I am aware that this could possibly be the most BORING post I ever write. I contemplated not bothering but I asked on Twitter whether a post specifically about broken links would be helpful and the large majority said yes so here we are. Grab some tooth picks to keep your eyes open with, things are about to get reaaaal dull.
I am kidding… I hope. I’ll try and make this as exciting as possible. Like how math teachers try and make decimals and fractions exciting by using various fruits in their examples. I was absolutely rubbish at math so clearly that didn’t work for me.
Anyway, onto broken links. Yay. You’ve probably heard the phrase “broken links” before and it was probably from people moaning about them on Twitter. Heck, it was probably ME moaning about them. Broken links can be a royal pain in the arse. They’re often mentioned alongside things like DA and SEO.
And if you’re new to all of this you’re probably wondering what the heck all these letters stand for and why I’m shouting them at you. If that’s the case, I’d probably start by checking out THIS POST I wrote last year on Domain Authority, why it’s important and how you can improve the DA score of your blog.
If you’re new to SEO, I’d recommend checking out Dana Nicole’s FREE SEO workshop for a decent lesson on the basics of SEO. And once you’re caught up with that, let’s dive into the basics of broken links, an overview of what they are, how they can affect your blog and how to get shot of them.
What are broken links?
Broken links are essentially what they say on the tin. A link. That is broken.
For example: You featured a product on your blog from a brand 3 years ago and linked to that specific product on the brands website. In those 3 years, the brand went bust and shut down their website. Therefore, if a reader clicks onto that link through your blog, they’re not going to get anywhere.
Broken links can be problematic for website visitors, as they’re not able to access the page, product or resource they want.
Reasons for broken links are:
- The URL was entered incorrectly by the website owner
- The website removed the linked page (e.g a brand removed the product you linked to)
- The website no longer exists (the brand you linked to shut down the website completely)
- Deleting, renaming or moving pages and files and not updating your internal links
- You can also get broken links from blog comments of people that either A) have incorrectly entered their URL wrong when leaving a comment. The comment will continue to show up but at the same time, they’ve given your blog a broken link. Or B) when it’s an old comment and the blog no longer exists.
Why do they affect my blog?
Broken links can affect the DA score of your blog and your SEO efforts because websites with broken links aren’t considered reliable by Google and search engines. One way search engines rank websites is by crawling your links. If your blog has loads of broken links, that essentially wastes crawlers time and money which could be used on links which weren’t broken, therefore harming harming the rankability on search engines.
Although Google won’t punish you for having a broken link or two. It’s when they start to build up is when it can become bothersome. But the trick is to NOT let them build up, like I did. Rookie mistake.
How can I get rid of them?
Manually: I wouldn’t recommend this, especially if your blog has a lot of posts but if you’re a relatively new blogger with not many posts and can’t download plug-ins then it’s worth doing. Trawling back through your old posts and clicking on anything you linked to make sure it’s a-okay. If not, simply edit the post and either update the link or un-link it completely.
Free broken link checker: There’s free broken link checkers you can use which are really helpful tools. However these free tools usually only show your first X amount of broken links, usually 300 or so. HOPEFULLY you don’t have any more than the limit they show… I did. I had more. A LOT MORE.
Broken link checker plug-in: This is what I use and my life is 10x better for it. If you can download plug-ins, I’d highly recommend searching for “broken link checker” and downloading one which will make your life a whole lot easier!
Pay someone to do it for you: Before I had the plug-in, I did this. Because my broken links were getting so out of hand and I couldn’t do it by myself. Which, FYI, is okay. We’re only human. There’s probably a much more tech-savvy person out there who can fix your broken links much quicker than you can. If you don’t have the time or the skill and have the money to spare, then do it.