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Fixing Broken Links – Why and How

fixing broken links

I watched three of my friends today. I was sitting next to them, but it was like I wasn’t even in the same room. They were talking about music, and a band I had never heard of. And as I was listening, I just couldn’t focus on the four of us. My mind was drifting away, to a place, where I was among people who talked about blogging. They were using words like; wordpress, return on investment, and website optimization. And, not title of songs I had never heard of. We were watching the statistics on my blog. We were laughing, pointing and discussing; how on earth I had managed to get close to 1,500 broken links on my site.

Then, one of my friends, asked me what songs I am listening to at the moment, and my mind went totally blank. I am listening to music all the time, but I just couldn’t think of any songs. There was a broken connection at that moment, between my friends and I, and that’s probably why I kept thinking about why I needed to fix the close to 1,500 broken links on my site.

My friends were still talking, and I was watching them, thinking about what a broken link really is. And how important it is to fix them not just on my site, but in real life as well.

Why you need to fix broken links

If something is broken, and you don’t focus on it, people who sees it will most likely think that either you haven’t noticed, or you don’t care. Either way, it’s bad for you. If something is broken, you need to fix it. You want to keep your friends happy, and you want to keep your readers happy. And a reader that clicks on a broken link won’t stay happy for long.

And, then there’s the search engines. Google is recommending that you fix your broken links, if not, it will most likely have a negative impact on your rankings. Like with your readers, you want to help the search engines find the information they are looking for.

We want to fix broken links, because it makes our readers happy, it makes our relationship stronger, and in the end, it makes the search engines want to include us.

How to fix broken links

I have been watching my broken links grow to close to 1,500 and it has taken me a while to actually get the energy to do something about it. I was thinking that I should start by fixing 20 broken links a day, and do that for many weeks until I had fixed them all. But, I did some research and I discovered that there’s a better way.

I am currently using a WordPress plugin called Broken Link Checker. This helps me to find all the broken links on my site, and it helps me fix them fairly fast as well. And, in the settings, I can add that I don’t want the search engines to follow my broken links. That’s what I am currently doing. But, I have also thought about trying W3C Link CheckerΒ and Link Checker.

Do you check for broken links?

Like I said, I haven’t been focusing on fixing my broken links at all. It has been years since I have checked if I had any broken links, and because of that, I have close to 1,500 broken links at the moment. What about you, are you checking and fixing your broken links on a regular basis?



14 responses to “Fixing Broken Links – Why and How”

  1. seo services says:

    Broken links are common especially on large web sites or blogs that tend to link out to a lot of different content. Broken links can hurt your site so its important to fix them on a regular basis.

  2. I want to my websites broken links, i hope this could help me. Glad to see your recommendation.

  3. Aasma says:

    Hi Jens,

    I do check broken links for my site once in a month and take corrective steps to remove them. Even since I come to know that 404 error could impact your SEO efforts, I give more attention to it.

  4. Aisha says:

    Great article, it’s really useful especially for analytics. I am using Xenu but One little issue with Xenu, it uses a lot a bandwith and CPU if the settings are set to high, and might overload/slow a server. I can also recommend “Broken link checker” is the site is under WordPress

  5. Adrienne says:

    I took some time late last year Jens and fixed all the broken and dead links that I had on my blog. Wow, it was nowhere near 1,500. Gosh, I think it might have been like 40.

    I installed broken link checker but I couldn’t figure out what all the rave was about. If you can believe this, it told me I didn’t have any broken links. I found the links through Google Webmaster Tools so that plug-in didn’t help me at all.

    Glad you got yours all cleaned up now. Yep, it’s something everyone needs to stay on top of. What a chore.

    ~Adrienne

    • Carolyn says:

      Wow, Adrienne, that’s helpful. I’ve been using Broken Link Checker but it also says I have no broken links, which I find difficult to believe. I will have to check with Google Webmaster Tools.

  6. jessia says:

    I love your analogy/use of symbolism (the broken connection between your friends and the broken connection between your links). it’s great writing and really illustrates your point in a profound way. lovely post, Jens! πŸ™‚

  7. Lauren says:

    I just broken-links of my site, whenever I get time to remove broken-links I do it. I really feel unhappy when I see 404 error of my website links.

  8. Tim Bonner says:

    Hi Jens

    I use Broken Link Checker too and I have it set up to send me an email every time a broken link is detected.

    I fix them as soon as I get notified so that they don’t build up.

    I just checked on Google Webmaster Tools though and I have quite a few 404 internal link errors. I’ve installed the Redirection plugin to try and do something about those too.

    • I am actually having major problems with the broken link checker plugin, and it doesn’t seem to find any broken links, even though I know I have more than 1,500 broken links. I have been checking the settings, and I can’t figure out what I am doing wrong. So, I guess I need to keep working on this.

  9. Hey Jens!
    Sigh. I fix them (I think) then they break again! Why don’t they stay “fixed”?! Also, before I forget, Tim Bonner mentioned the Redirect thingy from tools and I know I have the plug-in, but sometimes turning one plug-on on makes things screwy and all the tech-talk on the write ups are confusing as all get out (to me)… I have a Word Press website on which I have my blog… Do you think that I should use the 404?

    Anyhow! LOL, this was a great post. Everything runs along the same lines, in life, doesn’t it? I have seen the same and totally believe my time here online with you all has made me a better PERSON, not simply a better blogger. So thanks.

    And Thank you for this post.

  10. Arianne says:

    I just love your witty analogy on this. Yet another amazing piece. I’ve always admired your work. Thanks for taking your time on sharing this with us.

  11. Lorenzo says:

    I use Redirection to for tracking broken links and setting up permanent redirects (301) to fix them. Google Webmaster tools also provides basic reporting on broken links on my site.

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