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Detecting and fixing your broken links and monitoring for 404 errors

Identifying broken links is part of every SEO audit journey. So what’s a broken link? It’s a piece of the link that is no longer available for anyone to browse over the World Wide Web.

Let’s imagine that you want to get some information about a product or purchase a service. Your friend suggests you a good brick and mortar shop. When you visit that place, you do not find any shop whatsoever. Wouldn’t that be frustrating? Would you ever trust your friend again?

In terms of digital websites, your search for keywords at search engines are referred to as valuable links. Now imagine if it ends up with a 404, that’s what we call a dead link or broken link. This bad experience will certainly damage your perspective about that brand and domain. You may never wish to visit such a website again. That’s a user’s viewpoint.

Broken links directly impact a website’s SEO efforts. Since the search engine is made for users, you will end up losing rankings in search engine result pages (SERP).

Search engine use crawlers and spiders to go through the website for indexing and ranking purposes. If Google finds a broken link, it would lower your website authority. It’s only one of the factors but an important one that may significantly impact your website.

Types of Links

There are two basic types of links, one is an external link and the other is an internal link.

Internal Links

These kinds of links are used for internal website navigation. It connects all the different pages of your website together. Website visitors can browse relevant information from Page B even if he lands at Page A.

These links are usually from the same domain. So if you are browsing an ABC website and any link that takes you to another page on the same ABC website is an internal link.

For SEO purposes, it helps to spread page authority and ranking power throughout the website. The term is often known as spreading link juice, letting search engines know these pages exist and are a valuable resource for visitors.

External Links

Any link that takes a visitor to a different website is an external link. For example, you may be browsing an ABC website but you clicked a link that takes you to another webpage over to XYZ website. Such links are known as external links.

External links help the linked domain to get a vote for the linked term (keyword) from the linking domain. The more votes a website receives, the better it can rank for a term. The quality of vote really matters, so if a domain has a higher page authority, its vote will be considered much more important than just another vote.

Error Codes

Broken links are generally considered to be a 404 page not found error. It could either be due to misspellings or maybe the site owner has deleted that resource. Technically, these are the other possible error codes.

4xx Client Request Errors – Occur due to client’s side issues, where the client would be your browser. This is the most used errors list in the 4xx category.

  • 400 Error: Bad Request
  • 401 Error: Unauthorized
  • 402 Error: Payment Required
  • 403 Error: Forbidden
  • 404 Error: Not Found
  • 405 Error: Method Not Allowed
  • 406 Error: Not Acceptable
  • 407 Error: Proxy Authentication Required
  • 408 Error: Request Timeout

5xx Server Errors – Occur due to server-side issues, where the server is the where the webpage scripts reside.

  • 501: Not Implemented
  • 502: Bad Gateway
  • 503: Service Unavailable
  • 504: Gateway Timeout
  • 505: HTTP Version Not Supported
  • 506: Variant Also Negotiates
  • 507: Insufficient Storage
  • 509: Bandwidth Limit Exceeded
  • 510: Not Extended

Disadvantages of Broken Links

Lower Rankings

Let’s say if you have a well-performing page at Google SERP. And one fine day, you change the URL of the page. While Google may index the other URL but your primary URL will become a broken link. Until you set a redirection from a new URL to an old URL, the search engines will consider it a broken URL and stop indexing it.

Increased Bounce Rate

Imagine a visitor lands on your website and clicks an internal link to find it as a broken link. The visitor may never return again at your site. Search engines will deem it as bounce rate as if a visitor visited your website and chose to close down the website. It reflects that there is something wrong with the content value you’re providing and increases bounce rate that leads to lower site authority too.

Less Income

A broken link is always a hurdle in the conversion process. So if one of your payment pages or product cart pages becomes a broken link, you are sure to lose that customer and many of these visitors may tell others about the bad experience.

Finding Broken Links

Following are a few free online tools that will help to get rid of broken links: Screaming FrogSEMRushBroken Link CheckerW3C Link Checker.

If your website has the Avoori Business Plan, many advanced SEO tools are available for your usage. One of these tools allows you to analyze your articles, pages, portfolios, layouts, popups, and any other custom post included in your Avoori website, for broken links.

Lets see how it works. Go to the SEO menu on your Avoori website admin and go to the broken links scanner page.

In this page you may check and configure for broken links on your Avoori website.

From the settings tab, check the post type you want to scan. Click Request the bot and wait until the process finishes.

Avoori Broken Links Scanner Settings Page

When the process finishes, browse to SEO tab, Broken links page results to fix the broken links. Hopefully you will receive a blank list which doesnt contain any broken links, if you do, it’s recommended to go over the results and fix any broken links.

Avoori Broken Links Scanner Results Page

The very first column shows all the broken URL’s. The last column shows where it was found.

So you can now manually edit your content to repair your broken links.

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