Broken links are bad for your website. If you don’t find them and deal with them, they will hurt your site.
Why will broken links hurt your website?
When your website visitors click on a broken link, they will not land on the page they were hoping to see, but instead get a 404 error page. This creates a bad experience for them!
Your visitors will start to avoid your website, and the search engines will penalize you as well. (Search engines want to send people to websites where they will have a good experience. That is good for the search engine.)
How do links break? Very simple… a link is broken when the destination page no longer exists. This happens when the page’s name is changed, or the page is removed from the website.
To avoid problems with broken links, you first need to find the broken links and then redirect visitors to another page. This is easy to do with…
Plugins To Avoid Broken Links
Like with other types of WordPress plugins, there are several plugins to help you manage links as well. Here are two link plugins that I install on all my websites:
Link Plugin #1 – Broken Link Checker
As I said above, your first step is to find the broken links, and no, you don’t have to do it manually.
This is where the Broken Link Checker plugin comes in. It crawls through your whole website, looking for broken links. If it finds any, it will display them on your WordPress Dashboard. You can also set it up to where it emails you when it finds broken links.
Broken Link Checker makes it very easy to fix the broken links. It displays all the broken links from the various pages or posts on a single page, and gives you the ability to edit the link right there. No need to go visit each link individually on the page or post where it exists.
Broken Link Checker is one of those silent warriors… it just stays quietly in the background, doing its job, and every now and again it pulls you out of the deep end!
Link Plugin #2 – Redirection
The Redirection plugin is very useful when you change the name of a web page on your site.
Let’s say you have a page named two-great-plugins on your website. The search engines add the page to their listings, and some of your visitors link to that page because the content is so great. The page builds up some “link juice” (authority).
Then, one day, you decide that you should have named the page two-great-links-plugins because it is more descriptive. Now what do you do? If you simply rename the page, you break the links from the search engines and other websites to the page. This is bad! You lose all your link juice!
This is where the Redirection plugin saves the day! You rename your page, but you also set up a ‘redirect’ with the Redirection plugin. This will automatically take visitors who attempt to go to the old page name, to the new page. If you set the redirect to be a 301 redirect, it will also tell the search engines that your page has permanently changed to the new name, causing them to update their search listings.
The same goes for cases where you completely remove a page from your website and intend for visitors to go to a different page. Set up a 301 redirect to the new page. Your visitors will still be served properly, and search engines will be informed that your old page has been permanently replaced with the new page.
The Redirection plugin is also useful for temporary 307 redirects, or for setting up affiliate links that lead to a different website.
As you can see, these two link plugins for WordPress make it easy to ensure that all your links work correctly.
Install and configure Broken Link Checker and Redirection, and use them. If Broken Link Checker finds a broken link, fix it immediately. If a page URL on your website changes, use Redirection to redirect visitors correctly and to tell search engines about the link change.
Did you find this useful? Let us know in the comments…