Broken links is a problem. It’s not only a problem for your users, it’s a problem for Google. This makes sense because whatever doesn’t make your users happy generally doesn’t make Google happy.
But why do broken links make users and Google upset? It’s annoying.
Have you ever landed on a website page and find it’s non-existent. Your hopes…dream…all gone. You hit the back button and you’re left not knowing what to do, so you leave the site – FOREVER.
You don’t want your website users to feel this way or do this, so that’s why broken links are bad.
Google also pays attention to when people land on a site and then leave it. They perceive that action as the site not offering what users want or need. If enough people do it, they decrease the rank of the site, so that not so many people see it.
Now that you know why broken links are a problem, the next step is to identify if your site has any broken links.
How to Check for Broken Links on a WordPress Site
You can check your site for broken links in a few different ways.
Many sites have a free tool that will crawl your site for broken links:
These are just a few of them, but there are many more if you search Google for “broken link checker.”
All you have to do is put in your URL, and it will check your site. The results will give you the URLs of the broken links and where those links are found.
Using a WordPress Plugin
Since we’re talking about WordPress, there’s of course a plugin for checking for broken links.
This will monitoring your links in WordPress and alert you when it finds a broken link. You can then go to the page with the link and either take out the link or fix the URL for it.
This is the most convenient way to have your site checked for broken links. You don’t have to think about it, and as your site grows you can stay on top of the links on your site.
Automatic Link Fixes for WordPress
As you’re researching broken links and WordPress plugins, you probably will come across a plugin that will automatically fix all of your broken links as the tool finds them. I do not recommend this tool. All it does is change any broken link to the homepage or whatever page you choose.
As much as you want to say that this is perfectly fine because it leads people to an existing page rather than a non-existing one, it’s not exactly what you want to do for your users.
People who click on a link are expecting something that relates to the text that it links to. If they end up on another page that has nothing to do with the text they clicked on, they will get frustrated. Yes, just as they would if they landed on a non-existent page.
This automatic link fixing tool loops people, and they don’t like to be thrown around a site.
It’s best to simply check the site for broken links, fix those broken links as it makes sense, and move on knowing your users will be happy with their experience on your site.