Find And Fix Broken Internal Links
Search Engine Optimization

Find And Fix Broken Internal Links

10/20/2022 3:50 PM by seo admin in Seo


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.

Why are internal links important for SEO?

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.

What is ‘Broken Internal Links’?

Broken internal links are the links that direct to a page of your website that no longer exists. Some of the reasons include:

  • There’s a mistake in the URL.
  • The page has been removed.
  • The page has been moved to a new location without updating the link.
  • The link is directed to the wrong page.

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.

How Do You Get Broken 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.

You Renamed The Page’s URL

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:

  1. You have a page with the URL https://example.com/services
  2. For any reason, you changed the URL of this page to https://example.com/our-services

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 

You Registered The Wrong URL While Creating A Link

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:

  • You made a spelling error in the URL of the page you are linking to
  • You missed to add the “https://” or “http://” part of the URL
  • You added an extra space in the URL of the page.

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.

Your Desired Linking Page Was Removed

If you try to link to a page that no longer exists then the link will be broken.

A number of reasons include:

  • The page was deleted accidentally.
  • The page was delibrately removed but not replaced with a new page.
  • The page was never made in the first place.
  • Links to Particular Types Of Content Have Been Removed Or Moved Somewhere else

Particular types of content need to repeatedly removed or moved from one location to another on a website like;

  1. Pdf files
  2. Images
  3. Videos
  4. Audio files

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.

You Forgot To Redirect Old URLs While Updating Your Site’s URL Structure

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

https://example.com/services/service-x

https://example.com/services/service-y

https://example.com/services/service-z

For any reason you changed the URL structure to

https://example.com/our-services/service-x

https://example.com/our-services/service-y

https://example.com/our-services/service-z

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

  • 301 redirects are permanent ( page has been permanently moved to a new location )
  • 302 redirects are temporary.

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.

Broken Elements Inside A Page Because Of Malfunctioning Plugins and Other Issues

Another common cause of broken internal links is the defective plugins and other elements inside a page.

Including:

  • Defective social media plugins
  • Malfunctioning contact forms
  • CSS files or Javascript files may b damaged

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.

Your Website is NOT Available

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.

Ways to Find Broken Internal Links

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.

Screaming Frog

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.

San SEO Tools Broken Links Finder Tool

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

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.

How To Fix Broken Internal Links 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.

Using Redirects

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.

Wrapping Up

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:

www Redirect Checker , Website Link Analyzer Tool, Website Links Count Checker , SEO Analyzer