One important factor in maintaining your website is knowing how to check for broken links. The more internal and external links you have on your site, the more often you should check and it should be part of your website maintenance routine.
What is a Broken Link
A broken links means that links on your web page lead to a non-existent page, website, or an image. Visitors to your site will normally see the dreaded 404 error page when they click on a link that is broken. Broken links can be internal (within your website) or external (to another website).
“Link rot” is the gradual process of external links on your website becoming broken due to changing content of the target website.One recent study has shown that, on average, about 1 link out of every 200 disappears every week from the Internet.
Broken links can happen for a number of reasons:
- You have an internal link to another post or page on your site, remove or move the post/page and forget to change the internal link.
- If you have an affiliate link to a product and that product has been moved or removed, your visitor will get a “not found” error. Another good reason to check for broken links, you don’t want to lose valuable sales!
- You’ve linked to an external site and again, the page has been moved or removed.
- Misspelled link.
- Human error (person maintaining the site made a mistake).
Broken Links Matter
Broken links can negatively affect your search engines ranking, Google doesn’t like them! This is a good enough reason to make sure that there are no broken or misspelled links on your site.
It’s not good for your reputation, whether you’re a hobbyist blogger, an affiliate marketer or a company, to have broken links. Visitors will exit your site swiftly, reducing your traffic and any potential business.
How to Check for Broken Links
The broken link checker tool we like to use is called Broken Link Check. It’s free and pretty straight forward to use. There are others out there, we just like this one.
When you first land on the site you’ll see a page like this:
The first thing to do is enter your URL into box and click “find broken links”.
The next page will be a security code to enter and to choose either:
- Report distinct broken links only .
- Report all occurrences of each dead link (may be slower)
I will usually choose the first one. Click “find broken links now”. This part can take a while to process, be patient!
The next screen you see will look something like this:
As you can see, there are 3 broken links on this website and with the broken link checker you can see where they are and what kind of error.
- Clicking on “url” will take you to your website page where the error is where you can check the links yourself.
- Sometimes it’s not apparent in the “url” where the error is. Clicking on “src” will take you to the code where the error is highlighted, sometimes a widget link is broken for example, this would show in the code.
It really is as simple as that, but an important part of keeping your website in tip top condition.
If you’ve any questions about how to check for broken links, please leave a comment below or you can contact us.