6th April 2013
Website traffic is important to any webmaster. After all, if you have a website you want people to come to it. Interesting content, a professional website design and quality information are important, but if you aren't checking and fixing broken links regularly, you might be missing out on valuable traffic.
Here are five reasons why you need to regularly check your website for broken links (and fix any problems ASAP).
1. Broken Links Frustrate Visitors- Imagine reading an article on an interesting website. The article provides some great tips and then tells provides a link for more information. You click on the link and an error message appears. This isn't a rare occurrence. GVU's 10th WWW User Survey found broken links to be the third largest problem with using the internet, right behind speed and slow ads. Broken links frustrate site visitors because they make it harder to find the information they want. Some visitors will stay on your page, but others will go somewhere else.
2. Broken Links Hurt Search Engine Rankings- Broken links are more than just a simple irritation. They can also penalize your site's placement with the search engines. Search engines like Google or Yahoo use a complex algorithm to determine a website's placement in online searches. High quality sites receive better placement than lower quality sites. Broken links can hurt the quality ranking of your site. Remember you need search engines to drive visitors to your site. Broken links can quickly reduce traffic.
3. Links Change Quickly- Many webmasters assume that their links all function properly. This is not always the case. In a study of scholarly publications by Diomidis Spinellis it was found that nearly 50% of links used were no longer accessible after 4 years from publication. If you want to ensure that all of your links are working properly, they need to be checked and fixed regularly.
4. Broken Links Appear Unprofessional- Site visitors are looking for high quality, professional information they can trust. Broken links take away from your site's image and make your site appear unprofessional or amateurish.
5. Broken Links Distract From Your Content- The internet allows you to provide your site visitors with information from a variety of different sources. For example a cooking website can link to recipes, ingredients and profiles of professional chefs while a car dealership website can link to parts stores, information on maintenance and more. These links will provide your visitors with additional helpful information and will enhance their experience. Broken links distract from your content because they force your information to stand alone. The internet experience is best enjoyed in a multidimensional format as users travel from page to page.
If you aren't checking for broken links on a regular basis, start today. Find problem links. Fix problem links and help your site visitors to have a positive experience at your site. Don't forget… fixing broken links helps you (and your search rankings) too.
Additional reading: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2011/05/more-guidance-on-building-high-quality.html