A few broken links on your website that are purely internal are not going to hurt your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) too much. Google are aware that the occasional link breaks and if your website is correctly SEO’ed anyway then there should be more than one link pointing at every web page anyway.
However, if you have a lot of broken internal links then Google figures that you are not taking enough care of your website and will rank you down in a search engine results.
If your links point outwards and there are a few too many broken ones then Google has a whole list of reasons why it is a “naughty” from you being lazy maintaining your website to you selling backlinks to evil agents of the online world (or just selling links). So, it is a good idea to run the occasional backlink check every few months to see if all is running well in link land (and to be sure Google doesn’t throw a strop because you took your eyes off the prize for a while).
Broken Link Checker Tools
Free link Checker
This is a link checker that crawls your website and finds both internal and external links that are broken so that you may fix them later. It checks your anchor text and checks image links too.
It does not stand for a bacon, lettuce and cucumber sandwich, it actually stands for the far less creative “Broken Link checker.” It is an online service which gives you a nice set of clean results where you can go down the line and identify broken links so that you may go back and fix them.
Broken Link Checker for WordPress
Since one out of every six websites in the world is powered by WordPress, it seems only fair to add in a plugin from WordPress (you will have to Google this one). This tool will run a check on your posts and even on your comments to see if there are any broken links.
You can have a report come up on your dashboard or you can have the plugin email you. It may however slow down your site a little and if you are having SEO problems then your SEO analysis may show this plugin to be one of your problems (this is not always the case).
W3C Link Checker
The W3C standards are something that you should try to work towards as a matter of protocol. There are no official tools for W3C checking and validating (so we believe). This backlink checker will show a summery checking linked pages, documents and things such as referring headers and hidden redirects.
This is a paid service that will email you when your links have been broken for whatever reason. The tolerance of this is unclear. For example, there are often times when other websites or even your own pages go down for a little while, and one wonders if the tool sends reports on this too. The tool is a paid service but it does allow you 100 links checked per week for free.
Xenu’s Link Sleuth
This is a Windows only tool that crawls your website and looks for broken links. It comes up with a list of broken links for you to find and fix or remove. It also checks your images too as well as your backgrounds and stylesheets. It will also check for other no-search engine friendly elements too such as improper keyword use and duplicate content.
Dead link checker
This is a tool that tells you which of your links are broken. It gives you their status, which often relates to how long they may have been broken, and it makes identifying broken links a little easier.
How do you fix your broken backlinks?
You use the tool to identify them and subsequently find them. You must then check them yourself. Click on them to see if they lead to nowhere. Do remember that some websites do go down for a while which is going to create false positives.
If it truly does not work then try to fix it. The page you linked to may not have moved but may have changed its URL slightly. If it is one of your internal pages then link it back to the page or to anther page that is relevant.
If the page you linked to has truly gone then delete the link. This only means deleting the piece of code with the hypertext and anchor text on. It is a case of selecting the link and deleting it and you need not worry anymore about it. It will no longer affect your SEO or reappear on your broken backlink checks.