Imagine you were reading a book and found that one of the pages was missing. Would you be as likely to recommend it to a friend as another book on the same subject that wasn't missing any pages? What if it was missing two pages, ten pages or more? The answer is that the more pages that are missing the more likely you would be less likely to recommend it to a friend.
Google thinks about websites the way you do about books. A website has to be full of good information before Google will recommend it. But let's say that Google has been recommending your website for six months. Your website is Google's number one recommendation for ____________. But after two months Google's spider (software program) is checking your website and finds that there is a link from your website to someone else's website that no longer works (This comes up as "Page Not Found" if people click the link). Doesn't it make sense that Google would be a little less likely to recommend your website as highly or to as many people? And what if after three months there are several broken links. At the end of the year there are more than a dozen. Doesn't it make sense that over time as these links break that Google would be lowering their recommendation (ranking) for your website?
What causes broken links?
Let's say that you have a link on your website to a story in the local newspaper about your company. You want it there because it's an endorsement for your company. But is it reasonable to expect the newspaper to keep the story about your company on their website forever? Probably not. So at some point in the future the Newspaper may still be there but the page where your story was shown is gone. And so if you linked to the story the link no longer works and now people see "Page Not Found". Let's say that you linked to another website as a great source of information. However, the company that owned that website went out of business. Their website is gone. Now that link is broken to. IN addition to this you linked to a specific page of another website, but they fired the company who built their website, hired a new website company, and the new company changed all the page address. As quick as that your website has three broken links. And your rankings may start to fall.
What happens if there are too many broken links on my website?
Let's say that your website is really nice, full of good information and also links to lots of other websites that are full of good information (Helps your rankings). You get used to a certain level of sales and income generated by your website. You hire more staff. Take out bigger loans. Get a bigger office. Etc... But over time the links on your website are starting to break. Each link that breaks is a downward pull on your rankings. If too many links break your website not only disappears from the number one position in Google for your products and services, but actually disappears from the first page of Google's listings. Now visitors to your website decrease. Sales decrease. Your income decreases. You can't make the loan payments. You can't pay all those new employees. In fact, if the majority of your business comes from your website you could end up going out of business simply because of broken links on your website. So broken links are a disaster waiting to happen.
What other website companies do for their clients
It's amazing but very few companies (less than 10%) who build websites actually go back and check their client's websites for broken links. Some don't even check when the website is first built. The result is that even if the website ranks in the search engines in the beginning the website falls farther and farther in the rankings over time.
What we do for our clients
Approximately once every two weeks we run tests on our clients websites to check for broken links. If we find broken links we either find a new url to link to for the client or remove the link completely. The result is that once every two weeks our clients go back to having "zero" broken links on their websites. A further result is that our clients do not fall in the rankings as the result of broken links. And therefore they tend to make higher profits from their websites.
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