Is your blog broken? Are your visitors finding broken bits and pieces on your site that have escaped your careful scrutiny?
If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, trust me, there are broken links all over the place and it’s irritating as all get out for your visitors.
What sorts of links get broken?
Essentially you have 2 types of links on your site: links to your own blog which can be text links or images (internal links) and links out to other sites (external or outbound links).
Both link types can break. Internal links usually break if you transfer your site and don’t know how to take the necessary precautions to keep links intact (both image and text links can be affected,) or if you change your permalinks at some point after blogging for awhile.
External links break when someone else say, moves their blog to a self-hosted WordPress and you’re still linking to their old blogspot or WordPress.com site, changes their links or just isn’t blogging anymore.
Why broken links on your blog are bad
First, it makes for a crappy visitor experience. That should be reason enough but if it’s not, lots of broken links on your site are NOT good for your blog’s SEO. Google doesn’t like to rank site’s high if they have tons of broken links everywhere.
A few clients have noticed a dramatic increase in search results just from having this issue fixed for them so don’t underestimate the return on investment you’re going to get from fixing your links.
How to fix your broken links
The first thing is to find them. That can be accomplished easily with the plugin, Broken Link Checker, available from the WordPress plugin directory.
Once installed, you will find the settings for the plugin under Settings–>Link Checker. The screen looks like this:
If you click on the advanced tab, you can start a full site check after you install the plugin. Otherwise, the site will send you an email every 72 hours (or how often you specify) letting you know of any newly broken links that have occurred.
Once the full site check is complete, you may be a bit shocked by the number of broken links, but it’s better to know! Time to get the head out of the sand.
The plugin will list all the links in a tidy table and you can adjust the links right from that table without logging into each post which saves a lot of time.
Recently, we worked on a site for a client that have over 2600 broken links, it took about 4-5 hours to complete the updates to the site but it can be done over the course of a number of days and really makes an impact in the end.
Do you keep track of your broken links on your site? Were you shocked by the number?