Broken Links: Causes and How to Fix Them

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Broken links are a big problem for website owners. The existence of broken links can risk a website's reputation and drop the website's ranking in search engines.

Apart from that, broken links cause visitors to give up visiting the website. A survey stated that as many as 88% of visitors will not return to a website when they encounter a 404 page (error page).

Even though it's a big problem, it doesn't mean broken links can't be overcome. This article will help you resolve WordPress website broken links quickly and easily.

What is Broken Link?

What is Broken Link?

According to, a broken link or dead link is a hyperlink to a website page or source that is no longer valid. Usually, when someone visits the link, a message will appear indicating that there is an error.

Broken links have a bad impact on a website because they can give a negative impression or appear unprofessional. For example, when a prospective buyer visits a website page and it turns out there is a "404 Page Not Found" error, the impact will have on the brand's reputation because they are deemed unable to manage their business assets properly. Therefore, this problem needs to be resolved immediately.

What are the cause of broken links?

Broken link is a term for links that cannot be accessed by search engines. There are several things that cause a link to become a broken link:

  • Errors in typing links or typos;
  • Domain change;
  • Web directory changes;
  • Storing 404 pages by cache;
  • Changes to Domain Name Services (DNS) settings.

These factors need to be kept in mind. That way, you can anticipate and minimize the presence of broken links on your website.

The Effects of Broken Links on SEO

One of the bad impacts of broken links is that customers will switch to another website because they cannot get the content they want. So the content of your business site will not be seen. 

Search engines will lower the ranking of websites that have lots of broken links because they are considered to be of low quality and irrelevant. Broken links have bad consequences for many parties, including website users and website owners:

1. Bad website reputation

When someone visits a website that has a lot of broken links, it is very possible for him to think that the website is not maintained or has its information updated. As a result, trust in the website may decrease.

2. Poor user experience

Broken links make it difficult for visitors to navigate a website. If there are lots of broken links, visitors may become confused about using the website to find what they need.

For example, a website visitor wants to order tickets online but instead finds that the payment page cannot be accessed. As a result, visitors are very likely to immediately leave and look for another website as an alternative.

3. Poor SEO

Users who run away when they find lots of broken links will certainly have an impact on the bounce rate of the website. As a result, the website's ranking will drop because search engines like Google do not want to display websites that are deemed unable to answer user needs.

4. Decrease in website traffic

Due to broken links, a website can experience a decrease in the number of visitors because they tend not to want to visit websites that make them uncomfortable. Apart from that, a decrease in ranking in search engine results also causes traffic to decrease because readers will prefer to visit websites that are in the top ranking.

How would you check and fix broken links?

No one will forbid you from checking the content one by one to find broken links. But everyone will agree that this method wastes time and energy. Especially if the website you have is quite old and has a lot of content. Therefore, here are five ways to check broken links and how to deal with broken links:

1. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool that can monitor your website's performance in Google search results. Well, one of the Google Search Console features is called Crawl Errors. Crawl Errors will give you a report on any pages that have broken links in them. Very interesting, right?

To use Crawl Error, your website must have added your website to Google Search Console first. You can read the complete guide here.

  • After the website is entered, you click Settings. Then, OPEN REPORT on the Crawling menu.


  • Click Not Found (404) in By response.
  • You will find a list of Broken Links on your website as in the image below:

2. Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is an SEO audit application that you can install on your computer. This application can be installed on Windows, macOS and Ubuntu devices. Here's how to check broken links using Screaming Frog:

  • Download and install Screaming Frog from the official website.
  • Enter your website URL in the box and click Start to start the scan.

Screaming Frog

  • After the scan is complete, click the Response Code tab, then click Client Error (4xx) on the right. You can also find out the link to each broken link by clicking Inlinks at the bottom.

3. Check Broken Links Online

Apart from the application, you can also check broken links for free online. However, this method is suitable if your website is still small and doesn't have many pages. How to?

All you have to do is visit the website. Then, enter your website URL in the box provided and click Find broken links. Enter the captcha code if prompted. Then, wait a few moments and the broken link scan results will be displayed.

4. Broken Link Checker Plugin

Among the many broken link solutions, we recommend you to use the Broken Link Checker plugin. This plugin is free, easy to use, and will definitely make your job easier in dealing with broken links.

Once downloaded and activated, you can see the complete features of this plugin by going to Settings -> Link Checker.

For a free WordPress SEO plugin, Broken Link Checker provides a lot of setting options. There are five settings tabs available. These five tabs make it easier for you to identify broken links on various website components. We will discuss these five parts of the settings further:

a. General

Genera is where you set how often the plugin checks links on the website. By default this plugin checks links every 72 hours.

Apart from that, you can also activate notifications every time a broken link is identified.

b. Look For Links In tab

The Look For Links In tab lets you select the website elements whose links need to be checked. By default the plugin will only check comments sections, pages and posts. However, you can add more sections by checking the available options.

Not only content that has been published can be checked. This plugin is able to check broken links in various statuses such as scheduled, draft, pending, private, and spam.

c. Which Links To Check

Which Links To Check provides a selection of links to check. In general, the links examined are HTML, image links, and YouTube video links.

d. Protocols & APIs

This plugin also provides Protocols & APIs options for checking broken links on websites.

e. Advanced

In the Advanced section, you set more specific settings about broken links. For example, you can consider a link as broken if it doesn't open for more than 30 seconds. You can set how long the plugin monitors links and the categorization of the links checked.

After setting the settings above, you can see the broken links that the plugin has found. In the example above, Broken Link Checker managed to find six broken links, all of which came from the comments column.

This means that broken links are not only the result of the website owner's negligence or technical problems. Sometimes broken links are caused by comments left by visitors on your website. This is why plugins like Broken Link Checker are very effective for checking and finding broken links.

To repair broken links, there are two actions you can take. First, by changing the URL. This option is possible if you know the correct page link or content.

Second, namely by unlinking or deleting the link and making it just plain text. This second method is good to use if you don't know the correct link. This second method is what I will choose to fix broken links in the comments column.

5. Online SEO Audit Tools

The last way to check broken links that you can try is to use SEO audit tools such as Ahrefs or SEMrush. Both provide sophisticated SEO audit tools and are able to scan your website for broken links.


An inaccessible link can result in a bad experience for website users. Therefore, web owners need to ensure that every link they have works well. Some ways to deal with broken links that you can try are:

  • Check for Errors in Google Crawl
  • Avoid links to content located deep within the website unless (or until) necessary
  • If the link is an external link, go to a website that has authority on the link and ask for corrections
  • Use of redirect mechanisms
  • Regenerate and replace content on broken URLs
  • Perform a redirect (301) from the broken page to another relevant page on your website

Overcoming the issue of broken links is something that needs to be considered in SEO activities. For this reason, quick action is needed so that the problem can be resolved without problems. 

Yes! That's all you need to do to fix broken links. Very easy isn't it? Now, there are no more stories of losing visitors or dropping SEO rankings because of broken links.

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