Fixing broken links on your website doesn’t just improve user experience (UX) but also your SEO.
It’s easy to break a link on a website. Particularly content rich websites or ecommerce sites. Depending on the content management system, breaking links can be as easy as changing the title of your blog or product which in turn triggers a URL change. Once your URL has changed, any static link pointing to that page will no longer work. Result = broken link.
There’s two reasons you should stay on top of your broken links.
User Experience (UX)
Even if you have a custom 404 error page to help re-route your website users, there’s nothing more frustrating than clicking on a hyperlink and not getting what you expected. Keeping users on-site and engaged is greatly improved if you remove dead-ends in your navigation.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Think of Google as you would a user. When it crawls your website, it follows the click-paths you’ve defined. Directing search engines to a dead-end effectively says, stop crawling my site. Furthermore the links that are pointing to your page are helping build the importance of that page. So when you change the URL of a page, without updating the links that point to it, you are reducing it’s importance.
The biggest problem with broken links is knowing there is a problem. Out of sight, out of mind. You can edit a web page URL in an instance without even realising the consequences. How do you know which pages link to this page or how many links there are? Unless you’re continually user-testing your website, you don’t realise you have broken a link.
The simplest way to monitor is to automatically generate reports out of your server logs. As users and bots crawl your site, any 404 page not found errors are logged and can be reported on.
We’ve created a Broken Links Checker report within the Cpanel Server Log Analyser. One of the many data connectors we offer as part of our marketing analytics service. You don’t need to think about manually running link checkers and re-crawling your site every so often. The broken links data is automatically pulled into your Marketing Dashboards ready for you to review and act on.
Check out our Web Engagement Dashboard – tracking website users, how they navigate your site, and what actions they take.