Broken links: understanding and solving this common SEO problem

Broken links: their possible impact on SEO

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In terms of web strategySEO is a crucial aspect of improving the visibility of your website.

Among the many factors to be taken into account, broken links are an element that can considerably harm your search engine optimisation (SEO) if they are not corrected quickly.

In this article, we'll look at the definition of broken links, their impact on your site and a few methods for detecting and remedying them.

Broken links

What is a broken link?

broken linkA broken link, also known as a dead link, is a hypertext link that points to a non-existent resource, making it impossible for Internet users and search engines to access it. This generally occurs when the target of a link has been removed, renamed or moved without updating the corresponding link.

Broken links can be of two types:

  • Internal links : they link different pages of your own website between them. A broken internal link can result, for example, from the deletion of a page or a change in the structure of your site.
  • External links : they direct visitors to other websites. A broken external link can be caused by a change in the target URL, by the closure of a site or by input errors when the link was created.

What impact do broken links have on your site?

Broken links are a concern both for visitors and for your site's SEO. Here are some of the problems they can cause:

Poor user experience

When an Internet user clicks on a broken link, they are generally redirected to a 404 error page indicating that the requested resource cannot be found. This can lead to a loss of confidence in your site, or even encourage users to leave your site and look for the information elsewhere.

Diluting the "SEO juice

SEO juice", also known as link juice SEO juice" refers to the referencing value transmitted from one page to another via hypertext links. The more a link pointing to your site comes from a popular and relevant source, the greater the SEO juice received. On the other hand, if this link is broken, the transmission of this SEO value is interrupted.

Compromised indexing

Search engines are constantly discovering and indexing web pages thanks to their exploration robotswhich follow the links on each page. A broken link prevents these robots from accessing the targeted resources and therefore hinders their indexing as well as the internal networking of your site.

How do you identify and resolve broken links?

To prevent these problems, it is essential to regularly detect and correct broken links on your site. Here are a few ways of doing this:

Link audit with online tools

There are a number of free and paid tools that can analyse your entire site for broken links, such as Google Search Console, Screaming Frog or Broken Link Checker. They will provide you with a detailed report including the broken links found and the pages where they are located.

Use of server logs

Your web server keeps a history of all requests made by visitors and crawlers. By examining these server logs, you can spot 404 errors generated by broken links and take the appropriate steps to correct them.

Updating and redirecting broken links

Based on the information gathered during the link audit, it is possible to directly modify the URL in the source code of your pages, or to implement permanent redirections (HTTP code 301) to the corresponding new addresses. This approach will not only prevent Internet users from coming across blank pages, but will also ensure that the search engines continue to index your content correctly.

In conclusion

Broken links can be a real hindrance to the success of your website in terms of search engine optimisation (SEO) and sales.user experience.

By taking a proactive approach to identifying and resolving them, you will optimise navigation on your site and improve its visibility with search engines.

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