Website content that contains broken links gives first-time visitors to your site a bad impression.
It can be extremely annoying for users with interest in your particular niche to access your site, click into a link, and reach a 404 or blank page.
For your regular customers, attempting to reach a related site from your website and getting an error message can be even more disheartening.
Broken links within your content can also inhibit the flow of link equity through all the pages of your site, which can have a strong negative impact on your ranking.
Finding Issues Within Your Website
Digital marketing companies who oversee other websites review products and services to make sure they are able to identify any broken links and make sure your internal link building is performing well.
However, if your domain has extensive archived content that steadily accumulates over months and years, the occurrence of broken links can be quite common if not monitored.
Although some strategists are still monitoring their site with Xenu, the old standby among available link checkers, there are currently more choices for reviewing broken link reports through a good outreach solution, many of which have updated and advanced techniques.
Many of these newer link checking tools can be purchased and accessed without an SEO agency and can be automated for your convenience to avoid the need of running them manually.
Recommended Link Checkers for Identifying Broken Links
The recommended link checking tools are some of the most recommended tools for checking all of your pages for broken links.
Broken Link Checker
This is the most frequently used automatic link checking tool that you can easily add to your site as a plugin.
All data relative to a broken link that is detected on your web pages will appear on your dashboard, including the reason for the break.
This link checker offers thorough review and easy use for busy site owners since it will check all of your blog posts and reader comments for faulty links and missing images.
This handy tool also checks any embedded videos, If you are looking to add one right into your WordPress website check out this plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/broken-link-checker/
This simply web crawler can collect data about your site to use for an SEO audit.
The free version enables you to gather data from 500 different URLs, and the paid version offers the capacity to crawl unlimited pages.
For locating broken links, just enter the URL from your own site and run the crawler. It will promptly and efficiently provide you with an accurate listing of any identified broken URLs.
The list will reveal the identities of broken links between internal pages on your site and from external pages that are pointing to your site.
Once you know which links need to be replaced you can click the “Inlinks” tab at the bottom of the interface to access a listing of pages that are linked to the page content with the broken link.
This step will save you time as you know exactly which URL to go to in order to fix the issue.
Screaming Frog offers the options of exporting your link checking results for further viewing in the form of a spreadsheet.
This tool is also easy to obtain as a download for generating reports on your desktop, and a complete tutorial is also available on all aspects of its use from their analyser.
Log File Analyser: https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/log-file-analyser/
Google Search Console
Google Search Console includes a broken link report option for monitoring websites for content with broken links.
This broken link checker identifies any internal 404 errors, or web pages linked to your web pages using incorrect URLs, and pages with external links returning 404 pages.
However, this tool will not reveal any links that your site may have to external web pages that are currently 404 error pages.
When using this broken link detector provided by Search Console, you can see broken links displayed by going to “Coverage” and you will be able to see Errors appear on the right side.
W3C Link Checker
This broken link monitoring tool can be used for checking specific sections of your website. It is also helpful for controlling how deep into the site the checker extends.
This option is helpful for very large-scale websites that generally experience numerous external 404 problems, if site operators need to work on a single section of the site at a time.
Anyone who has performed a large number of website validations is most likely familiar with the use of this tool.
This software suite will enable you to analyze your website more easily and thoroughly.
It will also give you a better understanding of your site as well as the functions and results of your digital marketing campaigns and techniques.
With use of the free trial you can produce a single project and perform a site audit to see the full capability of this tool.
However, use of the free trial will only limit your usage of SEMRush. You will need to take advantage of the 7 day trial before considering if this is going to be your tool for the future.
With use of the SEMrush website audit report, you will be able to view a list of all broken link issues and errors detected.
This report reveals the URL of the page where a broken link is found and the URL of the broken page.
Using this tool, you can identify both internal and external broken links for your website.
This tool is designed for SEO and marketing analysis, and it is in popular use by site owners and link builders for monitoring their competition as well as for locating broken links.
After performing an audit with Ahrefs, you can review reports for identifying any broken links on your site. All pages containing broken links will be listed in these reports.
You can also check for broken external links with use of Ahrefs. With the information revealed on these reports, you can initiate repairs for these links, eliminating the presence of what some web SEO strategists call “link rot” from your site.
With the information revealed on these reports, you can initiate repairs for these links, eliminating the presence of what some web search optimization experts call “link rot” from your site.
Another broken link checker that integrates well with Ahrefs and other tools is Linkminer. This tool enables you to monitor broken links on any web page instantaneously.
You can then download these links to a spreadsheet for pasting into Ahrefs’ Batch Analysis tool to dig deeper for more insight.
Screaming Frog as mentioned earlier can also integrate with Ahrefs to aid in bulk data import, and it can also be connected to Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
Outreach Methods for Redirected Links and Optimal Quality
With use of top outreach solutions and advanced tools mentioned above you can successfully 301 redirect broken links and optimize your website for significant SEO improvements.
Recommended tools for addressing these goals include the following:
Generating Broken Link Spreadsheet Reports
Once you have identified the broken links in your website, you can download the data collected in Google Analytics or the link checker tool you chose to use.
By selecting “Export — CSV for Excel” or a similar tab on your toolbar, you can download data for broken links, page views and unique page views, adding these column headings to your spreadsheet.
When using some tools, you may need to export data in the form of a text file, which you can then open as or convert to an Excel or other type of spreadsheet.
Analyzing Data for Redirecting Pages
With use of a free tool like Google Analytics, you can examine various reasons for the occurrence of a broken link in web content.
Some bad links were simply caused by human error, when someone input an incorrect URL for a link in website content.
Often, visits to an incorrect URL as a link in content will occur only once or a few times. This can be seen by the number of sessions seen in Google Analytics.
However, when you encounter broken links with multiple user visits, it needs immediate attention and redirecting to avoid loss of your site visitors and customers.
The errors in some broken links are easy to spot and correct, and you can easily avoid their occurrence in future link building. For reinstating any links that cannot be corrected by simple reasoning, you can redirect the link to the domain homepage.
It is best to redirect only broken links with multiple or large volumes of visits and links with basic causes for errors that can be determined.
You may want to replace other broken links with URLs for other domain pages with similar content.
Reports from some broken link checkers may not display URL errors that appear in your analytics and were caused by incorrect URL input.
These tools often report only mistakes or omissions in existing “live” links on a domain.
By using a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress you can redirect the broken links through the backend of the website. https://wordpress.org/plugins/redirection/
We recommend using the Redirection Plugin as it is one of the most popular redirection options in WordPress and is easy to use.
You can easily manage your 301 redirects and monitor any new and incoming 404 errors from within your website. This plugin has been available in WordPress for over 10 years and it is free to use!
You can upload and permanently remove redirects after a certain amount of time on your website. You can see how many users are going to the new URL and the last time it was accessed by a user.
Provide A Great User Experience
When it comes to fixing broken links in your website it comes down to your users. If you are not providing a great user experience it makes it difficult for users to come back again.
Broken links lead to loss of confidence with users who are visiting your website. Lack of update will lead to traffic loss.
Google is a big proponent of user experience and if you have broken links found throughout your entire website they will lower you in the SERPs.
Leaving broken links unattended will catch up to your website and needs to be avoided.
Hopefully this post helps you in using many tools that provide a solution when it comes to addressing broken links from within your website and how to fix them.
These tools provide an SEO audit that allows you to see what the issue is and what needs to be done to fix a broken link. Take advantage of the tools available paid and free for your website.