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Broken links: rank higher in Google, for a few minutes’ work

As I’m sure you all know, links to your website from other sites are one of the main factors influencing your position in Google. If you want to do well in Google, this is the one thing you need to cultivate. But there’s a quick win which is available to most websites, and that’s to salvage any links to pages that no longer exist on your site. These won’t currently count for anything worthwhile, yet they can be fixed at a stroke to work hard for you. Here’s how.

First, you’ll have to find the links. The best way to do this is to use Google Webmaster Tools. You should have this set up on your site, possibly using the same Google Account as your Google Analytics, if you have that. If not, set it up now (BMON clients can just email me if you need help). Google follows links all around the web, and if it finds links to pages which don’t exist on your site, it’s good enough to let you know, in the “health” section of Webmaster Tools.

So, you now have a list of broken links. For each one, decide if the link is broken because it’s got a mistake in it, or if it’s because the page has been retired and not redirected. Either way, you’ll need to specify somewhere which does still exist, and is relevant, for the link to go to.

You now have a choice. Either contact the site with the incorrect link and get them to update it. Or create a proper “301 redirect” which seamlessly diverts anyone coming to the incorrect URL to the replacement page. Any website manager or designer can do this in seconds.

And that’s it. A bunch of “new” links which will help you rank higher in Google, for a few minutes’ work.