WPKube

How to Fix Broken Links Using the Broken Link Checker WordPress Plugin

When you website has a broken link, meaning the link to the content is not working, it typically displays a 404 Error to your website visitors. This can happen because old links are no longer good, something went wrong when you connected the content to the link, or the page you are linking to simply doesn’t exist anymore.

Broken links on your website are bad for your website for a number of reasons. For instance, any links that you are linking to internally that are broken will not be picked up by search engines and will ultimately hurt your ranking status. This makes for poor SEO, which is something all website owners should avoid at all costs.

In addition, they annoy site visitors and create bad user experience. Think about how you feel when you click on a link and see “404 page not found”. Now, imagine that same scenario, but with your site visitors on your website.

Exactly.

Broken links do your website no favors.

Luckily, there is a really simple tool to help check your entire website for broken links so that you can take care of them in the best way you see fit.

Today we are going to take a look at the free, and very popular, Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin and see just how easy it is to stop sabotaging your SEO efforts and your user’s experience.

What is Broken Link Checker?

Broken Link Checker is a free WordPress plugin designed to monitor your website for broken links. After parsing all of your site’s content, Broken Link Checker individually checks each link to see whether it is in good working order or not.

Here is a look at some of Broken Link Checker’s features:

In the end, this highly configurable plugin offers website owners a neat way of making sure all links on their website render seamlessly for site visitors and search engines alike.

Now, let’s see how this plugin works in real time.

How to Use Broken Link Checker

Step 1: Installation & Activation

The first thing you need to do in order to check your website for broken links is download the Broken Link Checker plugin.

To do this, navigate to Plugins > Add New and search for Broken Link Checker.

Then, click on Install Now and Activate. Broken Link Checker is now ready to monitor your website.

Step 2: Configure Settings

Once installed and activated, navigate to Settings > Link Checker to configure the plugin’s settings.

General

In the General settings tab, you can define the following things:

Look for Links in

Under the Look for Links In tab, determine where you would like Broken Link Checker to look for broken links. Here you have two options.

To start, you can have the plugin monitor things such as comments, field groups, optin forms, pages, and posts, among other things.

In addition, you can define Broken Link Checker to monitor your posts in their different statuses – published, scheduled, draft, pending, private, and even spam.

Which Links to Check

In this section, Which Links to Check, you define the type of links to monitor. For instance, HTML links, embedded YouTube videos, embedded Vimeo videos, and more.

More so, you can create an exclusion list. Here you define which links you do not want Broken Link Checker to monitor by making a list of words to exclude.

Protocols and APIs

In the Protocols and APIs section, choose to check links using basic HTTP, YouTube API, MediaFire API, and RapidShare API. You can select some or all when configuring this section of the plugin.

Advanced

The Advanced tab offers you a lot of different settings:

Step 3: Monitor Your Site

After configuring all of Broken Link Checker’s settings to meet your individual needs, go back to the General settings tab and see how your site has fared.

Notice my website has no broken links to take care of. You can also look for broken links by navigating to Tools > Broken Links. Lastly, in the WordPress dashboard, you will notice a widget labeled Broken Link Checker displays, showing you any broken links that are appearing on your website.

Step 4: Fix Broken Links

For example’s sake, I will create a post that contains a broken link to show you exactly how Broken Link Checker lets you fix any link errors.

In this example, I mistakenly spelled the URL linking to the Broken Link Checker plugin in the WordPress Repository. Immediately, Broken Link Checker picked up on this and marked it as a redirect. I then have the option to Edit, Unlink, Dismiss, or Recheck the link.

By clicking on Edit URL, I am able to fix my spelling mistake and save my changes.  The link is then automatically fixed and appears so in the Detected Links section under Tools > Broken Links.

In my second example, I purposefully used the URL “www.brokenlinkchecker.com”, knowing that it was not a valid URL. Here is what Broken Link Checker displays for me regarding that link:

Again, I have some options for fixing this problem:

Final Thoughts

In the end, making sure that all of your WordPress website’s links are in good working order is necessary for optimizing your site’s SEO and guaranteeing your site visitors’ user experience.

Unfortunately, unless you are manually looking through every post, page, comment, etc. on you website on a regular basis, checking to ensure links are still good (which is impossible!), chances are you will not know a link is broken until a site visitor informs you. By then, however, the damage to your SEO and user experience may have already been done.

If you are looking for an easy way to monitor your website’s internal and external links, I highly recommend using Broken Link Checker. With very little configuration, this plugin will give you the chance to fix all broken links immediately.

Have you ever used the Broken Link Checker plugin? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!