Detailed website audits are essential for getting a holistic view of your site’s SEO health and keeping it in good shape, as they can point to issues potentially hurting your website’s user experience, SEO, and ranking. Running into internal linking errors is more common than you might think, but fixing them ASAP is crucial as they heavily impact OnPage SEO. Some errors might cause serious problems you need to tackle head-on, but for some, there are quick fixes that you can easily implement.
Have you been running into any linking-related errors while running a site audit but are not sure what the issues you encountered mean or how to fix them? Worry not, because we’ve got you covered! In this article, we are going to shed some light on some of the most common internal linking issue reports that might pop up while you’re auditing your website and how to successfully resolve them, step by step.
Ready to learn how to dodge the bullet? Let’s dive right in!
4 Most Common Internal Linking Issues and How to Resolve Them
While numerous factors working together determine your SEO success, link building is one of the most important ones. High-quality websites are filled with links to help users easily navigate to the content they are looking for. Page links have always been an important aspect of SEO, and as such, deserve a great deal of attention. However, many site owners and webmasters tend to underestimate the power of interlinking, focusing only on external links.
It is crystal clear how important internal links are for search engine optimization due to the link juice distribution they provide within the website. When changes are made to the website, it can cause link errors without the webmaster ever realizing it. The best way to avoid issues related to page links is to audit your website regularly. Whenever you run into an error, you need to tackle it right away, so it wouldn’t damage your user experience, ranking, and SEO efforts.
Easier said than done, right? Even though internal linking might look pretty straightforward, it can sometimes be tricky, even for experts. Having that in mind, we’ve decided to offer a helping hand by gathering some of the most common errors related to internal links that people encounter and explaining how to quickly and efficiently resolve each one in detail.
So, if you’re grasping at straws, keep reading.
1. “Page Has Links to Broken Page” Error
This is a very common issue that reports pages that link to URLs returning one of the 4xx or 5xx HTTP (server) response codes, which indicate that the page is (temporarily or permanently) unavailable. Links to the 4xx or 5xx URLs are known as “broken links.” This error can occur due to a page being deleted or moved without updating the link, a typo in the URL, or the link pointing to the wrong page. It basically means you’ve left some loose ends.
If a page has broken links (links that lead to a broken page), it results in a bad user experience and high bounce rates, as people won’t be able to access the page via the link. It also creates unnecessary “dead ends” for search engine crawlers, which can waste your crawl budget. So, how can you fix this issue before it results in frustrated visitors and damaged SEO?
The solution is to remove the broken link and point it toward an existing page with relevant content. If removing the broken link is not possible, you should set up a 301 redirection to minimize the damage. The 429 and 5xx status codes indicate internal server errors, so in this case, you should contact your developer or hosting provider to resolve these issues.
2. “Page Has No Outgoing Links” Error
This issue is pretty much self-explanatory – it reports pages with no outgoing links, internal or external. Fixing this page link issue is critical as pages with no outgoing links are a “dead end” for both visitors and the search engine crawlers. They are unable to pass on link equity (or “link juice”) to other URLs within the website architecture, ultimately damaging website navigation and thus, leading to poor user experience and bad SEO.
If you intend for a page to rank in the SERPs, it can’t be left without any outgoing links. Your job in this scenario is to ensure that your website has no “dead ends” by checking the reported pages. Then, simply add links to other relevant pages of the website related to the context of the page. Interlinking relevant pages on your website is always a win-win. If the absence of links is caused by technical issues, address the developer to fix it.
3. “Page Has Links to Redirect” Error
Another common mistake related to page links is the use of internal links that point to redirected web pages, which waste a lot of link power. This issue reports pages linking to internal or external URLs returning one of the 3xx error codes, as well as links with redirection chains. Page redirections help users navigate through your site. However, if you fail to redirect correctly, it may result in havoc.
This error message can often be triggered during a website relaunch – an HTTP to HTTPS transition or due to a mistake in URL redirect implementation when making URL changes. If you fail to modify the internal links despite implementing redirects after a website redesign or changes to the website structure and URLs correctly, you’ll end up losing a lot of link juice since links from your web page may redirect to an unwanted URL.
This issue also limits access to your website, wastes your crawl budget, and damages the user experience as it confuses visitors. That’s why it’s always better to fix any unnecessary redirections and link to the desired page as soon as possible so that all external redirecting URLs would lead to a relevant page or resource.
Similar to the approach to resolving broken links, the best way to fix redirecting links is to change them at the source. You can make sure you aren’t internally linking to redirecting pages by replacing all internal and external links with direct links to the appropriate URL, making sure that the outgoing redirect leads visitors to the appropriate web page which is accessible, or by editing the original URL.
4. “Page Has Nofollow Incoming Internal Links Only” Error
This issue reports indexable pages on your website that only have nofollowed incoming internal links. In other words, this means that the URL does not have any incoming followed links from internal URLs, but only nofollow ones. By default, Google follows every link on your site. So, if you don’t want Google to follow a specific link, you can use a nofollow link, and many webmasters use nofollow links on purpose.
It is entirely okay for a URL to have only nofollow links pointing at it if you don’t expect it to rank for anything and you don’t wish for it to be crawled, like, for example, a user login page. In that case, there is potentially nothing wrong with these pages, and the error simply notifies you that they are there. So, what’s the issue here?
Nofollowed links pass no link juice, which means that the page won’t accumulate any link equity, and as such, would have no power to rank for users’ search queries. So, if you expect a page to rank in search engines, it should get a good amount of relevant followed links from other website pages.
To fix this issue, inspect your pages to find links tagged with the nofollow attribute. Then, simply change the links from nofollowed to followed where needed, so it wouldn’t end up costing you the precious flow of link equity.
Identify and Fix Page Link Errors to Boost Your SEO
Your link architecture allows search engine bots to find your web pages and helps users navigate your site with ease. From broken links to redirected links, simple errors related to your page links can seriously damage your SEO efforts, your website’s user experience, and ultimately, its ranking. It’s why identifying and fixing these issues as soon as possible is a must.
Make regular site audits a part of your SEO strategy to catch any page link issues as soon as they arise to avoid the usual pitfalls and stay ahead of the curve. If you do happen to run into an internal linking error, don’t cry over spilled milk – get to work! Use our guide to fix them in a flash and nip them in the bud before they do any real or irreversible damage.