Did you know that broken links can harm your website? They are bad for usability and could even negatively affect SEO rankings. How do you broken links in WordPress and find the behest? I’ll show you the same.
How do broken links even come about?
Unfortunately, broken links are unavoidable, especially if your website has been around for a long time. Because then you have already published a lot of content, especially as a blogger, which of course also contains a lot of links.
Here are some common causes of broken links:
- The linked website no longer exists.
- The URL of the linked post has changed.
- Forwarding the URL
- Links from blog comments
- You just made a mistake.
Why broken links are bad
Imagine your reader clicks on a link in one of your posts. Of course, he expects the information promised to him. But instead, he receives an error message. The typical 404 error: Page not found. Or he ends up on a completely irrelevant page.
This is annoying for the user and does not throw a good light on you and your website.
Your website looks outdated and unkempt
. A lot of dead links on a website are a bad sign for both users and search engines. Both get the impression that nobody cares about the website. This will make your articles read less because the content is not well maintained and therefore appears untrustworthy and unprofessional.
Negative impact on search engine rankings
Since Google regularly crawls your website, the broken links are also discovered. Not bad, actually.
But if the error messages pile up and are never resolved, that’s a bad signal to Google. Because the website could then appear less worthwhile due to a lack of quality. An article with a lot of dead links is unlikely to be found in the top rankings.
In addition, the search engine is annoyed by the wasted crawling budget.
How to clean up broken links
There are several ways to fix broken links. All of them are pretty simple; only the implementation requires some hard work.
Find & correct broken links via the WordPress plugin.
Although there are hundreds of WordPress plugins for pretty much every task, the selection of broken link checkers is pretty poor.
Broken Link Checker
The best-known plugin for detecting broken links is Broken Link Checker. It works very well and makes it easy to fix broken links.
After installing the WordPress plugin, you can specify in the options what exactly should be examined. Articles, pages, and comments are searched in the standard. The examination can also go a little faster by further narrowing it down.
Check and correct broken links
As soon as the plugin has finished crawling, you will receive an email with the result. You can then view and check all broken links.
With each hit, you decide what exactly should happen to the link.
- change the url
- remove the link
- mark it as OK
- hide the link
- check the link again
If you want to replace the wrong link, just click Edit URL. Then enter the correct URL and click on Update. The plugin does the rest.
Broken Link Manager is quite memory-intensive and can therefore load the webserver heavily. For this reason, the plugin is also on the blacklist of some hosters. So you can’t use it there.
SEOPress is a very extensive SEO plugin for WordPress. It is comparable to the well-known SEO plugin from Yoast. However, the premium version SEOPress PRO offers you many other useful features. For example, a broken link monitor. This allows you to check the links on your website for errors directly in WordPress.
Link Whisper is actually a plugin for internal linking, which is an important SEO factor. The tool also includes a Broken Link Manager, which you can use to correct broken links directly.
Find broken links with online tools
A great advantage of online link checkers is that they do not burden your website. And in a short time, you will get a good overview of which links are faulty.
You then know which page the broken link is on. But you have to then open each affected page in WordPress and fix the link error manually.
Dead Link Checker
With the Dead Link Checker, you can check your website for broken links directly online. In my tests, this tool was very quick. The entire website was examined in just 4 minutes.
And with a click on Report, you get a nice overview page. Here you will not only see the broken link but also which pages it is on.
Broken Link Check
Broken Link Check works on the same principle as the previous tool. However, it takes a little longer for the examination.
Dr. Link check
The link checker Dr. Link Check is also a useful online tool. The broken links are clearly presented, and the crawling is quick.
Unfortunately, the only max. 1,500 links are examined.
Find broken links with SEO tools.
Do you use an SEO tool to optimize your website regularly? Then you can also display the broken links there, among other things.
The advantage: Your website is not loaded, and you can see your progress in the regular evaluation.
The latter is often very motivating for such boring tasks as link cleaning.
Since I use Seobility anyway, I also use the tool for regular link checks. Of course, the OnPage SEO Tool can do a lot more, but that would lead too far now.
But if you want to continuously improve your website, it is a very good all-in-one tool.
And best of all: the basic account is completely free! All you have to do is register briefly.
And this is what the Report looks like:
With one click, I get an overview of the problematic links and can export a report.
Here, too, you have to work hard again. You have to work through the broken links one by one in WordPress.
Google Search Console
Do you use the Google Search Console for your website? Then you may find a few references to broken links here. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work as well as with the old webmaster tools. Problematic links were listed there under the item crawling errors.
Unfortunately, there is no really good way to display the broken links in the new Search Console. But in the “Coverage” section, you will find a few pointers.
You have to search there in the “Excluded” tab. You can then search for 404 errors in the details
Spider software for link testing
Software programs are an alternative to online tools. You can download it for free and then install it locally on your computer. Then you can read your website and have it checked.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Screaming Frog is one of the most famous SEO programs. This allows you to have your website examined for a large number of SEO-relevant points. And thus also track down dead links.
With the free version, you can examine up to 500 pages. To do this, simply enter your web address and click the start button.
Then switch to the Response Codes tab and filter for Client Error.
And you already have an error list that you can then work through again in WordPress.
The Xenu’s Link Sleuth program offers an alternative. However, it is quite old and only available for Windows. But it also runs smoothly on current systems.
If you want to automatically check many links and edit them right away, a WordPress plugin is best. Although Broken Link Checker affects the performance of your site, it is the quickest way to clean up broken links. But don’t forget to deactivate the plugin afterward.