What are broken links and why do they influence SEO?

When it comes to optimizing our website, we encounter several difficulties. One of the most frequent is the appearance of broken links. It is certainly not something to be alarmed about, however, it is necessary to detect the error in time and fix it quickly. Perhaps on large pages with thousands of URLs, it is insignificant. But on small or medium-sized pages, it can be a real problem that significantly affects SEO. We will see.

Broken links are projected with the classic 404 error page. These Not Found pages are a real headache for users. Since when entering a link no one expects to find an error instead of the content they are looking for. Thus, by not providing any value for the user, Google considers it as negative for the positioning of the site.

Why is it important for SEO?

As mentioned above, broken links are undesirable to users. This is why a broken link is directly related to a bad user experience. And as we mentioned in our post (name), user experience is the main goal of SEO. Also, these kinds of errors give signals to users and to Google. If the broken links remain, it denotes a lack of updating or revision of the page. And, finally, they affect the indexing of our page by search engines. As we can see, they do represent a problem.

How to detect it?

Before mentioning the options we have to detect them, let’s talk about their origin. Probably, the broken links of our pages appear at the moment of linking internally or externally in our page. In that process, we can make a mistake and link incorrectly, causing a broken link. Certainly the detection of a broken link is a cumbersome process if it is done without any help. Fortunately there are several tools that help with the quick detection of these links. Among them we have:

  • Google Search Console: This Google macro tool has many functions. Among them, it allows you to consult the pages with 404 through the Coverage section. Subsequently, it will mark if in the crawl it detected pages with broken links. Likewise, when reviewing the URL, it will show how it detected it, i.e., the page of origin. This tool is ideal for webmasters.
  • Google Webmaster Tools. One of the many functions of this macro tool of Google itself is the detection of broken links. To do so, we only have to go to the Crawl/Crawl errors tab and eliminate or correct the addresses of the defective links that appear.
  • W3C Link Checker. This is a popular tool and is one of the most used (and top rated) tools by webmasters. The reason is that it greatly facilitates problem resolution and guarantees detection of all broken links on our site.
  • Screaming Frog: With Screaming we can analyze the page, filter and sort urls by server response type. After reviewing the 404 page, in the Inlink tab you can see the origin of the error.
  • Broken Link Check: In the post about SEO plugins we talked about this excellent tool. It is a WordPress extension that informs you immediately via email about broken links on sites created with the platform. It is a quick detection option.

If we want to prevent our page from being poorly positioned or projecting a bad image, we must pay attention to broken links. It is important to remember that these kinds of errors also detract from the credibility and trustworthiness of our site. And the last thing we want is for our users to be uncomfortable on our site. We must do everything possible to ensure a pleasant experience.

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