Many business owners love WordPress because it puts them in total control of their website and allows them to make changes at any time without needing to hire a professional. But what they don’t realize is that some of the changes they are making are actually hurting the reputation and damaging the integrity of their website, and in turn, their brand.
The changes causing the biggest problems all have to do with deleting or renaming web pages and blog posts. When a website owner deletes a page or post, or changes the URL of a page or post that has already been indexed by search engines, linked to in social media, or bookmarked by users, a broken link is left in its place — and broken links make the website owner look bad in more ways that one!
Why Broken Links Are Bad For Business
- Broken links, like bad links, can cause you to lose clients and customers
- Broken links cause frustration and irritation — if clients and customers are trying to access information they bookmarked, a digital product they purchased, or an article that someone linked to on Twitter, and the links don’t work, their trust in you and your brand will diminish
- Broken links will hurt your conversion rates — after all, if a purchase link doesn’t work, the purchase won’t be made
- If links to a sales page for a new product, program, or service you’re using in your marketing don’t work, not many people will be able to sign up
Broken Links Damage Your Reputation
This is especially true for online businesses. If you regularly publish blog posts with bad or broken links, social media posts with broken links, or your email newsletter with broken links, your audience will soon start viewing your content in a more negative light.
Consumers will only forgive bad or broken links so many times before they stop clicking your links altogether. Remember that when someone shares your content or links to your site, they are putting their reputation on the line for you. If you then change the URLs or delete the pages or posts they shared without redirecting the link, you risk hurting their reputation because the link they just shared to your site is now broken.
Your supporters will soon stop sharing your content if your links turn bad too often, and it will become much more difficult to earn the highly coveted, quality inbound links.
Broken Links Negatively Affect Search Engine Rankings
You may not think a broken link is a big deal, but people bookmark, favorite, and save links — and when they reference them in the future and the link now doesn’t work, you’re not exactly creating a positive experience for them.
The same is true for search engines. Search engines aim to provide users with the best, most relevant, most useful, on-topic content possible. Providing links in search results to broken pages that don’t exist makes search engines mad and creates a negative experience for the end user. Too many broken links on your website or from your website can damage your reputation with the search engines, making your site less desirable — and that can eventually hurt your search engine rankings and decrease the chances your site will show up in the search results.
Identify And Fix Broken Links
Before you start creating an organic SEO strategy or implementing an SEO campaign, you should first focus on cleaning up your website and fixing any existing errors:
- Check your site in Google Webmaster Tools and fix any of the errors and broken links that have been identified — Most of these links will be internal links
- Redirect (forward) the old page or post URL to a new page or post URL so the destination isn’t a “404 Page Not Found” error. Try to redirect the URL to a page or post on the same or similar topic if possible. The WordPress SEO plugin has the ability to create redirects built in, or you can use the plugin Simple 301 Redirects
- Request the old URLs to be removed from search engine listings
By taking the time to fix any broken outbound links or internal links on your website, you’re helping users have a positive experience on your site, positioning your site positively for search engines, and making your site more likely to be shared by others.
What about you?
Have you skipped making a purchased because of a broken link? Have you accidentally published a broken link? What do you think about broken links shared on social media? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.
- The Real Story About Inbound, Outbound, and Internal Website Links
- 10 Ideas To Build Quality Inbound Links and Increase Website Traffic
- 6 Ways You Can Use Internal Website Links for SEO
- Learning The Difference Between a Good Link and Bad Link
- The Secret to Building More Inbound Links
- Understanding Reciprocal Links and How to Use Them
- What Are NoFollow Links and DoFollow Links? Do I Need Them?