When it comes to the value that your website holds on the internet, it all comes down to ‘link juice’. And if you’re scratching your head, wondering what “juice” has to do with SEO, you’re in the right place.
Keep reading as we unpack how to spot broken links pointed to your website, and how to fix or replace them in order to level up your site’s value.
What is ‘Link Juice’?
According to Rock Content, ‘Link Juice’ is nothing more than the portion of ranking optimization that each link transmits to the landing page.
If you have a post, and there are links to other pages in it, a part of your ranking potential — called PageRank (PR) — is being distributed among each of these redirects to other sites on the internet.
In fact, the link that we used above is a perfect example of the use of an external link that can and will affect the Rock Content.
What is ‘Link Reclamation’?
‘Link Reclamation’ is the process of finding broken links pointed at your website, and then fixing them or replacing them. Broken backlinks refer to broken inbound links from other websites to yours.
Here are the two most common reasons for broken backlinks to your site:
- You deleted or moved a page that has existing backlinks.
- The linking site made a mistake when linking to your site. (For example, an extra character in the URL.)
How do I find a broken backlink?
Let’s go through the process of finding broken backlinks step by step:
1. First, we need to find all existing external links. We can see them by navigating to Google Search Console and clicking ‘Links':
2. Navigate to the ‘External Links’ section and click ‘More’ to expand the list of external links.
3. Click the ‘Export’ button:
Setting up ‘Screaming Frog’
Now that we can see a full list of our backlinks, we need to find those that are broken. To do that we’re going to use a great tool called Screaming Frog.
Let’s navigate how to set it up correctly:
Go to ‘Configuration’ → ‘Spider’
Find ‘Always Follow Redirects’ and make it active.
Now that you’ve set up the Screaming Frog tool correctly, it's time to take that list of external links that we found earlier and crawl them. Initiate the crawl and wait until it finishes.
Once the crawl reaches 100%, you can view 404 broken links by navigating to the ‘Response Codes’ tab and using the filter for ‘Client Error 4XX’:
How do I fix broken backlinks?
Fixing a broken backlink depends on why the link is broken, but here are some top fixes that we recommend implementing:
- It’s not uncommon for website owners to change the URL of a page and forget to redirect. This is an easy fix: simply find the new page location and redirect (301) the broken page to the new location.
- Other times, we may need to recreate and replace altogether. In this case, find out what the broken page used to be, and replace or recreate it
- Lastly, if the page that the link used to lead to is no longer relevant or in existence, we can always redirect (301) the broken page to another relevant page on your website: find a similar piece of content on your site and redirect the broken page to that one.
Relevant content on your site will always be changing and evolving. Don’t forget to do a routine clean sweep to check on the health of your backlinks in order to support your ‘link juice’ and up your PR!