Broken Links Are Bad News For Webmasters.
A webmaster or website owner’s role or responsibilities do not end when the website he operates goes “live” and is now accessible by visitors online.
There are a whole new set of responsibilities and functions that a website owner has to assume in order to make sure that his website continuously works perfectly and is able to fulfill its intended functions.
Some of the responsibilities he has to assume include providing fresh content as much as possible, submitting the website to search engines and actively looking for reciprocal links in order to raise the ranking in search engines.
One of the most crucial responsibilities of a website owner is to check for broken links to his website.
Broken links can be considered as one of the worst things that can happen to a website.
A lot of not so good perceptions and negative effects arise from having a site that is riddled with broken links.
In fact, broken links are plaguing so many websites that it is being considered as a serious problem on the web.
Google ranks sites, in part, based on site ‘quality.’ They’ve acknowledged that 404 errors are part of that formula.
You will never be penalized for 404 errors, but you could certainly rank lower.
There’s a critical difference – a penalty is enforced because you violated Google’s TOS.
You haven’t done that.
But Google will definitely take two actions with that many 404s:
– Crawl your site less often, or at least crawl fewer good URLs, as Googlebot spends time churning through all the 404s.
– Lower your site’s significance from the perspective of user experience. A site with 99k 404 errors doesn’t fit their definition of a good experience.
So fixing those 404s is a must.
Webmaster Tools by Google provide you with detailed reports on the visibility of the pages in your online store in Google.
View how Google indexes your online store and receive detailed information on specific issues Google might encounter with including your store in search results.
Check, classify and download important data concerning internal and external links to your online store en discover which Google search queries lead to your online store and how visitors actually end up there.
You can also tell Google how you would like indexed URLs displayed.
Many reasons can be cited for the spread of broken hyperlinks, the general causes of broken links include:
Websites not being maintained with the appropriate degree of dedication.
The architecture of the website and how information is placed within the site constantly changes.
The large incidence of websites that are closing down.
Hyperlinks are a very important component of websites because it aids in the navigation around the webpages and points to directions outside of the site.
A website without links is like a ton of documents that are piled one on top of the other with no rhyme or reason and no intelligent way for you to get to the information that you need.
Link management is a very important and absolutely essential part of maintaining a website.
As previously mentioned, broken links bring with it very negative perceptions about the website and these can have very detrimental effects on the traffic generated by the website.
From a technical perspective, broken links can stop search engine robots dead in its tracks, effectively preventing it from completely mapping out a website for submission to search engines.
In addition, a website that is riddled with numerous broken hyperlinks gives visitors the idea that the site is unprofessional and that the website owner or owners have a dubious reputation – very costly image problems that are hard to change once it is established.
Moreover, visitors who encounter many difficulties in a website will most likely not go back for a return visit, this is almost tantamount to losing prospective clients.
They will be turned off because they won’t get the page that they are looking for, thinking that it is not really in the site when in reality the page is there only that an error in coding made the page inaccessible.
With internet users becoming more and more sophisticated as time goes by, it will take website owners more effort to entice these users to visit their websites and broken hyperlinks will not help this very difficult process in any way.
Website owners and webmasters should be very aware of the bad effects of having broken links in their websites.
They should diligently weed out and fix any broken links.
Fortunately, there are now a growing number of handy utilities that can help webmasters located broken links.
With these utilities, managing a website becomes relatively easier.
For example, xml-sitemaps.com has programmed a standalone script that will not only create sitemaps but also looks for broken links in a website and then informs webmasters or website owners what links they are and to which pages the links are associated with.
This automation of the task of checking broken links is a great time saver for webmasters and website owners.
Google’s spider is busy.
It has to crawl millions of web pages every day.
So, as a result, it’s easily distracted and lazy.
If it goes to a website with many errors and dead links, it will just give up and move on to the next website rather than try to find another way to crawl the site.
So, you might not get penalized per SE, it’s just that too many errors will make it take longer for any new items on your website to be found and indexed.
Hope this helps!