This is your friendly mid-year reminder that dead links always hurt your presence online both in the eyes of your visitors as well as search engines, so cleaning them up is always a mini SEO audit project to keep in mind.
Search engines like Google are businesses like any other and as such they want to provide their users with the best experience. If they are serving up websites with dead links, that annoys the users who found that website by way of Google and affects the likelihood that that user will continue to use Google in the future.
As such, Google takes websites with dead links, that is external and occasionally internal links which lead to error pages for whatever reason, very seriously. Having just one dead link on your website can be enough to convince Google that you aren’t worthy of that lofty ranking position you may be enjoying.
Conversely, if you have a website with nothing but live links, you might enjoy the rankings which your penalized competitors which have dead links used to have.
For this reason it’s paramount that you have some sort of method to keep an eye on your link profile from a dead link point of view. WordPress has dozens of free plugins such as Broken Link Checker or you can use external services like the Google Search Console (see how to use the Google Search Console) which will tell you if you have any dead links which are serving up error messages. In fact the Google Search Console will tell you a number of things you can do to improve your rankings, so this is a great way to understand your website through the eyes of a major search engine like Google firsthand.
Once you find a dead link then either remove it or update it to an even better comparable resource which will be helpful to your site’s visitors.
Another trick is to use a service to identify dead links of your webmaster peers, then notify them of the dead link and even offer up a comparable and relevant page on one of your website as a suitable replacement. This is a great way to earn a nice natural and potentially invaluable link which will also in turn help your content rank better.
Websites and web pages are constantly dying on the internet, so it’s a good habit to get into once or twice a month to review all of your links and make sure you don’t have any issues like this on your website in order to keep both your visitors as well as the search engines connecting you with them happy.