Do Not Let Broken Links Hurt Your Website's Usability
When you really think about it, the Internet is nothing more than a sea of links pointing in all different directions. When you look at it that way it only makes sense that broken links could cause problems. There are only two different types of links that are used on websites: internal links and external links. Internal links are links that point to other pages within the same website; and external links point to pages that are part of another website.
From a SEO point of view, broken links can really do a lot of damage to the overall value and quality of a website. This is because search engines inspect the usability of a particular website when they are determining a website’s ranking. If a website has a lot of broken links it can be hard to navigate and extremely frustrating to both search engines and people who visit the site.
It helps if you understand how a search engine crawler works. A search engine crawler is going to explore all of the pages of a website. Every time the crawler comes to a broken page that is like coming to a dead end. The crawler has to work backwards and find another way to go. If the crawler lands on enough of these dead ends, it is not going to see the website as a very usable one. Naturally, this is also going to make it difficult for the website to get properly indexed on the search engine as well.
Broken links and error pages are also a problem for your visitors. If a person is looking for specific information and clicks on a broken link, they might go back and try to find the information somewhere else on your website. However, most people are just going to move on to another site. This means that not only do broken links look bad to search engines, but they also look bad to the visitors who visit your website as well.
Fortunately, there are a lot of SEO tools floating around the Internet that can help you monitor your website for links that are not working properly. If your site is not very large, you can inspect your links yourself. However, if you have a large website it could take hours to navigate through the entire site. Owners of large websites tend to really appreciate these third party SEO webmaster tools.