“Take these broken links and learn to fly again,” Richard Page of the ‘80s rock band Mr Mister didn’t quite sing in the hit ballad “Broken Wings”. Despite this, it can be wise for you to monitor your website’s internal links — as, if any of them are broken, this could too easily go unnoticed for a while.
Fortunately, if such a rupture has occurred in any of those links, “we can take what was wrong and make it right,” as Page actually did sing (yes, we assume he wasn’t exactly referring to SEO)…
What would count as a ‘broken internal link’, anyway?
Some links on your website might point to other websites. However, your website could also have links to other pages of it — especially if it consists of more than just, say, four or five webpages.
The latter link category is that of internal links. Now, imagine how frustrating it could be for visitors if they click any of those links and then see an error message or 404 page. This is what happens with a broken internal link.
How do internal links break?
The larger a website grows and the more often you rearrange pages of it, the likelier you are to inadvertently break at least one of its internal links. Here are some risks you may run:
- Deleting or removing a webpage while forgetting that other pages were linking to it
- Mistyping the URL of an internal page when attempting to link to it
- Restructuring the sitemap without changing internal links as necessary to reflect this
If you have taken a link-it-and-then-forget-it approach to stitching together a website, broken links can be long left languishing there.
Why do you ‘need’ to fix broken links?
“Take these broken wings and learn to fly again, learn to live SEO-free,” is something else you won’t hear when streaming Mr Mister music on Spotify.
You certainly don’t want to neglect your website’s SEO side — but you could accidentally do so if you are tardy with mending broken links.
Google will look at your website’s internal links (or at least what are supposed to be functioning internal links) when crawling it. If any of those links don’t work, the webpages they should link to might get short shrift when it comes to indexing — possibly hurting your search visibility as a result.
Broken links also bode ill for the user experience. Someone who keeps running up against an inexplicable wall when trying to navigate your website could increasingly see it as neglected — and wonder where else your business is falling short.
How should you look for broken links and repair any you find?
Google Search Console and Google Analytics are just two tools you could use to uncover broken links. As for how you ought to fix them, well, this will largely depend on why they are broken.
For further guidance from the Webahead Internet team, just phone or email us — or wait for our blog post focusing specifically on how to find and repair broken links.