When you are searching for particular information and click one link from the various links given in the search results, the destination page suddenly pops up saying “Sorry, Page not Found”. Frustrating isn’t it? Your hopes for finding the information through this link are lost and you go back and try a next link from the search results.
Imagine if your website has a broken link and when a potential customer clicks on that and lands up with a “404 error message”. He is not likely to come back the second time even if the link has been restored by you in a day or two.
There are various error messages that appear for a broken link. Some of them are as given.
404 Page not found: The page does not exist in the server.
400 Bad Request: Host server does not understand URL of your page
Bad host: Server does not exist in that name, invalid host name
Bad URL: Missing of a letter or symbol in the URL
Bad Code: HTTP response code is invalid or the server response is not compliant with the HTTP specifications
Empty: The host server responds with “empty” content and response code
Timeout: HTTP requests get timed out while the server is checking links
Reset: The host server does not connect due to busy server links or mis-configuration of URL
Broken link is a URL given in a search result or inside a webpage, when clicked on which the required page does not appear. Some of the reasons for a broken link are given below.
The Website is no longer available for various reasons
The particular webpage was removed without any alternative redirect being assigned
The URL structure of the website was changed
The website owner might have misspelled the URL
Content like PDF or video has been removed and their links are broken
The website owner might have entered an improper URL
There is a block at the user end due to firewall protection or other software
When a person clicks on the URL on a search engine or from any website, the landing page shows “404 page error” or other similar message displaying that the webpage is not available.
Reaction of visitors to a broken link:
Broken links can be a problem for website visitors as it cuts them off from the information that they are looking for. The visitors tend to look for the same information in some other website and thus your business may lose its position in the search engine ranking. Further, too many broken links give an impression that the website is either neglected or abandoned for good.
Google Search and other ranking sites:
Google Search Quality Rating Guidelines take the number of broken links of a website into consideration to determine the quality of a website. One good thing is that when you check your website for broken links regularly and take the required corrective measures, Google takes the responsibility of notifying you of any new issue on your website.
Correction of a broken links involves checking for the errors, finding the type of error and further rectification depending on the type of the error. Time spent for correcting broken links depends on the quantity of content input every month.