How To Find Broken Links In 2022
Imagine surfing a trusted website then you get an error 404 message. That can be very frustrating, don't you agree?
Broken links may hinder your SEO efforts as Google frowns on bad browsing experiences. For one thing, it disrupts link juice. Also, it might affect your site's performance on search engine result pages. Eventually, it disrupts your site's visibility and traffic flow. This single factor can cost you in more ways than you can imagine.
As a website owner who has put in lots of work into developing and running your website, how can you tackle this problem of broken links? Granted, this poses lots of challenges, but such links are not as hard as you may think.
To begin with, this article will give a clearer understanding of broken links. It highlights several ways of identifying broken links, as well as ways to fish them out. And these steps are free too!
What Broken Links Are
Broken links are actually pages in a website that a visitor who wants to access can not just find. When this happens, an error message displays on the screen, indicating that the webpage cannot be found. The message can appear in various formats, some examples are:
“Error 404” Message: This means that the page cannot be located on the server.
“Bad host” Message: This means that the server name which was searched, cannot be located.
“Bad URL” Message: This means that the URL was searched using a wrong protocol e.g. brackets, commas, question marks, etc., or otherwise cannot be found.
“Bad Request 400” Message: This means that the host server cannot interpret the URL on your web page.
“Timeout” Message: This means that the time required to generate results has elapsed during the link search
“Empty” Message: This means that the host server could not generate an error code
“Reset” Message: This means that the web page was disconnected from the server during the search.
There are various reasons why broken links occur on a website, it could be that:
The external website is offline;
A webpage has been moved without changing the internal link;
Structural website changes;
Misspelled URL or incorrect URL;
The link to a webpage no longer exists on the server;
A page the link leads to has been removed.
Now, we have covered the basics of what broken links are. And we've seen some examples of broken links. You are already several steps ahead in fixing broken links on your site because "the first step to solving a problem is to understand the problem," as the saying goes.
In order to fix broken links, however, you first have to find them, and that is where the real challenge is. But fear not! As mentioned earlier, it is not as hard as you may think. Let us get right on to it.
How to find Broken Links in your Website
Finding broken links can be challenging when you do not know where to look or how to go about it. It could mean checking every line of code throughout your website. You can imagine trying to look for a needle in a haystack. Now if you were to search for a needle in a haystack how would you go about it? Well, a smart move will be to search every square inch using a magnet. While that will be painstaking, it definitely increases your chances of finding it.
Well, here is how you can use tools like that magnet in finding a broken link in your website:
In order to find broken links on your website, you need the right tool. Just like the needle in the haystack illustration, you should not go about it by sifting through every line of code in your site's back-end. Not only is this process inefficient, but it is also time and energy-consuming. Every day, new methods of solving problems faster are developed, and they are available on the internet mostly for free. It