Broken links are links that lead to pages that do not exist. When you click on a broken link, the page you start on is called a 404 error page. What does 404 mean? Error page 404, which cannot be found, is a standard HTTP response indicating that the requested URL does not exist.

What do you do when you enjoy surfing the web and suddenly encounter a 404 error? For most of us, the immediate answer would be to simply leave the current site instead of another because both people and search engines find broken links unprofessional.

404 errors and broken links also have a negative impact on your search engine rankings, so it’s reasonable to be proactive in avoiding them to improve exposure and increase site traffic.

entry: there are terms and methods in this tutorial that target WordPress bloggers, but this article is relevant to all website owners.

Bloggers update the content of their blog more often than other site owners. Therefore, they have a better chance of getting broken links from all over their website.

WordPress blogs have two types of extensions that can be used to handle these links:

  1. Extensions that detect broken links on your site Broken links checker.
  2. Plug-ins that control 301 redirects automatically hold Redirection.

As my plugin minimalist, I always insist on doing things manually to avoid using and installing plugins. In this case, you can be sure that the ability to deal with these problems effectively is worth installing another extension. (Look a short list of extensions used by Six Revitions.)

Whether you use the plugin or not, I recommend that you sometimes check your site for broken links and 404 errors.

Detect and remove invalid URLs with Google WebMaster Tools

There are two reasons why pages are indexed by Google, even if they are not on your website:

  1. You inadvertently referred to an invalid internal link due to a typo. This is the time to recommend a very simple but necessary add-on for authors – Link to the message extension to avoid such errors).
  2. You posted a message and decided to change its permanent link later (message URL) after Google has already indexed the original link.

The best way to detect these errors is Google Webmaster Tools. If you have not already done so, register your site there. It is an essential tool for every person who maintains a website.

One of GWT’s most important tools is the Remove URL tool, which allows you to remove invalid pages from Google search results.

Let’s see how to remove invalid URLs from Google’s index.

Google detects invalid pages

Once you’ve signed in to Google Webmaster Tools, you’ve configured it and verified your site (see Google GWT Getting Started Guide), here is the process for finding invalid pages.

1 Click Diagnostics from the left menu and select Crawl errors.

2 choose Not found category.

3 If available, click to see which page contains the broken link.

4 Make sure the URL is actually indexed by Google by copying and pasting the URL into a Google search and seeing if there are any results.

Google detects invalid pages

Remove URLs from Google search results

1 Click Site configurationand select Crawl usage.

2 choose Delete the URL.

3 Click New deletion request.

Remove URLs from Google search results

4 Select the first option to completely remove the page from Google search results.

OR

Select the fourth option in case you want to keep the page in the search results, but you want to delete the cached version of the page. This is useful if Google shows an outdated version of the page in the cache link.

5 Click Next.

Remove URLs from Google search results

6 Enter the URL of the page you want to remove from Google.

7 Make sure the first option is selected, and then click Add.

8 The URL you want to delete should now appear in the list. If you want, you can add more pages to delete.

9 Click Submit a removal request.

Remove URLs from Google search results

Your request is now pending – in most cases, it only takes 2-3 days to remove the URL.

10 Click Site configuration and select Crawl usage.

11 choose Delete the URL.

12 Make sure that the URL you requested to be removed does not appear in the list of pending requests.

13 Click Removed URLs to see that the URL is now listed.

Make sure the URL is actually removed from Google by copying and pasting the URL into the Google search box and seeing if there are any results.

Remove URLs from Google search results

Detecting broken links with Xenu Link Sleuth

Another great tool I want to use to find broken links on my websites is Xenu Link change. You can download it here.

Unlike the WordPress plug-ins mentioned earlier in this article, Xenu is a standalone Windows desktop application that generates all sitelinks — whether valid or invalid — and groups them for easy reading.

Remove URLs from Google search results

Once you have installed Xenun, it is really easy to use.

1 Click File and select Please check the URL.

2 Enter the URL of your website (e.g. http://www.webfx.com/blog/web-design/.

3 Wait for all links (site-wide!) To be reviewed.

4 When Xenu asks if you want a report, click Yeah.

Remove URLs from Google search results

You can enter the FTP server information, but I just click Revoke and Xenu generates an XHTML report locally (it opens a dialog box automatically).

Click in the report you are creating Broken links. Sort it by the table of contents link to see all pages with broken links (and of course broken links).

Finally, once you’ve found all the broken links, all you have to do is go to messages and pages that contain links to broken links. You should either fix or remove those links.

What are your own techniques and tools for finding broken links? How often do you search your site for broken links? How important is it to remove broken links and why?

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