What Is A Broken Link And How To Check Your Website For One
A broken link is also known as a dead link. It is a hyperlink present on any webpage that is not working any longer. The reason for the glitch can be quite a few reasons.
Why don’t broken links work?
As mentioned above, dead links do not work any longer. Why is it so? There are few reasons for the same and the hiccup may be due to any one of the issues arising.
- If you have entered the wrong URL in the website for the specific link, you might encounter a dead link.
- It is quite likely that the so-called destination website where the link was placed might have removed the web page that was linked. This usually results in what we sometimes see as the 404 error.
- The destination website or even the web page must have been removed permanently.
- Oftentimes, you face a broken link if the user is guarded by a firewall. This does not allow access to the destination website. It is essential for this reason that you must check this link from time to time.
Broken links do not go down very well with visitors. This is because they are not able to access the information they are looking for. Instead, they visit other websites that have the same relevant information.
Alternatively, there are instances you will encounter when a website has not been updated for a long time. In this case, the website suffers from link rot and might be having several broken links in the website.
Why is it harmful to a website to have dead links?
Having dead links is not a good thing to have on your website. And the two main reasons why they can jeopardize a website’s traffic include-
Bad user experience if you are clicking on a link time and again but it does not seem to give you the desired result, you tend to get frustrated and not return to the website ever.
Your SEO efforts go in vain
If you have broken links, the “flow of link equity” is negatively impacted your website. This adversely affects the rankings of your site. So, it is important to check the link that you have on your website to ward off these problems.
However, you can website check this link by few methods, which we will discuss below and avoid pitfalls. Follow the steps below so that you can identify the dead links and also fix them in the process.
Step-1: Identify and find broken links
To find out these links, you can use few tools such as–
This is a great tool for tracking how your website is performing and tracing broken links. Use this tool as an online broken link checker. You have to sign in to your Google Analytics Account. Set an evaluation period for which you want to use this broken link checker.
You will be able to find all the dead links with the help of this link checker.
This is another tool that is free of cost. It is known as the Xenu Link Sleuth. You have to install it and then start right away.
Step-2: Generate a report to track changes
Once you have found out the dead links, next use an Excel spreadsheet so that you can track “redirect processes” of these very links. When you are using Google Analytics, you can generate the report and export the same and download it.
In case you are using Xenu, you can create a report too, although if you are using it for the first time, it might take some time for the report to be generated. If you want to export Xenu data that you have obtained, exporting the same to Tab Separated File will allow you to open the text file in Excel.
Regardless of whether you are using Google Analytics or Xenu, you can organize the data in different Excel sheets.
Step-3: Data Analysis
Once you have found out the web pages that have the broken links, next you must analyze why these links are not working. Remember, at the beginning of the write-up, we had cited few reasons why these links do not work at times. So, identify the exact cause before you decide what you must do with them.
The links that have the most visitors are worth all your time and effort so that they can be fixed. Remember, sometimes due to human error like typing it out wrong may also lead to not being able to access a web page.
Step-4: Redirect the links to the Content Management System
Finally, it is time to redirect the dead links to the CMS you are using. In this way repeat the process for all the links with the help of the above link checker.