What Are Broken Links And How To Fix Them
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Last Updated on 21st April 2022 by Ajmer Singh
The owner of one or more websites has to take a lot of pains to increase the ranking of a website and make it a valuable resource for the visitors.
Therefore, they must be aware of the fact that if there are broken links on the website, the hard work done to increase the ranking will be of no use.
Let’s move on to what are broken links and how to fix them…
What Are Broken Links And How To Fix Them?
Broken links are links that lead visitors to a page or content that no longer exists, has moved, or was renamed.
They can create the following problems for the websites.
-User experience will not be good, as when they will click a link, they will receive 404 errors.
This frustration will never let those users visit the website again.
-The SEO efforts will be of no use as broken links restrict the flow of visiting various pages of websites.
Such a thing will have a negative impact on the ranking of the website.
In order to avoid all these issues, the owner needs to check the website regularly for any broken links.
There are three major types of broken links that exist and they include:
- Internal links
- Outbound links
- Inbound links
Let’s study them briefly
These are links from your one page to other related pages within your website.
They are links from your site to another website.
These are links from other websites to yours.
Having said all that, let’s take a look at the causes of broken links.
There are several reasons why you get a ‘404 error’ response when you click on a link or page, I have provided a few of such reasons below:
- If you link to a website that has gone offline.
- Linking to orphaned links, that is, forgetting to change the internal links of a page or content you renamed.
- Misspelt or incorrect URL.
- Linking to content that has been deleted or moved.
There are many tools, which people can use to check the broken links.
Some of them are free while others are paid. Here is the description of some of these tools.
1. Google analytics
This is a free tool, which users can use to track the performance of the website.
The tool can also be used to find broken links.
In order to use the tool, users have to use their credentials to log in to the tool.
After this, an evaluation time has to be set.
People can set the period to monthly to check the broken links and other problems related to the website.
This is another free tool to find broken links.
Users need to install the software on their computer and launch it.
There is a File menu where users can click Check URL.
Users need to enter the URL of their website and select options, then click OK.
The software will run the analysis and provide results.
Users should be patient with the results if they are using the software for the first time.
3. Online Free Websites
Just put the URL of your website and wait for a few seconds.
These free online tools will provide you with the basic results and mainly they will show you the broken links,
if not then cross-check with other tools.
4. WordPress Plugin
Yes, there is a free plugin also available for WordPress users. It’s powerful and very useful.
You can use this plugin to detect broken links and quickly edit links directly from the settings page, no need to manually visit each post.
Plugin: Broken Link Checker
After searching and identifying the broken links, the next step is to create a report regarding these links.
Users need to open an Excel sheet and track the links.
After naming the file, users can transfer the file to Google Analytics by clicking Export – CSV for Excel.
Users can also use Xenu too for exporting purposes.
Analyze the data
The next step is to analyze the data provided by Google Analytics and Xenu.
Both the tools provide a list of broken links.
Users need to analyze the pages and check the reasons for which they are not working properly.
Google Analytics shows that there are some links, which are visited frequently while others are used rarely.
There are a few broken links that do not work because of mistyping or other human errors.
The website owners also need to check and correct the URL for the pages that have broken links.
Xenu is the tool that shows only those links that are live but have character errors.
Such characters can be #, which can be replaced by some other character.
Such problems need to be identified and resolved for all such pages.
The owners need to document the link in the excel file and redirect it.
The next step is to redirect these broken links.
They have to go to the URL Directs option, which will usually be present in the File menu of the tool.
There will be an option called Add Redirect and after clicking it,
the owner has to fill the From box and the To box by copying the links from the Excel file.
After doing all this, select Create new redirect available on the Type menu.
You can also use any of the redirect plugins.
One of the best ways to find broken links is by using the Semrush SEO tool.
Semrush is a complete SEO tool for on-page, off-page or technical SEO.
You can use it for free as well (limited features).
These are the ways in which people can find broken links and resolve the issue.
Broken links can affect the ranking of the website because people do not like to visit such websites with broken links as this can lead to frustration.
People never come to visit such a website again.
The website should be checked for broken links and if there are any, the owner can resolve the issue with the help of free or paid tools.
Google Analytics and Xenu are free tools, which the owners can use for the purpose.
So I think now you are aware of “What are broken links and how to fix them”.
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