Broken links are website links that no longer work. Sometimes called dead links, they are bad news for a website. They’re also a common problem that anyone charged with maintaining a website will likely face. Here’s how to find and fix broken links on your website.
Why Website Links Break
Nothing lasts forever and website links are no exception. In fact, there’s even a name for the tendency of links to break as time passes: link rot. What causes broken links? There are many reasons for this breakage:
- The URL for the linked page may have been entered incorrectly.
- If you have a link on your website to a different website, the destination website might have removed the linked page, moved, or ceased to exist.
- Your website might have gone through a redesign and the page structure has changed.
Are broken links bad?
Yes. They make search engines and people visiting the website unhappy. Search engines consider links when calculating rankings, and both links to your website and within it matter. Broken links can undermine your search engine optimization efforts and drop your rankings, making it harder for potential customers to find your website.
Speaking of potential customers, if a potential customer clicks on a link on your website that no longer exists, it doesn’t make a good impression. If it happens, once, they will probably forgive you. If a visitor encounters a broken link multiple times, frustration may send them elsewhere.
Fixing Broken Links
Clearly, it’s a good idea to fix broken links on your website. How do you do it? Follow these steps:
- Locate the broken links. How do you find and fix broken links? Use a broken link checker. With Google’s Search Console, you can check your website for errors and generate a list of all of its broken links. If you have a WordPress website, they are lots of broken link plugins. Either option is acceptable. However, the WordPress plugin allows you to work on your website to find and fix each broken link.
- Fix simple errors. Once you’ve located the dead links plaguing your website, it’s time to fix them. First, look for simple errors like typos. Transposed or missing letters, spaces or punctuation can keep a link from working. Correcting these issues only takes a few quick keystrokes and should fix the links.
- Set up redirects. It’s not uncommon for sites undergoing a redesign to move or delete pages. This leads to broken links that trigger a 404 error, but setting up redirects should fix the situation. The process you’ll need to complete will depend on the type of website you have.
- If your site uses Apache HTTP, you’ll set up redirects in your .htaccess file.
- If you have a WordPress website, you can install a redirect plugin.
- If your site uses Microsoft IIS6 & IIS7, then you’ll instead need to utilize on-page redirects.
- Test your work. It’s always a good idea to check your work. It’s possible to use a redirect checker to confirm that your redirects are working properly. You may also want to run the website link checker again to verify that all the broken links have been fixed.
A good place to start is to request a free website audit. We’ll be happy to find those broken links for you.
If you need to fix broken links or have other SEO issues are causing you problems, Design 4 Dot Com can help. With more than 15 years of experience in helping businesses build a better web presence, we can help you identify any issues that might be driving customers away. Contact us today at 407-491-5214 to learn more about how we can assist you.