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What Is a Broken Link in SEO?

What Is a Broken Link in SEO?

While it is easier than ever to build a website these days, it still takes a good chunk of time and effort. There are literally billions of websites, all vying for the short attention spans of internet users.

Your website will invariably link to other web pages. These links will be either internal or external. Internal links direct users to another, relevant page within your own site. External links take them to a page on another website. Very few things frustrate users more than 404 page error that occurs when a link is broken or dead

What Causes a Broken Link

The terms “broken link” and “dead link” are used interchangeably and refer to the same thing: a link that doesn’t go anywhere. There are a few different reasons why the links no longer work, including:

  • The URL address was input incorrectly by the webmaster
  • The website was deleted and no longer exists
  • The webpage was moved and the webmaster didn’t redirect to the new page

When a user clicks on a broken link, they get a 404 error message that usually says, “page not found” or something similar.

Link Rot

With the changing pace of trends and interests, all websites eventually suffer from link rot. That is the term for the eventuality of all links becoming broken links at some point. It is a natural occurrence in an ever-evolving industry.

Studies have found that web pages typically last between seven to nine years. That means that more than half of the links on any given website could be broken links within seven years from the time the website went live.

When people or companies abandon their websites due to lack of interest or a change in trends, the links often fall victim to link rot. Fixing your broken links not only helps keep users coming back, but it also raises your SEO rating.

How Does a Broken Link Affect SEO?

Before you can understand how a broken link affects SEO ratings, you have to understand what is SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Optimizing your website means including keywords, links and images that are more likely to show up in high ranking search engine returns.

People are more likely to click on the first or second website that the search engine shows instead of the website on page two or three of the results. When your links are dead or broken, your SEO rankings will suffer and your website traffic will decline significantly.

An easy way to increase your SEO ratings is to update or remove broken links. Many programs will search your website for you and show which links are broken. You don’t want to go through all the trouble of creating a website to have no one visit it or for them to get frustrated and find another site.

Broken links can cause user displeasure and low-quality search engine results. Fixing old, broken links helps retain viewers and increase traffic flow from search engine hits.

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