Broken links are never great but unfortunately they are unavoidable. They typically happen when a website either removes an article or has a redesign and moves all the old links to new ones. Users, naturally, get frustrated and Trip has to do better.
We currently have a broken link detector – which sends an alert for each broken link. In reality it’s crude in that it ‘decides’ a link is broken if it takes longer to load than five seconds. If a user is on a slow internet connection or a site is running slowly – an alert is sent. So, we get lots of false positives, making the system poor.
But, recently we spent a great deal of time analysing these and found a large number of sites with problems and have completely revamped these links. So, the true positives should fall dramatically. However, moving forward, we’re planning a new broken link system. If we detect a broken link (or one we suspect is broken) we will re-try it a number of times over the next 24 hours and only after a few tries will it be considered a true positive and an alert created. The alert will contain additional tools to make it much easier to amend the index. While no system will be perfect, we hope that this system will help to significantly reduce the problem of broken links.