You strive hard to make your blog a valuable resource for your visitors and get ranked to the top on Google search, right?
You put your sweat and tears into it, yet a few problems such as having broken links, which have nothing to do with you most of the time, can make all of that go in vain.
Broken links give your visitors a bad experience, and Google bots don’t like those links.
So it’s your responsibility to find and fix broken links in WordPress. But it’s not realistic to go and check every page separately to find broken links. You need to have a system for that.
Like everything, you can do it by using a WordPress plugin. Here I’ll be sharing how to find and fix broken links in WordPress. Before that, let’s see what broken link actually is.
What is a Broken Link?
A broken link is a link available on a web page that no longer works due to one reason or another.
Maybe, the owner removed the web page a link directs to, and it is no longer available.Show More
Or the link from the beginning was written wrong, an extra character has been accidentally added or removed and so on, so the link isn’t accessible.
Or maybe the site itself was moved permanently, or it doesn’t exist any longer.
Another uncommon problem is that the site is behind a firewall that doesn’t allow outside access.
These are mostly the main reasons that lead to a link being broken.
As I said already, it affects the experience of your visitors and usually affects the quality of your site. You have to know, Google punishes sites that contain broken links because they want the best experience for their users.Show Less
How to Find and Fix Broken Links in WordPress
Now that you know what a broken link is and its side effects. Here is a quick step-by-step manual that you can use to find broken links in your site and fix them with ease without checking every page and every link separately.
Step #1: Install Broken Link Checker Plugin
Note: Broken Link Checker is a very resource-intensive plugin. So don’t run this plugin all the time. Once you’ve fixed the broken links, delete the plugin. Otherwise, it may slow down your site.
Broken Link Checker is a plugin created by the team at ManageWP that helps you monitor your blog and find broken links.
It helps you find broken links or missing images in your posts, pages, comments, blogroll and custom fields.
You can also set it up so that it prevents search engines from following broken links so that your search engine rankings aren’t affected until you tackle the problem.
Another cool feature is that you can filter links and edit links directly from the plugin’s page without having to manually update each post. (We’ll get to this later.)
This plugin can help you save a lot of time and save your rankings from dumb problems you have no hand with most of the time.
So now, you should go and install it. It’s as easy to install as any other plugin:
- Go to WordPress dashboard > Plugins > Add New.
- Type the name “Broken Link Checker” in the search bar.
- Click on the install button and activate it.
You could also download the zip file from the plugin’s link, and then upload the zip file to your site either through FTP or in the Add New page. Although, I think the first method is much easier.
Step #2: Go to Tools > Broken Links
Once you’ve installed the plugin, go to Tools > Broken Links to start playing with this plugin.
The plugin will start looking for broken links, and on this page, you will find the broken links detected by the plugin.
Give it some time to find all the broken links.
Step #3: Check the Links & Fix Broken Links
The next step is very simple. Simply check out every broken link and then choose from the following 5 different options:
- Edit URL: Edit the URL directly with a new link.
- Unlink: Remove the link and leave the text as is.
- Not Broken: When you check that the link isn’t broken, and decide to keep it.
- Dismiss: Dismiss editing it.
- Recheck: If you want the plugin to recheck the link after it has worked again, and so on.
Once you finish the list, you are done.
Then just delete the plugin. And install it again after 7 – 8 months and check for broken links again.
Other Broken Links Checker Tools
As I said, it’s a resource-intensive plugin, you may want to avoid this plugin. In that case, you can consider using the following tools to check broken links.
Link Checker is another plugin available on the WordPress plugins directory page which uses an external service to crawl your website and find broken links and images.
It is another simple option to consider if you don’t like the other plugin, or if you prefer a simpler solution.
Screaming Frog is a website crawler that you can use to crawl a website and fetch data to perform an audit on the site. One of the things you could check for is broken links, and it can be one of the best-detailed options in the market.
I prefer the Broken Link Checker plugin for its simplicity and ease of use. But if you already use this tool to perform an audit on your site, then you need to use it to check for broken links.
W3C is a more manual way where you enter a link to check for broken links, anchors, and so on.
You can set the depth of the search, whether you want to check the whole site or not.
Having broken links on your website can derail all the time and effort that you spent to create high-quality resources that are worthy of high rankings on Google.
In this post, you discovered how to simply remove them without manually doing it yourself for every page and link.
All you need to do is take the time to set up the plugin to get started and start fixing the problems. After that, you could periodically check it and never worry about this problem anymore.
Tell me below your experience moving on broken links. How many links did you find on your site? :)