7 SEO Tips to Find & Replace Broken Links

7 SEO Tips to Find & Replace Broken Links


Website being an active web product calls for intermittent maintenance. One of such maintenance practices is to find & replace broken links.

Has this ever happened to you, too, that you click on a URL or title to enter the page? However, what you get to see is a 404 error. Obviously, you will be annoyed with the situation and surely don’t want to visit again. This is precisely the bad user experience.

But what if an internet user faces the same scenario on your website?

Sounds scary!

You don’t want it to happen

Links surely are a bounty that yields strength and growth for a website. Among all your efforts to hoist up your website ranking, links possess a crucial role. The links let the websites have a creditable authority and get votes of confidence. We are referring to all:

  • Internal links (on the same domain; one page to another on-site)
  • External (one domain to another; link from your page(s) to somebody else’s page/ website)
  • Backlinks (one domain to another; a link from somebody else’s page is coming into your page).

However, if these links are spammy or broken, they can ultimately harm the website instead of doing any good. Therefore, it is necessary to find & replace broken links.

But first, you should know:

What are broken links?

The links that don’t work any longer (do not exist) are the broken links. Other names are dead links or link rots.

In particular, a broken link is a web page that can’t be found or accessed by a user. If any user tries to access this page, the servers return an error message – 404 error.

Why omit the dead links?

Bad user experience alone is the significant reason to remove them from your website. Still, if you need more grounds, then let us state them for you.

  • The content losses its charm and engagement
  • A decline in SEO Ranking
  • Visitors abandon the website
  • Broken links affect the links equity of the whole website, consequently causing the ranking downfall.

How do broken links form?

It can have various reasons. However, the simple reason is that the page has been deleted, so it doesn’t exist anymore. Or it has been moved to a different URL (location). That is:

  • You accidentally place a link to the wrong URL.
  • Or you deliberately or unconsciously delete or move a page that has existing links or backlinks.
  • You or the linking site leave a typo or grammatical error to the URL while linking (extra, unwanted character to the URL)

How to deal with broken links?

Individuals want their websites to have a high ranking, excellent user experience, and user loyalty. But the broken links act as a stumbling block. However, we know how to eradicate such issues. So let’s get ready to take a ride to the easy-to-understand SEO tips with a step-by-step approach to sort them out.

  • Find the broken links.
  • Fix the broken links – Replace/ Remove

7 SEO tips to find & replace broken links

Well! There seem to be two ways to find the broken links, manually and automatically. However, keep in mind that the former takes loads of time. For each page, manually, you have to check the links in it. You can imagine if you have to repeat the process for every page no matter at once or monthly, you will get short on time to focus on other important tasks. Therefore, people tend to hire SEO Services.

1- Finding the dead links with Tools

A galore of tools are available online to dash ahead with the broken links issues. No need to mention, both free and paid. The following is a roll of the famous tools. (P.S: Freemium – basic features at free advanced features at cost; premium version)

  • Google Analytics (Freemium)
  • Google Search Console (Free) – previously known as Google webmaster.
  • Ahrefs (paid)
  • Semrush (paid)
  • Xenu’s Link Sleuth (Free)

For instance, take an example of:

Google Analytics

To begin with, you need an account to find & replace broken links. If it is your first time, create an account, but you are good to go if you already have one. So click on the behavior tab, select the site content > all pages. Now adjust the time to the period for which you want to audit; weekly, fortnightly, or monthly. Don’t let it be approaching 6 months or yearly. Now set the filters and get your desired results. You can also even set the alerts to get the reports periodically.


2- Create a List and Analyze the Data

The listed method is more or less the same for other tools. Depending on your choice, you can sign up for the free tool or a free version and get used to the tool. When the time comes, you can switch to the paid versions. So whichever tool you use, eventually, you will get the report. You can export the links report to an excel spreadsheet (it will be easier this way). Now analyze the data and find what causes the link to rot. For instance, if it is a technical error or human error typo or grammatical). It will be any of those mentioned above (How do broken links form?) reasons

3- Decide what and where to redirect

Here comes the most confusing part that how to fix the links. A familiar yet viable method is to redirect the link to another page – setting up 301 redirects.

So, highlight the ones that you think can be corrected (dead because of human error)—also, the ones that you want to remove and those to redirect.

Remember, those links that are broken, however, have already gotten a lot of page views. It is better to recreate or restore those pages rather than redirecting or removing the links. Update the sheet side by side to save your efforts.

4- Amend the internal and external broken links

Now, it’s time to implement what you plan.

  • For the links in the correction list, find out what is missing, additional, typo, or grammatically inaccurate in the URL and overhaul it.
  • For redirection, either find a replacement (existing article, blog, or video relevant to the content). Or create new content (video, article) to fill up and make the link alive again. In short, have a list of the target pages.

5- Redirection in the CMS

To implement the 301 redirects, you can use your CMS – Content Management System, whichever you have from WordPress Drupal or Joomla.

For WordPress, you need a redirection plugin; install one if you didn’t have it. Now go to Tools >> Redirection >> Add New Redirection. Now paste the broken link (from where you want to redirect) in the “Source URL” field, and in the “Target URL” field, add the new (correct) link. Finally, click the “Add redirect,” and the changes will be saved. You can even test all the broken links to ensure they are functional or take action now if you miss any.

However, for others, for instance, Drupal, go to Administration > Site building > URL Redirects > Add Redirect. Paste the broken and new link in the From and To, respectively, and you are done with the process.

6- Don’t forget the broken backlinks

You can locate the broken backlinks via the listed tools too. However, fixing the backlinks might be challenging. How? It is because the link exists on someone else’s website, indicating that you can’t control it. Wait! But you can work on it by contacting the site owner to request the fix (correct URL).

However, if it didn’t work, find a new location or another relevant page and go for Redirect (301). Or you can recreate and replace the content at the broken URL. But if anything isn’t coming in your favor. Leave the broken backlink as a 404 – “hard 404.”

Interesting to know what is it?

A hard 404, if a user accesses the broken link, it tells the user that the page couldn’t be found or accessed because the page doesn’t exist anymore.

7- Finding & Fixing Broken Links Using plugins

If you have a WordPress website, you have another way to get rid of the dead links. You might have guessed by now? Yes, we are referring to the plugins. A famous plugin is “Broken Link Checker.”

You can install and activate the plugin and go to Tools and click on Broken Links.

The plugin scans for broken links automatically after installation and provides you a list. In the list, you can easily see not only the broken URL but its status, anchor text, and location too.

Now it’s time to fix the broken links.

To remove the link, place the cursor and click unlink. To replace it, click Edit Link. You can either choose yourself or use the suggestion that the plugin provides. Finally, press the update button, and you are done.

The plugin is user-friendly and is very customizable. Moreover, you can set the time for periodic scanning and your preferences for locations and link types, etc.

Final Words!

Everyone makes a lot of effort on the pages, web designcontentdigital marketingsocial media, and even web hosting to get good SEO results. However, they neglect the links that hold a strong position in the SEO aspect. But, you should not overlook them and find & replace broken links either using tools and plugins.
Probably until now, you have got to know that removing the broken links is necessary and how to do it. Therefore, don’t slack after executing the above methods for one time only. Instead, it is perfect for making it a habit to monitor the broken links and eliminate them as soon as possible. An average time seems to be around at least once per month.

Don’t let broken links backfire on your website. Instead, hand over this task to an SEO Company and get their professional SEO Services. The SEO specialists will help find & replace broken links and let your website stand back with a credible authority in the online market.