Broken link checker WordPress plugin (BLC) is one of the essential site SEO audit plugin. For any huge WordPress blog, this plugin is a life saver to remove broken links and to fix redirections. This plugin is very handy when you are cleaning up your WordPress site after some time. This plugin finds all broken and redirected links and give you options to fix them in many ways. Before we talk more about Broken link checker plugin, lets check out some information on broken links.
What are broken links?
Broken links are those link which do not exist. It’s a dead link with 404 status code. For example, you might have linked to some website or pages in the past and now that link doesn’t exist or has been removed, such links are broken links or dead end for bots. When a visitor follow that link, he will get 404 error page & search engine bots will get 404 status code, which means this page does not exist. From SEO point of view broken links ( dead links) are dead end and it adds negative impact on your blog.
For any Website there are many broken link checker Websites Or you can use Xenu to check all broken links on your blog. But when it comes to WordPress, there are plugins like Broken link checker which makes our life easier. Too many 404 links are also informally termed at Link rot and you can read more about it on Wiki page.
WordPress plugin to fix broken links:
BLC is a free broken link checker tool for WordPress.It helps you to find all broken links on your blog as well as all the redirections. Specially, if your posts get too many comments, over the time you might end up having hundreds or thousands of broken links.
This WP plugin checks all the URL’s on your WordPress blog and give a complete report of broken and redirected link. Plugin author has updated this plugin to take care of load on your site and now it comes with many settings.
How to use Broken link checker WordPress plugin?
- Download and install the plugin. <Link> (How to Install WordPress Plugin)
- Activate the plugin and go to it’s setting by clicking on Tools> Broken links
It might take some time before you start seeing detected broken and redirected links. You can always check the status from your dashboard homepage. Here is how the broken link checker plugin shows broken links:
Along with broken link, it shows the status code, which will help you to determine if you have to unlink, update or not to take any action. Again, my recommendation would be work on updating the link instead of simply unlinking it. In case, if you have a huge blog with thousands of broken links, it’s better to get rid of such 404 links instead of delaying it for later.
You can click on Settings at top right and configure many settings. Specially, go to “Look for links in” and check comments. If your server is underpowered or if it’s overpowered, you can set the Server load limit under advance settings tab. There is an option under general, which let you stop search engine bots to follow broken links.
Usually, this plugin is plug and play to find broken links, but additionally I would suggest to check and confirm if “Stop search engines from following broken links” and Comments under look for links in are checked. This will make sure that by the end of the day, you will be getting rid of broken links.
Broken links found. What next?
So, after running this plugin for 2-3 hours, it detected almost 500+ broken links. For comments, you can simply select all such comments and from the drop down, you can select Unlink. Or you can hover over any link and quickly edit, unlink or mark it as not broken. Specially for blog posts, I would suggest you to update the broken link with updated link else your quality post might not be of any good without any link.
Here is the most interesting feature of this plugin and that is finding redirection and fixing it. Over the time, many people change their domain and do a redirection or you might have changed your permalink and your old posts are interlinked using old permalink, which is somehow not to good for SEO. Broken link checker plugin checks all the redirection and with one click you can fix the redirected links and update them to new one. In case, if you are using affiliate links, it will be also shown as redirected link, so make sure you don’t fix such affiliate links. Here is a screenshot of how you can fix redirected links.:
If you ever changed your domain, permalink or moved from BlogSpot to WordPress or from any other platform, this redirects feature under broken link checker plugin is going to be very useful.
Some time back, I changed CallingAllGeeks permalink structure which resulted in showing as duplicate meta description for all the posts under HTML suggestion of Google Webmaster tool. After searching in Webmaster forum, I realize it’s a bug but still I don’t see any point of keeping links with old permalink structure. As too many redirection and such links might not be considered as SEO friendly. Here is a screenshot for the same:
Depending upon the number of total links on your site, this plugin will take around 10-45 minutes to fix all broken and redirected links. Last time when I used this plugin, I ended up fixing almost 600+ broken links at ShoutMeLoud.
Quick note: This plugin adds too many tables in database and due to log size your database size will increase. So, after using this plugin disable it and using Wp-Db manager plugin, you can drop all the tables created by this plugin. For you reference, here are the tables created by BLC WordPress plugin: _blc_filters, _blc_instances, _blc_links, _blc_synch
It doesn’t matter which platform are you using, but broken links on any site is not good for site SEO and when ever you do a SEO audit of your Website, make sure broken link checker plugin is an essential part.
Do let us know which WordPress plugin do you use to find broken links on your blog. Have you ever used Broken link checker WordPress plugin? How likely you are going to recommend this plugin to other WordPress users?