Basically, Broken Links on your website pages or blog posts have a huge effect on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). 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 for broken links, 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. And if so, you have likely done some research and know 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 I tell you how broken links affect your SEO, you can check on the best link testing tools later.
Types of Links
Links are used to “link” a visitor from one area to another.
There are many types of links :
- 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
What are Broken Links?
In general, Broken Links are such a webpage URL, 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.
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 very bad for the user experience.
For instance, a person came for information on your site and saw a link on the topic. Then again, clicks on it, but there’s nothing there.
How do Broken Links affect SEO?
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 on your crawling budget and overall website performance.
Often, a functional link is a guarantee of page quality. Whereby, the internal links and the links that lead to your website can have a big influence on your search rankings. This is why cleaning up broken links adds quality to your content. Making your website page(s) scannable for various Search Engines.
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. 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 WordPress site and to your reputation as a business. And if users get 404 errors, aka “page not found” in their browsers when they want to visit one of your pages, don’t freak out!
For one thing, there are numerous ways to fix the broken links in WordPress, and in this article, I’ll be focusing on the most practical ones.
The worst thing with 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 have 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, hundreds are ceasing to exist. Although, working sites periodically change CNC, content, add new pages and files as well as delete old ones.
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.
Read Also – Why Links Are Important for SEO
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.
When Google started, their method for ranking websites in the search was primarily based around 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’s 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:
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 about ice cream are great for your site. 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 authority websites are more important than less-trusted websites. Local and regional news organizations are a good example of trusted sites.
Often link builders will talk about links from -.EDU and -.GOV domains. The reason these are considered so valuable is that they typically come from very trusted websites. Such as a university or state governmental agency.
Both of which tend to many “popularity votes” – do you see the pattern that’s forming? So, 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!
Search Engines 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
- 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 many more will help you form a natural link profile, which means better performance in search engine rankings.
What causes Broken Links?
I once read that the average person living in modern industrialized society is exposed. To so many different pieces of information in a single day.
And not even as a person living 100 years ago would have seen in a year. That includes 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.
And that the 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 to call up names, dates, figures, phone numbers, email addresses, and all the corporate info. And client information we need to do business effectively.
That’s why we 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), 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 links to be broken but I’ve identified the main ones, and we’ll probably stop here.
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.
How do I Fix Broken Links on the Site?
One of the shortest methods 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:
- 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 website crawler tool. But, How do you go about this?
For 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.
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 robots.txt file. This way they can’t be indexed by search bots. Read the blog post about what is robots.txt and how to manage it correctly.
If you can’t determine dead links to your websites by yourself, you can use Sitechecker.pro free 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
Example Plugins to use in WordPress Include;
Which are the Best Link Testing Tools?
Verification or Link Testing Tools helps maintain and manage large websites quickly to ensure that not a single user clicks on a dead link or sees a box for a missing image.
These tools check for broken links, images, and missing pages by going deep into multiple levels of the site for verification.
Good tools don’t just tell you that links are dead, but also tells you exactly where they are for easy fixes. The tools below are ones that QA Mentor uses to help make sure site visitors are not frustrated by pages that don’t work.
In short, Link Testing is testing a group of the unit to ensure that the unit operates correctly. It is normally performed after the unit has been tested.
Link Testing would be the initial testing that starts at the design stage where we create the test cases.
The goal is to test each and every link that forms part of the design once the initial code is developed.
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
The test is designed to help make your site faster by identifying what about a webpage is fast, slow, too big, and so on.
Here are some of the advantages of links testing:
- 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 plan and test reports in various formats
How to Test Broken Links with Free Link Checker
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 web site for obsolete and dead HTML links. The program includes HTML links spider and 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.
Try Free Link Checker — a simple but powerful FREE broken link tool for a web site!
But, 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 I do use and recommend to you.
Finally, I am hoping that the above-revised guide on how to cope with Broken Links was helpful.
Below are more related to the topic links;
- What is Search Engine Optimization?
- Google-friendly Sites Beginners Guidelines
- What is a Web Query Parameter?
- URL Components | The Most Important Parts Explained
- Schema Markup for more WordPress sites CTR & Ranking