Every day it seems like my RSS feed reader has at least a handful of posts about the greatest WordPress plugins of all time, or the best SEO plug-ins for WordPress, or — my personal favorite — top WordPress plug-ins you can’t live without. (And my not so favorite, WordPress plugins you “literally” can’t live without; someone needs to look up the word ‘literally’ before they ever use it again.) I have never bothered to write a post about the best WordPress plugins because I have used different plugins on different websites depending upon what the purpose of the website was and how I intended to use it. I have written about the best WordPress themes for writers because there seems to be a knowledge gap there. However, I have now found a plugin that everyone should use on every WordPress blog site that they have no matter what the website is for.
The One WordPress Plug-in Everyone Needs on Every Site
No matter had good of professional writer you are, and no matter what you write about, you will eventually end up with a broken link on your site.
A broken link is a hyperlink that points to a webpage that no longer exists (or never existed). No matter how careful someone is, this will eventually happen to every user on every site, because webpages move or are deleted for all kinds of different reasons. the most common reason a webpage is moved is when it is archived, or when the link points to a news or current events kind of page that may be moved or eliminated when it is no longer considered current.
Of course, there are a lot of other reasons that a weblink can disappear. For example, Technorati links created over a year or two ago pointed to technorati.com/tags/keyword. Now, all Technorati tags have URIs using the word ‘tag’ instead of ‘tags’. Most of those will be redirected if clicked. If those redirects are setup as 301 Redirects for SEO purposes then some of their link power will still flow to the final destination.
However, links that are either not redirected at all, or that are redirected in another manner will result in a Page Not Found error for users and waste the so-called link juice of page authority because Google will still count it as an outbound link even if it doesn’t go anywhere. Even if you are not using the ranking link power of that page for your own purposes, it is still valuable to ensure that the links you do have benefit fully from your link juice.
The trouble is that it is way too labor intensive to check each and every link on anything but the smallest websites. Even if you hired some work at home temp to check them all it would still take forever, and worse of all, it would all have to be done again. Just because a link exists today, doesn’t mean it will still be there tomorrow.
WordPress Broken Links Plug-In
The WordPress plug-in Broken Links automatically checks every link on your entire WordPress blog website. All broken links that are found are displayed on a single screen.
— Take a break and read the Southwest Airlines rewards card review.
If this was all the Broken Links WordPress plugin did, I wouldn’t be writing about it. What makes Broken Links the best WordPress plugin ever for writers and webmasters is that the broken links that are found can be edited right from the report the plugin generates. In other words, there is no need to open every post that has a dead link, find the link, see where it goes, and then edit or delete the link. Instead, the Broken Links plug-in lets you unlink the broken URL with a single click. No need to ever leave the screen. If you want to fix the link rather than get rid of it, just click Edit URL instead and the link becomes editable right there. Again, you don’t even have to open the original post to fix every broken link on your site.
THAT would be enough to make me write about this top WordPress plug-in everyone needs. But, that is not the end. WordPress 3.0 plug-in Broken Links also shows all the links on your site that are being redirected. As we’ve noted before, redirecting incoming URLs with 301 Permanently Moved redirects helps preserve the link juice flowing to those pages as a way of keeping their Page Rank and authority, but not 100% of the link power flows through a 301 redirect. To get that, you have to modify the link itself. Unfortunately, doing that is just as big of undertaking as fixing all the broken links on your website.
However, the Broken Links WordPress 3.0 plug-in detects redirected links and allows you to edit them on the same screen just like it does for links that are broken. That means you can fix 100 links with the wrong address in the URL in just a few minutes. For example, I moved the Best Hubris strategy, management, and marketing blog from www.besthuris.com to besthubris.com a little while back. While I have 301 redirects in place to remove the www from all incoming URLs, there is no substitute for getting all the links to actually point at BestHubris without the www in them. So, I’ve been going through and and clicking Edit URL and removing the www in small batches as a way to take break between freelance writing projects.
I’ve loaded Broken Links on all of my websites now and expect to do the same to each of them, where needed, in the coming weeks and months.
Turbo Boost SEO Power with WordPress 3.0 Plug-in Broken Links
Unlinking broken links to give the links that are left more link juice power, plus retaining the full link power juice of any pages that have been moved and redirected may actually provide more SEO benefit than all of the WordPress SEO plugins out there do by tweaking title tags, header tags, and meta-data. I’ll be keeping an eye on my analytics reports and on Google Webmaster Tools to see just what kind of benefit using the Broken Links plugin for WordPress 3.0 gives my websites.
What do you do, if anything, to check for broken links on your websites? Do you check for redirected links? How much link juice linking power do you think your are wasting if you don’t fix old out of date links?