Whether you love the chase, or you hate it, DA (or domain authority) has become a more integral part of blogging. Many bloggers anticipate MOZ’s updates, whilst others dread it. DA has become a crucial metric for those that are eager to work with brands, or simply improve their blog for their own sake. One of the core changes you can make to your blog to positively influence your DA is fixing broken links.

What are broken links?

Broken links are those frustrating ones that lead to a nasty error page. They can be internal links (i.e. links on your blog directing to other pages on your blog which have since been deleted), or external (links to other website pages which have since been deleted).

How do I know if I have them?

There are a few tools out there that will scan your site for broken links and generate a list. I personally prefer Broken Link Check (http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/). You simply add your domain, click Find broken links and then type in one of those pesky CAPCHA codes.

There’s an option below to Report distinct links only, or to report on each instance of a dead link. I always go for the second option, as it will tell you all of the pages that broken link appears on. Next, you press Find links now and it starts to crawl through your site.

It can take a little while, so be patient. Grab a cup of tea and a biccy and maybe have a little read of your favourite blog while you wait. Once it’s done its thing, you’ll get a list of all of the dead links and which page they are on.

How do I get rid of them?

If you haven’t done a broken link check before, you may find you have 1,000’s of them. But don’t panic. Some of these may be ‘site-wide’ links (i.e. links that are on every page of your blog, perhaps a part of the template or in your sidebar). These are usually quite easy to tell as they will occur on LOADS of pages of your blog.

Depending on whether you’re on Blogger or WordPress, removing or changing a link is generally pretty simple if they are in a particular post, page or part of the template. Just edit that page or post and remove, or update the link.

From an SEO perspective, it is generally better to update the link rather than remove it. For example, if you’ve linked to a product on a brand’s website which is no longer available, update the link to that product’s category, or to a similar product. You may also want to update the text as well so it makes sense to the reader what they are clicking through to.

What about links in comments?

If someone has left a link to their blog in a comment, and that blog no longer exists, it’s harder to get this link removed if you are on Blogger. Your only option really is to remove the comment. You may want to contact the blogger first to let them know, in case they want to add their comment back with the correct link. On WordPress, things are much easier as you can ‘edit’ someone’s comment to remove the link or update it to the correct one.

So there we have it! If you have tips of your own, or want any more advice on broken links, feel free to tweet Cat at @moreaboutcat, or check out her wonderful blog at www.moreaboutcat.co.uk. Fancy guest posting here yourself? Get in touch!

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