When it comes to SEO, there’s a variety of dependencies that attribute to overall success in the search marketplace. From content to social media, user experience, storytelling and anything else in between. One of the most important elements of SEO includes retention of existing link juice to ensure visitors are seemingly flowing thru your website. Lost traffic yields potential money left on the table and no business owner in their right mind will allow untapped business opportunities to slip thru.

Google Webmaster Tools provides website owners with ability to constantly monitor the performance of their website. It’s an excellent tool even for the non SEO website owner to simply keep tabs on overall activity with your site. One particular area of strong focus though is the crawl errors section within Google Webmaster Tools. Under this particular section website owners are able to keep tabs on any broken links. Visitors search Google for specific products or services that your brand offers, there’s a likelihood of engagement with one or more pages from your website within the SERPs. At times they will click on a page that may become an “orphan” or non-existent. These are the types of pages that require proper redirection for intact user retention.

Fixing Broken Links Using Google Webmaster Tools

Let’s hypothetically assume that you have properly setup Google Webmaster Tools. If you need help doing so, feel free to visit the help section. Immediately on the left-hand side you’ll notice the sidebar with different segments to drill into further. Click to expand the Crawl drop-down menu and open up the additional options.

Google Webmaster Tools Crawl

On the drop-down menu select the Crawl Errors menu option. This will take you into the screen where you’ll notice variety of broken links. Recently, Google has also added a Smartphone section that points out irregular activity by visitors utilizing mobile devices to access a particular site. Such feature can be extremely handy when seeking to pinpoint erroneous activity from your mobile audience.

Now that we’re inside of Google Webmaster Tools, it’s time to roll up the sleeves and do some work.

Google Webmaster Tools - Fixing Crawl Errors

Fixing broken links is actually a bit of a manual effort and there really isn’t any way around it (at least to my knowledge). In assistance with setting up redirects particularly with WordPress, the Redirection plugin can be quite useful in implementing the necessary 301 redirects. So, let’s get started with fixing some broken links!

First, check for any broken links that may appear under the Desktop tab. Click on the actual link itself and notice a popup box that will appear. At this point, you can click on the actual link to visit the broken page in reference or Mark Fixed if it’s simply an error.

Second, if the broken url in reference is indeed dysfunctional you’ll need to implement the necessary redirect to retain the user experience. This is where the WordPress Redirection Plugin comes in quite handy. Don’t forget to mark the url as fixed!

So, what have we learned? Ignoring broken links attributes to lost traffic potential. Redirecting broken links to active ones retains not only SEO link juice but overall consistent user experience. Keep in mind when implementing those 301 redirects that you consider relevance as a factor.

What are  your challenges with broken links?