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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