A broken link or 404 error is what all of us have already encountered at some points on the internet. It’s not a big problem if it’s on others' sites. But when it’s your web page, then it’s a thing you must solve as soon as possible. A broken link can be harmful to you and your business in many ways, so we highly recommend getting your hands on it whenever you can.
And just as you’re thinking “How?”, we have the best guide for you. Been there, done that. Years of working in the industry, we’ve met this situation many times and know how to solve it. Follow through for a complete guide on how to fix broken links on your own at ease!
What a broken link actually is?
Well, we believe that its name has already been explaining the situation. But if we must break it down into small chunks for non-tech-savvy, then a broken link is a hyperlink (or web page) that users can't find or access. When you enter a broken link, a web page will appear and show an error message, which is typically known as a 404 error. In some cases, people also call a broken link a “dead link”.
To truly demonstrate what will show up when you click on a broken link, here are some examples:
404 Page Not Found: This is one of the most common web pages that we see all the time. This means the page you’re looking for does not exist on this server.
404 Bad Request: This happens when the server couldn’t understand the URL.
Timeout: This is another common example of a broken link. When Timeout appears, it means that your HTTP request failed and timed out constantly.
Reset: You’ll get this when the connection between the web page and its host fails. This type of broken link often happens when the server is too busy.
Yet even when 404 errors are not hurting your SEO result, it still leads to a high bounce rate and annoying customer’s experience. As business owners, we wouldn’t want that either. So you’d want to fix those broken links as soon as you could.
Why shouldn't you have a broken link on your site?
First, we’ll be honest about all the disadvantages of having a broken link on your site. Even some of the largest brands on the planet have some fail response web pages as well. But that doesn’t mean those errors would create dramatic harm to their sites. As long as you keep checking and constantly fixing these problems, you’re good to go. However, we still have to remind you that having too many broken links on your site would do more harm than you think. And here are some:
Broken link leads to bad user’s experience:
Don’t sleep on the impact of a broken link, since to customers, it’s really annoying. Not to mention that dead links will give your web page a sense of abandonment. It simply just shows that you don’t take good care of your website, so those 404 errors keep popping up to them.
And just from some broken link, you began to lose trust and interest from your potential customers.
Broken link create a higher bounce rate:
Once you encounter a broken web page, what would you do? You jump to another site instead, without even thinking, right? So do other users, including users on your own website. They would judge your brand by your site usability, load time, and on-site experience. Yes, every detail counts. This leads to a simple fact, the less time they stay, the higher your website bounce rate would be. A high bounce rate would actually hurt your SEO result and even with the cost for future Google Ads.
So, how do we fix broken links?
Within just a few steps, you’ll be able to say goodbye to annoying dead links.
Just with a few clicks, you could find many plugins available online to search for broken link. However, we don’t really recommend using them due to the lack of trust and it might slow down your website. Instead, Google Search Console will be your best friend. To detect broken link on your site, simply following this guide:
- Sign in to your Google account that’s connected to your website.
- Select Google Search Console (or you can use the search bar to help).
- Click on your account and find “Crawl” on the sidebar to your left.
- Click “Crawl errors”.
Then all the broken link of your site would be there for you to see in detail.
When it comes to a broken link, there are many ways to fix them. After getting your list of errors, you’ll need to take some time and analyze it before fixing it. As you can see, broken links are not the same, some get visited often, but some just don’t. From that, you can roughly decide what should be fixed, redirected, or simply deleted.
There will be some broken link that is just a human error when typing the URL. But if you saw its trend keep going, why not take advantage of it? Meanwhile, some just need a few minutes of redirecting to another web page. And last but not least, some 404 errors can just stay there without causing any harm to your site.
Mission success! You’ve just solved an annoying broken link and 404 error. Now before you get back to normal life, we highly recommend doing one last check to make sure everything is alright. Once it’s done, you’re sure to make your users happy for a smooth and enjoyable experience.
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