Dead Links are the silent scourge of the Internet. We’ve all been to sites where we click on the link we want, but instead get a “404” message. This problem is more than just a nuisance though: here are three ways dead links could be killing your company’s website.
1) Dead Links Kill User Experience
A good website is defined by the user experience. Aesthetic choices and elegant architecture are important, but they mean little without useful content. Most people go to the web for information – knowledge they can implement in their own lives. If your website is filled with dead links – links that go to pages that don’t exist – it’s useless to the user, and having to click on as few as one or two bad links can drive users away. Bad links make your site look old, and worse, like you haven’t bothered to keep it up. And why should they bother with your site if you don’t?
2) Dead Links Kill SEO
You may be killing the links yourself! Whenever you switch content to a new URL, you accidentally create duplicate content. How? Google, the web’s most popular search engine, works by indexing websites, and all the content on the websites. They save everything. But they don’t always delete it. So when you create a new URL with old content, Google has both pages saved, and doesn’t know which one to promote. And if Google doesn’t know which of your pages to show on its results page, all your SEO work will go down the drain simply because you created a new URL.
3) Dead Links Kills Your Rank
A search engine’s job is to measure the credibility your site has on the Internet. The search engine is doing its job if the user finds exactly what she’s looking for. To do this, the search engine looks for relevant words and tags on your pages, but to differentiate which site it should link to in its results pages, it must determine which site is “better.” Many factors are used to determine this: how many other sites have linked to your site, how popular those sites that link you are, how quickly your page loads, etc. One of those factors is not having too many dead links – it’s so important that Google actually lists it as one if it’s 35 suggestions for webmasters.
Luckily, dead links are relatively easy to spot and fix, once you know the problem. Make sure your business’s web team is keeping up on it, or find one that better understands the intricacies of SEO. Don’t let dead links weigh down and sink your rankings.