Broken links are, quite frankly, a pain. These are hyperlinks to pages that no longer exist. Websites come and go, webpages are moved here and there, and articles or other resources may be deleted. But if you point to something that does not exist, that will be considered a broken link.
Thing is, not only do broken links sour the experience for your visitors and readers when they click on a link expecting to find something and get an error, but they are also bad for SEO.
Google is aware that they are bad experience for users, and it reduces the ranking of websites (or even a page) if it finds too many broken links. The SEO damage may be comparatively minor, but every bit counts. Ideally you should run checks for broken link at least once a year.
So what is the best way to go about this?
Well, if you want the quick and easy way, just visit this online broken link checker here. Going by the easy to remember name of BrokenLinkCheck.com, this service is one of the best of its kind to find broken links on websites.
Just put the URL of your website or blog, and click on “Find broken links”.
Depending on the size of your site, the process may take a few minutes to complete. Once the results are displayed, simply go through each URL and remove the dead link. Best way to go about it is to delete the link, keep the anchor text as it is, and then leave a short message that this link is no longer active.
The free version of this service has a limit of 3,000 pages, though there are no limits on the actual hyperlinks that are in those pages. For most regular websites, this is more than enough.
If you want a more robust tool that you can download and install, then Xenu Link Sleuth is a very good choice. Not as easy to use as the first option above, but powerful nevertheless. Get it here.