Basically, Broken Links on your website pages or blog posts have a huge effect on your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy. And whether you own a professional website 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 often, which does an easy job of checking and making our web life easy. Bearing in mind, weblink testing is the testing of a group of modules to ensure that they operate correctly in combination. It is normally performed after the individual modules have been tested in isolation. And prior to the integration testing that is performed for the complete system.
Simply put, web testing refers to checking your website for possible bugs that may hinder the performance of various website functions. Whereby, testing is essential before moving the code into the actual production environment. Of course, you too are trying to figure out what tools are best for testing broken web links. If so, guess you have likely done some research.
And, you already know that there are a lot of options. From complex Java log parser tools to other tools that are much more simple in design. And as such free logging tools too. Before we tell you how broken links can affect your overall website content SEO audit strategy, you can check on the best link-testing tools to gather more useful and related details.
What Are Broken Links In A Website Audit Plan?
In general, Broken Links are such webpage URLs, when navigating through which the server gives 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 maybe “dead.” Due to a malfunction error, server error, or even a site configuration error. There are a variety of links to consider.
The Main Link Types:
- Local Links: A page on the same server or directory
- Internal Links: A section on the current page or document
- External Links: A page or site on a different server or directory
- Download Links: A file for the visitor to download
- Email Links: Opens the visitor’s e-mail program
Chiefly, links are used to “link” a website visitor from one area to another (whether it’s a standalone page, a landing page, or even a blog post). With this in mind, the task of every webmaster and site owner is to ensure that there are no links to non-existing pages, documents, and files on the site, both external and internal.
In other words, the user, when clicking on any link, is guaranteed to go to the next page and see the expected content there. So, broken links are awful for the user experience. For instance, a person came for information on your site and saw a link on the topic. Then again, he/she clicks on it, but there’s nothing there — something that is not pleasing at all!
How Broken Links Affect A Website SEO Audit Process
Eventually, Search Engine is another reason to care about broken links. 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. Often, a functional link is a guarantee of page quality. The internal links and the links that lead to your website.
And, they can all have a very big influence on your search rankings. This is why cleaning up broken links adds quality to your content. Whilst, making your website page(s) scannable for various search engines like Google, Bing, and the rest. From our 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. Even some of the biggest tech monsters online such as Cisco have at least 5% of their links broken. In short, broken links are something that can cause serious damage to your overall website and to your reputation as a business. What if users get 404 errors, aka “page not found” in their browsers?
This occurs quite often whenever they want to visit one of your web pages. Well, there’s no reason for you to freak out! For one thing, there are numerous ways to fix broken links on your website. And in the next section of this article, we’ll be focusing on the most practical ones. The worst thing about broken links is that they are invisible.
Resource Reference: Search Engine | Why Is It So Important To Webmasters?
Keep in mind, that it’s quite very rare for the website owner to have full-fledged analytics – which hyperlinks and which pages users click on. One thing is for sure, if a year or two passes on, some of those forgotten links will 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.
Since the webmaster does not often know about this, it becomes messy. The number of pages indexed by search engines is growing every day, thousands of new sites are being created, and hundreds are ceasing to exist. Although, working sites periodically change CNC, content, add new pages and files as well as delete old ones.
Realistically, if your website is less than 20 pages and broken links are easy to control, then there can 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 – you can’t always keep track of the availability of all links from the site.
How Broken Links Affect Website SERPs Position Ranking
Links (both from other websites as well as the links within your own site) are important to ranking. Simply, because there is a direct correlation between the quality/quantity of links to your site. And how much search traffic your site receives. When Google started, their method for ranking websites in the search was primarily based on the number of links a webpage had.
The basic concept was that the more links a webpage had, the more likely that webpage was to have good content. There are a lot of factors that contribute to the value of a link, but here are a few aspects that make a link from a website valuable to you, the small business owner. And, this is something that’s worth mentioning in reference to our broken links case study.
If you’re an electrician, getting a link from a website dedicated to electricians is more valuable than a website dedicated to fishing. Links from relevant websites help search engines figure out what your site is about, which helps you rank for that topic. So, if you’re looking to rank highly when people search for “Seattle Ice Cream,” then links from websites about Seattle.
Or even a juicy ice cream link that is great for your website. Search engines are smart, though. If you get a link from a local blog that is based in Seattle, or a website that is about desserts, they can figure out that desserts are related to ice cream, and that a blog based in Seattle is writing about a business located in Seattle.
2. Authority & Trust
Similar to the NewYorkTimes.com example above, links from trusted and authoritative websites are more important than less-trusted websites. Local and regional news organizations are good examples of trusted websites. Quite often, link builders will talk about links from -.EDU and -.GOV domains. And there is a reason these are considered so valuable.
Obviously, because they typically come from very trusted websites, such as a university or state governmental agency. Both of which tend to have many “popularity votes” – do you see the pattern that’s forming? As a general rule of thumb, you should go after links from more important websites.
Note: This is why link-building services that claim to build “1000s of links per week” or “submit your website to 2000 directories instantly” all for the low low price of $99 are a waste of your time. For one thing, these links are never valuable! And worse, they can come from spammy sites, which can be considered a mark against your website!
Equally important, Search Engines such as Google and Bing like to see you get a wide variety of links. It’s an indicator of trust, and websites that don’t have a natural “link profile” can be red-flagged by search engines. So, what types of links should you target to make sure your link profile is diverse?
Consider the following types of links:
- Bloggers talking about your business
- Website directories and other listing platforms
- People sharing your website on their Facebook page
- Reviews on sites like Yelp, InsiderPages, Google Places, etc.
- Comments that you have left on blogs and news websites
- Links from local organizations like your Chamber of Commerce
All of those links and others will help you form a natural link profile, for better performance in search engine rankings.
What Are The Actual Dead Links Cause?
In reality, an average person living in modern industrialized society is exposed to so many different pieces of information in a single day. Not even a person living 100 years ago would have seen it in a year. Such aspects include the likes of advertisements, newspaper headlines, websites, text messages, traffic signs, T-shirt slogans, and so on and so forth.
It’s hardly surprising that attention spans are getting shorter — where a majority of people believe themselves to be busier than ever. With this information overload, it is next to impossible to remember everything we need to. Like calling up names, dates, figures, phone numbers, email addresses, corporate details, and client info we need for effective business.
For such reasons, that’s why we constantly learn how search engines work and use link testing tools to do the maths, fixing, remembering, and information retrieval for us. But, in which cases do website links become broken or dead?
Broken Links Occurs If:
- Old and unnecessary pages and documents are recklessly deleted or moved. But on other pages, in other sections, there are links to these pages. They become “broken”.
- Links to another site and a change occurs on it. This can be a change of domain name, site structure, or page deletion. The site can move to a domain with www. and not configure a redirect (read about what is a 301 redirect). In this case, the link to the page without www. will also become broken.
- Sites have an automatic update of content or other data from an external source. For example, with online stores, delivery services, or warehouses with data on the Internet. Failures in such systems can be the cause of dead links.
- The site is processed technically or visually (change of design), and the problem arises of transferring content to a new structure. Since there is a lot of data, and technical algorithms that may not take into account all the nuances of moving page content – broken links happen.
Generally, there are several more reasons for any given website links to become broken, but we’ve already identified some of the most common and the main ones, and we’ll probably stop there for now.
Why A Strategic Broken Link Building Plan Is Important
Today, broken link-building is one of the most popular link-building tactics around. It’s the fifth most widely used tactic — according to Aira’s annual state of the link-building report, which crowdsources opinions from over 250 digital marketing professionals. But, it’s not entirely foolproof, and there’s some nuance to doing it well, more so, in order to rank higher.
According to Ahrefs, broken link building is a tactic that takes advantage of broken pages on the web. It involves finding a dead page and asking linkers to swap the links to a working page on your site. The idea is that they’ll do this as they don’t want to send visitors to a dead resource. With that being said, broken link building is a four-step process for it to work well.
Consider the following 4 steps:
- Find broken pages with backlinks
- Vet the backlinks
- Create a replacement page
- Do outreach
You may sometimes find that people link to a dead page for reasons that would be hard to replicate. As such, these opportunities probably aren’t worth pursuing. Unless we do analyze the topmost-ranking pages to find our replacement page, it won’t be easy to convince linkers to swap the broken link for ours. But, there are more reasons why we test broken links…
Here is more of what is tested:
- Browser Full Page Test, Hostname Test,
- MX Record Lookup, NS Record Lookup, and SPF Lookup
- Reverse DNS and Blacklist Check
- Server Test, Port Scan, SPF Parser, and PING
- General Website Test and individual Web Page Test
- HTTP Headers Test and Behind China Firewall
- Email Validation Test and Certificate Validation
- WHOIS, Traceroute, and TCP Traceroute
- IP Lookup and Network Lookup
- MTR Traceroute & Ping
Always remember, that the work you put into vetting your potential backlink prospects is for deep recommendations. Now’s the time to add them to your content so that your outreach angles make sense. Just make sure everything you include is accurate. For example, if a deep link references an out-of-date statistic, include a more recent statistic.
How To Fix Broken Links On Your Website
The most important thing to consider is a natural, unstoppable process. The larger your site is, and the more often you refer to your own or other people’s pages – the higher the probability of broken links on the site. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about it, but regular checks and fixing can do magic rather than just sitting around and hoping for the best.
One of the shortest methods to fix broken links for your WP website is the W3C Link Checker, a tool that checks your website for broken links and more. When you locate the links, you have 3 ways to resolve them manually.
Consider the following:
- Correct the Link: Perhaps you’ve entered an incorrectly spelled link. All you have to do is edit the broken URL and replace it with the correct one.
- Replace the Link: Sometimes it is better to replace a link with a functional one.
- Unlink: If the page that you’ve linked to doesn’t exist anymore, or it’s a resource that is no longer relevant, then it is better to remove the link from the page.
You have to do this manually using your own hands or a website crawler tool if you are keen to get quality results. But, how do you go about this? As an example, Wikipedia removes an unnecessary page or combines two pages. You need to change the address in the broken link to lead to a new page that’s more worthwhile and credible enough.
Broken links are fixed if:
- Any broken URL appeared as a result of the fact that the site ceased to exist. And you can refer to the same page in the web archive or find an adequate replacement for the old link.
- A bad URL appeared because the site is unavailable – check if it lasts a long time. There is always a chance that the problems are temporary and are associated with hosting issues or DDos.
- You refer to a page of the site, and the URL address has changed on it. Your task is to find an old page with a new URL definition and write it in place of the old one.
- The page is deleted and you can’t find a replacement for it or find it at a new address. So, there’s nothing that can be done, you’ll have to remove the broken link altogether.
- To prevent your websites from indexation problems, you should close broken links in the robots.txt file. This way they can’t be indexed by search bots. Read the blog post about what is a custom robots.txt file and how to manage it correctly.
Markedly, as you’ll come to learn, later on, some broken links testing and web-based checkers tools like Ahrefs are powered by the largest-live big data backlinks database in the industry. Suffice it to say, that the Ahrefs crawler is the second most active after Google, and they update their backlinks database with fresh data every 15 minutes. So, there are many benefits…
Why use a link-testing tool:
- It supports multiple projects
- Easy export and import of test cases
- Easy to integrate with many defect management tools
- Automated test cases execution through XML-RPC
- Easy filtration of test cases with version, keywords, test case ID, and version
- Provide credentials to multiple users and assign roles to them
- Easy to assign test cases to multiple users
- Easy to generate test plans and test reports in various formats
If you can’t determine dead links to your websites by yourself, you can use Sitechecker.pro-free package plan as a broken links checker. Of course, Yes! You’ll have to spend some time. But, by doing this you show respect and care towards visitors coming to the site from social networks and search engines.
Use WordPress Plugins:
By the same token, you can also reset your permalink settings or use the – .htaccess File to Fix Broken Links as well. But, besides the above WordPress link-testing plugins, there are other Best Link Testing Tools that you can also bring down to the table. To begin with, Verification or Link Testing Tools help maintain and manage large websites quickly.
Specifically, in order to ensure that not a single user clicks on a dead link or sees a box for a missing image. Such a tool will check for all broken links, images, and missing pages by going deep into multiple levels of the site for verification. However, good tools don’t just tell you that links are dead, but also tell you exactly where they are for easy fixes.
Resource Reference: Why Links Are Important For SEO | A Full Beginners Guide
Be that as it may, the most basic option for beginner webmasters is the Ahrefs broken link checker tool that is powered by industry-leading link data. To enumerate, Ahrefs’ Broken Link Checker is powered by the largest live backlinks database in the industry. Not to mention, their crawler is the second most active after Google, Bing, Yandex, and the other SERP tools.
The Ahrefs tool helps you to:
- Say goodbye to broken links
- Unbreak your broken pages
- Eliminate dead internal links
- Schedule the discovery of new broken links
- Find and fix all broken redirects
- Build more links from high-DA websites
- Export data in two clicks
As an example, you can use the Ahrefs Broken Links Checker Tool to check your website for broken inbound and outbound links in seconds. Say goodbye to broken links! Instantly see every broken outbound link on your site. Sort and filter the list to prioritize fixes, and then check back regularly to find new broken links just as the broken link checker tool discovers them.
In fact, they update their backlinks database with fresh data every 15 minutes. Meaning, that they’re constantly discovering new broken links all the time — even when you are away doing other important website audit processes. To get started, all you need to do is hit on the image below to be redirected to the broken link checker site so as to start using Ahrefs right away…
Then, thereafter, you can nip the dead links right in the bud before they negatively impact your SEO. Therefore, it’s time to unbreak your broken links or your website blog posts and pages alike. See the most linked-to dead pages on your website. Reinstate or redirect them to suitable alternatives to reclaim “link equity” — and potentially improve rankings.
What’s more, this tool allows you to eliminate dead internal links! See all broken pages with links from elsewhere on your site. Improve navigation and crawlability by removing the links, or by reinstating or redirecting the dead pages. You can even schedule the discovery of new broken links — run daily, weekly or monthly crawls to check for new dead links.
Resource Reference: How Website Links Management Is Done | #10 Key Methods
Generally, this discovery is for both internal links and external links as per your website posts and pages. Then, thereafter, you can easily and quickly compare the difference in the number of issues between crawls to track progress. All this while you find and fix broken redirects — check for domains that you don’t recall linking to — they may have been redirected.
At all costs, what our webmasters love most about Ahrefs is the way it allows them to remove or replace the links to improve user experience in their content SEO audit strategy. And also, to make sure we are not linking to any harmful websites out there without enough reason — that could hurt our strategic search engine optimization plan. Here is a sample illustration:
Markedly, we all know that it’s quite important to build more quality backlinks, especially, from those websites with a high Domain Authority (DA) Score, right? With Ahrefs broken links checker tool, you’ll be able to turn your competitors’ most linked broken pages into broken link-building opportunities. By creating something similar to one of their dead pages.
And then, ask all those other webmasters linking to that page to link back to your website instead. The next thing is to export data in two clicks. Whereby, you’ll be able to get any Ahrefs report as a CSV in seconds. As a result, you can send the file to a colleague or freelancer to outsource critical SEO tasks.
The Other Topmost Best Link Testing Toolkits To Consider
To enumerate, Free Link Checker is a desktop freeware tool that does the broken links check. Whereby, you specify a starting URL for checking and the link validator software finds dead links, invalid HTTP redirects, and other problems on a website or a single web page. A broken link report is provided after validation. The search for broken links may be recursive.
Thus, validating the whole website for obsolete and dead HTML links. The program includes an HTML links spider and a broken link analyzer. In addition, Free Link Checker provides various settings for broken link checks. Displaying invalid links report, tracking progress, setting up authentication (username and password) and proxy.
It is possible to analyze links from the selected domain only. In the end, you’ll get only a summary of broken links, or receive a full report on dead or obsolete URLs (originating from a href, img, etc. HTML tags). As well as, invalid HTTP redirects, directory redirects, forbidden links, etc. You may start immediately whenever you download the freeware link checker so to say.
Or even gather more software details here: http://www.Control-F.com/FreeLinkChecker/ before you start. Forthwith, besides using the Ahrefs broken link checker tool, different other link testing tools provide different features and work on different platforms. Whereby, some of these tools can be accessed online while some require installation as listed down below…
Consider some of these topmost tools:
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool
- W3C Link Checker and Free Link Checker
- Dead Link Checker and Link Verify
- Online Website Link Checker
- Website Pulse and SortSite
- Cyber Spyder Link Test and Link Scan
- Online Broken Link Checker and Site24X7
- Xenu’s Link Sleuth and Pingdom Website Monitoring Tools
- Web Link Validator and Link Tiger
- Jenu Link Checker and Website Cleanup
- Weblight Illumit and Alert LinkRunner
- Web Accessibility Checker, and much more…
In short, Link Testing is testing a group of units to ensure that the unit operates correctly. With that being said, it’s normally performed after the unit has been tested. Link Testing would be the initial testing that starts at the website design stage.
Usually, the main goal is to test each and every link that forms part of the design once the initial code is developed. The test is designed to help make your site faster by identifying what about a webpage that is fast, slow, too big, and so on.
And now, just as we aforementioned, different tools provide different features and work on different platforms. Some tools can be accessed online while some require installation. You can see the full list of link-testing tools that we often use for free and recommend to other webmasters to give a try as well. And then, you can let us know your thoughts later on…
Other Related Resource References:
- Local SEO | 5 Ways To Optimize Your Business For More Search
- What Is A Google-Friendly Site? A Beginner Webmaster Guide
- Website URL Components | The Most Important Parts Explained
- Schema Markup For More WordPress Websites CTR & Ranking
- What Is A Web Query Parameter? A Beginners Guide
Finally, we are hoping that the above-revised guide on how to cope with Broken Links was helpful. But, for more related online FAQs, feel free to Contact Us and let us know how we can sort you out. Or rather, share your additional thoughts, opinions, recommendations, as well as contribution questions (to get FAQ Answers for free) in our comments section.
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