Today you will learn two ways how to find broken links on a website.
Why is it important?
The more and more fresh content you create, you will want to make connections between your articles and between your website and other websites. The way you make these connections is through building internal and external links.
The flawless work of your website depends on a few parameters, which you will have to keep track on and fix them if an issue appears.
Broken links may harm your site in two ways:
1. Imagine that you click on a broken link, instead of the page you want to open, you receive 404 error message that the page cannot be found. What would you think of this site?
Your trust in it will go down. It is likely that you don’t get back there anymore. You don’t want to “offer” this to your visitors, do you?
2. It is not only the visitors who will be disappointed by broken links but the search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. When they “inspect” your website and detect the broken links, they decrease the site rank, and you will suffer traffic loss.
Now you know it is a serious issue and you have to fix if it occurs. For that purpose, first, you have to find the broken links.
How to find broken links?
There are different ways you can do it. Now I will show you two possible approaches.
Approach # 1 Using Google Analytics to find broken links
In case you don’t know, Google Analytics is a free tracking service, provided by Google. Its main functionality is to give a picture of everything that happens with the visitors of your website.
In case you haven’t done it yet, HERE you will find step by step guide how to add Google Analytics to your site.
1. Log into your account, go to the main menu on your left and click on BEHAVIOR and Site Content. You will reach All Pages submenu:
2. On your upper right corner, you will want to set the period you will explore. You can fully customize the period. This is how it should look like:
3. Click All Pages on the main menu. On the main screen, go to Secondary Dimension, and find Page Title, as shown below. As a result, you will add a column with Page Titles.
4. Click on the Advanced tab on the main screen. You will see three drop-down menus. Choose Include, Page Title, and Containing, as shown below. On the search bar type 404 not found and click on Apply:
5. This way you will filter all pages which have 404 not found in the title. You will want to go case by case to explore it. If you happily don’t have broken links, a message There is no data for this view will appear.
This is pretty much all you need to know. Now you have it as step by step guide for your future reference.
WATCH this short video guidance on the exact steps you should follow:
Approach # 2 Using Broken Link Checker plugin
If you are using (or planning to use) WordPress to build your website, then you have in your hands smooth and free solution, called Broken Link Checker plugin.
Read HERE how to create a blog with WordPress.
For this purpose, you have to install the plugin on your website, which is very straightforward and will take you a minute or two. When installing it, you have to click on Activate link in the WordPress back office, and the plugin is ready to work!
Using this plugin is a piece of cake:
1. Click Tools on the main WordPress menu. A submenu will appear – there you will want to click on Broken Links.
2. You will access a working plot, where you will see a list of all posts (if any), where the plugin has detected any issues:
In the example, the plugin has found out two errors and showed the URL, the status (“connection failed”), the link text and the source, which is the name of the post.
Just in two clicks time, we have made the broken links’ diagnostics!
How to fix broken links with this plugin?
After you have the snapshot of all errors, you have four options to proceed. They show up when you place your mouse over each link:
- “Edit URL” lets you edit the URL of that link. If it is used more than once, all links will be changed.
- “Unlink” removes the link and leaves the link text unchanged.
- “Not broken” lets you change a “broken” link as working. Sometimes, due to a glitch or a bug, a link could be detected as broken, while it is ok. Use this function to fix it manually.
- “Dismiss” hides the link from the “Broken Links” and “Redirects” views. It will still be checked as usual, but won’t be reported again unless its status is changed.
In the example above I clicked on the two links, marked as broken, and they appeared to be excellent. I clicked on “not broken” link to label them as working.
The final goal is that after your intervention, you receive the following message:
I hope you will find this guide useful and it will be easy to follow when you decide to deal with your broken links.
But most important is, whatever approach you use, to TAKE ACTION! Now you are aware how dangerous is to keep broken links on your website and how easy is to find and fix them!
The fewer issues you have, the more your site will gain trust, will rank better and you will have a more significant chance to monetize it!
Read HERE about the strategy I use to make my website profitable!
I would love to hear from you! What is your approach? If you have any questions or comments, just leave me a comment below, I will answer you!
To your working links,