Part 4. How Your Web Site Can Make You Look Like a Buffoon

This is the fourth in our 5 part series. last time we talked about how some web sites make it hard to contact you. The first installment (Make it Hard to Contact You) can be read by clicking here. The second installment (Stay Above the Fold) can be read by clicking here. The third installment (Forget About Your Site Map) can be read by clicking here. Now, here's the fourth installment, Broken Links Stink.

Rule #4. Let’s put up links that don’t link.

Sure, everyone just loves to see those “page not found” messages, so let’s have a web site with links that don’t work or pages that aren’t listed in the Site Map at all so the Google spider can’t find them either.

If a prospective client takes the time to find your site and then can’t find what they want in only one or two clicks, they think you could be a buffoon. Check your outbound links to make sure they all work. And then six months later check them again to make sure other people’s web sites are still out there to even be linked to.

And make sure your links are to web sites that are relevant to your site visitors. Links to irrelevant sites can actually hurt you because it can resemble a link farm. And search spiders hate link farms.

A link farm is a web page whose sole purpose is to post outbound links to as many other web sites as they can get someone to pay for. Search engine algorithms don’t like them because they have been programmed to know that it’s just an effort to make them think that the target site pages have more meaningful “real” links to them (from non-farmers) than really exist. In other words, they know a con when they see it.

There are software programs all over the net that check links on your page for free. An easy one to use, which checks the first 60 links on a web page for free is Webmaster's Link Checker. It's quick and easy to use.

So check your links regularley. And that reminds me of another common problem. We'll cover that one next time.