Are the links on your website working for you?

Internet Website Computer LaptopEvery website has links, but do you know if the ones on your pages are working correctly?  Not only do you have to make sure that they bring your visitor to the right place, you need to make sure that they are correct from a technical point-of-view too.  Search engines look at all kinds of things in order to rank your page in search results – making sure they like your links is an important aspect of optimizing your website.  Below are a few things to double-check in regards to your links:

BROKEN LINKS

Broken Links, also known as “Dead Links” or “Orphan Links” are hyperlinks on your website that point to a page that does not exist. Links may become broken for various reasons, such as a typo in the URL of the hyperlink, removal of the page that the link points to or sometimes due to a temporary situation caused by a down website. Depending upon the type of browser (e.g. IE or Chrome), clicking on the broken link will return a page that says “Web page not found” or “404 Not Found error was encountered”.

LONG LINKS

It is a good idea to keep the URL of your hyperlinks short and meaningful. A large number of overly long and complex links may cause search engines such as Google to not completely index all the content on your site.  This results in a poor search ranking for your web site. For example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation will help you decide whether to click that link. A URL like the following is much less appealing to users as well as search engines: http://www.example.com/index.php?id_sezione=360&sid=3a5ebc944f41daa6f849f730f

LINKS WITH TOO MANY PARAMETERS

It is a good design practice to have three or fewer query string parameters in each link. Most search engines will analyze and follow a link only if it contains three query string parameters or fewer. Though not always possible, you should still try to design simpler links. For example, http://www.example.com/store.php?category=technology&type=tablets&product=ipad2 can also be written as: http://www.example.com/technology/tablets/ipad2

TOO DEEP LINKS

Search engines don’t like complex directories.  Your website content should follow a directory structure that makes it easy for the visitors and search engines to follow. You should use your directory structure to indicate the type of content found at that URL. It is important to avoid creating directory structures such as: “…/dir1/dir2/dir3/dir4/dir5/dir6/page.html”.

LINKS WITHOUT HREF ATTRIBUTE

The <href> attribute specifies the URL of the page the link goes to. The link may be inserted by Java script, but the search engines don’t know that.  If the <href> attribute is not there, they will not know where the link is supposed to go. The following is a good example of HREF links:

<a href=”http://www.brandonsbaseballcards.com/articles/ten-rarest-baseballcards. html”>Top Ten Rarest Baseball Cards</a>

LINKS WITHOUT META KEYWORDS IN TEXT

The text of a link is what your visitors see on your page – it may not necessarily be the same as the actual URL.  For example, the link may say Home Page, but the URL may be www.example.com.  Search engines like to see atleast one of your page keywords in this text.  For example, if your page keywords are summer, camp & kids, then the text of your link should contain one of these, such as Summer Camp Activities.

LINKS WITHOUT META KEYWORDS IN TITLE

A title tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is. This is the text that the user will see when they place their mouse over the link.  Just like above where search engines look for the page keywords in the text of the link, they also look for them in the title.  It’s a good idea to make sure at least one of your page keywords is in the title of each link.

ConnectedView will help you identify if you have any issues with these criteria, plus many others.  It is all reported to you in an easy to read report that you can pass along to your website support folks.  Making these changes will help you have a website that is both beautiful and technically sound.  We’d love to show you how we can help – click here for more information on our Website Analysis Tool.

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