Websites close down, navigation changes, and URLs get renamed without proper redirects. There are many reasons why links no longer point to the right place.
That is why it’s essential to regularly monitor both internal links (links within your website) and external links (links leading to other websites). Internal links can be checked by reviewing your website’s sitemap and navigation menus, while external links can be verified by revisiting the external sources and ensuring they are still active and relevant.
Despite all our best efforts, fixing broken links is an unfortunate part of managing the website.
It’s always a good idea to regularly check for broken links on your website to ensure a good user experience and to prevent any issues with search engine crawlers.
But If you’re wondering how to check websites for broken links, this guide will include the most popular tools to accomplish this.
Why It’s Important to Check Website Links on a Regular Basis
There are many good reasons to check for broken links on your website.
If you have broken links, it will not only result in a bad user experience, but Google will also penalize your website for this.
As a result, your search engine rankings will suffer, as well.
Imagine being a user coming to a new website and finding many broken links or links pointing to 404 error pages. It’s highly unlikely you will come back to the same website again. This not just erodes the user’s trust but also negatively impacts your rankings due to an increase in the bounce rate.
Checking for broken links is not a one-time task but an ongoing process. By implementing regular checks and utilizing reliable broken link checker tools, you can ensure that your website remains free from broken links, providing a seamless and enjoyable browsing experience for your visitors.
Here’s why it’s important to check for broken links on your website, how often you should do this work (and what tools are available), plus some tips for how to fix them once they’ve been found.
Increase search engine rankings.
Fixing broken links on a regular basis can help you improve your site’s rankings. This is because broken links may be a sign of a larger problem with your website.
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Search engines like Google see this as a sign that something isn’t right on your site, which may lead them to penalize it and decrease your rankings resulting in a drop in traffic.
On the other hand, if you regularly fix broken links and other issues with your website, search engines will see that as confirmation that everything on your site is working properly—and they’ll therefore keep indexing it!
Provide a Great User Experience
Broken links are frustrating and confusing for users. If they’re not able to find what they’re looking for, or if they get stuck in a loop, this can cause them to leave your site entirely. Broken links can also negatively impact your site’s credibility as well as its performance—they can make pages load slower and cause you to lose money if someone clicks on an offer that doesn’t work properly because of a broken link.
Improve Website Conversions
A broken link might cause customers to get frustrated if they end up on a page that’s no longer there, and as a result, they’ll will leave without buying anything!
This is why it’s critical to check your website for broken links and make sure you remove or update the ones that no longer point to the right place.
How to Check Website for Broken Links
Use Broken Link Checker Tools
There are numerous free and paid online tools specifically designed to scan websites for broken links. We put together a list of the most popular link checker tools for you.
These tools work by crawling through your website’s pages and identifying any links that lead to error pages or no longer exist. These link checkers are extremely easy to use. Simply input your website’s URL, and these tools will provide you with a detailed report of all broken links on any website.
While using dedicated tools is efficient, manually checking for broken links is still beneficial, especially for smaller websites. Start by navigating through your website’s pages and examining each link individually. Click on every link and ensure that they lead to the intended destination. Keep an eye out for any error messages, page not found (404) errors, or broken images. While this method is time-consuming, it allows you to thoroughly assess each link’s functionality.
How Often To Check For Broken Links
How often you should check for broken links can depend on the size of your website, the frequency of updates, and the amount of incoming and outgoing links.
If you’re launching a new website, it’s a good idea to check for broken links before going live. This will help ensure that your website is functioning properly from the start.
For small websites with few pages and low traffic, checking for broken links once every few months may be sufficient.
For medium-sized websites with moderate traffic and a higher number of pages, checking for broken links every month or two is recommended.
For large websites with high traffic and a large number of pages, it’s recommended to check for broken links on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
E-commerce websites with a high volume of product pages and frequent updates should check for broken links daily to ensure that customers can purchase products without any issues.
So how do you find and fix broken links on any website? There is a number of helpful free tools available.
On this list, you’ll find a list that included free broken link checker online tools, WP plugins, and Browser extensions.
Best Free Tools to Check For Broken Links On A Website
Dead Link Checker | Link: deadlinkchecker.com
Dead Link Checker crawls through your website, identifying broken links for you to correct. This handy tool allows you to search an entire website rather than go page by page.
This is another helpful tool for finding broken links on the entire website. This free online Checker / Validator not just tells you which of your hyperlinks are dead but will also where they are in your HTML code!
Broken Link Checker scans your page and provides a broken links report within a few minutes. The extension highlights which links are live and which ones are broken.
Broken links are bad for business. That’s why you need to find them and fix them. Dr. Link Free Checker tool tracks all the broken links on your website and shows exactly where they are.
Chrome Extension Link Checker
Check My Links is a link checker that crawls through your webpage and looks for broken links.
In addition to having a free online tool, AtomSEO also offers a free browser extension.
WordPress Broken Links Plugins
This is a must-have WordPress plugin that will monitor your website looking for broken links and let you know if any are found. It will create or email you the list so you can take care of the links that are no longer working as soon as they’re found.
You can also set it up so you get weekly notifications letting you know if there were new broken links found on your WordPress website.
Fixing Broken Links
After you found broken links on your website, it’s important to fix them.
For internal broken links, update the URLs to point to the correct pages or create appropriate redirects if necessary.
For external broken links, you have the option to either remove them or find alternative sources that provide similar or relevant content.
You can use any of the tools on our list tools to help you find, monitor, and fix all the broken links on your website to make sure you provide the best user experience and continue to improve your search engine rankings.
By regularly checking and fixing broken links, you improve user experience, maintain a positive online reputation, and enhance your website’s SEO performance.
If you’re not sure whether the links on your site are working properly, there are a few ways to find out. You can use a number of free online link checker tools we included. Fixing broken links is simple—all it takes is some time and effort so that users don’t experience any problems when they visit your website or app!