What Are Dead Links in Plumbing SEO?

Aug 14, 2023 | Blogs

You put a lot of work into creating the best content in the plumbing industry, so naturally, you want people to be able to access it and then hire you. When a prospect clicks on a link and they can’t get to it or receive an error, it’s because they’ve encountered a dead link (also referred to as a broken link).

Broken links could cause you to miss out on getting a client, and they can even be detrimental to your SEO.

At Polianna, we provide white-glove SEO services for plumbing companies to help them climb the ranks of the search engines. This article highlights the importance of identifying and fixing broken links so that you can enjoy a steady stream of traffic and new customers.  

How Broken Links Affect Your Website

There’s a lot of buzz that if you have dead links on your website, your Google rankings will plummet. This is *sort of* true. Google won’t necessarily penalize a website for having broken links, but your rankings could drop because of the effect that broken links have on the usability of your website.

Consider these ranking factors that Google uses when determining whether you deserve to be at the top of search results:

  • User experience. If someone trying to visit your website lands on an error page or can’t get to your site because a link is broken, they’re going to leave disappointed. Google monitors the quality of your visitors’ user experience. If it’s not a good one, your rankings could suffer.
  • Bounce rate. Again, if a user doesn’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave your site without a second glance. When someone lands on a single page and doesn’t take any action (other than exiting), it’s considered a bounce. A high bounce rate tells Google that your site doesn’t have relevant information.
  • Trust factors. Broken links signal to Google that your site isn’t well-maintained, and therefore, not trustworthy. Google will rank you accordingly.

Types of Error Codes Indicating Broken Links

If you encounter any of these errors when you’re browsing your website (or spying on competitors), you’ll know that the link you clicked on is broken.

  1. 404 Page Not Found: This error means the server cannot find the page. Often, it’s because the linking page was deleted.
  2. 404 Bad Request: This error indicates that the server can’t understand the URL.
  3. Bad URL: URLs have specific protocols that have to be adhered to. An extra dash, missing bracket, or other structural issue could cause a Bad URL error.

There are other types of errors indicating broken links, and these are the ones you’re likely to encounter most frequently.

Common Causes of Broken Links

As you work on SEO strategies, it’s important to be aware of what causes dead links and take proactive measures to avoid them from happening in the first place. Specifically, these three human errors can lead to a broken link:

  1. Typos: If you add an extra character that’s not recognized, make a mistake transcribing something, or have a typographical error in your HTML code, this can result in a broken link.
  2. Deleting a page: If you delete a page without redirecting it somewhere new, the page will display an error message when someone clicks on the link.
  3. Renaming a page: Every once in a while, you might decide to rename a page or change your entire URL naming convention. Again, be sure to set up redirects to avoid people encountering errors.

Of course, there are other ways that broken links can happen, but these are the big ones to be on the lookout for.

How Do You Know If You Have Dead Links on Your Plumbing Website?

If you’re not keeping an eye on the integrity of your website’s links, you probably won’t know that you have broken links unless you happen to stumble upon one by accident. It’s not like people will call you up and say, “Hey, I tried going to this blog post about how to change my air conditioner filter, and I got a 404 error.”

Therefore, you must be vigilant about checking for broken links and maintaining best practices for avoiding them.

As part of our local SEO checklist, we recommend adding checking for dead links as part of a winning strategy. The best part? You can use free tools to accomplish this task! We recommend the following methods:

  • Google Search Console: Google Search Console will crawl your website and create a list of pages with broken links.
  • Broken Link Checker: This SEO tool will give you a list of both inbound and outbound broken links. All you have to do is enter your URL.
  • Quality Assurance: Another option is to manually review your website periodically to ensure all the links point to where you want them.

Fixing Broken Links

After you check for crawl errors on Google Search Console and find broken links, you can manually fix any issues Google has detected.

To avoid these issues from happening in the future, we recommend using a simple naming convention for links on your page. Also, regularly check your content (especially your blogs) and prune or update content when necessary.

Pro Tip: If you ever take down a page or change the link’s URL, be sure to set up a 301 redirect in your CMS so that if someone clicks on a link for the page that doesn’t exist, they’ll be automatically taken to the updated page.

However, if links are broken because an external site has a typo or error, you’ll have to reach out to the administrator of the website and ask them to update the page with your correct link. (backlinks)

Get a Competitive Edge with SEO Services from Polianna

A winning SEO strategy requires expertise and execution at a high level. In short, it’s a full-time job, and you’ve got more important things to do – like running your business!

Polianna is a premier digital marketing agency serving plumbing and HVAC companies, and we shine when it comes to SEO. You’re invited to book a free strategy call – contact us online to get started.

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