Promise Media

Broken Link Building Produces Easy SEO Benefits

Stored in: Online Marketing and tagged: ,
Broken link building
© 2016 Promise Media

Broken link building is one of the easiest ways to improve a site’s profile in search engine indexes.

Advice on broken link building often overlooks one critical step in making it effective.

The advice often focuses on fixing external links that point to a site. That focus is only half the solution. The other half should focus on fixing internal links as well.

The term broken link building is a bit misleading.

It might be better called broken link rebuilding, because that’s exactly what it does. It rebuilds broken links that can renew positive ranking signals for search engines that were lost after the links went bad.

How to Identify Broken Links

A search on “broken link checkers” in search engines will produce a list of sites that provide the service for free. In most cases, the user of these products will enter the URL of the page, and the tool will provide the results for that page.

It’s a simple approach for simple sites. But sites with hundreds and thousands of pages (or more) will need to use tools that give a report on the entire site and not just one page.

Bing and Google offer such tools for free.

Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools both allow a user to set up tracking methods in an account that produces a wide variety of useful reports.

In Google, the broken link report is located under Crawl / Crawl Errors. In Bing, look under Reports & Data / Inbound Links or Reports & Data / Crawl Information.

The Google report is more accurate and has more information.

After clicking on Crawl Errors in Google, simply click on the link reporting the error. A popup box usually will display two tabs: the default “Details” tab and a “Linked From” tab.

The Linked From tab will show a list of pages containing the errors. They will be pages on the core site, pages on another site or a combination of both.

Fixing Links for External Sites

Most advice on broken link building focuses on external sites because a dofollow link from an external site sends a ranking signal to search engines.

Restoring an external link, especially from a major site, is money in the bank. Three methods fix broken external links:

  1. Send an email to the site owner requesting the fix. That approaches carries a couple of risks. One is that the owner will simply remove the link. The other is that the owner will ignore the email.
  2. Redirect the broken link in the .htaccess file in the site’s root directory (.htaccess is a configuration file on Apache servers). The redirect may look something like this: Redirect 301 /Martinique/Martinique-Vacation-Guide.html /caribbean/martinique/. In this real-life example, the first URL is the incorrect landing page for the link on the external site. The second URL is the correct path for the landing page.
  3. For sites with major content management systems such as WordPress, use a plugin to fix the problem. These plugins usually edit the .htaccess file, which can be intimidating to a non-technical user.

The second and third methods offer both the easiest way to fix the error and a sure thing in getting it fixed.

But using the .htaccess file has one downside. A site with a lot of broken links will end up with a big .htaccess file, which can slow server response times.

Fixing Links for Internal Pages

It’s always a good idea to check internal links on a regular basis for the sake of site visitors. Some SEO experts believe that fixing internal links also is a way to boost search engine optimization.

When 10 pages on a site all point to the same page, it stands to reason the search engines will believe the page is important.

If people visiting that page share it on social media, spend a longer time on it or interact with it in some way, the search engines will see that behavior as positive ranking signals.

But search engines will likewise see a page with broken links as negative ranking signals. They won’t send their users to such a page if they can help it because it will result in a poor user experience. It also reflects badly on the search engines for recommending the page in the first place.

Site publishers will find that it is in their best interest to pay attention to the broken link reports and fix any and all internal links that need fixing.

Besides, fixing internal links will provide the extra benefit of crafting an internal link building strategy that goes beyond just fixing problems.

The end result of fixing both external and internal links is a combination of positive ranking signals to the search engine and a better user experience with the site.

Leave a Reply

© 2007-2018 Promise Media LLC • Contact