Avoiding Broken Links

Broken Links are links that point to a URL that doesn’t exist. There are a few common causes of broken links:

  • You changed a permalink (URL) of one of your webpages
  • You deleted one of your pages
  • An external webpage you linked to changed its permalink or removed a page
  • Someone commented on your site with a broken or changed URL

Try your best to keep your site clean, removing or correcting any broken links. This is primarily for usability reasons, but excessive broken links on your website can negatively affect SEO as well.

Action Step:

Visit brokenlinkcheck.com and input your URL. Run the report and consider removing or fixing any broken links discovered on your site.

Using 301 Redirects

A 301 Redirect is a complicated term for a simple subject. With a 301 direct, you’re simply redirecting users from an old page to a new page and telling Google that the old page has permanently moved. When someone tries to access the old URL, they are automatically taken to the new URL.

Almost all content management systems have a way to set 301 redirects. For Squarespace, you simply go into your settings, as mentioned in these instructions. In WordPress, using the Simple 301 Redirect WordPress Plugin is easy, as illustrated in the image below:

301-redirects

The first field is for your old URL, while the second field is for the new URL. Notice that you can input any URL in this second field, including URLs on other domains.

If you’re not using a content management system that allows you to control your 301 redirects, you’ll need access to your .htaccess file. Google provides more guidance for those of you in this situation here:

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/93633

When to Use 301 Redirects

The 301 Redirect is a powerful tool that photographers can use in a variety of situations, including the following:

Consolidating Pages – If you’ve created two pages, Page A and Page B, with very similar content, you will likely want to merge the two in order to avoid confusion. Rather than simply unpublishing or deleting Page A and consolidating the content on Page B, use a 301 redirect to redirect Page A to Page B. Then consolidate the information from Page A onto Page B.

This avoids causing broken links on your site in case you linked to Page A somewhere else on your site. It also avoids broken links for any external sites that may have linked to Page A. Lastly, Page A might have established some authority and page rank, and the 301 redirect would preserve that and pass it over to Page B. We will cover authority and page rank in our book on link building.

Simplifying URLs – Maybe the best SEO title you came up with was long and potentially confusing like the following:

Home

Instead of sharing this URL with the world, consider using a shorter URL like http://www.yourdomain.com/ann-michael and using a 301 redirect to point to the full URL. This might help people avoid confusion, especially in places without clickable URLs like Instagram and video or print content.

Deleting Pages or Moving Websites – Similar to “Consolidating Pages,” instead of simply deleting a page that you no longer want, set up a 301 Redirect to redirect that URL over to a new, similar URL. Instead of causing potential broken links and wasting the authority that URL may have established, you’re preserving it and driving traffic and authority over to a similar page on your site. Don’t feel like you have to find a close match between the old page and the new page. Redirecting to ANY page, including the home page, is better than simply deleting pages with any sort of authority.

Avoiding Orphan Pages

Orphan pages are pages that are not linked to by any other pages on the same website. In other words, they have no internal links pointing to them.

As we mentioned in the introduction, search engines discover webpages by crawling through links. If no internal links are pointing to a page, search engines have a tough time discovering the page. As a consequence, that page will have a difficult time ranking in search engines.

When This Happens

The most common cause of an Orphan Page is when you create a page and forget to link to it somewhere on your website. If it’s an important page, link to it up in the menu or in the content of the home page. If it’s not quite as important, link to it somewhere else like the footer or sidebar.

Action Steps:

  1. Make sure that all of your important pages have links pointing to them.
  2. Link often to your most important pages and find ways to mention your important pages within your other pages.
  3. “Unpublish” or delete unused pages to avoid any confusion.

Avoiding Dead End Pages

Dead End Pages are pages on your site that have no outbound links. Always allowing the Search Engine spiders to continue crawling your site is good practice. This should not be a problem as long as you have a menu and/or footer on every page and post. Any of those links will serve as a way out for search engines.

CHAPTER 1.01 – INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 2: 1.02 – SEO BASICS & KEYWORD STRATEGY

CHAPTER 3 1.03 – CREATING CONTENT

CHAPTER 4: 1.04 – SITE STRUCTURE

Chapter 5: 1.05 – ACCESSIBILITY, SPEED, AND DUPLICATE CONTENT

Chapter 6: 2.01 – LINK BASICS

Chapter 7: 2.02 – LINK VALUE FACTORS

Chapter 8: 2.03 – NOFOLLOW, RELATED LINKS, & ANCHOR TEXT

Chapter 9: 2.04 – LINK BUILDING STRATEGIES

Chapter 10: 3.01 – THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Chapter 11: 3.02 – MAXIMIZING SPECIFIC SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS

Chapter 12: 3.03 – MASTER LOCAL SEARCH

Chapter 13: 4.01 – Initial Decisions

Chapter 14: 4.02 – WORDPRESS AND SQUARESPACE

Chapter 15: 4.03 – GOOGLE ANALYTICS

Chapter 16: PAID DIRECTORIES

ACCESS TO INDUSTRY-LEADING EDUCATION

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