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Should you ignore broken links?

Broken links can take up so much of an affiliate marketer’s time that they might not seem worth it. After all, should you really spend hours or even days cleaning up old broken links that no one might even click on?

You absolutely should—and here’s why!

Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Shoes

Even more than the commission of that one sale, you want to make sure your brand has integrity, and integrity means functionality. Imagine one of your readers enjoying an older post, and encountering a link to a product they adore. After all, you put in so much effort to illustrate how that product is a “must have”, and now they must have it! But oh no, it’s out of stock! Or it’s no longer for sale at all! How discouraging.

We’ve all been in that situation before. Did you hunt for the product availability elsewhere, or look up viable alternatives? Do you think your reader will? The likelihood is low. That reader might even think it is sloppy and give up on that article altogether. They might even give up on your unprofessional posts altogether!

Graphic of a 404 page with a magnifying glass

Make Your Site “Helpful”

Another great reason not to ignore broken links is that it could affect your website’s Google ranking. You might have seen our previous post about Google’s algorithm here. While in general we know that the complex Google system is a black box, we do know that Google prioritizes “helpful” hits in their search results. Guess what isn’t helpful—a link that leads to nowhere. If it causes your readers to leave your site or a crawling bot to detect the error code, you could fall in the rankings. In fact, the health of your links could be equated to the health of your business. It’s easy to see that broken links are to be avoided at all costs!

Check Your Links for “Free”

There are some free options available if you’d like to check your links.

The Google Search Console offers a “Page Indexing Report” for free. However, it is complicated and even Google says it can be “confusing or frustrating”! The issues are not easy to identify, and can leave you scratching your head as to what you’re supposed to do about the results. There’s also a lag time as Google may need a few days or even a week to complete the report or add a site to be referenced. Finally, it’s really only designed for 404 links, not affiliate links. It might show an Amazon link as “working” when in reality it is out of stock! Plus, you still have to manually update each link even if it is identified for you.

You also might be able to use a “free” Search Engine Optimization spider tool. Similar to the Google Search Console tool, these programs will audit your website for broken links and 404s. But like the Google Search Console, these will not include out of stock items. Free versions will also be limited to a certain number of link checks. If you’re doing affiliate posts, you’ve probably got hundreds (or thousands!) more links than will be checked without paying, so you’ll have to get yet ANOTHER pricey subscription if you want to use this.

If you use WordPress, you could choose to use a plug in. Along with not checking for out of stock items, beware—it has been known to slow down your site.

Most importantly, these options won’t look at your social media posts, only your own website! If you’re an affiliate marketer, chances are that is a HUGE negative for you!

Check Your Links Like a Pro!

If you want to not only check your links with ease, but also update them in a flash across your website AND your social media, you need Shared Vision!

Since Shared Vision allows you to create gorgeous and functional shopping lists that you can embed on your website or include in social media posts, it does all the hard work for you. All you’ll need to do is either quickly click to remove the line item in the list, or copy-paste a new link. This alone is worth its weight in gold, but that’s not even mentioning Shared Vision’s other great features and metrics.

Shared Vision’s broken link tool gives you enough time to do what you really want, which is create content! Sign up today by clicking here.

Shared Vision graphic of a phone with a broken 404 page and the title of the post "Should you ignore broken links?"