Imagine you’re a website owner who’s been investing countless hours turning your site into a treasure trove of valuable information for your visitors. Now picture this: A user is on a quest for knowledge on Google, and voila! They stumble upon a link to an article on your site. They’re intrigued, hopeful, and they click on the link, only to be greeted by the dreaded 404 error page. The link they followed was broken, and their excitement quickly turns into disappointment, tainting their perception of your website and discouraging them from revisiting.
Broken links on your website can be a serious setback. They not only create a frustrating user experience but also undermine all the hard work you’ve put into your site. They are like potholes on a road, causing unnecessary bumps and slowdowns on your website’s journey towards success.
Why Maintaining Links Matters in WordPress?
This kind of experience is bad for your visitors. They may quickly decide to leave your site (increasing your bounce rate), and that’s not good news for you. Also, search engines like Google aren’t fond of broken links. They see them as a sign of a poorly maintained site. If they find broken links on your site, they might push your site lower in the search results.
Understanding Broken Links:
So, what exactly are broken links?
They are links that don’t work anymore. They’re supposed to lead you to another page, but they don’t. This can happen for different reasons.
- Maybe the page they were linked to has been removed or moved to a different location.
- Maybe there was a mistake when typing the URL.
Now you might be thinking, “This sounds serious! What can I do?“
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to find and fix broken links in WordPress. This way, your site can remain easy to use and perform well in search results.
Ready to get started? Let’s proceed
What is Broken Links?
Broken links (also known as dead links) are links that don’t work. When a user clicks on a broken link, instead of being taken to the specific webpage, they’re usually shown a 404 error page, indicating that the desired page could not be found. This can happen for a variety of reasons, which we’ll learn more about it further below.
Types of Broken Links
There are two primary types of broken links:
- Internal, and
Internal broken links are links that point to different pages on the same website. These are usually easier to control and fix because you own the pages the links are supposed to point to.
External broken links are links that point to different websites. These can be trickier to handle because they often involve third-party sites that you have no control over.
Reasons for Broken Links
Broken links can occur for several reasons. Commonly, there are few reasons that can create a broken links:
- Changing the URL/slug of the linked page without a corresponding update to the links pointing to it
- Deleting a linked page
- The website being moved or shut down
- Errors in the website code
Implications of Broken Links on User Experience and SEO
Broken links can have a significant negative impact on both the user experience and your website’s SEO performance.
From a user’s perspective, broken links can be frustrating and disruptive, leading to a poor browsing experience. Users might leave your site if they encounter too many broken links, increasing your site’s bounce rate.
From an SEO standpoint, search engines view broken links as a sign of a poorly maintained site. This can harm your site’s ranking in search engine results, making it harder for users to find your site through organic search.
Essential Tips to Find and Fix the Broken Links
Bad User Experience
No One would love to visit a website which is having broken links or having a complex navigation structure. Research says that most of the visitors don’t want to waste their time searching for the stuff they require. They will just leave your website if any of your website URLs stumble upon a broken link or 404 pages which can result in a high bounce rate, loss of visitors and very bad user experience.
Loss of Traffic and Revenue
Regular Traffic is like blood flowing in your veins for any online business. It’s a precious asset without which even we can’t imagine a website can survive.
A healthy linking profile is exactly what you need to move traffic from acquisition to conversion. If broken links come between you and your readers, you will definitely lose your valuable traffic which can hurt you, your website and its revenue badly.
Online or Digital Revenue is directly dependent on the organic traffic of your website
Devalue of your SEO efforts
If you have a website, then you will always dream to make your website rank high in search engines. You will give all of your high-end efforts in making your website rank well on Google as per Google recommendation. But, assume that, if your website started appearing lots of 404 links or broken links and the User Experience on your website dumped up.
As per Google Recommendations, User Experience plays a vital role in the Search Engine ranking metrics. Hence, if your website appeared with broken links then it will definitely affect your SEO efforts applied to date and can result in bad SEO profile and bad User Experience.
Suggestions: You must ensure that in any manner, any of visitor on the website wouldn’t end up to a 404 page or a broken link on your website to overcome the dreadful effects of broken links in your website.
How to find a broken link in your WordPress Website?
Here, we came with a free tool that can help every webmaster to easily find out all the broken links from your website.
XENU LINK SLEUTH
Xenu is a free tool that can help you to find out all the broken links from your website, regardless of the type of website you use.
Step 1: Download Xenu Installation Package
Step 2: Install and Open Xenu
Step 3: Navigate through File > Check URL and Enter your website domain
Step 4: Uncheck the checkbox “Check External Links” and click “OK” to proceed with the findings of broken links.
Step 5: Wait for the process to complete and then Xenu will get you a list of all the broken links (if any).
Bonus Tip: W3C Link Checker is an online link checker tool that will display all dead links, their status code (e.g. 404, 403, 301, etc) and the suggested course of action.
How to fix broken links on your WordPress website?
There are lots of ways to fix broken links on your WordPress website. But, the fastest and the most effective way to fix the broken links is essential.
I’ve pointed you to the most popular WordPress plugin which will help you to find and fix the broken links found on your WordPress website in a quick and effective manner.
Broken Link Checker
Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin is highly configurable, which means you can filter links by URL, anchor text and so on.
This plugin checks for the broken links on your site and provides you with a list of broken links that you can fix them directly from the plugin’s Settings page.
Additionally, You can even stop search engines from following broken links and display dead links differently in your posts to avoid confusing your readers.
Plugin Disclaimer: There’s been much talk about broken link plugins draining server resources. As a result, some hosts block some of the plugins. If you notice significant performance drops while using any of these plugins, deactivate the plugin after fixing your broken links. In fact, activate the plugin only when you need to check your WordPress site for broken links.
With all the tools mentioned in the previous section, you will be able to capture dead links before doing something dreadful to your WordPress website. All you have to do is rewrite, replace or remove the dead links.
Finding and Fixing Broken Links on your WordPress website will result in better user experience and high traffic, both of which can bring huge conversion to your website.
I hope that you loved this article to find and fix broken links to your WordPress website.
If I have missed out on any of the valuable methods which you are using and receiving better results, then do share it with us via the comments section below.