Recently one of the questions I’ve been asked a lot is how to fix broken links. Yes, I know I offer this as a service, but I know a lot of you like learning and finding out how to make these changes yourself. One thing I will note is, this isn’t the “definitive guide” to fixing broken links, it’s simply what works for me and what I consider to be the easy way to get the job done.
The first thing you need to do is find a website to check to see how many broken links you have. I use brokenlinkcheck.com but there are probably others out there if you search for them. On WordPress, you can install a plugin to do this for you but I find this slows my site down for anyone that’s using it.
The website is really easy to use and sort of self-explanatory if I’m honest. Enter your URL and follow the steps – you may get a message which says that the main page redirects to another domain and to check using the URL minus the www. This is ok and means that your domain was setup minus the www and all you need to do is change the URL in the box to your domain minus the www.
Once you hit submit the broken link checker will work away and find any links that are broken on your site. I find that these fall into three main categories:
- Your own links which have been changed for various reasons
- Links to products on sites which are no longer being sold
- Links which have been left within comments
Fixing each of these is really simple to do and I’ll give you the way I find easiest to fix these three types of broken links. The site will show you a list of your broken links as well as the source of the broken link (within your blog).
What I find the easiest is to right-click the src link and open in a new tab and this shows where the broken link is within the post. All of my links in the picture are actually posts of mine from when I moved from Blogger to WordPress and are within posts which I forgot to fix after the move. To do this I use a plugin called Redirection as it creates a 301 redirect within the blog that when someone clicks on the link will take them to the right place. Within the plugin, you add the old link in one box and the link it should redirect in the other box and click save, it really is that easy. The other way to fix these broken links is to do so manually within every post. It can be time-consuming but will be worth it for the SEO benefits.
If the broken link is to a product which is no longer being sold, e.g. a bikini style which is no longer on the website, I look up the location of the broken link as above but this one I change to the brands’ homepage instead of the full product link.
The last type of broken link is the one I find the hardest to fix as people leave links in comments and if they don’t work these can have a negative impact on your SEO. If your blog is on WordPress these are really easy to fix as you have the ability to edit the comment. I search for the person who left the comment using the search box and then take the link out of the comment box and from the URL box too and save the comment. This gets rid of the broken link but you don’t lose the comment. If you’re on Blogger, the only way you can fix the broken link is to delete the comment. It’s not the best fix but it’s the only one which I find works as Google don’t give you the option to edit comments.
I hope this post has helped explain how to fix broken links and how easy it is to do for yourself.