How to Find & Fix Broken Links on Your Website
Having broken links on your website is a total pain.
A pain for your website visitors, because the link they click on is broken.
A pain for Google search bots, because the link leads to a dead place.
And a pain for YOU, because you’re the one that has to find them and fix broken links!
And how are you supposed to do all that?
Go through each page and blog post with a fine tooth comb?
No way, Jose. Trying to scope out broken links piece by piece would take legit days…and we ain’t got time for that.
Luckily, I have a solution for you, regardless of what website platform your website is on (WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, etc).
But before we get into finding and fixing those broken links on your website why is it important to find and fix them in the first place?
There are 2 main reasons why fixing broken links should be at the top of your website to-do list:
Reason #1: SEO
One of the ways search engines rank websites is by crawling their links. If there are broken links on your website, it can stop search engine spiders from crawling your site.
And if they can’t crawl it, they can’t index it.
And if you’re not indexed, you’re not showing up in search results.
And if you tend to leave your broken links for too long, it could take a toll on your SEO ranking because websites with too many broken links can be a signal of low quality to search engines.
One of the most common elements of bad SEO is broken links, and unfortunately, it’s the easiest SEO factor to overlook.
I mean think about that blog post you wrote 2 years ago….have any of the links that you linked out too….change since you last updated that post?
See how easily broken links can get out of hand?
Reason #2: Trust + Credibility
Having broken links on your website ALSO frustrates your website visitors. It provides them with a poor user experience. (And if you frustrate your website visitor, you can almost guarantee they’re not sticking on your website very long….so your bounce rate could go up too!)
And I’m sure you’ve been on a website before, go to click a link, and end up in no man’s land either with a “page cannot be found” error or a page that just doesn’t make any damn sense…..annoying, right?
So, let’s avoid all that AND reap the benefits of having non-broken links 😉
Cleaning up broken links can add context to your website, improve user experience, and make content within your website easier for visitors and search engines to discover.
Alright alright alright, now that we know the WHY, let’s get into the HOW…
Follow this quick tutorial to learn how to find those broken links so you can go ahead and fix them!
Go to https://brokenlinkcheck.com/
Type your website URL into the box and click “Find Broken Links”. Enter the security code & you can leave the “Report distinct broken links only” option checked. Once you click the “Find broken links now!” button, this lifesaving tool will start scanning your website. This could take a few minutes. Wait until the scan says 100% complete.
Once it says a 100% scanned you can go ahead and scroll down and take a look at the broken links that it found.
Open the pages on your website that have the broken links and double-check if they’re actually broken.
If they are broken you can either fix that URL or you can just totally delete it altogether. (whichever makes more sense for that specific link).
After you run the broken link checker once & fix the broken links, I’d suggest running it again just to double-check! This is a free tool, so it’s not perfect.
Remember to run this broken link check on your website every month or every quarter so your site doesn’t accumulate too many broken links and hurt your SEO.
Why/How Do Websites Accumalte Broken Links?
The most common reasons for broken links are:
- Misspelled URLs
- Linking to a page on someone else’s website and they delete that page (so your link ends up in no man’s land)
- Linking to a page on your own website that you’ve deleted
- Linking to time-sensitive content. If you often link to time-sensitive content, the content on the page could change. So for example: You have a blog post talking about Cover Girl’s new mascara, and you’re linking to the Covergirl’s “specials” page in that post….that specials page could change in a few weeks, and now you’re talking about a great deal on mascara but linking to a page that’s talking about foundation colors. The same goes for events, buzz-worthy content, and promotions.
You obviously can’t control what someone else does to the pages and content on their website, but you do have control over what YOUR website links too.
The web changes, links break, it’s not the end of the world.
Happens to the best of us.
But the important thing is to stay on top of this and run your website through the Broken Link Checker tool I mentioned above so you can catch and fix those broken links before they start frustrating your website visitors AND Google (yikes!)
Have a question on Broken Links or fixing them? Pop your comment in below and let me know 🙂