Links are an essential part of SEO and help your website greatly in attracting visitors and earning a good reputation within your niche. As your website grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to check the health of links and broken links tend to become more of a problem. Broken links create a bad user experience, which is bad for SEO and damaging to your credibility. Fortunately, there is a solution that will help you find and fix broken links with ease, and it goes by the name of “Broken Link Checker“.
In this guide, we will show you exactly how to use Broken Link Checker to ensure your links are working as they should be.
Installing Broken Link Checker
Like many other great WordPress tools, Broken Link Checker is a plugin. To get it up and running you will first need to install and activate it. To do this, go to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress Dashboard and enter “Broken Link Checker” into the search field.
Once you have found the plugin, click on Install Now and then Activate Plugin when the installation is complete.
Using Broken Link Checker
With Broken Link Checker installed, you can now set about putting it to work. Before doing so though, there are a couple options within the settings that you may wish to change.
For the most part, the default settings in place are fine; however, as the plugin runs on its own, you should go to Settings > Link Checker and check the box for E-mail notifications. This will send you an e-mail whenever a broken link is found.
Although the default setting is set up to check links every 72 hours, you can change this as you wish but somewhere between 72 and 168 hours is recommended – especially if your site has a growing number of links.
Broken Link Checker will work in the background going through your posts and displaying the results. The time it takes to complete a check will depend on how much content you have on your site.
Once the check is complete, you will see a link next to Status in the General tab of the plugin displaying the number of broken links. Click on this link to view a list of the broken links. Alternatively, you can go to Tools > Broken Links to get to the same page.
Each link will have the following options displayed directly below the URL:
- Edit URL – if an interlinked post is displaying a “404 page not found” message, you can use this to change the URL.
- Unlink – if broken links are found within comments, or are of little use then simply unlink them.
- Not broken – if you believe a link is working, or is displaying a “Server not found” message, you can consider it not broken.
- Dismiss – this simply dismisses the Link Checkers findings.
Aside from Edit URL, the above actions can also be performed in bulk.
No matter the type or size of site you run, if you are on WordPress, the Broken Link Checker plugin should be considered essential and used on a regular basis for the benefit of your SEO.