Having a great looking website is one thing … having a fully functioning one is another. Sometimes links break. We’ll test your website functionality across various browser platforms (such as Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, Edge, etc.). You’ll need to be the first to know … not your customers.
A broken link is a web-page that can’t be found or accessed by a user, for various reasons. Web servers will often return an error message when a user tries to access a broken link. Broken links are also often known as “dead links” or “link rots.”
For example, have you seen the infamous “404 error” page? Chances are, that a broken link brought you there. The most common, self-inflicted, causes of broken links are:
- Renaming or moving a webpage and forgetting to change your internal links
- Linking to content (PDFs, videos, etc.) that has been moved or deleted
- Linking to a third party page, and not knowing when they change the URL or move the page
If you have broken links, your website may be impacted more than you think. Broken links are frustrating errors that need to be addressed immediately.
The debate over exactly how broken links impact your SEO is ongoing. Google has stated that simply having a broken link or two on your site won’t hurt your rankings, but the impact shows in other ways.
Broken links stop search engine crawlers in their tracks
Crawlers are busy little guys (they’ve only got an entire Internet to scan over and over again), so when they run into a broken link, they stop crawling that page and move on to the next one, meaning any pages it hasn’t crawled won’t be indexed or receive a ranking.
Broken links lead to lower website traffic
If a user encounters a broken link, they will likely be discouraged from continuing to any other pages. By spending less time on your site, search engine algorithms will assume it’s because your site isn’t providing visitors with quality content or information, resulting in a lower ranking.
We’ve all run into a broken link at some point, and it’s a frustrating experience. Whether it’s preventing us from paying a bill or from watching a video, it’s something we’ll remember the next time we visit that site … if ever. Losing customers is not desirable. Not only are you losing revenue from them, but you’re going to lose whoever they tell about this bad online experience.
Whether you have one or many broken links, each visitor on your page will determine their decision based on usability, experience, load time and content. If broken links exist on your site and the visitor cannot access the information, they will move on to a different site that can provide them the information they need (probably one of your competitors). The less time they spend on your site, the higher the bounce rate.
Broken links are roadblocks in the conversion process. No matter how much time and energy (and money) you’ve spent getting customers to your site, if they can’t reach the point of conversion, all of your efforts will have been wasted.