Generally, Broken Link Checker is the best tool to test & monitor your overall website backlinks (both internal and external links). Basically, Broken Links on your website pages or blog posts have a huge effect on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Whether you own a professional or just have a personal website, you wouldn’t want your sites to have broken links.
The good news is that to verify broken links, and site availability, there’re a lot of link testing tools in the market. And oftentimes, which does an easy job of checking and making our web life easy. Among other web SEO activities, web testing refers to checking your website for possible bugs that may hinder the performance of various website functions.
And it’s usually a very essential activity before moving the code into the actual production environment. In this guide, we’ll have a look at the best tool to manage and fix your website broken links to improve your SEO and ranking strategy.
What Are Broken Links?
In general, Broken Links are webpage URLs that when navigating through the server give the answer “the page does not exist or is not found”. Meaning, that the link, document, or image requested by the user may not really exist or may be “dead.”
Particularly, due to a malfunction error, server error, or even a site configuration error. It’s the task of every webmaster and site owner to ensure that there are no broken links to their web pages or blog articles. More so, with no links that point to non-existing pages, documents, and files on the site (both external and internal).
Normally, for sites to have broken links, it happens if a person came for information on your site and saw a link on the topic — and then again, clicks on it. But, there’s nothing there! Meaning, if a web user visits your site — and then they click on any site link — they should be guaranteed to go to the next page. In order to see the expected content there.
Overall, broken links are very bad for the user experience. And as such, you can learn more about how broken links affect site SEO in detail. As well as the best link-testing tools to start using right away. Overall, we can use broken link checker tools to monitor and test these broken links.
How Do Website Backlinks Work?
Just imagine – the search robot goes to your site and regularly stumbles upon bad or broken links. This will affect your crawling budget and overall website performance. The worst thing about broken links is that they are invisible. It’s rare for the site owner to have full-fledged analytics – which hyperlinks and which pages users click on.
A year or two passes and some of the forgotten links become broken. Users come to the site on request and want to surf the Internet, but then it does not work out as planned – they are not working. And since the webmaster does not often know about this, it becomes messy.
The number of pages indexed by search engines is growing rapidly every day. Whilst, thousands of new sites are being created, hundreds are ceasing to exist. Although working sites periodically change their CNC and content, you should try to add new pages and files.
Likewise, you should also consider slimming your content through an SEO Audit. While also weeding out irrelevant content or deleting old web pages and files that have long retired. That said, in order to understand the workings of website backlinks, consider the types of backlinks.
The Key Types of Website Links
So far, as you know, whether you are just a beginner or a pro web user, links are used to “link” you – as a site visitor – from one web area to another. Not forgetting, their various ways to come across site links along the streets of the Internet.
Almost every website in existence today is powered by two key types of Backlinks (Internal Backlinks and External Backlinks). As for internal links, they point to a section on the current webpage or document. While external links point to a webpage or website on a different server or directory.
For example, if you know a certain website by its name (like jmexclusives), you can start the site visitor’s journey directly. Using their unique web URL address (like in the case of jmexclusives: https://josephmuciraexclusives.com/). Whereby, the URL will land you on their homepage.
Related Resource: All In One SEO Pack | An SEO Plugin For WordPress Websites
From there on, you can now move along to other web pages depending on how easy it is. At times, you can also get these links indirectly from other Internet sources. Such as the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) from Google, Bing, Yandex, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc.
On one side, there are also what we call Local Links – as a result of a webpage on the same server or directory. While on the other side, Downloadable Links allow visitors to download content files from the web. There are also Email Links that open the visitor’s e-mail program.
You can also obtain them from the main brand’s social media profile pages like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In, etc. Including social networking sites like YouTube, Reddit, Quora, etc. Some of them also come in form of clickable web banner ads – they’ll take you to a landing page as a result.
What Is A Broken Link Checker?
A Broken Link Checker is a web-based tool that monitors and tests all internal & external site links while looking for broken links. It helps you fix bad links to improve SEO and user experience. Bearing in mind, weblink testing is the testing of a group of modules to ensure that they operate correctly in combination.
It’s normally performed after the individual modules have been tested in isolation. And prior to the integration testing that is performed for the complete system. Eventually, apart from your web users, Search Engine is another reason to care about broken links.
Let’s say your website is less than 20 pages, then, broken links are easy to control. But, there can also be 10,000 pages on another’s and it becomes a lot more difficult to control them. Especially, if you refer to web documents on several other sites. Thus, you can’t always keep track of the availability of all links from the site.
Fortunately, if your web users frequently get 404 errors, aka “page not found” in their browsers whenever they visit one of your web pages, there’s no need to freak out yet. For one thing, there are numerous ways to fix broken links. And this is where even a tool like the Broken Link Checker comes in handy.
How To Install & Activate the Broken Link Checker Plugin
One of the best Broken Link Checker features is that it has its own WordPress Plugin (By WPMU DEV) for webmasters to simply and easily install. Perse, to start using it, you’ll need to download the plugin files first, and then upload them on your site.
But, to make your work easier, you can also visit the WordPress Plugins Directory – located along with your site dashboard (right panel), and then search for it. Next, you can now install it in your dashboard and then activate it. Of course, it’s as simple as that!
A Quick Plugin Installation Guide:
To do a new installation of the plugin, please follow these steps
- Download the broken-link-checker.zip file to your computer.
- Unzip the file
broken-link-checkerfolder to the
- Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
- To enable/disable various features and tweak the plugin’s configuration go to Settings -> Link Checker.
To Upgrade Your Plugin Installation:
- Deactivate the plugin
- Retrieve and upload the new files (do steps 1. – 3. from the “new installation” instructions)
- Reactivate the plugin.
- Your settings will be retained from the previous version.
Technically, the Broken Link Checker Plugin monitors external links and internal links in your posts, pages, comments, blogroll, and custom fields (optional). It also detects links that don’t work, missing images, and redirects. More so, while notifying you either through the site dashboard or by email.
In addition, it also makes broken links display differently in posts (optional), and prevents search engines from following broken links (optional). Not to mention, you can also search and filter links by URL, anchor text, and so on.
With this plugin, links can also be edited directly from the plugin’s page, without manually updating each post. Meaning, it’s highly configurable and very easy to use. For even beginners to install, activate and start using it (get started).
How The Broken Link Checker Plugin Works
Once installed, the plugin will begin parsing your posts, bookmarks (AKA blogroll), and other content and looking for links. Depending on the size of your site this can take from a few minutes up to an hour or more. When parsing is complete, the plugin will start checking each link to see if it works.
Again, how long this takes depends on how big your site is and how many links there are. You can monitor the progress and tweak various link-checking options in Settings -> Link Checker. The broken links, if any are found, will show up in a new tab of the WP admin panel – Tools -> Broken Links.
A notification will also appear in the “Broken Link Checker” widget dashboard. Forthwith, in order to save your display space, you can keep the widget closed. Or even configure it to expand automatically when problematic links are detected. Equally important, email notifications need to be enabled separately (that’s in Settings -> Link Checker).
See Related Tool: Dead Link Checking Tool By Ahrefs
By default, the “Broken Links” tab will display a list of broken links that have so far been detected. However, you can use the links on that page to view redirects or see a listing of all links – working or not – instead. Additionally, you can also create “New Link Filters” by performing a query search.
And then, by clicking on the “Create Custom Filter” button. As an example, this can be used to create a filter that only shows comment links. Mark you, there are several actions associated with each link. They show up when you move your mouse over to one of the links listed in the aforementioned tab.
The key link actions include:–
- Edit URL: It lets you change the URL of that link. If the link is present in more than one place (e.g. both in a post and in the blogroll), all occurrences of that URL will be changed.
- Unlink: It removes the link but leaves the link text intact. I highly recommend it to those getting started with this plugin.
- Not Broken: It lets you manually mark a “broken” link as working. This is useful if you know it was incorrectly detected as broken due to a network glitch or a bug. The marked link will still be checked periodically, but the plugin won’t consider it broken unless it gets a new result.
- Dismiss: It hides the link from the “Broken Links” and “Redirects” views. It will still be checked as normal and get the normal link styles (e.g. a strike-through effect for broken links), but won’t be reported again unless its status changes. Useful if you want to acknowledge a link as broken/redirected and just leave it as it is.
Lastly, you can also click on the contents of the “Status” or the “Link Text” columns to get more info about the status of each link.
Links (both from other websites as well as the links within your own site) are important to SEO. Simply, because there is a direct correlation between the quality/quantity of links to your site. And how much search traffic your site receives. Unfortunately, with time, your site gets bloated with broken links.
Broken links are something that can cause serious damage to a website as well as the overall online business reputation. From my experience, broken links are a common problem that has been present on the Internet since its beginning. There’s not a website that isn’t susceptible to broken links.
Learn More: How To Get Results From Broken Link Building
Even some of the biggest tech monsters online have at least 5% of their site content with broken links too. When Google started, their method for ranking websites in the search was primarily based on the number of links a webpage had. But, those times are long gone now!
The basic concept was that the more links a webpage had, the more likely that webpage was to have good content. Today, there are a lot of factors that contribute to the value of a link you can consider. As such, to learn more, in this article, you’ll see a few aspects that make a site link more valuable to web users.
Related Topic: How Backlink Management Is Done | A Step-by-step Guide
Finally, it’s my hope that you’ll give the Broken Link Checker Tool the benefit of doubt and give it a try. Thereafter, you can share your opinions, thoughts, contributions, suggestions, or even recommendations in our comments section. After all, there are other web users like you who will need such inputs.
All in all, if you’ll need more support while using the Broken Link Checker or any other related link testing tools, feel free to Contact Us for a little help. Keep in mind, the main reason we are here today is for your online business to grow limitlessly.