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Broken Links – What You Need to Know?

 

As a business, unless you provide an excellent user experience to your customers, they are unlikely to stick around with you for long. With customers becoming smart, intelligent, impatient, and demanding, you should not expect to do well in the world of business if your customers are not happy with you. Whether you sell through a website or a physical store, your customers can stop doing business with you if you don’t keep them satisfied.

And for those visiting a website, nothing can be more annoying than the broken links.

Yes, a broken link offers a very poor user experience. It not only offers a poor user experience, but it is also not good for your SEO efforts.

So, what are broken links?

What are broken links?

People visit your site with some expectations. If you are unable to deliver on their expectations, it leaves a bad taste in their mouth. That is exactly what a broken link does to your existing and future customers.

When somebody follows a link to or from your site, they expect to see the content they have been looking for on that page. But when they are unable to see the content they want, it creates a bad user experience. It also hampers your SEO efforts, which means your website can take a hit on Google rankings.

It is important to understand that you need to be on the right side of Google to make a mark in the digital world. All your page optimisations can go for a toss if you don’t provide an excellent user experience to your visitors.

So, what are broken links?

A broken link is a hyperlink on your website that is linked to an empty or non-existent webpage. The link simply doesn’t work.

Broadly, there are three types of broken links – internal, outbound, and inbound links.

Internal links are links on your website that direct your visitors to other pages within your website. Outbound links are links to other websites that you link out to from your site. Inbound links are links from another site to your website.

Broken outbound links should make you worry. It is a tricky proposition to eliminate all broken links that point to external pages. Why? The reason for this is simple – you don’t have control over external content. It is difficult for you to know whether the site you have linked to has been removed or relocated.

As mentioned earlier, outbound broken links not only create a bad user experience, but it also hampers your SEO efforts. Google bots or Google’s web crawlers hop on every link to collect data about all the pages. Hence, it is important to audit all your outbound links periodically so that your visitors and Google don’t face inconvenience in the form of broken links.

How to fix outbound broken links?

After finding outbound broken links, you need to evaluate and fix the problem. And, this is how you can evaluate and fix the problem:

If you feel that you can do without the link in that context, you should remove the link.

If you think you should have the link at any cost, then look at the anchor text to find contextual clues to know what used to exist there.

If the anchor text doesn’t provide you any clue, then check the archive to find out what use to exist on that page.

You can do a site search to check if the content has moved.

Find the updated version and replace the broken link, or put in a new link to avoid inconvenience to your readers and Google.

Inbound broken links and 404 pages

A 404 error happens when you remove or redirect the content from your page without properly redirecting your visitors to the correct page.

There are tools available that can find 404 error pages on your site. To avoid and fix 404 error pages, you can do the following:

Instead of removing the content, keep updating them.

You can use 301 redirects to re-direct your visitors to the correct location.

If an external site is using an incorrect URL to link to your site, then you can get in touch with the webmaster and request for an updated link.

404 errors might not directly harm your SEO efforts, but it certainly results in poor user experience. And, poor user experience does affect the overall performance of your website.

SEO and user experience

As mentioned earlier, broken links harm you on two fronts – SEO and user experience. And, both are of extreme importance if you want to do well on the internet, especially on Google.

Here is how it affects both of them:

SEO

There is still a lot of debate on how broken links impact your SEO. According to Google, having one or two broken links on your website would not harm your ranking directly, but it certainly impacts you in other ways.

When search engine crawlers come across broken links, they stop crawling

When crawlers come across broken links, they stop crawling that page and move on to the next page. And, when your page can’t be crawled, it cannot be indexed, which, in turn, means it cannot be ranked.

Broken links can lower your website traffic

When your users come across a broken link, chances are they will not continue browsing your site. Due to poor user experience, they will leave your site and move to another site. And, this sends a wrong signal to search engines. When people spend less time on your site, it sends a wrong signal to the search engine algorithms. They presume that your site is not offering quality content or information to your visitors, which can lower your rankings.

User experience

Running into a broken link is a frustrating experience. And, believe it or not, but frustrating and bad experiences tend to stick around in our minds. People who have an unpleasant experience on a website don’t generally visit that site again.

Users prefer sites that work

This is a no brainer. No one wants to visit a site that offers frustrating or poor user experience. If your users are unable to complete their tasks due to the broken links on your site, then they are likely to leave you and move to your competitors. It takes a long time to build trust, but one bad experience can ruin your image forever.

All this means is you can lose money and earn a bad name for yourself in the market, which is not what you want in the digital world.

How Google Search Console helps?

So, how do you detect your broken links?

You need a tool to detect all your broken links.

That is where Google Search Console comes into the picture.

How can Google Search Console help?

Google Search Console allows you to track, maintain, and troubleshoot your website on Google search results. All you need to do is verify your website with Google Search Console and start benefitting from it. Google Search Console can detect all your broken links. You can get a Crawl Error report from Google Search Console, which lets you know the pages that have thrown up a 404 error.

If you have a big site, then it is not possible to manually check all the broken links. To detect all the broken links, you need to use Google Search Console. The tool can help you locate all the broken links in bulk.

If your website is small, you can manually check for outbound broken links with Check My Links Chrome extension. You can review each page manually and check for broken links. With this tool, you can find all the internal and external broken links. You can make a note of all the broken links in a spreadsheet so that you can fix the problem.

However, in case you still find it difficult to locate and fix the broken links, you can get in touch with vStacks Infotech now. We will make sure that we audit your site and do all the necessary work so that you can offer an excellent user experience to all your existing and future customers.

Online Advertising – Is It Effective or a Waste of Time?

 

A few years back, traditional marketing is what companies use to think about to reach their target audience. But that is not the case anymore. Nowadays, if you don’t include the internet in your scheme of things, your marketing efforts can go for a toss.

Yes, you can be left behind if you don’t embrace online marketing with open arms. Regardless of the size of your business, you cannot afford to ignore the internet any longer. Online marketing can help small and big businesses in equal measure.

So, why do businesses, especially small ones, need to embrace social media?

Small businesses need to be careful about the type of marketing strategies they plan for themselves. With limited marketing budgets, small businesses need to spend their money wisely to get the best return on their investments.

And, social media is one of the most cost-effective and useful marketing strategies that small businesses can leverage to get great results for their investments. It not only helps you reach your target audience, but it can also increase your sales over time. It is not, therefore, surprising that most of the marketers these days use social media to reach their audiences.

Let us take you through some of the reasons why you should prioritise marketing through social media:

Why would you advertise online at all?

  1. These days you can find your customers on social media. Your customers spend a lot of time on social platforms; hence, you cannot ignore social media anymore.
  2. Another reason is your customers and prospects are more receptive to your messages if you reach out to them through social media.
  3. Advertising on social media improves your visibility. Since it improves your visibility, it can help increase brand recognition.
  4. Advertising on social media increases your inbound traffic. It (social media) complements your search engine optimisation efforts as well.
  5. It, different social media channels, helps you reach your target audience more effectively
  6. Advertising on social media lets you target and retarget your ideal customers.
  7. Advertising on social media is cost-effective.
  8. It (social media marketing) can help improve your search engine rankings.
  9. You should never ignore your competition. When most of your competitors are on social media, how can you ignore it?
  10. Advertising on social media can improve your conversion rates.
  11. Marketing through social media can help improve brand loyalty.
  12. Social media recommendations are taken seriously by your customers and prospects.
  13. Marketing through social media can bring in new customers.
  14. Advertising on social media can improve brand authority.
  15. It (social media marketing) helps you gain new customer insights.
  16. When it comes to online advertising, small businesses need to understand where they should advertise.

Facebook ads? Google ads? What’s the difference?

With so many social channels available for marketing, businesses need to know where they should advertise to get the best results on their investments.

Two of the most popular pay-per-click advertising platforms of social media are Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

While Facebook Ads are displayed in social feeds, Google Ads appear as top results in Google searches. Google Ads target specific keywords, whereas Facebook Ads are targeted using demographic and behavioural information.

But you need to understand that if your ad campaign is of poor quality, then you should not expect to get good results from any of them.

So, what is the difference between Facebook Ads or Google Ads?

The average cost-per-click for Google Ads is $2.69, and the average CPC for Facebook Ads is $1.72/,

The average click-through rate for Google Ads is 3.17%, and CTR for Facebook Ads is 0.90%.

The average conversion rate for Facebook Ads is 9.21%, and the same for Google Ads is 3.75%.

While the user intent for Facebook Ads is passive, the user intent for Google Ads is active. What it means is this – while Facebook viewers are not actively looking for products or brands in particular (audience here are targeted based on their demographic and behavioural information), viewers on Google are actively searching for products or brands, and they can buy them if it suits their needs.

While Facebook Ads offer comprehensive targeting options like user interest, demographics, events, and buying behaviours, Google Ads offers limited targeting options because it only takes into account user demographics.

Ad placement options in case of Facebook are Feed, Stories, Right Column, In-stream video, and Marketplace on Facebook, Instagram – Feed and Stories, Facebook Messenger, and Audience Network. Ad placement options for Google is Google and Google Search Partners like Amazon, The Washington Post, and The NY Times.

While on Facebook, you can advertise in various formats like Images, Slideshow, Video, Carousel Collection, and Instant Experience, on Google, it is limited to Text, Call-only, and Shopping Ads.

Facebook has a user-friendly interface, whereas Google has a cumbersome interface.

For more information, you can visit Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

Google Ads and Facebook Ads serve different business objectives. You can use Google Ads if you want to increase your sales. But in case you want to build brand awareness, you can use Facebook Ads.

With extensive targeting options, Facebook Ads can be used to increase awareness about your product or brand. But if you want to sell your service or product, you should think about Google Ads as the ads here mainly target users in the buying phase.

But businesses need to understand how they have to target their audience.

Targeting your audience

It is vital to know how to target your audience.

With Google Ads paid search offerings, businesses can target users based on their search query, which is known as keywords. As mentioned earlier, Google Ads are primarily text-based and are aimed at displaying relevant promoted results helping users to get closer to the information they need.

You need to invest some time in keyword research so that you can target your audience correctly.

When users do a Google search for some keyword, results are displayed on the search result page quickly. At the start of the search result page, there are some listings tagged as “Ad”. These are the promoted or paid listings that appear on top of the search result page for that particular keyword.

The Google Ad platform allows advertisers to create campaigns that only appear when users search a keyword that matches or is close to your keyword. To reach your target audience, Google allows you to target individuals searching for your keywords in a specific geographic location. This way, you don’t waste your money on paid clicks on a customer who cannot come to visit your business.

On the other hand, Facebook Ads allow you to target people based on the behaviours and demographics that you select as a targeting profile on its platform. Facebook Ads are not based on a user’s search query. Facebook Ads not only offers a wide variety of demographic targeting options, but it also allows you to target people based on their likes, dislikes, interests, and behaviours.

That is why it is important to know your customers first before you kick off your campaign on Facebook.

It is difficult to pin point which platform to select or omit. Both Facebook Ads and Google Ads give you good results. And, both can bring value to your overall marketing strategy. The one you choose should depend on what you want to achieve from your campaign. If your intention is to sell quickly, then you can opt for Google Ads. But if you want to improve your visibility, increase your brand awareness, and acquire new customers, then you should think of Facebook Ads.

If you want to achieve both, drive sales and increase awareness, you can divide your budget.

If you are looking for a professional digital marketing company for your pay-per-click advertising campaign, you should get in touch with vStacks Infotech now. From creating your ad and running your campaign to doing market research about your customers and performance monitoring, we will make sure that we cover you on all fronts.