Find Broken (404) Links
Broken link errors are a common occurrence across the web. They typically appear as websites are shut down, resources are deleted such as images, or links are inserted incorrectly.
These so-called “dead links” are obstacles for both users and search engines, specifically Google bot crawlers. They deter search engines from traveling through the highway system of internal links on your site, and they are one of the biggest causes of users exiting your site in favor of a competitor.
So what can you do to get rid of those pesky broken links?
Keep reading to find out.
The Broken Link Checker Tool
Managing a business is a full-time job, which is why we’ve developed a tool to make monitoring your website just a little bit easier.
Our completely free, online Broken Link Checker can quickly scan your website to find/detect and report the status of all internal and external links across your domain.
Whether you’re looking for dead links (404’s), redirected links (302/ 301) or 200 status links, this tool will find them all and will provide you with a consolidated list of each case, along with the offending URL.
So, Why Are Broken Links Bad?
Sure, broken links sound bad already, but how do they affect your website in the long-run?
The thing is, both users and search engine bots rely heavily on navigation to crawl, index, and discover new pages across your site.
Therefore, if a search engine bot tries to follow an internal link on your website that’s broken, it’ll stop dead in its tracks, essentially wasting time, otherwise known as ’crawl budget’. This time could be better spent crawling the most important pages across your site. These small lapses can then have a detrimental effect on your website’s search engine rankings and visibility, and in turn, traffic volumes.
This is why it’s recommended that you uncover and fix link issues as soon as possible.
How Can Broken Links Help You?
While broken links are ultimately negative, they can be used as a means of promoting your business.
Let us explain.
Broken links across pages like industry blogs and magazines are a link builders dream. This is because they are essentially opportunities for you to replace the broken links with links from your own website instead, thus allowing your website to reap the rewards.
Most commonly known as broken link building, this practice has been used among the SEO community for years. It involves seeking out broken external links on industry related websites, and it’s made easier by dead link checker tools like ours, as well as tools such as archive.org. This tool enable you to uncover what resource used to be attached to a broken link.
From there you have the option to share a related piece of content from your own website as a replacement, or to create a higher quality piece of content. This can then be pitched to the webmaster for inclusion.
The reason why broken link building is so effective is that the process helps webmasters identify broken links on their site, while also providing a higher quality replacement (your website) in exchange. Everybody wins.
Optimizing your 404 pages
Although combatting broken links is a simple process, you need to ensure your website doesn’t lose you business when the inevitable link does break. You can do this by asking your developer to create a helpful 404 page that’s designed to help keep users on your website. Methods for this include providing a route back to your most popular categories or a search function to help users find specific content.
Websites like Kualo, Lego and The Useless Web Index are examples of sites that have used their 404 pages to full effect, creating a linkable asset in the process.
While we understand you may not have all the time in the world to scour your website for broken links, we highly encourage you to take just a few minutes to do so. Providing an enhanced experience for users and search engines can only help you in the long run, and having a solid tool in your toolbelt will enhance any broken link building campaigns you undertake in the future.
Have any questions about broken links that we haven’t covered here?
Let us know!