The first in a series of posts, showcasing the tools we here at Quarry & Castle use all day, every day while we are helping our customers improve their business!

What is Broken Link Checker?

First up is the Broken Link Checker plugin for WordPress, from the WPMU Dev team. As the name suggests, the plugin searches through your WordPress site content and flags broken links and images.

These links can negatively impact your site in a number of ways:

– poor user experience

Any user visiting your site wants to find the information they need easily and reliably. Clicking among a mess of links that may or may not lead somewhere will more likely drive a user onto a competitor’s site.

– user confidence

If a site has broken links and images, it can impact on how likely a visitor is likely to trust the site overall. If a page is full of links that go nowhere and images that don’t display, should they be giving the site their credit card details? In any kind of competitive environment, it can be a minor issue that convinces a customer not to trust a site.

– negative SEO results

Whilst it has never been proven definitively if Google negatively punishes the SEO score for a site for having broken links, it is unlikely to help. A user finding a page with missing links is likely to leave straight away for a competitor’s page, which Google will interpret as your page being unhelpful. Not good!

Even with vigilant manual monitoring, a long-standing site with lots of content will end up with missing links and broken images as other sites disappear, pages are removed or images deleted. Quarry & Castle were recently asked to completely re-design a photography blog, with entries dating back over 12 years, totalling hundreds of posts. Going through these posts manually checking for lost links would have taken many days of effort, but using this plugin meant we could target our effort in fixing only the content with issues.

How does Broken Link Checker work?

The plugin scans your website for broken links and missing images, searching published posts, pages and comments by default.

Anything not yet published (scheduled, draft, pending) or private is not scanned unless you specify differently.

Links, images and embedded YouTube are automatically checked and exclusions can be setup.

Once the scan is complete, the plugin returns a list of issues found, along with an error code.

How does Broken Link Checker help?

Each issue is broken down – the link that is missing, the error causing the issue (server missing, 404 page missing error etc.), the link text used and a link to the actual post/page/comment.

Options to fix the issue are shown – editing the link URL, removing the link from the text, flag as not broken and dismiss or recheck the link. It’s also possible to edit the source directly from the error generated.

Screenshot of Broken Links Checker plugin

The plugin can also be configured to show broken links differently on a page, as shown below. This helps when editing pages with lots of text, as you can move straight to the effected link.

Screenshot of Broken Links Checker plugin - strikeout

The plugin also continues to monitor for missing links and images, flagging any issues on the dashboard and via e-mail. 

With this targeted list to work through, Quarry & Castle were able to work through and fix all of the issues found with the site, ensuring that there would be no missing link issues with the planned re-design and therefore no negative SEO impact on the new site.

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Does your website have broken links & images? Is it affecting your SEO performance?

Quarry & Castle can help. Give us a call on 07902 980105 or get in touch here – we’d love to know what we can do to help your business grow!

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