A broken link hurts both your site usability and SEO. Users feel disappointed when clicking a link to land nowhere and search engines certainly don’t want them to: so if they find a lot of broken link on your pages, this may hurt your reputation.
Anyway, it is quite clear that broken links are bad. But there’s hardly any website out there that has no broken links at all – because it is hard to keep up with the ever changing web.
If you are using WordPress, there’s a fairly good solution for you: Broken Link Checker. While it has quite contradictory reviews and did make my site slow for a few minutes after being installed, I found it useful (and usable) enough to share.
Here’s what it can do:
- Monitors links in your posts, pages, the blogroll, and custom fields (optional).
- Detects links that don’t work and missing images.
- Notifies you on the Dashboard if any are found.
- Also detects redirected links.
- Makes broken links display differently in posts (optional).
- Link checking intervals can be configured.
- New/modified posts are checked ASAP.
- You view broken links, redirects, and a complete list of links used on your site, in the Tools -> Broken Links tab.
- Each link can be edited or unlinked directly via the plugin’s page, without manually editing each post.
After you install and activate the plugin, you can go directly to “Broken Links” (which took me a few minutes to access) and then click the link at the top saying how many broken links were found on the site:
Now you should be able to see a table containing the following data:
- The list of pages where a broken link was detected;
- The broken link text;
- The broken link URL.
On hovering over the URL you will be offered to see details, unlink, exclude or edit the URL: