This Is How You Should Address Link Rot

Link Rot

In a recent Webmaster Hangout, John Mueller of Google said that it is not sufficient for SEO companies and webmasters to simply build a website and wait for visitors to come. Likewise, it is not sufficient to advertise a website and then take it easy as traffic comes in.

Rankings and links are being subverted by link rot. This is something that everyone has to be familiar with, though it is not given that much thought.

Link rot: What is it?

Link rot is all about:

  1. Gradual link power reduction that every link go through. New pages push older pages far from the home page, making link power reduced.
  2. Natural link disappearance. All links ultimately disappear, which is a natural occurrence when undergoing a website update.

Who's affected?

No website is immune from link rot. Everyone is impacted by it. The backlink profile of every single website is under the process of decay.

Link reclamation

Thankfully, you can do something to mitigate the damage of link rot.

One of several options to handle it is through a method named Link Reclamation, coined by the late Eric Ward. This is the procedure of "reclaiming" link power, which is typically not given enough attention.

An effective way to do this is by reviewing 404 response codes and learn if the link is to a web asset which does not exist anymore.

For instance, sometimes sites link to a page or a PDF file which was relocated or perhaps already deleted.

In case the web asset has moved, make a 301 redirect to the new location. This way, the link is going to count as a link to where the new page is available.

In case the web assets do not exists, and then it is a bit of trickier on how this is treated these days.

A 301 redirect should link to a web page which is considerably equal to the web page it was previously linked to. This is vital information.

Redirecting to the homepage is not possible since Google consider redirects to dissimilar web pages as a soft 404.

A soft 404 pertains to an existing web page that Google won't pass a link signal to. Therefore, if a web page cannot be found, you can't redirect every inbound link associated with missing pages over to the home page. The PageRank won't have an impact since all the links getting redirected are to pages which are considerably different from the home page. As a result, the link goes to waste by redirecting links that are broken to the home page.

Some 404s are linked to web pages that the connecting site mangled, like they included some tracking codes or have misspelt URLs.

For the links that have an incorrect URL, you can repair all those with a 301 redirect to the destination page’s proper URL.

Of course, Google can pinpoint that and pass PageRank on the appropriate URL. But SEO is all about creating optimised websites for search engines. With that in mind, creating a website must always be simple to navigate and crawl.

So don’t leave it up to Google to determine the right URL when you can rewrite it yourself.

Links to the incorrect domain name

Not technically link rot, this can be considered as its variant since it is a rotting link that never made it to your website. This is much more difficult to discover as it won't appear in your log file of 404 codes.

You may encounter cases when a web publisher misspells your domain name, like including an S to create your website to make it plural.

One of the things that you may have to check is if you are linking to a misspelt version of your domain name or there is a misspelling in your domain name. If you are facing such issues, then it is a wise decision to get those domains and redirect them. In case somebody is misspelling your domain name, expect that another person may misspell it on a link, both in the past or the future.

Generally, it is a good thing to register domain name variants and redirect them to the actual URL. By doing so, you can still acquire the link in case a person misspells or mistypes your domain.

Link rot cannot remain fixed

A vital thing to remember is that for many instances, there's practically nothing you can do to repair link rot since the decay is occurring on a website of another person. In these instances, the website itself is already gone, or the link has just disappeared from a page.

You cannot utilise a 301 redirect to redirect to a non-existing link.

You may contact the publisher and petition to restore the connection between the two websites. In case someone linked to your website in the past, there is certainly a reason to re-establish this link in the future.

The bigger takeaway

There is no winner in a rankings race. Acquiring high rankings is only the start.

Then, you should keep those rankings by maintaining your relevance through continuous production and promotion of your content. This is applicable for any website.

There's no set it and forget it. In SEO, there is no standing still. It’s either you are moving forward or falling behind.


What You Need To Know About Speed Tests

In Twitter, John Mueller of Google stated that it does not matter what decelerates your pages. If your web pages are slow, they're slow. And if it is a Google product, such as Google Analytics, AdSense, Google Tag Manager, Ad Manager or anything Google provides that slows down your web pages, you can resolve it by implementing it where it does not slow your page down.

In case you’re aware that you have incorporated a Google product which slows down your web pages, and you know it's affecting your site speed, then it's a problem. Google does not give you a pass, and the same goes for your users and therefore conversion, do not give you a pass, since it's a Google product that lags your page load time.

John said on Twitter: "Off-hand, there's no exception for speed testing when using our products & services -- they can slow your site down like anything else. Sometimes there are ways to integrate that limit the slow-down, but ultimately that's up to you".

Will Google products slow down your pages wherein your rankings will be negatively affected? This is doubtful. However, you must always make sure that your pages are very quick for the conversion goals.

Details of this post were gathered from https://www.searchenginejournal.com/link-rot-solutions/349270/ and https://developers.google.com/speed/docs/insights/v5/about?utm_campaign=PSI&utm_medium=incoming-link&utm_source=PSI&hl=en-US. Click these links for more information.

Always look for the best SEO company if you want to see improvements in your website’s overall performance, ranking, and conversation rate. Learn how we at Position1SEO can help you by visiting our homepage right now.

Link Rot - Search Engine Marketing - SEO Services UK - Position1SEO
Author: Jason Ferry
Jason Ferry is an SEO specialist based in the United Kingdom. Taking pride in his many years of experience in the search engine optimisation industry, he has honed his skills in various digital marketing processes. From keyword marketing, website auditing, and link building campaigns, to social media monitoring, he is well-versed in all of them. Jason Ferry’s excellent skills in SEO, combined with his vast experience, makes him one of the best professionals to work with in the industry today. Not only does he guarantee outstanding output for everyone he works with, but also values a deep relationship with them as well.

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