Optimizing your content

How to find and repair broken links on a website?


What is a broken link? A broken link means that a hypertext link (also known as a URL) no longer redirects to the website it targets. There are several possible reasons for broken links. The link may have been inserted incorrectly, usually by copying and pasting. A functional link may also stop responding if the destination website no longer exists. Or it may be that the affiliate program has stopped.

It's normal for dead links to appear on a website, but their presence is undesirable.

Why do we need to eradicate broken links?

The links you place on your website have two main functions: monetization and SEO.

Affiliate links generate traffic and sales for your partners. If your affiliate links are broken, the revenue generated by your website will mechanically decrease.

When it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it's all about showing search engines that your website is well maintained. Having broken links on your site is like having weeds on your lawn. Search engines don't like the impression of clutter, and the resulting penalties are often swift and severe.

💡 SEO: Search engine optimization. These are the set of best practices recommended by search engines. They enable your content to rank higher in Google's search results pages, for example.

Whether you want to make money or increase your traffic, dealing with broken links is an essential step in ensuring your website's audience longevity and profitability. It's all the more important if you have feature articles. To find out more, read our article on building an audience mattress.

How to detect broken links

If broken links are to be eliminated, you need to be able to find them without having to check each and every page of your website one by one. Several tools can help:

  • Google Search Console: this free tool from Google can help you detect links causing 404 errors on your site. It also provides other information on your website's indexing and any anomalies encountered.
  • Broken Link Checker: this Wordpress plugin helps you find URLs that are no longer responding.
  • Free Broken Link Checker: this online tool lets you check your site's links free of charge (up to 3,000 pages).
Broken link checker
Free Broken Link Checker shows you the page where the dead link is located, as well as the anchor on which it is positioned.
  • Affiliate platforms offer broken link reports to help you find these links and the pages where they are present.
  • It's also advisable to manually check links when copying and pasting, even if this may seem obvious. All it takes is one less "h" in "https" to render your link inoperative. This type of error can occur, especially when dealing with a large number of links. It can also happen that the links provided don't work, or redirect to the wrong product page or another language.

These tools are handy, but they act downstream of the problem. How do you prevent these links from forming? The ideal solution is to use tools that do the work for you. Affiliate platforms make your partners' catalogs available as XML or CSV files, but also via APIs. Developing your own tools that use these feeds greatly reduces the risk of having partner links that no longer respond.

💡 API stands for Application Programming Interface. In this case, it's a URL that returns requested information when sent a request with a product code. Example: a product sheet for the Zelda Links Awakening game on Nintendo Switch in XML format.

However, to develop such tools, you need to know how to program. If you're not a developer, you'll have to invest in automating the work. Fortunately, Affilizz offers these tools on its website. With just a few clicks, you can create your own price comparators or buttons/CTAs, choosing the products and merchants you want to appear. If a product is no longer available from a merchant, it will automatically be removed and replaced by another available offer.

affilizz price table

This saves you from having to manually check partner links for broken links.

Key points to remember
  • Broken links are detrimental to your website.
  • Correcting broken links is essential.
  • A number of tools are available to help you downstream.
  • It is possible to limit their appearance by carrying out developments.
  • Affilizz offers tools to prevent loss of revenue due to broken links.
  • Conclusion

    Broken links are bound to appear on sites in the short to medium term. But they don't have to be. By regularly consulting the data provided by various tools, you can minimize the time needed to eliminate them. In some cases, such as with affiliate links, tools can help you automate the work. This way, you spend less time maintaining your website's links, and more time developing your audience and revenues.

    About the author
    Vincent Alzieu
    General Manager

    After successfully managing several companies in the tech world (Les Numériques, Doctissimo, Au Féminin...), Vincent Alzieu joined Affilizz as late co-founder in 2022 to bring his experience of media and affiliation.‍

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