In this post, we’ll explain how to find broken links on your website and why this is important to your website rank and user experience.
If you own a website then I’m sure you’ve dedicated a lot of hours towards it.
It would be a shame to know that your visitors are not having a positive experience because of some broken links.
And as your website grows it becomes more of a challenge to manage all your posts and pages.
Broken links can actually be the demise of your website in multiple ways.
How Broken Links Effect Your Website:
Broken links negatively effect your website in a number of ways. Mostly it creates a negative user experience for your visitors.
Plus, you can lose your current site users as they won’t (most likly) come back to visit your website if they’re constantly hitting Error Pages.
This will ultimately effect your brand reputation as well.
The end result is a poor user experience that can harm all your SEO efforts and consequently lead to poor rankings.
I find it best to check for broken links once a month. Now let’s take a look at what exactly are broken links.
What Are Broken Links?
In layman’s terms, broken links are simply links that lead to a 404 error page which is a page that no longer exist.
Think back to when you landed on a website and clicked on a link that led to a broken link, kind of a pain in the rear.
I personally leave that website 9 out of 10 times.
Broken links will definitely increase the bounce rate which people leave your site and this is one factor on how Google ranks websites.
Broken links are more of a concern to bloggers than actual business owners because they don’t update their content nearly as much.
This is the very reason why broken links are critical for bloggers and why you need to protect yourself against them.
There are plugins you can use to check for broken links but I personally like executing this manually.
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How to Find Broken Links On Your Website:
Personally, I use this website BrokenLinkCheck.com.
Just plug in your domain name and it will retrieve all your broken links. What’s cool about this website is that you will see which url these broken links are coming from.
This makes it very easy to go back to your website and edit these links.
Just two days ago I was able to fix about 150 broken links in a matter of 45 minutes because of this website.
It was my own fault as I changed the permalink in one of my most important pages.
I hadn’t even checked my broken links in about 3 months and the only reason I checked was because someone left me a comment stating that one of my links led to a 404 error page.
Note: The bigger your website the longer it will take to check for all your broken links. It usually only takes a couple of minutes though so just be patient, the wait won’t be too long.
Broken Internal Links Vs External Links:
Broken Internal links have a minimal negative effect on your SEO efforts in comparison to External links.
We will never know the absolute truth about ranking factors from Google but there have been hints over the years about this question.
Once a report came out that 404 error pages are expected and shouldn’t have any major negative effects on your rankings.
This might be true to a certain extent just like how it is for grammar, but I imagine that you have enough 404 errors or enough grammar errors then there will be consequences.
User Experience Matters:
It all comes down to user experience, improve upon that and Google will like your site!
External links are a bit out of your control as you are linking to pages outside of your website. Just remove the link and your good to go.
The 404 error pages can appear if the website moves URL’s or if the owner lets the website expire.
Your links will be pointing to content that no longer exist. If it’s advised to link out to other related websites in your content for better rankings.
Content Ranking Secret: Always link out externally at at least 1 to 2 times per post to authoritative sites. This will give you some google juice to rank faster.
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Other Broken Link Checker Tools:
deadlinkchecker.com – It works just as well as the website I mentioned above.
screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/ – This is a very good tool but you have to pay for it.
If you are doing a lot of scans on a website and see yourself doing a lot of scans then maybe you should give this tool a hard look.
google.com/webmasters/tools – Google webmaster definitely stepped up it’s game because if you used this tool more than a year ago then you would agree they were difficult to understand.
They have made their error messages a lot more friendly to understand. It helps that they notify you when they spot errors without you needing to do anything.[thrive_link color=’red’ link=’https://learntogrowwealthonline.com/start-here/’ target=’_self’ size=’medium’ align=’aligncenter’]Become Awesome at Online Business, Here’s How →[/thrive_link]
I hope you found this article useful as I’ve laid out some good tools to fix your broken links.
There are other tools out there, but I have found these are the best ones to get the job done.
Plus I like free tools which is why I usually go with broken link checker.
Now you know how to find broken links on your website, so go find your broken links and get to fixing them ASAP.
This is a helpful guest post from Yunier Gonzalez from LearnToMakeExtraMoney.com.
Pieter Veenstra says
I am looking for some help. I write a lot about browser based tools. In my posts i include example URL. These may not really exist. Is there a way to avoid that these are seen as broken links?
Not unless you go into the code and remove the target link. If you can’t do that, put a space or spell out the dot part.
You always got to check those or they come back to bite you. At least that’s been my experience.
Benjamin Ehinger says
There is nothing more annoying that reading a blog post or article and hoping to find more information through a link, but finding out it’s dead. This can drive a reader nuts, especially if you were trying to lead them somewhere specific.
Whether it impacts SEO or not, fixing broken links is very important. Great post, btw!
Thanks for the feedback Benjamin, much appreciated. No doubt Broken Links are unpleasant. It’s leaves me feeling like I missed out on something.
Broken links can be a frustrating aspect when searching for something specific online. Like someone killed your search.
It’s almost as bad as landing on a sign up/optin page with insufficient information. They just don’t convert if they leave the user wondering why they’re at this website or landing page.
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Joel Huang says
Hii, I always used smallseotools and drlinkcheck to check broken links. You have a nice list to check broken link. I going to try other sites too. Thanks for the list
Thanks for posting this! It is a huge time saver for website owners looking to find broken links.
I find that broken links generally are not a problem for internal links because I generally don’t change my page / post URL’s. But it could be an issue for external links because you have no control over those. These tools can really help find those links that changed.
Thanks Andy, appreciate your feedback.
Thanks so much for sharing this, I have been blogging for a while now but never really thought of broken links, how they affect a site or if I should look for and remove them.
This post is like written with me in mind.
Although I have seen 404 on my site, I could not figure what it meant, no wonder I have more bounce rates now compared to when I got started and could not figure out why as I know my posts are better now compared to when I got started online.
I have saved the links for deadlink checker and broken link check as I prefer not to pay for now so I will try the free ones first.
Do you think it`s ok to change new links on the place of old ones, what I mean is, does it also affect my site negatively in a way?
Really appreciate, thanks so much
If you’ve got bad links, change them, update them, make them relevant and helpful to your niche audience and you will be rewarded by search engines like Google.
It’s all about user experience.
This is a timely reminder for me to check my links I think. Just a quick question. When we talk about broken links to external websites, would it be fair to say that most of these are broken because the external site has changed or deleted the page location?
Yeah, exactly. When you find yourself in this situation, replace the link with an updated link or resource.
Hi Todd, Broken links are aggravating, and leads to an unpleasant user experience. I own two websites, and check my internal, and external links twice a week. Can’t be too careful lol. You give great information on this topic. I am sure many web owners have not thought about checking their links. Google will not recognize an unbroken link in their ranking considerations. Have a great day.
You too Deborah, thanks for your feedback.
Your website has proven to be very helpful. I had no idea that another site could actually check my links for me. I understand how after awhile of having a webpage up, a person could get a little lazy, and I know making changes to a webpage can cause unexpected glitches. I ordered your ebook on traffic and I will get back to you when I finish reading it. Everyone needs more traffic! By chance does this broken link checking site do scheduled checks?
Thanks for the feedback John. I think you’ll find that you can use the Free Targeted Traffic ebook for every single post you write on your site.
I know I do. This simple habit of targeting your niche’s search keywords is simple to follow, the post posting schedule definitely helps you rank faster.
Not sure on your question, you’ll have to investigate this on your own.
You have pointed out a very important point when building a website that will make money by traffic. Having broken links will drive your visitors away if they keep going to dead ends when trying to get more information. I have used these broken link checkers and they are on my monthly work list. As websites change, links will change. I found that there is nothing to be done to keep from having at least one a month, even if you do not change any thing.
How often do you recommend doing a broken link check on a website that is about two to three years old. Do you think monthly is often enough.
Yeah John, once a month is good. I always keep the focus on user experience and content creation when creating niche sites or authoritative sites.
Although if you never change your url’s, you could certainly do this quarterly. Trial and error is what you’ll find works best for each individual.
Brokenlinkcheck is the single greatest resource for this subject that I have ever used. I sure appreciate you bringing this up to our attention.
I was able to find stuff that was broken on my site that I didn’t even realize.
I can only imagine how a visitor would feel clicking on a link that doesn’t work. It totally kills my blog’s credibility!
Thanks Chris, that’s great feedback and much appreciated. Happy to help!
Wow, this site was so helpful. I own a site that to be completely honest, really isn’t ranking very well online. I will now be looking through my site for any broken links.
I’ve been using Google Webmaster Tools and that’s been super helpful for me when it comes to site rankings. But I’ll use some of these links you’ve provided to check through my site.
Happy to help Jack. You should get our free Targeted Traffic eBook.
You can use it like a guide for every post you create. It’s the same thing I use and my site gets anywhere from 600 to 1,000 free visitors per day.
Hi thank you for this post. As a website owner with links I didn’t know how detrimental broken links can be for your website. It is something I will start to keep a close eye on going forward. The tools you mentioned look great and I will definitely be trying them out.
Awesome, glad it helped out.
Miroslav Petras says
You are right. Broken links will damage your reputation online.
Few years ago i used to have a blog that was full of broken links, because I haven’t updated my blog in months and it looked like i couldn’t care less about my blog which was not true at all.
Thanks for sharing this incredibly valuable information about broken links and free broken link checker!
You bet Miroslav, happy to help.
Thank you so much, Todd. This article is really helpful to me. I am a new to website developing sector. I don’t know about this broken link errors. Many people told that it was not the website owner’s error but the DNS error. Now, I have learned about this. I will be checking my website using the tools you gave regularly. It will support to improve my ranking. The tools you gave to check the broken links are good. Thanks for helping.
Cheers YoguRJ, thanks for your kind feedback, happy to help.
I like the chain image. It goes well with the text.
This is something I didn’t know about, and would probably have an interest in, particularly with the link you provide.
Having 404 errors are not a positive experience for the user, and this is really what is important when building a website and online business.
Best of luck!-Rick
Thanks for your feedback Rick.
Thanks Todd for sharing this article. I find broken links in my website annoying, especially those that point to pages that I no longer have. I was afraid that it might be the reason why I’m still not ranking high on Google.
Back when I was a beginner in running a website, I would scramble around my WordPress dashboard and add multiple pages (w/ links) and then deleted them a few days after. I never thought that it would cause some 404 error pages in my website.
Now I learned my lesson, that as I grow my website, I have to keep my links “as is” without making drastic changes. And if I wish to change so, there’s 301 redirect to the rescue.