Broken links are website links that tell visitors that a website no longer exists, revealing a 404 error.
Many things annoy users and affect their experience on your page. A broken link is one of such. Sadly, it not only annoys users but also hurts your SEO efforts.
Imagine you are on a journey, and there is a bridge to cross. Due to excessive rain, earthquake, or whatever, the bridge collapsed. One would have no option but to turn back. This is how a broken link affects website visitors. Even if visitors want to keep exploring a site, they cannot since there is no means.
This translates to the loss of visitors and could reduce revenue if the site is an eCommerce website. This article will shed light on various ways a site’s SEO will suffer from broken links.
Table of Contents
1. The User Experience takes a hit
This relates to how visitors interact with a website. For a website to have a good user experience, the webpage must provide value to keep users on their page. However, it does not take much for a website visitor to leave a webpage and go to the next available one.
Things like slow load time, incompatibility with mobile devices, difficulty navigating your website, poor aesthetics, and ultimately a broken link affect the user experience.
Interestingly, if your webpage loads on time, is responsive, easy to navigate, and is aesthetically pleasing, a broken link will frustrate them if they encounter one. With more than one broken link, there is a huge probability they will abandon your website for another.
If visitors do not spend much time on a website, the search engine will conclude that the site is not offering a good user experience. Eventually, the ranking will take a hit.
2. It reduces Conversion rate
A website populated with broken links that is difficult to use will negatively affect the conversion rate. A customer who wants to make a purchase from the website or learn about the services rendered will be frustrated. With this, one can lose potential customers.
For instance. Consider a visitor that wants to buy a suit on a website. The customer is confused about the size to order and follows a link that says, “How to deduce your Size.” Nevertheless, sadly, the customer gets a broken link.
Since the customer does not know the size and the website has proven unhelpful, they will likely close the page and shop elsewhere.
The goal of every website owner is to boost the conversion rate. This means providing a stress-free and seamless shopping experience for customers, which could be affected by broken links. You can, however, enlist the help of a broken link building service to repair such links
3. Your ranking Suffers
Even though Google is nice enough not to read the riot act for WebPages with broken links, there are other indirect ways the website will feel the impact. Which ultimately affects Seo.
The URL for your FAQ page might be broken, for instance, and there are other links pointing to the broken link. When Google Spiders wants to crawl your page, it will skip the broken link and move to another when it discovers that it is broken.
In time, this isolates the page, making it pretty challenging to appear in search engine results. The high bounce rate caused by broken links also hurts SEO and does not help the eCommerce conversion rate.
4. It Increases Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is a metric used to measure the percentage of people who land on a website and do nothing. They do not click any link on the website, be it a “read more” link or other internal links.
This is one of the effects of having a broken link on a website. The frustration of the helplessness users get on the website could make them exit without engaging the site. As a result, the Google analytics server gets no trigger whatsoever from any visitor to the website.
5. It Negatively Hurts Link Building Effort
Hopefully, you have worked diligently on getting quality backlinks from highly reputable sites. A broken link makes this a wasted effort as it makes one lose many of the referring traffic ones has tried so hard to build.
A broken link also limits the number of social media shares possible to get. A user who receives a “page does not exist” from clicking a link will not share, even if the page’s supposed content is worth sharing. Yet, link building and sharing is a vital part of SEO as it builds the credibility of the website.
There is less link pointing back to your website with fewer shares, affecting how such a site will rank with search engines.
It is glaring that the effect of broken links on SEO is terrible. Even if Google does not penalize you, some factors indirectly work together to hurt the SEO efforts. With this, taking the time to search and fix broken links will help