How To Identify And Fix Broken Links (Best Practical Tips)
Last Updated on January 27, 2020 by Santhosh Muralidhar
A link that takes a user to a destination web page that does not work properly is called a broken link.
These broken links can direct a user to a dead web page or a 404 error web page.
You must fix broken links carefully.
Let me just try to explain this by taking an example case.
Suppose two years ago while writing an article the author had added an outbound link to another site’s web page that had topically relevant content.
But now just recently 2 months ago the other website owner had removed that web page content. This would reflect as a 404 broken link on the author’s web page.
So, the author will have to redirect those broken links to another relevant reference source page which should actually work properly.
Else Google crawler would crawl those links and index these broken links in its database. If the Google search console is connected with the website then obviously it will show the error reports indicating these broken links.
From an SEO point of view, it is not good to have too many broken links on a web page. Because that could have a sort of negative impact on your website’s SEO performance.
Broken links can damage the user experience as well.
Because users generally click on a link on a site or within the content with a curiosity of gaining more relevant knowledge. But if the link that they clicked is kind of an error web page then the user’s Journey will be kind of disturbed.
A broken link might not be or in most cases will never be added intentionally by the webmaster. But a link can definitely get broke when a webmaster removes a particular page.
Or a link could even break when the slug of the page URL is changed. And definitely when a webmaster by mistake enters the wrong link path in his own content then definitely users would encounter a broken link.
The Broken links can also be of two types.
One is the broken links that upon clicking sends a user to a 404 page within our website itself. The other one is obviously that it takes a user to an not working page of an external website.
How to Identify the dead links on a website?
There are several good tools that could help in identifying the broken link of a website.
Smallseotools has a feature named as broken link checker. By using this tool the broken links of a website can be discovered very easily.
Follow these steps to use the tool
After that, you should be able to land in the broken link checker section of smallseotools
Scroll down a little bit.
Enter your domain name in the field (along with the HTTP or the HTTPS secured protocol).
Click Get Broken Links.
This will give you the reports for all the links to the website.
For every link, we could analyze its followed status. This means we could analyze if the links are do-follow or a no-follow link.
The Link type column indicates if a link is an external or an internal link.
The last column of the reports is where we could find the status of the link. The dead links and broken links are highlighted in a red error symbol.
How to fix the broken links?
For WordPress blogs, broken links can be fixed with the help of suitable plugins.
I think Redirection is the best WordPress plugin for broken link fixing.
Redirection plugin will allow to permanently redirect a link.
The status code for a permanently redirected link is 301.
Follow these steps to redirect your broken links to a relevant web page.
Install the Redirection Plugin on your website
In your dashboard click on tools
Under the tools section, you will find Redirection.
Click on redirection
In the source, the URL field type and add the particular broken link which you are trying to fix.
And then in the Target URL field add the new relevant web page link to which you wish to redirect your users.
Then click on Auto redirect.
This will permanently redirect the broken link to the target URL.
How broken links can be used for backlink building?
Suppose while reading an article on a site you found a broken link that was taking you to a 404 page.
Now to find a backlink building opportunity you should properly observe the entire web page, the content and the anchor text of that particular link.
Analyze if you have got relevant amazing content that could possibly replace that 404 pages on the other site.
Check if that site has good domain authority (preferably above 40) and the Page authority is also good.
Approach the website owner through their emails and tell them about the broken link that you found on their site. Request them to replace those 404 error web page with your amazing relevant blog post link.
If you are articles and blog posts are of good quality and genuine then the chances are that the other website owner would be happy to fix the broken link by redirecting it to your blog post page.
But keep in mind here the relevancy factor of your content and the authority factor of the other site matters a lot.
I would also suggest you install the Check My Links extension on your Google Chrome browser. While you are browsing a web site, this browser extension will indicate all the broken links of a particular web page. So that could help you to approach other sites to fix their broken links as well and in that process, you will be able to acquire a valuable backlink as well.
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