Why is it important to remove broken links?
The world web is built on hyperlinks. Linking between pages and websites is fundamental. When everything is working well and no problems occur, links lead visitors from one place to another, providing all users with business opportunities and useful information.
When some of these links are broken is really frustrating and may lead to:
Loss of trust and money.
It can harm your credibility as a good author
Can have а significant impact on your SEO and page rank
What are the reasons for them to occur?
Visitors enter the wrong URL for the link
The link page has been deleted
The linked website has been moved permanently or no longer exists
How to detect broken links?
There are different ways to detect broken links. On the market, there are available both desktop software products and online applications. Some Content Distribution Systems have their own plugins, which you can use to detect broken links.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider is an easy-to-use web crawler. With the free version of the tool, you can check up to 500 URLs, and the paid version allows you to crawl an unlimited number of URLs.
To identify broken links, you only need to enter your site’s address and in short order, it will provide you with a list of broken URLs it detects.
In recent years, the Netpeak Spider is gaining more and more popularity. The tool is useful for both SEO and PPC specialists. Netpeak Spider analyses incoming and outgoing links, finds broken links and redirects. You can use it to escape duplicate content and to closely monitor all important aspects of the structure of your content, such as titles, Meta Descriptions, H1 Headers.
You probably already use Google Analytics to monitor your overall website performance. It can also be used for easily finding broken links.
Semrush is another state-to-the-art marketing tool that can be used for crawling your website and identifying internal and external broken links. The tool can check backlinks and let you know the sources of your competitor’s do follow links. Another great feature is that it shows you relevant industry web sources and websites that are interested in referring to your content.
Ahrefs is an in-depth marketing-analysis tool that is very popular amongst marketers for its features. Some of its most popular features are the competitors’ monitoring and the easy broken links identification. It can show you both internal and external links which are with different statuses but not working properly.
Most WP Plugins for broken links detection provide their users with the option to fix them, which can be very convenient.
This plugin is free. It scans your website and can be used to fix broken links and images of your content.
This link checker provides you with a premium service which helps you to fix up your broken links. Another cool feature is that it manages redirection and verifies HTTP status response codes of the content links and images on your website.
How to fix broken links?
After you crawl your website for internal and external links, it starts to replace or redirect them, either manually or with the help of the additional tools you choose to work with to avoid all negative aspects or 404 error page shown to users.
Many of the above-mentioned tools offer fixes for the broken hyperlinks, but this depends on how expensive and sophisticated is the app you decided to choose. Of course, there is a free option, and this is fixing all links by yourself.
For all internal links, you can simply update or remove any incorrect URLs manually.
Update broken hyperlinks
Depending on the number of links you find on your website, this could take all of 5 minutes, or weeks. The process itself is pretty self-explanatory. You simply find a replacement for the link which is incorrect, then replace it on your website.
Remove broken hyperlinks
This process can also be time-consuming if you have a lot of broken links, but the process is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is only locate the link in the content, then remove it.
The perception that broken external links aren't that harmful because they don't hurt the bounce rate and the time on site metrics isn't right at all. Broken external links are disastrous for your website because they can harm your reputation. Google consider websites with many broken external links as outdated. This could be harmful to rankings.
Fixing external links is easy:
Just remove the link completely
Replace the link with a valid link
Make regular checks on your links and take actions in a timely manner. This way, you will have much fewer links to fix and visitors to your website won't be left with a bitter taste after ending up on a 404 error page.