How often do you check for broken links on your blog?
Is it something bloggers should often do, or are broken links nothing to worry about?
At the end of last year, I completed fixing over 300 broken links on my blog. It was a long job, but something I did not regret doing.
Since fixing those broken links, I’ve seen a decrease in spam hitting my blog and seen an increase in followers and visitors.
Not only will SEOs such as Google and Bing rank blogs with broken links lower, but visitors who get the dreaded ‘404 page not found’ error when clicking on too many broken links, are more likely to never return.
I’ve even seen broken links to an author’s books on their blog. How often do you check the links to your books are working?
It’s been three months since I last ran a broken links report for my blog, so I was surprised when the report returned 33 broken links. Here’s the list. Are you or your blog one of them? You may need to zoom in to view the report.
Why do links break?
There are many reasons for broken links. More important are the ones embedded in blog posts. When the name of a blog post (line 8 on the report) or a single word, such as ‘here’ (line 16 on the report), appears in the ‘Link Text’ column, a pingback to the post has broken. The link is usually broken because the post has been deleted or moved.
To fix the two broken links mentioned in the above paragraph, you can deactivate the pingback or delete it (and the sentence it appears in) from the post.
More often than not, where names appear in the ‘Link Text’ column (line 19 on the report), the link to the person’s gravatar has broken, or their blog or gravatar has been moved or deleted. Most of these errors occur in the comments sections of blog posts. Click here if you’re unsure what a Gravatar is and how to ensure your blog is linked to it.
If you know the person concerned is still blogging, you can either report the broken link to them or unapprove and delete the comment to eliminate it. It’s just as important to fix or delete broken links in the comments section of your posts as in the main body of a blog post.
Remember what I said earlier. SEOs such as Google and Bing rank blogs lower if they contain too many broken links. If you want to increase visitors and followers to your blog, ensure you regularly fix broken links.
Another reason for broken links is when a post has been reblogged, and the blogger who reblogged the post has since deleted the reblog (line 31 of the report).
Do not be surprised to also find broken links to your blog posts. If you decide to delete a blog post, I’d recommend deleting or removing any pingbacks or links before deleting the post. They then will not show up on your next broken link report.
Fact: Did you know that spambots and spammers are more likely to attack blogs with broken links than those without or with fewer broken links?
How do I run a broken link report?
I use the free version of Broken Link Check Dot Com. Click here for more details. To run a report, simply enter the URL address of your blog and the security code you see on the page. I’d recommend running the ‘Report distinct broken links only’ report.
If it’s the first time you run a report, you may be overwhelmed by the number of broken links the report returns. I recommend stopping the report when it reaches 20 broken links, fixing them, and running another report.
Do not try and fix the broken links in one go, as you’ll become overwhelmed. Give yourself time to fix them. Maybe fix a couple every day. You’ll soon catch up on them.
Don’t allow the sheer size of broken links the report shows to stop you from fixing broken links. Look after your blog by fixing any broken links rather than believing you don’t have the time to fix them. Spending a few minutes daily fixing links is better than not fixing them at all.
Once you have fixed all the broken links, run another report at least once every three months.
Let’s wrap it up.
- SEOs such as Google and Bing rank blogs with broken links lower.
- Fixing broken links will reduce the amount of spam your blog gets while increasing the number of followers and visitors.
- If you have links to any books or products, regularly check that they work.
- Fix any broken links to books, services and products quickly.
- It’s just as important to fix or delete broken links in the comments section of your blog posts as it is in the main body of a post.
- Before deleting any blog posts, remove any links in them first.
- Your first broken link report may be overwhelming. Take your time to fix those links. Don’t rush it.
- Spending a few minutes daily fixing links is better than not fixing them at all.
- Run a new broken link report at least once every three months.
How often do you check for broken links on your blog? How do you check for them? Do you have any questions about broken links? Leave them in the comments section.
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63 thoughts on “Broken Links: How Often Should You Check And Fix Them On Your Blog?”
I run a broken link checker once a week. I didn’t realize that I should fix broken links in the comments section.
Fixing those links in the comments section is as important as fixing the ones on our posts. SEOs dislike any kind of broken links regardless of where they are.
Thanks for the tip! Now I need to figure out how to get rid of the broken link without getting rid of the comment.
If the link to the Gravatar is broken, the only way to fix it is by informing the person who left the comment. Once they fix their Gravatar link, it’s sorted.
Thank you for the additional information, Hugh.
I recently moved back to my old blog, so this will be very useful. Thanks, Hugh, for sharing your insights and finds. You’ve saved us a lot of work. ♥
I’m delighted this post will help, Olga. That initial report may be overwhelming, but once you start doing these checks every few months, you’ll soon find yourself on top of them.
I wasn’t aware you’d moved back to your old blog. Is there a reason why you moved back?
Thanks so much for this, Hugh! I ran a report following your tips and found quite a few broken links. Another gem you’ve shared for bloggers. Cheers with gratitude!
I’m glad this post has helped, Natalie. As bloggers, we all need to keep on top of those broken links.
Thanks for sharing on the Senior Salon Pit Stop! I’ll be featuring your post at tomorrow’s party. Congrats!
Maria, the Krafty Planner
Thanks for the great news. Have a great week, Maria.
Thanks for this, Hugh. I had heard that broken links could affect your ranking, and I fixed them as I cam across them in old posts. But I didn’t know there was a tool that helped find them. That will be very helpful. I also didn’t know the ranking was affected by broken links in comments. I’ve been blogging for 17 years, and a lot of my early blog friends and commenters are no longer blogging, so their links don’t work any more.
When searching the internet, SEOs like Google does not like any sites with broken links, Barbara. The more broken links there are, the lower the ranking and the less likely to show on search results.
Links in comments from people that do not blog anymore (or to their Gravatar) may still work if they have not deleted their blog or Gravatar. It’s also worth considering if those older posts do anything on your blog? Keep them if they are still bringing in visitors, likes and comments. But if they are now just dead wood, I’d consider deleting the posts. In doing so, you’ll eliminate all those broken links in the comments section. But that’s a decision only you can make.
I get a notification from WordPress when it spots a new broken link. I try to stay on top of them and fix them right away.
Michelle, I’ve not heard of WordPress sending bloggers notifications about broken links. Can you tell us more? Do they send you an email telling you which links are broken, what post or page they are on, and how often they inform you?
I use a plugin called Broken Link Checker. It scans the site to identify broken links and sends an email when it finds them. The email links to the WordPress dashboard and identifies the link, and the page or post it’s on. From there, you can easily recheck and replace the link.
You can specify the frequency for the scan. I have mine set to weekly.
Thanks, Michelle. I’d forgotten about the broken link plugins. Did you have to pay for it, or was installation free?
The version I use is free.
Another useful and important blog post and topic, Hugh. I always make sure my links work when I post a new blog (they are usually links to older posts of myself that I refer to), but I have never checked for broken links.
I remember you have mentioned this before and it’s something we, as bloggers, have to wrap our minds around doing. It’s part of the maintenance process, like we do with other parts in life – like cleaning the living space or going for car and health check-ups.
Thank you so much for the link to the broken link report run. I’m bookmarking it to test myself and fix any broken links…
I agree, Liesbet. Unfortunately, many bloggers do not think that maintaining their blogs is essential. Would they ever feel the same about servicing their car or heating boiler?
And some bloggers wonder why their blog gets so much spam. Not fixing broken links is one of the reasons.
Great idea to check broken links, Hugh. I’m sure I have a few due to old links for Sunday Stills. Sounds like a worthy project waiting for me when we get home from our road trip. Thanks for sharing this info and the link!
Glad this post will be of some help and also acts as a reminder, Terri.
Enjoy the road trip.
Thanks for bringing up this important topic again, Robert. I’ve been thinking it’s time to do this again, and this is the kick in the butt I needed. And I apologize. I reworked one of my blogs, and broke a link. Yes, I’m on your list.
Even some of my posts were on my list, so no worries, Michelle.
Wow! This is a great tool, Hugh. I am beginning the chore to fix them now. Thank you.
I hope the report did not highlight too many broken links, Eugenia.
Oh my! Way too many, Hugh. I found most were in my comments and the blogs no longer existed. So, I am going through the comments and trashing those first. Then, I will run the report again.
I found that doing a few a day helped a lot, Eugenia. You’ll soon get through them all.
Very helpful as always, Hugh. Thank you. I’m working through some broken links on my new website. 😦
Glad this was helpful, Norah. Good luck with fixing those broken links. I hope there are not too many.
Actually, Hugh, I made a mistake. The broken links aren’t on the website. They are links in documents that now don’t point to resources that have new URLS. I just have to update them in the documents. I’ll do it as I can, but I’m not too worried.
Hopefully, with the new site, it won’t contain any broken links yet, Norah. But I’d recommend running a report every now and again to check if any have broken. Although I cleared up all the broken links on my blog at the end of last year, I was surprised to get a notification of another 33 when I run a report the other day.
Thanks, Hugh. I’ll follow that piece of advice. When I check my stats, I’m told if there are any broken links. I didn’t realise how ‘dangerous’ they were until you pointed it out, so I’m grateful to you.
I generally go though my earlier posts when I’m watching something interesting on the tube. Sometimes I find worse things than broken links but let’s not go into that, shall we! Thanks again for all the helpful information!
I’ve come across several links to the blogs of some bloggers that do not go to a blog. They get deleted immediately.
Hugh, this is a fantastic tip. I did not know about this tool to check on broken links. What a help! Thanks for this!
I’m glad it is of some help, Erika. I hope you do not encounter too many broken links.
I checked it right away and there are quite a lot! However, I will get back to it. Thanks to your hint, I know how to find them easily now.
Thanks so much! I’m running a report right now and I really like how you suggested to stop at twenty so you don’t get overwhelmed. That’s a great tip!
Otherwise, it becomes too overwhelming once the number of broken links exceeds 20. I’m pleased this post has helped.
Moreover, I have a found a broken link in the Comments section “Bad Host”. When I click the name of commentator, it responds “the site cannot be opened”. On the other hand, when I click her profile pic / gravatar, it leads to her website. How can I fix this issue?
Unfortunately, only the commentator can fix the ‘bad host’ problem, which means the problem lies with the company they have as their host for their blog. It’s worth reporting the issue to them, though. I’d recommend deleting the comment to eliminate the problem if they do nothing.
Thanks for your kind response. I agree with you that deleting the comment is the easiest way to fix the problem.
Thanks for reaching out to me Sir.
This is some seriously valuable information for a blogger. Thank you so much for sharing it and linking up at SSPS – hope to see you again next week.
You’re welcome. And thank you for hosting the SSPD linky.
Really helpful post Hugh. I had no idea that broken links could cause so much mess with your blog. Thanks for sharing a free broken link checker, and guiding as to how to fix a broken link.
You’re welcome. I’m glad this post has helped, Shahbaz.
You’ve already got me well trained on this front Hugh. I run through a check at the start of each month. Thanks as ever for your support and encouragement
Good to hear you’re on top of this, Brenda.
I started when my blog was still small, so I keep it on track. I remembered you saying to do it regularly so the broken links don’t build up … as well as improving the appeal of the website
Very interesting! I’m a Jetpack-enabled WP (.org) user, but apparently there’s a plugin that can check broken links (I haven’t tested). Many blogs are ditched over the years, so I’m sure the comment section has a lot of broken links. 😅
There are quite a few broken link plugins, some free, some you must pay for. They seem to have mixed reviews. Other sites offer free software (like Broken Link Check Dot Com does). I haven’t tried them all out, but I like the one I used in this post.
Just tested the checker provided by you, and found out that there is one blogger always commenting with a wrong URL inserted (one slash missing, as in https:/, not https://). Fixed it myself. Thank you for sharing the resource! 😀
Glad you were able to fix it, Joey. And glad that this post was helpful.
Thanks for that link. Running a report as I type… 🙂
Don’t allow the report to overwhelm you if there are many broken links. I stopped the report at 20, fixed them, and rerun another report.
Some seem to be links to commenters – which confused me for a bit. Haven’t seen how to download the report, so have ‘printed’ it as a pdf for later (then I can edit to remind me how far I’ve got to).
Yes, I had quite a few commenters’ errors too. It happens when the commenter has not updated their Gravatar, usually after moving their blog to a new URL address or host.