How Often Should You Perform a Broken Link Check?
In the world of blogging, a broken link can hurt your SEO. So it’s important that bloggers make sure to look for links that may no longer work.
Over the weekend, I started a broken link audit on my blog. I use a plugin for this operation called Broken Link Checker. It’s a free plugin for WordPress users.
As you might guess, it scans your site and produces a list of links on your site that it can’t reach.
Broken links are not your friend.
First and foremost, broken links produce a poor user experience. No one wants to click a link to read more on a topic and receive an error.
Broken links happen when the author of a website deletes a page you’ve previously linked to. They also happen when the website moves, or the URL changes. Even a web server outage can produce (temporarily) a broken link.
Beyond a bad user experience, broken links can also affect your SEO. GreenGeeks.com says it can even affect your credibility.
If you provide a link for further information, you want to make sure the link stays valid. You have several options to make that easier.
But how often should you run a broken link check?
There’s no single correct answer here. Some bloggers say you should check weekly. Others say you should check closer to monthly. Some bloggers check less frequently than that.
Common sense, I think, dictates that you consider the size and age of your blog. If your site is less than a year old and you have fewer than 100 posts, you’re probably not going to have a lot of links. Therefore, there would fewer links to go bad quickly.
My blog is 15 years old and I’ve published thousands of posts. Over the years, many blogs that were active years ago are gone now.
That means all of those links are likely broken, too.
The problem with a plugin like Broken Link Checker is that it can slow down your site. So I don’t run it all the time. Instead, about once every four to eight weeks. I’ll allow it to run for a few days (so it can find as many broken links as possible.) I’ll then correct those links, either by removing them or replacing them.
Then I’ll turn off the plugin and go through the process again the following month.
That way, my site doesn’t experience major longterm slowdowns. And I’m still picking off those pesky links regularly. (Of course, the older the blog gets, the more links will be added to the list over time.)
Since I’ve started checking for them, Broken Links Checker located more than 8,000 broken links. Whenever I can, I replace the broken links with Internet Archive versions of those sites so the content is preserved. When that’s not an option, I just remove the hyperlink altogether.