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Do you know finding and fixing internal links can do wonders for your SEO? In this guide learn why internal links are important, also i will recommend awesome tools to find and fix them.
It’s a good idea to check for broken links on a regular basis using the free broken links finder tool.
Broken internal links result in discontented visitors and make them leave your site. They can also negatively affect your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
Not sure what to do? We will discuss the best possible ways to find and fix broken links and good news is you can do it by yourself.
No doubt it will take some time but it will be fruitful for both users and your website.
Internal links are important for SEO as they make it easy for search engines to understand the structure of your website.
They act as a helping hand in seeking the information the users are looking for to navigate your website. Thus enhancing the user experience.
Additionally, Google has also flagged internal links as an essential ranking factor.
Ignoring website’s internal links could result in losing valuable search engine traffic.
Broken internal links are the links that direct to a page of your website that no longer exists. Some of the reasons include:
Broken internal links can negatively affect your website in a number of ways:
Disappointed Visitors: Users clicking on broken links results in a 404 error page which ultimately causes them to leave your website and look for the desired information somewhere else.
Adversely Affected SEO: Search engines understand the structure of your website with the help of internal links. If you have a huge number of broken links, it results in a negative impact on your website’s SEO.
Lost Website Traffic : You can lose valuable traffic as search engines can’t crawl your website due to broken internal links.
You get broken links on your website for many reasons:
In some cases, the links were always broken and you didn’t pay attention to it.
Other cases include, the changes made in the website also end up in broken links. Like the changes have worked at one point but stopped because of the changes you or anyone else made.
If you have ever renamed the URL of a page without pointing towards the old URL, this leads to any broken internal links of that old URL.
Let’s consider an example:
This will cause the internal links pointing to the old URL broken as they are still pointing to the old location of the web page.
So, what to do next? Just update the old link like for this example it will be as follows
Any links pointing to the old URL https://example.com/services needs to be updated or the new URL https://example.com/our-services
While creating a link, anyone can make a typo mistake and can enter a wrong URL. But becareful next time!
A number of reasons include:
Above mentioned silly mistakes results in a broken link.
When creating links, to make sure you’re using the correct URL just double check your work. Silly and careless errors are a common reason behind a broken link. The administrator has lack of knowledge that these are causing broken links or was not paying attention. You should fix these as early as possible in order to avoid several broken internal links on your website.
If you try to link to a page that no longer exists then the link will be broken.
A number of reasons include:
Particular types of content need to repeatedly removed or moved from one location to another on a website like;
If you try to link to any of these types of content that has been moved or deleted the link will be broken.
To make sure they are active and working just check the links to Pdfs, images and videos on your web.
Old URLs will no longer work if you have updated your site’s URL structure.
As the new URLs are different from the old ones they will result in broken links.
Let’s assume your website had the following URL structure
For any reason you changed the URL structure to
As you can see the new url structure now differs from the old one so the old links pointing to old url will stop functioning. In order to fix this broken links issue set up redirects from old urls to new ones.
There are two types of redirects
In my working experience for SEO i see developers mostly opt for 301 redirects instead of 302 redirects. Its not an ideal choice and wrong.
Another common cause of broken internal links is the defective plugins and other elements inside a page.
If any of the above mentioned elements are broken it leads to a broken link also.
Let’s take an example,
If you have a malfunctioning social media plugin, it may prevent people from sharing your content on social media.
This results in fewer people linking to the site.
If your image gallery is not working properly, how do people view your nice collection? This results in less user experience.
Similarly, video player malfunctioning also prevent people from watching your videos.
Other example includes the malfunctioning of a contact form.
To resolve these issues you may need to find the broken elements and fix it asap.
For example, you can update a plugin aur use any other plugin if your social media plugin is out of order.
If you have a malfunctioning contact form you need to fix or replace with another contact form.
This is a serious issue if your entire website is down. No one can access your website as all the links pointing towards the website will be broken. This results in significant drop of overall website traffic. Generally this impacts the external links, it can also harm the internal links because they will now be zero. The major problem occurs if your website is down for a long period of time before you discover the issues. Just figure out why your website is unavailable and fix the problem. There could be a problem in domain name, hosting or anything else. Once you are done with it your website should be running successfully.
Sometimes the whole website “disappears” showing a blank page. The problem lies in the server or hosting side.
Some of the ways to find broken internal links on the website are mentioned below:
You can manually check each link or opt for an automated tools.
Let’s start with the manual method first;
For this method, explore each and every page of your website and check links in the navigation menu, footer, header, sidebar etc. Check each link and see where it takes you. If the links are working normally between the pages of the website, it sounds great! If not, you have found a broken link. You can also take benefit from Google’s chrome “inspect” tool to look for broken links.
Just right click on any page and choose inspect option. An inspect panel will be open up for you. Click on the “Console” Tab and try refreshing the page. Any 404 error found in the list means page not found or in other words it is a broken link.
Although this method is straight forward but very hectic.
You can easily use the automate process of finding the broken links.
These tools can crawl your entire website and check your links.
Let’s discuss these tools one by one.
GSC or Google Search Console
If you want your website shine in Google search results then Google Search Console is a free tool to measure your website’s performance.
If your website has 404 errors it can show you that error page with details.
You can find the 404 errors of your website by logging in to the Google Search Console under the “coverage” section. Click it and it opens up a red box called “Errors” there you will see the link which returns a 404 error.
A great program screaming frog has the ability to crawl websites to find broken links. Works well with both Mac and Windows.
After downloading and installing the program, just enter the URL of your website and press Start.
It will crawl the entire website and generate a list of all the internal broken links with a CSV file export option.
You can quickly check for broken links for any website by using broken links finder tool. You just need to enter the URL of the website. The tool will enlist all dead internal links for you. It will display a status code of 200 OK if there are no broken internal links. Moreover it also shows you results of external links. So its a treat to use this tool and boost SEO.
Google Analytics is the most powerful yet free tool to track your website’s traffic. It is used to find the web pages that are causing 404 errors or broken links.
Sign in to Google Analytics and go to Acquisition > All traffic > Channels > Organic Search. You can export the file and crawl them with screaming frog. By doing this you will be able to see the errors by using page list directly from Google analytics.
This way has an advantage over just crawling your pages by screaming frog is that you can prioritize your internal links correction efforts based on the pages that are actually receiving traffic on your website.
Once the broken internal links are found on your website now you can easily fix them by using the following methods:
By redirecting the link: If the link is pointing to a page that has been shifted you can try redirecting the link to the new page. In this way users will go to the new page without hurting your website’s SEO.
By updating the link: Broken internal links are also caused by Typos in the URL or if the link is pointing to the wrong page. Just by updating the link to the correct page you can enhance the SEO of your website.
By removing the link: Sometimes just by removing the broken internal link from the website is a best choice. This is generally the case if the internal linked page is no longer exists or removed permanently.
You can priortise the links removal based on the pages receiving high traffic by checking the Google analytics report.
By priortising these tasks this way, you can lessen your workload.
This works well for a few page website rather than a website with thousands of pages recieving high traffic.
By following the above mentioned steps you can find and fix broken internal links on your website. It will not only provide a great user experience but also enhances your website’s SEO.
Some handy tips for all of you to find and repair broken internal links:
Take Benefit From A Link Checker
You can take benefit from a variety of link checkers available online. Just search in Google for a link checker and it will opens up plenty of paid and free options for you.
Using Your Website’s XML Sitemap
One of the best way to find broken links is using your website’s XML sitemap. Open the downloaded XML sitemap in screaming frog and crawl it.
If you have relocate some pages on your website, some of the old links still pointing to the old page. Use a tool like screaming frog. Just hit your website’s URL and press start.
It will start crawling across the whole website and gives you a list of all internal links it finds. Use a CSV file option to export the list.
Using Google Analytics Tool
You can analyze your website’s traffice using a free tool like Google Analytics. It helps you to determine which pages of your website are returning a 404 error.
Go to Behavior > Site Content > All pages after logging in to Google Analytics.
It will display a list of all pages returning 404 error and even tells how many times each page has generated the error.
Your website may suffer if there are alot of page content that cannot be crawled and indexed. Your website will ultimately face a traffic loss. Broken internal links can hurt your Website’s SEO and poor user experience.
Also Google uses links to check the quality of a website and if it has numerous broken links and errors Google may consider it low quality.
Finally, your search engine rankings could suffer.
Visitors use links to navigate the internet and clicking a dead link results in frustrating visitors. They will leave your site immediately.
You can easily find and fix broken internal links by using a link checker tool or examining your website’s xml sitemap.
It will not only improve your SEO, returns contented visitors but also resolve all possible issues with Google crawling and indexing your website. Don’t ignore this important SEO task in order to avoid constant future headache.
More Relavant Online SEO Tools:
You can easily accomplish any seo task using our best seo tools like: