What No One Tells You About Broken Links- written by Debby Winter.
Have you ever clicked a link just to find a broken page? Or maybe you were taken to a page that didn’t quiet provide the information you were looking for? If you are running a blog or website the quality of your links are key to quality per se, and links will also affect organic rankings in the search engines. It will be clear that both links and content are the most important part of SEO, and we want to take extra care of our links because when broken they have a damaging effect.
Links contain the essence of the internet and as such we should treat them with respect.
It is true that links are the very building blocks of the internet. You may not have quiet realized exactly how important a properly labelled link is until you meditate on the concept for some time. If links are labeled the wrong way they have zero value, or worse, they could even do damage. If you are someone who always tries to link the right way than you probably don’t have to worry, but if you know you have links on your site that have as only purpose to inflate the link juice of one page than you might be in trouble. You are probably aware that this is often done for SEO purposes but it can have awful effects.
Are there other linking factors that affect my ranking?
Yes there are. Search engines know that links are the essential connection on which the internet depends in order to be able to provide you with information. If you provide wrong labels, or in other words if you label your links with improper text, than you may be punished for that. At best the search engines will ignore the link text, but if you run a website that keeps adding irrelevant anchor text than it is likely that you will be dropped by the algorithm. When this happens it is likely easiest to start over from scratch and follow Google best practices for SEO.
Where to start if you are unsure about the quality of your links?
For years now I have been using a free software called Xenu Link Sleuth. It can be downloaded for free from the internet and it will serve to generate detailed error reports that will give you in-depth insight on the situation. The program is especially useful if you run online forums that contain user generated content, or if you allow people to post their link in the comment section of your blog. When time goes by some links may expire or become outdated, and this can as such damage your rankings. If you are not sure how to use the problem or how to fix the links you may wish to consult an SEO expert.
Should I include or remove punctuation at the end of a link?
If you are linking to a website URL you always want to remove the punctuation at the end because it may inadvertently be added which will cause an error. Instead of writing “wordpress.org?” you always want to add a pause and write “wordpress.org ?” Remember, to free a website from error is to optimize it for the search engines. Good spelling and good grammar is important, but when it comes to functionality and SEO you sometimes have to make an exemption.
If everything else fails…
Sometimes someone sends you a link and it just doesn’t work. If you can’t figure out how to fix it then your best chance is to Google the link. If there is a spelling error it is at this point that this will be revealed to you. Also, if you have someone write a guest article you always want to check all the links before posting. Make sure to Google part of it to see if it isn’t duplicate content since this is harmful for your site. Never submit the entire article to article checkers as there are some checkers out there that will copy your article and publish it before you can.
Well folks that’s all, I hope you enjoyed this article on broken links and that you learned something new about the inner mechanics of the internet and SEO. Take care and stay home, it’s nice to know that in uncertain times like this people are reaching out to each other here on WordPress. If you have any questions or if you like a free website audit feel free to contact me.