Seemingly every website has broken links. Finding and fixing those links is both essential maintenance and a marketing opportunity. Broken link research helps with search engine optimization in two ways.
Content refresh. Google prioritizes new content, including updated pages with new links, sections, and citations. Monitoring your site for broken links offers an opportunity to update the entire page.
- Embedding a new video — and include Schema.org markup for a video rich-snippet.
- Replacing outdated dates and statistics with new data.
- Adding better images.
- Updating calls-to-action for newer products or offers.
Periodic content refreshing drives organic search visibility and, importantly, creates a better visitor experience.
Link-building opportunities. Broken link-building on external sites is an ethical and legitimate way of obtaining backlinks. Here’s the process.
- Locate a broken link on a highly-trusted site.
- Email that site to communicate the break and, potentially, request linking to your site instead. It’s also an opportunity for a new relationship that could someday produce links and mentions.
Broken Link Checkers
I use broken link checkers to help with internal and external opportunities. Here are three favorite checkers.
WebCEO’s internal link checker comes with a free 14-day trial, enough for a small site to fix immediate errors. The link checker is integrated with WebCEO’s SEO audit platform. So when fixing a link, you can receive tips on improving the page.
The tool will regularly scan the site and notify you of more broken links. WebCEO’s pricing starts at $37 per month.
Many tools beyond WebCEO can detect broken internal links, including site crawlers and plugins for WordPress and Shopify.
Ahrefs’ broken link checker can identify link-building opportunities. Ahrefs offers a quick option to find pages on your site (or anyone else’s) that have broken backlinks.
This feature is helpful for two tasks:
- Find deleted pages on your own site that have backlinks. Redirecting those URLs will retain the link equity and help with overall rankings.
- Identify broken backlinks to your site from industry publications to reach out and start a relationship.
To access, log in to Ahrefs, paste your domain, and go to the “Broken backlinks” tab.
Ahrefs’ pricing starts at $99 per month. There’s no free trial.
Link Checker Pro detects broken incoming links. Monitoring your hard-earned backlinks is essential, as losing a link, especially from high-profile sites, could result in lower rankings. Publishers and editors will often revive a lost link once contacted.
Link Checker Pro offers backlink monitoring with alerts for removed, unindexed, and nofollow links and broken links from deleted pages.
Pricing for Link Checker Pro starts at $25 per month for monitoring up to 400 backlinks.