Common Mistakes With Links

What are broken external links?

Broken external links are links that lead to a destination outside your own site that does not exist or no longer exists. There are many reasons for this: websites disappear from the Internet, individual pages move due to restructuring or updates, or are simply deleted. Errors in the URL also lead to broken links.

Broken external links can be a real nuisance for users. If they click on a link and only receive an error message, they do not get the further information they were looking for. If this happens several times, it is detrimental to the user experience.

Webmasters or SEOs should therefore check at regular intervals whether and where broken external links occur and fix or delete them. This not only makes the user experience much more pleasant. The website also makes a well-maintained and professional impression and is rated better by search engines. Broken external links can be recognised very easily with tools such as SISTRIX.

How many inbound links should a page have?

The answer to the question of how many inbound internal links a subpage should have depends on the number of total links. In principle, it is possible to use a good link structure to show search engines which subpages are particularly important. Important pages should therefore be internally linked frequently, measured by how many internal links there are in total.

When it comes to inbound backlinks, the more, the better. So-called backlinks are still a quality feature for Google, and they can be decisive for the ranking, especially in competitive areas. They also bring visitors to your website. However, the quality of the incoming links is even more important.

A link can be of varying value for search engine optimisation and your own traffic. A link from a high-traffic website that is trusted by the target group and Google is worth more than dozens of links from any website with low visibility.

Pages that are internally linked with follow and nofollow: Do I have to decide in favour of an attribute?

Generally, you have to decide between the two attributes for every link. It makes sense if you are clear about which pages should be linked with which attribute.

One consideration helps make the decision easier: For a long time, SEOs linked pages for which a ranking was unimportant with nofollow, such as the imprint or privacy policy. The idea behind this was to avoid wasting link juice and crawling budget on pages that should not rank at all.

However, changes in Google’s algorithm have led to the search engine not differentiating between follow and nofollow for internal links: Google follows both “tracks” equally. Internal nofollow links, on the other hand, could even cause damage, said Matt Cutts back in 2009.

Therefore, the best practice is to provide all internal links with follow. Pages that should not appear in the rankings can be labelled accordingly using a noindex tag.

So it not only makes sense to decide in favour of an attribute, but you should also link internally with follow based on the current state of affairs. The number of internal links is decisive, not their attribute. Thereby, you can control the link juice with a sensible link structure.