The Silent Killer of Websites: Link Rot

Jan 1


Jim Daniels

Jim Daniels

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The silent killer of websites, link rot, may be lurking in your site without your knowledge. Have you ever conducted a comprehensive link check on your website? Not just a quick scan, but a thorough examination of all the links? The results might surprise you, as they did for me. As the owner of a substantial website that has been active for about four years, I was shocked to discover the extent of dead links on my site. Despite receiving a few complaints about non-working links each month, I believed my site was well-maintained. However, a comprehensive link check revealed a significant case of link rot.

The Impact of Link Rot

Link rot can have serious implications for your website. Not only does it create a negative impression,The Silent Killer of Websites: Link Rot Articles but it can also lead to other issues. For instance, non-functional links can drive visitors away from your site. Moreover, search engines tend to favor websites without link issues, rewarding them with higher rankings.

The Prevalence of Link Rot

Your website is likely not immune to this issue. Research indicates that on average, one out of every 15 links on the web is non-functional. If your website has a similar ratio, it could be in trouble. Even if only one out of every 20 links on your site is dead, there's a high probability that every visitor to your site will encounter a dead link. This is a risk you cannot afford to take.

The Solution to Link Rot

The key to combating link rot is to regularly and systematically check for it, particularly if your site contains links to other websites. There are several programs available that can help you identify and fix dead links.

Web-Based Link Checking:

These services typically offer a limited free trial. If your site is small, these could be a good fit. Here are a few options:

Link Checking Software:

For larger sites, software solutions that allow you to perform link checks through your own computer may be more suitable. I found InfoLink Link Checker to be particularly useful. Other options include:

Creating a Safety Net for Internal Links

Another useful tip is to create a customized error page for your site. Despite your best efforts, visitors may still encounter the dreaded 404 error page due to incorrect URL entry. A customized error page can help keep visitors on your site by directing them back to your homepage. For inspiration, check out Cool 404, which showcases a variety of creative 404 error pages.

In conclusion, dead links are a serious issue that can significantly impact your website's user experience and search engine ranking. It's crucial to take website maintenance seriously if you want your site to be taken seriously by visitors and search engines alike.