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How Does Dead Link Affect Your Ranking?

Over the past decade, webmasters and SEO consultants has been debating whether dead (broken) links can really affect a website’s performance.
There are many SEOers who would argue that broken links will worsen user’s experience, although it may not affect their website’s rankings.
However, as search engine continuously roll out new algorithm updates, this view has changed recently.
SEO consultants around the world now fully acknowledge how dead links can impact a website’s performance.
That is the reason why most SEO consultants are focusing their effort on adhering to Google’s standards in hope it would not affect a website performance in terms of rankings.
Having a site with higher bounce rate could be disastrous to its overall rankings.

Dead links or 404 Errors

What is broken link (Dead links or 404 Errors)?

A website URL that doesn’t exists or works is called a dead link, or broken link. When you type the URL in the browser, such link will bring you to a 404 error page.
But why does broken link occur on your site?

 

Broken links occur on your website for several reasons, including:

  1. The page is been removed permanently
  2. The URL is placed incorrectly, and hence, you end up in a 404 page
  3. The page address is changed, but the URL attached in the link isn’t
  4. Lack of proper navigation
While few dead links, or broken links, or even 404 errors may seem normal to search engines, nonetheless, leaving unnecessary dead links on your website may be seen as a low quality website.
Not to mention it won’t escape the scrutiny of search engine spiders!
As a result, both ranking as well as the indexing of your website gets affected.

 

Here are few ways how broken links affects your site’s performance in search engine results, including its rankings:

Google “disapproves” broken (dead) links

1. Google “disapproves” broken (dead) links

Google have been very deliberate in its intention, as specified in its webmaster’s guidelines, to check for dead or broken links and correct HTML in your site.
While it’s okay to have few broken links that displays 404 error, having excessive amount of unchecked dead links on your site will definitely reduce its search engine rankings.

Dead Links aren’t user-friendly

2. Dead Links aren’t user-friendly

SEO services can either make or break your site. Leave too many dead links on your site, and your site visitors find it distracting, or even irritating, and move on to the next site on the search result page.
Not only this will decrease the amount of free (organic) traffic your site gets, but search engines like Google will also interpret this as site having a high bounce rate.

Broken links badly affects your site’s conversion rate

3. Broken links badly affects your site’s conversion rate

Yes, dead links will affect your conversion rate as people become discouraged to continue on when they see a blank 404 error page that doesn’t seem to guide the visitors anywhere else.
With that said, you need to quickly customize your 404 page!
Insert links to major section of your site on your 404 error page so that your visitors still have an opportunity to visit other section of your website instead of looking at the blank and ugly 404 error page.

 

4. Broken or dead links blocks search engine spiders

Did you know that when search engine crawlers come across broken links, they’ll face a dead end? As a result, they won’t be able to crawl further and index your site properly.
So, don’t be surprised when your site or page doesn’t appear on search engine results page (SERPs).
Major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing considers user experience as the BIGGEST reason for high search engine ranking. And, of course, link validity is one of the key factors to enhance user experience.
So, we can conclude that broken/ dead links do affect your website’s rankings negatively as it contributes to high bounce rate of a site, which search engines interprets as something wrong with it.
That is why, it’s important you make sure your site doesn’t have more than 2 to 3 dead links.

 

Take Action, Don’t Procrastinate!

Remove those dead links or create a customized 404 error page as it could be one of your saving graces in terms of website ranking.
Make sure you check your pages on your site, check links in it, and update it (if need be), plus update your sitemap every time you remove a page or change a URL link to avoid having broken/dead links on your site.

 

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