link error codes
Here are some examples of error codes:
- 404 Page Not Found: this error message appears when the page or resource does not exist on the server.
- 400 Bad Request: the server is unable to understand the URL provided.
- Bad host: this error message appears when the server name does not exist or is unreachable.
- Bad URL: this error message is caused by a malformed URL, such as a missing bracket, extra slashes, or incorrect protocol.
- Bad Code: this error message appears when the server response violates the HTTP specification.
- Empty: this error message appears when the server returns empty responses with no content and no response code.
- Timeout: this error message appears when HTTP requests are constantly timed out during the link check.
- Reset: this error message appears when the host server drops connections, either due to being misconfigured or too busy.
The Impact of Broken Links
Broken links can have a negative impact on both the user experience and the search engine ranking of a website. Users may become frustrated when they encounter a broken link, especially if they were looking for important information. This frustration can lead to a decrease in website traffic and engagement.
From a search engine perspective, broken links can negatively affect a website's ranking. Search engines consider broken links as a sign of poor website quality and may view them as an indication of outdated or irrelevant content. This can result in a lower search engine ranking for the affected website.
How to Find Broken Links
There are several tools available that can help you find broken links on your website. These tools crawl your website and report any broken links they find. Some popular broken link checker tools include:
- Google Search Console
- Screaming Frog
Fixing Broken Links
Once you have identified broken links on your website, it's important to fix them as soon as possible. The following are some tips on how to fix broken links:
1. Update the Link URL
If the broken link is due to a page being moved to a new location, update the link URL to the new location. This will ensure that users are directed to the correct page.
2. Redirect the Page
If a page has been permanently removed, redirect the link to a relevant page on your website. This will prevent users from encountering a 404 error page.
3. Remove the Link
If a page or resource is no longer available, remove the link altogether. This will prevent users from clicking on a broken link and becoming frustrated.
4. Use a Custom 404 Page
If a user does encounter a broken link, provide a custom 404 page that includes links to other relevant pages on your website. This will help to keep the user engaged with your website, even if they didn't find the specific page they were looking for.
Best Practices for Avoiding Broken Links
Here are some best practices to help you avoid broken links:
- Use Relative URLs
Using relative URLs instead of absolute URLs can help to prevent broken links. Relative URLs are less likely to change if a page is moved to a new location.
- Test Links Regularly
Regularly testing links on your website can help to prevent broken links from occurring. This can be done manually or by using a broken link checker tool.
- Use 301 Redirects
If you need to permanently remove a page, use a 301 redirect to redirect users to a relevant page on your website. This will help to maintain the user experience and prevent broken links from occurring.
Broken links can have a negative impact on both the user experience and search engine ranking of a website. By regularly checking for broken links and following best practices for avoiding them, you can ensure that your website
Contact Whitewood for help with Broken Links
Contact Whitewood Media today if your website could use some help fixing broken links.
Frequently Asked Questions about Broken Links
What are the common causes of broken links on a website?
- Broken links can occur due to changes in the URL structure, pages being deleted or moved, typos or errors in URLs, and external links being removed or changed.
How do broken links affect SEO?
- Broken links can negatively impact SEO as they can cause a poor user experience and may signal to search engines that the website is not well-maintained. This can lead to a decrease in search engine rankings.
How can I find broken links on my website?
- There are various tools available such as Google Search Console, Broken Link Checker, and Screaming Frog that can crawl your website and identify broken links.
Can broken links be fixed?
- Yes, broken links can be fixed by either redirecting them to a relevant page or by updating the link to point to a valid URL.
Is it important to regularly check for broken links on my website?
- Yes, it is important to regularly check for broken links as they can impact the user experience and SEO of your website. Checking for broken links and fixing them can improve your website's performance and reputation.