The danger of broken links and redirects

23 November 2017 | | Search Engine Optimisation

Broken links and redirects can be harmful to your website’s SEO.

As you may know the number of quality links pointing back to your dental website affects your website’s rankings and traffic, and that obtaining these links in the first place is tough. Therefore, it stands to reason that you would want to do anything to make sure that the influence these links have on your website’s performance stays in place.

Normally we notice the issue of broken links when changing some or all of a website’s URLs either through having a redesign or updating an individual page’s URL to make it more SEO and user friendly. However, we have procedures in place to prevent the issue of broken redirects and links, but sometimes we have noticed that clients who have come to us from redesigning elsewhere will have this issue on their website.

How do you find out if this is an issue plaguing your dental website?

1. Loss of rankings

The links placed on other websites would be pointing to a specific URL on your website. These links would be providing your webpage, and other pages, with authority. Changing the URL for the webpage means that the link from the other website no longer works and will be directing the user to a 404 error page. As the link is now showing an error, the webpage with the updated URL no longer has authority pointing back to it and as a result your webpage would experience a loss in rankings.

2. Decrease in traffic and page views

There is a clear correlation between search engine rankings and website traffic; the higher in the search results a website is the more traffic it receives.

As mentioned above, the loss of authority from the broken links will result in a loss of rankings and therefore traffic. In addition, if there are internal links on your website that are also broken this will affect the user experience and therefore decrease the number of page views.

3. Website Audit

Running a website audit will unearth the on site issues your website has and should highlight which webpages have broken internal links.

But, what about discovering broken links to your website?

4. Google Search Console

Once known as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console (GSC) helps us SEOs find issues with your website.

One of the features in GSC is their crawl errors tab, this is where they display the pages of your website that presented errors. Looking through the list of errors you will discover the URLs that are not being redirected.

How do you fix the issue?

Prevention is better than cure.

When redesigning your website be sure to crawl your existing website and compile a list of the existing URLs in a spread sheet, that way when you are ready to launch your new website you can redirect any old URLs to their new location.

Alternatively, try and keep the existing URL structure. However, this can be difficult as the process of redesigning your website involves improving the user experience as much as possible and this often means changing the website structure and URLs.

If your website is already live and has issues with loss of rankings, traffic, broken links and redirects, you will need to run an audit and view the Google Search Console for the website to compose a list of broken URLs and then create a redirect document to fix the issues.

We at Dental Design have over 17 years experience in marketing dental practices online and with our SEO and maintenance packages can help fix and improve your website’s SEO and online visibility. If you are interested in knowing more about our packages, please click here or give us a call on 01202 677277.

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