Improving SEO by Reclaiming Dead Links
When links leading to WebPages that are deleted, it affects the link authority which as it is wasted. You can harvest that precious link authority and redirect it to other pages on your site, those which you want to rank.
Need for Link Authority Define
Link Authority is the value of the link from other websites which are linking to your site. This is the most precious element in Search Engine Optimization. Google has repeated iterated that this along with Content Relevance and Google’s Algorithm RankBrain are factors which determine ranking.
Every webpage on the site has some link authority. It is defined by the number of links linking towards the individual webpages from other website. And each of these links contribute some amount of value to your link authority.
When a page is removed and it causes a 404 error it loses some of its link authority and the ability of helping the page rank. The 404 page error occurs when the search engine crawler tries to access the page, which in turn tells the crawler that the page no longer exists and should be removed from the index.
Lost Link Authority is a serious problem which affect Search Engine Optimization, one that should be taken seriously if natural search performance is a priority.
Identifying 404 Pages with Value
It should be noted that webpages which show a 404 error already has some link authority as they link to other sites which have potential value, whether it is being used or not. All you need to do is redirect the page to another relevant page.
Finding 404 error pages is fairly easy, Google Search Console, creates free suite of tools for site owners that enables you to download a list of the pages that return 404 errors on your site.
To do this you need to show that you have authority to change the links on the website such as ownership by changing the file at the root of the server, linking it to your Google Analytics account. Once you have created a list of webpages showing the error, you can use a backlink checking tool and check the information.
By using 400 URLs at a time from Google’s Crawl Error Report, you can quickly see which pages will be the most valuable to redirect. Doing this with the full set of 404 errors from Google’s report would yield more and higher value pages to redirect.
Redirecting Link Authority
The secret of reharvesting link authority is simple: Use 301 redirects which do a combination of things that nothing else can. They redirect both shoppers and search engine crawlers to a new page; transfer link authority to the newer pages, and prompt the URL from removing the Old URL from its indices.
To get started, create a list of webpages which need to be redirected to for URLs with errors. Now create a simple two column table in excel and put the old URL which is not working anymore on the left side of the table and the new URL on the right side of the table.
For example, if you sell Huffy bikes on the web, and there was a webpage link for that. Copy it to the left side of the table; now put the new URL which is of selling Mountain Bikes on the right hand side.
The point of the matter is the user experience; people should be able to help them continue their shopping undisturbed even though the linked page no longer exists. There may exists certain performance issue or maintenance concern with having too many redirects, so your developer may ask you to identify only the most valuable redirects for implementation.