The Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin (BLC) is an essential SEO audit plugin.
For any WordPress blog, this plugin is a lifesaver for removing broken links and fixing redirections and is very handy when you are cleaning up your WordPress site. This plugin finds all broken and redirected links and gives you lots of options to fix them.
But before we talk more about the Broken Link Checker plugin, let’s talk about broken links.
If you want to skip the written tutorial and go straight to the video, here it is:
What are broken links?
Broken links are links which don’t link to an existing page. It’s a “dead” link and contains a 404 error code.
For example, let us assume you linked to a page on a particular website, but that page was removed. This causes a broken link. When a visitor follows that link, they will get a 404 error page.
But this does not just impact users. When search engine bots find a broken link, they also get a 404 status code implying that the page does not exist. From an SEO point of view, these broken links (i.e., dead links) have a negative impact on your website.
Too many of these links and a website will suffer from something called “Link Rot.”
- So how does a website get broken links?
Well, aside from linking to a page that has been removed, if you are a popular blog that gets a lot of comments, you need to be careful. The comments also contain links. If your site has been around for a while, and you have gotten lots of comments, chances are you have a lot of broken links to websites that no longer exist.
There are many broken link checker websites out there to check for broken links on your site. But with WordPress, we have the power of plugins.
WordPress Plugin To Fix Broken Links
Broken Link Checker is a free tool for WordPress.
It helps you find all broken links on your blog as well as highlight all of the redirections.
This WP plugin checks all URLs on your WordPress blog and gives you a complete report of the broken and redirected links.
How To Use Broken Link Checker WordPress Plugin
- Download and install the plugin. <Link> (How To Install WordPress Plugins)
- Activate the plugin and go to its setting by clicking on Tools > Broken Links.
It might take some time (a couple of hours or even days) to scan the WordPress site for broken links (internal and external) and give you a report as shown in below screenshot to take action.
Along with broken links, it also shows the status code which will help you determine if you have to unlink, update, or not take any action.
My recommendation would be to work on updating the link instead of merely unlinking. But, if you have a massive blog with thousands of broken links, it’s better to get rid of such 404 links instead of delaying it for later.
To configure the settings, go to Settings > Link checker
And in the “General” tab, you can stop search engine bots from following broken links. I would highly recommend you set this one.
Under “Looks for links in” tab you can configure the areas this plugin should crawl to find broken links. If you have a heavy blog just like mine, you can start with scanning only the posts section. However, if your server is powerful (I use Kinsta), you can check other options, such as comments section. Here are the settings that I use for ShoutMeLoud:
You can also set the specific “Server load limit” under the “Advanced” settings tab.
I have found broken links! What should I do?
After running this plugin for several hours, you’re bound to find some broken links.
You can access the latest report under Tools> Broken links anytime.
For comments, you can select all of them, and from the select “Unlink” from the drop-down menu.
For blog posts, I would highly recommend you update the link instead of just unlinking it; this will maintain the integrity of your original post.
The most interesting feature of this plugin is finding and fixing redirections. Over time, many people change their domains and redirections, some change permalink structures, but the old interlinks continue to link to the old URLs.
The Broken Link Checker plugin checks all redirections, and with one click, you can fix and update the redirected links.
NOTE: If you use affiliate links, these will also show as redirected links, so make sure you don’t fix the affiliate links.
Here is a screenshot of how you can fix redirected links:
If you ever changed domains or permalink structures or moved from BlogSpot to WordPress or from any other platform, this redirect feature will prove to be very useful.
Depending on the number of total links on your site, this plugin will take around 10-45 minutes to fix all broken and redirected links.
The last time I used this plugin, I ended up fixing almost 600 broken links at ShoutMeLoud!
Quick note: This plugin adds too many tables in your database which will increase your database size. So, after using this plugin, disable it and use the WT-DB Manager plugin to delete all tables created by this plugin.
For your reference, here are the tables created by BLC:
plugin: _blc_filters, _blc_instances, _blc_links, _blc_synch
It doesn’t matter which platform you use (WordPress or otherwise), broken links in general impacts SEO in a negative manner. Whenever you do an SEO audit of your website, make sure you use the Broken Link Checker.
Do let us know which WordPress plugin you use to find broken links on your blog. Have you ever used the Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin? Let us know in the comments.