Broken links not only frustrate your viewers they can also lead to reduced search engine rankings. Broken links can often sit on your site without being noticed for months or even years. To protect your site rankings and to make sure your visitors have a good experience on your site you’ll want to check for broken links and fix them immediately.
Thankfully there are a couple of easy ways to find and fix broken links without needing to check them all manually yourself. There is a little WordPress plugin called Broken Link Checker that will automatically give your site the full checkup and let you know if anything is out of order. Google also gives webmasters access to their webmaster tools which will let you know if anything is wrong with your site.
Broken Link Checker Plugin
To easily find and fix broken links install the WordPress plugin Broken Link Checker. Once activated it will automatically scan for broken links. In the settings page you can tell the plugin how often to scan older links. I usually set this for around 2 weeks.
New links that have just been created in a new blog post or page are scanned instantly. If broken links are found they’ll show up in your dashboard where you can either unlink the anchor text or change it to something else.
When you have found broken links click on the ‘Broken’ tab in the Broken Link Checker plugin to view them all. From here you can either bulk unlink them all or edit the links to a URL that is valid. Sometimes links are temporarily unavailable. If that’s the case then the Broken Link Checker plugin will give you a warning instead of an error and it will try again in 5 minutes.
The other way to check for broken links if you don’t have or don’t want to use the plugin is through the Google Webmaster Tools. You will need to set up an account with Google and get your site verified.
When you login you’ll see the status of your website. In this case there are 9 crawl errors that I need to check out.
Click on ‘Crawl Errors’ to get the specific URLs that are missing. You can click on each URL and then click the tab ‘Linked From’ to find out what pages are linking to the missing URL. You can either edit the pages manually or use a plugin such as the Broken Link Checker to fix them from your WordPress dashboard.