One of the most important factors in SEO that we need to take into consideration is good linking. If your website has been running for a long time, it is essential to do some maintenance tasks once in a while to keep your website healthy and optimized. One of doing so is to find the broken links. You may remove them or completely replace them with a new one.
In that way, you’re preventing your site from reducing its performance and you establish a good SEO ranking with Google. However, if you’re managing multiple websites, doing a maintenance task like this can be tedious in the long run and it will take you a lot of time. We are here to discuss broken links, how to find broken links on websites and how to find them using different SEO tools, plugins, and extensions.
What are Broken Links?
Have you ever experienced accessing a very interesting website, then, at that moment you’ve clicked on the link of a certain post or purchase, it only brought you frustration? “This page no longer exists” “404 error not found”, are only some of the annoying messages that will flash to your screen whenever you’ve clicked on the dead link or also known as the Broken Link. It is a non-existent page and Broken Link happens when the browser is unable to locate the requested web page’s content. The reason for this is that the page or website has been removed, or has been transferred to a new host for a domain name. It can also be caused by the changed composition of the permalinks or it can be a wrong spelling in the link. Whatever the cause is, broken links can be harmful to your website.
There are two kinds of broken links that you need to know.
First is the Internal Links. This is a link on your website that links another page on your site. It exists inside your website. The second one is the External Links. This is a link from your website or domain that goes into another website or domain.
We want to avoid problems such as losing money and losing our SEO ranking. If you’re a business owner and your main platform is a website, broken links that aren’t fixed or solved will result in loss of money and clients. If clients cannot find what they’re looking for in your website as they keep on clicking the broken link, Google may find your website unhelpful and drag you down to the search results which may lead to losing potential customers.
Another thing is, bounce rate is one of the factors Google considers in terms of search ranking. If your site visitors are always redirected to a 404 not found page, it will become annoying and frustrating and they may never be interested again in browsing on your website. They may also find your website sloppy and untrustworthy because of the error. The broken links that are continuously ignored will become harmful to your website. It may affect your SEO Google ranking. Abandoned sites are one factor as it will push down your website in the search results which leads to the potential of your website not being included in the indexed by the Google Spider.
We don’t want any of that and to prevent that from happening. Now that we know what Broken Links are and what causes behind them, we can now move on to the different solutions on how to find broken links using SEO tools, plugins, and extensions.
How to Find Broken Links Using SEO Tools?
SEO plays an important role when it comes to online trendsetters. Websites must know how to use the right keywords and landing pages to be included in the major search engines and might as well be ranked on Google’s top page. If you want to promote your website, broken links must be eliminated. In order for you to achieve that, you may use SEO Tools to help you. Here are some of the SEO Tools that we can recommend.
Ahrefs is first on our list of SEO tools that will help you find dead links on your website. It is a broken link checker that is dedicated to your inbound and outbound links in just a few seconds. Ahrefs is also one of the most popular SEO tools in the market. The crawler Ahrefs uses is the second most active after Google and powered by the largest live backlinks database in the industry, no doubt it is included on our list.
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Sort and filter list
Select the website from your niche and go for Broken Links. It will immediately display every broken outbound link on your site by using the sort and filter list.
Find the most linked-to dead pages on your site
Again, by selecting the website, go to Pages then Best by Links and it will display The Best Pages by Incoming Links. You can change or redirect the site visitors to best-fit alternatives to improve your rankings by not abandoning the site.
Find broken redirects
Make sure that your links are safe and not linked to harmful websites by removing or replacing the links. In order for you to do that, go to the Outgoing Links then select Linked Domains. It will display all of the linked domains on your website.
Ahrefs offers a good variety of plans that you can check out here.
- Lite – $82 per month, payable annually. Lite plan is good for 1 user, +$300/ year per seat, unlimited verified projects, and 5 non-verified projects.
- Standard – $149 per month, payable annually. The standard plan is good for 1 user, +$300/ year per seat, unlimited verified projects, and 10 non-verified projects.
- Advanced – $332 per month, payable annually. Advanced plan is good for 3 users, +$300/ year per seat, unlimited verified projects, and 25 non-verified projects.
- Agency – $832 per month, payable annually. The agency plan is good for 5 users, +$300/ year per seat, unlimited verified projects, and 10 non-verified projects.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool
Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool is yet another SEO tool to help you find broken links on websites. Unlike with other web-based SEO audit tools, this one here is using desktop software and you can use it offline. It works on Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu. Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool is known for its finding broken links feature and is free to use. They also have paid plans if you want more dynamic features.
Once you’ve downloaded the tool and installed it, here’s a straightforward and simple way on how to use it.
Crawl the website
Insert your website’s domain at the top and click the Start button.
Click the “Responses Codes” tab and View the Source of the Broken Links
You have the option to wait until the crawl reaches 100% or simply view the 404 error page by using the Responses code tab and Client Error (4XX) to filter and display the broken links. If you want to see the source of the broken links, simply go to Inlinks which can be found at the bottom.
Take note that the source location of the 404 broken link is at “From” while “To” is the broken link.
Crawling a list of URLs for Broken Links
If you want to check a variety of URLs instead of crawling a single website, then you can upload the list by simply going to the Mode then, List which can be found at the top and you can have the option to either paste in the URLs or upload them via file.
You can check out Screaming Frog’s paid plan here.
- Free – You don’t have to pay to use its basic features like finding broken links, errors, and redirects. It also includes analyze page titles and Meta Data, Site visualizations, Audit hreflang Attribute, and it has a crawl limit of 500 URLs.
- Paid – £149 per year. It comes with the basic features plus additional premium features like scheduling crawl configuration, crawl comparison, Google Analytics Integration, Search Console Integration, and many more.
Semrush is a web-based suite of software tools for SEO, advertising, content marketing, social media, and more related to digital marketing.
Run a site audit
When it comes to SEO, Semrush has a free site audit which contains a list of issues and errors that you can fix on-site to improve your Google Rankings.
After running a site audit, click on the Issues tab on the Site Audit report and you’ll see a list of errors found on your website. Now, select Internal links are broken.
You can also open Select an Issue and click on the Broken Internal links. You can always choose what to click on the Errors tab to get you with the issue you need to prioritize.
Site audit report
After selecting what issue to resolve, it will display what issue, in particular, you’ve chosen. You’ll see a page URL and link URL of the broken link. You can also use the Send to Trello feature and the list of broken links will be added directly to a Trello card.
Semrush offers a variety of plans that you can purchase here.
- Free – allows you to create 1 project, up to 100 links to audit
- Pro – $119.95 per month good for 5 projects, 500 keywords to track, and has keyword, domain, and backlink analytics.
- Guru – $229.95 per month good for 15 projects, 1500 keywords to track, has a keyword, domain, and backlink analytics plus, historical data, content marketing platform, and Google Data Studio Integration
- Business – $449.95 per month good for 40 projects, 5000 keywords to track, plus it includes Share of voice metric and API access.
Sitechecker is an online SEO tool that caters all about website health. It has a variety of tools that you can use to maintain and improve your website’s performance. Sitechecker is trusted by over 1000 teams including Sony, Microsoft, and Airbnb. Finding the broken links on your websites is made easy by using Sitechecker.
Go to the Sitechecker website and enter your website’s domain then click on the Analyze button. Wait for a few seconds to load the results
Site Audit Results
After a few seconds, your website score will be displayed on the screen showing 3 parts which are Critical Errors, Warnings, and Notices. You can find the broken links on the Critical Errors. Scroll down and you’ll see the prioritized error on the list.
Critical Errors Found
Description is Missing is the major issue found on Critical Errors. Click on that and it will display a screen and click on the View all affected pages.
Find the broken links
After clicking the View all affected pages, it will display the full detailed report on where the broken links are. Sitechecker also has this feature: How to fix and it will help you get the solution you want for your broken links.
If you want to scan for your pages inside your website and see if there’s a broken link, we can recommend another method which is the On-Page Checker.
On Page Checker
Go to the On-Page Checker which can be found at the left side panel of Sitechecker and the same method goes to this as well. Enter your website domain and click the Analyze button
On Page Checker results
And that’s it. It will show the results on Critical Errors and that’s where Broken Links are mostly found.
Sitechecker offers a good selection of plans that you can check out here.
- Basic – $23 per month, payable annually. Good for 3 websites and 1500 URLs per account
- Startup – $39 per month, payable annually. Good for 5 websites and 5000 URLs per account
- Growing – $79 per month, payable annually. Good for 10 websites and 50000 URLs per account
Another free broken link finder for websites is Google Analytics. It is the easiest solution on how you can find broken links for free by using your Page Title.
Login to your Google Analytics
After logging in to your account, go to Behaviour then Site Content and select All Pages.
From Primary Dimension, click on the Page Title tab.
By using the search box, find the page title of your 404 pages and enter that on the box.
It will show the result and select it.
Google Analytics 404 report
Upon selecting the page title, it will show the broken links report and you have the option to sort pages by the number of page views to prioritize the most frequently appearing errors. That’s it.
- You don’t need to pay for the features it offers as it comes off for free. They have Google Analytics 360 but that plan is only ideal for large enterprises or companies. If you’re interested, you can see it for yourself here.
How to Find Broken Links Using Plugins
Another way you can find dead links on your website is by using plugins. We don’t really recommend using WordPress plugins as they can reduce your website’s performance. It’s much better to have a separate tool to do this. However, if you really want to use plugins to find your broken links, then here are some of the plugins we can recommend to find broken links on websites.
This plugin for WordPress doesn’t allow you to find broken links. Then, what is its function? Link Fixer, as the name says it all, is a plugin that helps you reduce the number of pages redirecting a dead link. Before it lands on a dead link, Link Fixer tries to locate any posts or links that are related or the same. Its configuration panel allows you to make changes on how you want your permalinks to be found.
- This plugin is completely free to use.
Another plugin that you can use to find broken links is the Link Checker. By using an external service to crawl your website, no matter if the links will show you to an internal or external URL, Link Checker will do its job to find broken links and images on your website. Here’s some quick and easy rundown on how to find the dead links on your website using Link Checker.
Installation And Setup
Like any other plugins you usually use, find Link Checker then install and activate it. Upon activation, you’ll see Link Checker on the left side of the WordPress dashboard. Click on that and it will lead you to its simple interface where you can easily see different tabs like Progress, Stats, Results, Status Codes, and so on. Now, click on the Check your Website button on the top and wait for it to finish.
Finding the dead links
Now that the scanning process is completed, go to the Result tab and you’ll find the broken links on your website. Simple and easy right?
- You can use this plugin for free. Take note that the free version only allows you to check 500 internal and external links of your WordPress website.
Broken Link Checker
Add Broken Link Checker to your list of plugins. When you look for a plugin that will help you find broken links, this plugin is the most common you can find on WordPress plugins. In order for you to find broken links by using this plugin, follow these simple procedures to do that. Take note that this plugin hasn’t been updated for a long time and developers are trying to transfer ownership.
Find Broken Link Checker then install and activate it. After installation, the plugin will automatically scan for broken links.
Finding broken links
To see where your broken links are, go to Tools then select Broken Links and it will instantly display a list of broken links on your website.
- This plugin comes for free.
Video Link Checker
Having a website with videos from Youtube, DailyMotion, SoundCloud, and Vimeo, you might not be aware that some of these videos from this platform are deleted, thus creating a broken link. This plugin will help you find dead links caused by embedded videos.
After installing the plugin, go to Video Link Checker and select Scan Options and configure the settings based on your needs.
You can change what type of report you want. If you want the dead links only then select broken video URLs only then click on Scan Now to start scanning your website
Now your website’s scanned, go to Log Reports and you’ll see the results and find where the dead links are.
- Regular License – $21 + $6 to extend support up to 12 months
- Extended License – $90 + $24.38 to extend support up to 12 months.
Save Post. Check Links.
Lastly, another free plugin tool for broken links is up on our list. Save Post. Check Links is literally just what the name implies. It is a very straightforward plugin. After installing this plugin, it will automatically scan for broken links on your posts, and ping the broken links found. Like this one.
You’ll immediately see if there’s a broken link on your post or website.
- It comes completely for free.
How to Find Broken Links Using Chrome Extensions
The last method we’re going to recommend is by using the Chrome Extensions. In that way, you don’t need to install a lot of software on your desktop or access the web to scan your website. You can easily find broken links on the spot by using extensions. Here are some of our recommended Chrome Extensions.
Check My Links
Check My Links is a simple, straightforward Chrome extension that allows you to crawl through your website and find the dead links.
Crawling your website
After installing the extension, you can now proceed by clicking the button in the toolbar to find the broken links. The tiny box that is on the upper right side shows the results of valid links, valid redirecting links, warnings, and invalid links. The green color indicates valid links while the red color indicates invalid links. Those invalid links are the broken links. There you go.
Free Backlink Checker by LRT
Link Research Tools has a Free Backlink Checker for Chrome Extension. Like any other broken links checker, it allows you to scan your website to see if your website is safe and healthy. Download the chrome extension here and proceed to the installation process.
Find the broken links
After installing the extension, it will display a green icon that you can easily access on your browser. Click on that green icon to start scanning your website.
Website Scan Results
This tiny box right here will appear after you click the green icon and the website scan is finished. You can find the broken links immediately after the scanning process.
- This chrome extension is completely free to use and but if you want extensive features to help you improve your SEO, then you can check out their website here for full price list
SEO Minion is a Chrome Extension that allows you to analyze On-Page SEO and check for broken links to improve your website’s performance. You can find broken links easily by using this extension
Find broken links
After downloading the extension, install it on your Chrome and it will display an orange icon which is the logo of SEO Minion. Click on the orange icon and select Check Broken Links. It will instantly display what links are broken and what links are valid. 404 links will be displayed in yellow color while no domain links will be displayed in red color.
Find broken links in your website today
We’ve served on your plate a variety of solutions for every platform you use and we hope that you can find the solution you’re looking for, try and test it on your own so you can find broken links in your website today.
As always, let us know if you have any questions—or help, and of course, how you get on! Good luck!