Broken links pose some quite serious impact on a website’s SEO status. It is important for website owners to check their site regularly for both internal and external broken links. This could be a heavy tasks especially for websites that are decades old. Fortunately, there are available plugins for WordPress websites that can monitor all your internal and external links.
Broken Link Checker is a good plugin to monitor and remove or nofollow dead links in your website. It has the ability to monitor almost any part of your website, including your posts, pages, comments, blogroll and the custom fields. The plugin is not only limited to links that doesn’t work but also detects missing images and redirects. Broken Link Checker can even prevent search engines from following broken links and let’s you edit the link directly from the plugin’s page without manually updating the posts.
Once installed, the plugin will begin parsing your posts, bookmarks (AKA blogroll) and other content and looking for links. Depending on the size of your site this can take from a few minutes up to an hour or more. When parsing is complete, the plugin will start checking each link to see if it works. Again, how long this takes depends on how big your site is and how many links there are. You can monitor the progress and tweak various link checking options in Settings -> Link Checker.
Broken links can be seen under – Tools -> Broken Links. A notification will also appear in the “Broken Link Checker” widget on the Dashboard. To save display space, you can keep the widget closed and configure it to expand automatically when problematic links are detected. E-mail notifications need to be enabled separately (in Settings -> Link Checker).
There are several actions associated with each link. They show up when you move your mouse over to one of the links listed the aforementioned tab –
- “Edit URL” lets you change the URL of that link. If the link is present in more than one place (e.g. both in a post and in the blogroll), all occurrences of that URL will be changed.
- “Unlink” removes the link but leaves the link text intact.
- “Not broken” lets you manually mark a “broken” link as working. This is useful if you know it was incorrectly detected as broken due to a network glitch or a bug. The marked link will still be checked periodically, but the plugin won’t consider it broken unless it gets a new result.
- “Dismiss” hides the link from the “Broken Links” and “Redirects” views. It will still be checked as normal and get the normal link styles (e.g. a strike-through effect for broken links), but won’t be reported again unless its status changes. Useful if you want to acknowledge a link as broken/redirected and just leave as it is.
You can also click on the contents of the “Status” or “Link Text” columns to get more info about the status of each link.
You can control up to what extent the plugin would search your site for broken links. Go back to Broken Link Checker options and navigate to the Look for Links In tab. Check only the parts of the website to get parsed when checking for broken links.
The type of links that the plugin would search can be changed under the Which Links To Check menu tab. You can also set to exclude a link from being checked under its Exclusion List.
Developers can make use of the Advanced menu under link checker settings. They have the option to configure the link monitors, max execution time, server load limit and force recheck the pages for broken links.
Broken Link Checker is a good free plugin to maintain live internal and external links in your site. You have a bunch of options on how to carefully monitor all the links you create and can even change the advanced options when it’s placing much load in your server’s bandwidth. You can get the plugin from this link.