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Broken links, also known as dead links, are links on a website that no longer work, leading to a 404 error page. These links can have a significant impact on technical SEO, as they can negatively affect user experience and search engine rankings.
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Impact on User Experience.
Broken links can damage user experience by leading to dead ends on the website, frustrating users who are trying to find information or complete an action. Users may become discouraged and leave the website altogether, reducing engagement and increasing bounce rates. This negative user experience can also lead to a decrease in website traffic, as users may be less likely to return to the website in the future.
Impact on Search Engine Rankings.
Broken links can also have a negative impact on search engine rankings. When search engine bots crawl a website and encounter broken links, they may not be able to properly index the website, leading to a decrease in visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). Additionally, search engines may view broken links as a sign of poor website maintenance and quality, which can further damage search rankings.
Finding and Fixing Broken Links.
Website owners can use a variety of tools to find and fix broken links on their websites. Some of these tools include:
- Google Search Console: Google Search Console provides a Crawl Errors report that shows the types and number of crawl errors that search engine bots have encountered when crawling a website, including broken links.
- Broken Link Checker: Broken Link Checker is a website plugin that scans a website for broken links and provides a report of any broken links found.
- Manual Check: Website owners can manually check their website for broken links by clicking on each link and verifying that it leads to the correct page.
Once broken links have been identified, website owners can take the following steps to fix them:
- Redirecting: If a broken link is pointing to a page that has been moved or deleted, website owners can redirect the broken link to the correct page using a 301 redirect.
- Updating Links: If a broken link is pointing to a page that still exists but has a different URL, website owners can update the link to point to the correct URL.
- Removing Links: If a broken link is no longer relevant or necessary, website owners can remove the link altogether.
Broken links can have a significant impact on technical SEO, negatively affecting user experience and search engine rankings. Website owners should regularly monitor their websites for broken links and take steps to fix them, including redirecting, updating, or removing the broken links. By fixing broken links, website owners can improve user experience, increase website traffic, and improve search engine rankings.