By: Wesley Seay – Bayshore Solutions Developer
The wonderful thing about the Internet today compared to the late 90s is we have roughly half a billion active websites as of 2012. With so many sources for information, it makes it easy to do research and gather information to make some kind of conclusion about the thing you are researching. But with so many active websites now, we are starting to get into the issue of Link Rot. For example, a study in 2005 showed that many of the URLs cited in the D-Lib Magazine were no longer accessible 10 years after publication and other studies show that academic literature is even worse. I’m sure you don’t think about someone trying to access your content 10 years from now do you?
Now you may be wondering what exactly causes Link Rot? Link Rot is caused when an active website points to web pages, servers or other resources that have become permanently unavailable, either in the process of a redesign, domain change, or the website just shutting down. When a user tries to access a bad link, they will be provided a “404 Not Found Error,” this lets the user know that the content is no longer available and cannot be located. To prevent users from landing on a 404 error page, the experts at Bayshore Solutions do their best in setting up 301 redirects when they know a page is being moved so the user is redirected to the new page location without a hiccup.
Now you may be thinking to yourself, “What is the big deal if someone hits a bad link on my website?” Well, Google ranks websites based on the quality of the websites that link to you, and the websites you link to. And if you have a bad link on your website, or someone has a bad link to your website, Google will start to ding your rankings which will hurt your SEO.
It is important to be proactive in your redirects to prevent this from happening to you. To avoid these errors, work with your digital marketer to audit your website on a regular basis and ensure that links you have on the website are current and match the content you are wanting to link to. If you come across a rotted link, remove it or link it to the new page it belongs to. If you have a website for a product you sell, have a page about the product, and when you create a new product or an updated product comes out, create another new page for the new product, but make sure you leave your old page active. You would want keep to old product page active because if someone has a link to your product page somewhere and one of their users access the link, they will be brought to an active page and will maneuver around your site and possibly see your new product. This also applies if you update your product page to let them know there is a new product available and how to find it.
If you are trying to freshen up your website content by reorganizing your links into new sections that may make better sense, great! It is always a good idea to keep content fresh and updated. Bayshore Solutions’ digital marketers can get 301 redirects setup for pages you moved or removed from your website.
Remember, Link Rot stinks and can frustrate users trying to use your website 5 or 10 years later. Contact us today to eliminate Link Rot from your website today!