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What Your Competitors Don’t Want You to Know About Broken Links

April 30th, 2015

Fix a broken link

As digital professionals, we know that over 80% of the connected world will first turn to an on-line search when researching products, services, local events and more.

As brands continue to fight for share of voice in the digital world, each benefits from the edge that SEO provides. This is why building your credibility and establishing a firm position with major search engines is vital.

Google, with the release of their Hummingbird update in September 2013, made a definitive statement of who they want to be. They have evolved from providing “even” search results across companies and industries to providing users with “the best quality” and “most relevant content”.

It’s all about satisfying the user’s needs and the overall user experience. While there are many steps you can take to improve your SEO, some of the most major enhancements can be made simply by finding and fixing your link rot problem.

There are 3 major ways broken links affect SEO and your brand image.

Search Engines Penalize you for Broken Links

It is well known by many SEO experts that all of the major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. factor broken links into their algorithm when determining where you will rank in an organic search.

While this penalty may not carry a large weighting factor in the algorithm, as the number of broken links compounds, it directly affects your SEO efforts. If your competitor has no broken links, it becomes logical to assume that their site will rank higher than yours. If you are serious about SEO and you have an SEO program in place, you must manage your link quality.

Traffic Decreases, So Does your Rank

The diminished user experience that comes with consistently encountering broken links leads to lesser website traffic and lower search rankings. If customers come across a broken link, it is highly likely that they’ll click away from the site or discontinue browsing.

The less time spent on your site does not go unnoticed by search engine algorithms, they assume this to be a factor indicating that your site does not provide relevant information or quality content. As a result, your website receives a lower ranking.

Poor Customer Experience = Loss of Revenue and Opportunity

While we may not see face-to-face conversations increasing in our connected world, social media has amplified the impact that word-of-mouth has on brands.

The bottom line becomes, if users are attempting to navigate a website and they experience broken links, they’ll likely click away. Often, all it takes is one broken link and they will move on to a website that works – likely one of your competitors’.

If you’re spending time and money distributing content across the web, you need to make sure customers can get where you want them to go. Otherwise, the sharing stops, the conversation stops and ultimately, the revenue stops.

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