Although blog advice posts seem to be the bane of the blogging world at the moment, I thought this one might be a little more useful than writing a load of tips to help your blog grow, only to conclude with saying ‘it’s your blog, do what you want’ in the end anyway! I’ve touched on a few SEO type topics now, and trying to make it as simple as possible to help any blogger of any level understand. Every day I’m learning more about SEO in my job, so it’s always handy to share things I pick up along the way!
Today I’m going to have a bash at explaining how to fix broken links on your blog, but it’s nothing too advanced really. Half of this stuff just sounds quite technical a lot of the time, but when you sift it down, the actions are actually really simple. (Apologies in advance for the crude screenshots on this post by the way, the woes of owning a Chromebook instead of a real laptop)
How To Fix Broken Links on Blogger
- First up; signing up to Webmaster Tools.
For this step, you’ll need to have a Webmaster Tools
account – already that sounds like it’s really advanced (to some) doesn’t it? Well it’s not. Just go to this link: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en and log in with your Google Account.
To the right of the page you’ll see a red button which says ‘Add A Property’ > click this and put in the URL of your blog. If you’re hosting/using Blogger, and it’s a newer account, then verification is automatic if you use your Google Account. If not, it’s a simple case of uploading some Meta Tag text to your HTML of your blog. You can find a step by step guide to doing that by following this link.
- Detecting a broken link on your blog.
When your blog is set up and verified in Webmaster Tools, you can simply click on it and head to a page which is titled Search Console. This throws up some information about Crawl Errors, Analytics and Sitemaps etc. The one we want to look at for detecting broken links is Crawl Errors. So click on that and it takes you through to a ‘Not Found’ page and you can see URL Errors. As you can see on mine, I have two current URL Errors on my blog.
Bonus round: Why do I have broken links/URL errors on my blog?
The most common reason is because you deleted an old blog post and it has been previously indexed on Google. But some of mine have been thrown up by broken links from other sites when the person linking has made a typo in the URL they’ve used. So be aware when deleting old blog posts or reverting to draft, you will lose that link and Google may still be trying to take users to it.
- How to fix the broken link on your blog.
Click on the link which is broken and it shows a pop up window with the full URL in. Right click your mouse and Copy the URL. THEN go to the Blogger Dashboard.
Click on settings > search preferences > custom redirects > new redirect.
Then you can add the broken URL and add a new page for that link to go to. You won’t need to copy and paste the full link, just the part from the first forward slash (/) onwards at the end of your blog URL. If you are redirecting that link to your homepage, don’t forget to put a forward slash in the ‘To:’ box at the end of your URL.
If the page has been deleted permanently, click the box to ensure that it’s a permanent redirect. If you have a few broken links, it’s beneficial to redirect them to the most similar page, rather than all to the homepage. So the link I just fixed was for a blog post on Jelly Beans I deleted, so I’ve redirected this to the food blog category of my blog.
Click save and your redirect is saved!
Head back over to Webmaster Tools and click on the ‘Mark As Fixed’ button on the window you opened to find the broken URL to clear it off the list.
Why Do I Need To Fix Broken Links on my Blog?
- User Experience: If you don’t fix these links you are putting people off your blog, as they will think it’s being neglected. It would usually increase your bounce rate, by people clicking off the site quicker and therefore have a knock on effect on the SEO value of your blog. Google is allllll about the user experience.
- It helps ‘Spiders’ to crawl your blog: The quicker Google’s spiders can crawl your site and index your pages, the happier the spiders are, as they’re not wasting their time crawling 404 (error) pages. If links are broken spiders can’t follow them, so they’re crawling nothing and will become grumpy.
- SEO value is added quicker: If you update your broken links regularly, then this triggers to Google that the site is being updated and by keeping your blog content updated it sends triggers to Google to help your link juice and SEO value.
- Basically, by fixing broken links you’re increasing the value, rank and quality of your blog.