How do I check my webshop for broken links?

Find-fix broken links in webshop

Broken links are pernicious for the UX and SEO - Search engine optimisation of your webshop. Find out here how to find and restore.

Find and fix broken links

1. The importance of well-functioning internal and external Links.

In the ongoing digitalisation of the e-commerce industry, it is primordial to have a well-functioning user-friendly webshop to have. This is inextricably linked to the success of your webshop.

One component that is often overlooked are broken links. Well-functioning links have a very big impact on the user experience. Broken links also influence the position in search results From Google. 

Restoring broken internal linking and external linking are parts of the SEO - search engine optimisation

In this very complete guide on broken links we address the importance of the repair of broken links, how to tests in your WooCommerce webshop and strategies to ensure they in the future prevent.

2. The impact of broken links on user experience and SEO

2.1. UX - impact of brokenlinks on user experience

If visitors on your webshop have a broken link encounter, then marred this their experience with the navigation in your shop.

This ensures frustration and disappointment.

Instead of the customer being able to find the product or information they are looking for, they end up with a "404 - this page not found".

This dead end link provides a negative experience with your webshop. Therefore the customer leaves your webshop.

As a result, the customer looks for an alternative. Thus walk your thus customers and miss sales.

Correlation bounce rate and conversion in Ecommerce

Bouncerate vs conversion

A customer leaving the webshop without further action creates a higher bounce rate. Therefore, you score page less good in the search results.

After all, Google wants to show pages to searchers that match their search query. 

Moreover, broken links taste the trust and credibility of your brand.

Visitors to your web shop interpreting broken links also quickly as negative and soon regard your shop as outdated or poorly maintainedn.

This results in reputational damage and reduces the likelihood of customers coming back again to your webshop

SOURCE : Contentsquare - Benchmark report 2023

2.2. The impact of broken links on your SEO ranking

In addition to having a negative impact on visitors' user experience, non-working urls for a negative impact on ranking in the search results. 

Why broken links are inconsistent with Google's purpose.

Google EAT quality raters

It purpose of Google is to show the best possible result for the customer's search query.

To do this, they continuously crawl and index websites and compare them rank them according to relevance.

In doing so, Google the E.A.T. - Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness principle. (* – Search Quality Rater Overview)

A broken link means for the search engine ; 

  • that your webshop might not up-to-date is
  • poorly maintained
  • An poorer user experience gives
  • and thus less valuable for customers. 

If consequence of this, search engines can use the position of you Online store in the search results SERP - Search Engine Result Page to lower. Which makes it harder for potential visitors and customers to find you.

This has a significant impact on visibility.

Result is less organic traffic to your online shop with eventually lower sales and less online success.

SEO webshop optimisation is sometimes specialist work. That is why we help customers by tailor-made webshop advice. In doing so, we analyse your webshop and give targeted recommendations. 

3. How do you test your woocommerce webshop for broken links?

Ok that's clear what now?

Now it is clear how important it is to fix broken links. Here's how to test if your woocommerce webshop has broken links. 

There are two primary methods which you can use: manual testing and the use of broken link checker tools.

3.1. Test the links in your webshop manually.

Specifically, manual testing involves systematically navigating to every page in your webshop and checking all the links and testing whether they work. 

This method is time-consuming and not practical for larger webshops with many pages and links.

Notwithstanding, this manual testing method useful for the identifying broken links in important pages, such as product pages or key landing pages.

A (very) high bounce rate for a page can be an indication of a page with a faulty non-working link in it. 

Scroll over brokenlink check

Follow these steps to manually test for broken links in your webshop:

  1. Start navigate in your webshop to the main pages, including the homepage, blog posts, category pages and product pages.
  2. Click on each link that you ever made. So also internal links within your webshop and external links to other websites.
  3. Note possible error messages or dead ends for broken links, such as the error 404 page not found.
  4. Repeat these steps for all relevant pages in your webshop.

PRO TIP : if you hover your mouse over a link, you will see the URL where it goes at the bottom left of the page. 

The downside of manually detecting broken links.

Needless to say, these manual method for finding out about dead links only usable for smaller webshops.

Therefore, considering a comprehensive link analysis with a automated link checker be appropriate for larger websites.

So while manual testing can help identify some broken links, they may not all be captured.

3.2. Use a broken link Checkers tool

Broken link checker wordpress plugin

There are several reliable link checkers for lost links available, including ; 

The Ahrefs and Dead link checker tool are external tools where you can enter your webshop's URL. An automatic programme then tests the links on your webshop.

The WordPress Plugin link checker tools are handy programs that work via the dashboard of your WordPress Woocommerce webshop.

Each tool has its own functions and capabilities.

So choose one that best suits your needs and preferences.

Step-by-step method to find broken links with a broken link cheker:

How to check broken links with wordpress broken link checker plugin

Broken Link Checker (WordPress plugin)

  1. Install and activate the chosen plug-in for checking broken links if you use WordPress.
  2. Open the tool or plugin and enter the URL of your webshop In.
  3. Start the scan and wait for the tool to check your webshop's pages and links. This may take a while.
  4. View the generated report, indicating any broken links and providing any additional details. Such as the page where the broken link is located and the type error that has been found.
  5. Restore the link of broken links based on the tool's recommendations.

These automatic broken link checker tools allow you to act quickly.

Don't risk a link not working for a long time already.

Therefore, these tools are a much more efficient and can you repair links quickly and effectively.

So this will ensure that you identify problems faster.

The result is a webshop with a better user experience and you improves SEO from your webshop. 

4. Detecting and analysing broken links

Once you've found the broken links, it's essential to use the impact and type analyse problem clearly.

Broken links are divided into two main types: internal broken links and external broken links.

4.1. Internal broken links

Internal broken links are links within your webshop that links to pages that no longer exist or pieces content no longer present on your site.

Losing a link occurs when you use a page deleted or moved, without linking from the old URL to the new URL.

Result is a broken link inside your webshop's navigation. 

Broken link report

Through this 4 steps discover your internal broken links and figure out the cause:

  1. Watch it report with broken links generated in point 3 by the tool or wordpress plug-in.
  2. Find out where the internal broken links within your webshop.
  3. Visit the page's where these lost links are located and check what the error occurred.
  4. Determine the cause of the broken link, such as a deleted or moved page.

Broken Link Checker (WordPress plugin)

Finding out and sorting out internal broken links is crucial for maintaining a good user experience within your online shop.

Therefore, you should properly relink or repair broken links.

This ensures that visitors in your webshop navigate easily.

The result is less chance of frustration, a positive experience for your customers and a higher conversion

4.2. External Broken Links

External broken links are links on your webshop that point to non-existent website pages or content on others, external sites than your webshop.   

The cause of this may be that you have the URL wrong entered or the external website are changed or deleted content

Ahrefs free backlink checker tool

Follow these 4 steps to detect and control external broken links:

  1. Restart with the report with broken links that was generated by the brokenlink checker tools or the WordPress plugin you installed.
  2. Go on look for links to external websites on your shop that no longer work. 
  3. Click on the link to the external websites and pages to which these lost links lead.
  4. Check the error occurred and find out the impact on the user experience. If this link does not work, it is bad for your SEO.

It checking and monitoring of broken links to external content is essential to ensure that your webshop accurate and up-to-date information to visitors to your shop.

SOURCE : Test with the Ahrefs Brokenlink checker tool for the website: 

By re-linking or removing these broken links properly improve the experience and avoid lost navigation. This ensures that you increase the credibility and confirm reliability of your webshop. 

A link to external content that contributes To providing relevant information for your customers is seen as greatly appreciated. It also supports your own content as being truthful. 

5. How can you fix broken links?

Now that you have found and checked the broken links in your webshop, it is time to take action and fix them.

Depending on the type and the cause of the broken shop link, follow a different approach to solve the dead-end link.

5.1. Redirect the broken link to your new page.

If the dead link goes to a page that has been replaced or moved, then make a redirecting link. Send this link to the newer content or page.

If no new page has been created, link to a relevant page or product.

If a visitor arrives at the former broken link, he now, after linking through, arrives at the new page. 

A broken link in your webshop is done using these 3 steps : 

Redirection wordpress plugin

Redirection wordpress plugin

How to add a new redirect.

  1. Determine the new URL or destination page to which the broken link should point.
  2. Set a 301-diversion in, what a permanent diversion is, from the old URL to the new URL.
  3. Update the broken link with the new URL or make sure the redirection is present.
Redirection Wordpress plugin installation

We recommend using the Redirection plugin to use. Yoast SEO plugin is also a handy plugin.

This plugin is 1stly for optimising your SEO.

However, this one gives you automatic pop-up asking for a "deleted or modified" URL forwarding. That way, you never end up with broken links. 

This redirection of broken links causes users to simply go to the right page are linked.

For this, the user do nothing. Therefore improves this the user experience and prevents It frustration.

Moreover search engines recognise linked URLs. This makes the search engines update their indexing.

As a result, the SEO value of the old page is retained and passed on to the new page. Thus loss you no ranking positions of the search results. 

5.2. Removing the faulty link

In some cases, it is not possible or necessary to redirect a broken link. For example, if the page has been permanently deleted or if there is no relevant alternative information to refer to.

In that case best to remove the broken links. This way, the link no longer dead-ends on a 404 - page not found out. 

Follow these steps to remove a broken link:

  1. Find the lost link in the content or navigation of your webshop.
  2. Edit the page text if it part where the broken link is located.
  3. Remove the broken link from the text or navigation menu.

Removing broken links ensures that users do not encounter dead-end navigation or 404 - error pages within your webshop.

It also helps to create a well-functioning and clear website maintain. This results in both a better user experience and improved SEO.

5.3. Use shop redirect tools to fix broken links.

If you have a large webshop with numerous pages and links, it is manually redirecting broken links a time-consuming and overwhelming task.

Fortunately, there are handy tools available that make fixing bad links automated and more efficient.

One such tool is the Broken Link Checker plug-in for WordPress. This plugin scans your webshop for broken links.

Afterwards, you will receive a  detailed report. This report allows you to see the broken links directly from the dashboard of the plug-in the link to edit or delete.

The result is an immense time saving

By using tools such as the Broken Link Checker, simplify and speed up you it restoring a lost link.

This causes a time saving and a quickly restored website.

The result is a better weshop navigation which remains user-friendly at all times. 

READING TIP : 5 Tools for better webshop navigation. 

Need help from an expert?

Would you like to call on an expert to improve your webshop SEO? Book a web shop meeting (just 45min) and we would love to listen to your plans! We can surely help!

6. The importance of an online shop without broken links

In the previous sections, we explained how to test and repair broken links.

Now a word on the importance of the absence of broken links in E-commerce web shops. 

6.1. Webshop without broken links benefits Credibility and reliability.

Suppose your webshop has poorly functioning links, this will cause a negative impact on credibility and trust of your customers.

Compare it to a nameplate in a shop directing you to the emergency exit. Postive this is not. 

A customer will regard this as a signal for a poorly maintained online shop, poor management or simply as unprofessional.

This puts a dent in customer confidence in your brands.

Result is mistrust and a lost customer or sale.

Because you provide a webshop without broken links, show your customers that you are a reliable online shop are.

It is a token of dedication and professionalism.

It shows that you value a seamless user experience and navigation. 

6.2. Positive impact on User Experience and Engagement

A webshop without broken links offers users a smooth and uninterrupted browsing experience.

If visitors do not encounter dead-end links or 404 error pages on your webshop, they can easily navigate.

Therefore, the more likely to buy

The online shop visitor can concentrate on the content of your shop, read your blogs, explore categories, browse products and eventually buy.

Promoting a positive experience with your shop involvement, encourages repeated visits to and increases the likelihood of customers staying true to your brand and repeat purchases do. 

This is why it is so important to priority to give to the Resolving lost links gone.

This increases ease of use and creates more converting webshop visits. 

6.3. Influence on search engine ranking - SEO - search engine optimisation.

Search engines, such as Google, consider the presence of links that do not work as a signal from a poorly maintained or low-quality webshop.

When search engines crawl your webshop and come across broken links, it has a negative impact on your SEO score. Here, the number of backlinks also plays an important role in SEO optimisation.

The more quality backlinks to your webshop, the better for your SEO score and ranking in search results. Take link building up in your Online store online marketing strategy.

Search engines strive to give users the most relevant and valuable results to offer according to the E.A.T. principle. 1 of the indicators are the links ;

  • internal links
  • external links
  • the quality of the link
  • relevance
  • so also whether the link is working or broken is.

Therefore, you increase the chances of rank higher in search results of the search engine as your webshop no broken links has.

The results are more natural visitors and therefore potential customers for your online shop. 

READING TIP : The 3 best SEO webshop optimisation techniques. 

7. Causes of broken links and how to prevent them

Ok we found the problems, how do we prevent this shortcoming?

We have now discovered how to find broken links, fix them and understand the importance for E-commerce success.

Therefore, it is essential to also understand the causes and prevent them now.

This ensures that we maintain a webshop without lost links.

For this, you take preventive measures. Here are some of the main causes of broken links and methods to prevent them:

7.1. URL changes and permalinks

A common cause of broken links is when change the URL structure or permalinks of your webshop's pages.

This can happen when you update your website's design, reorganise content or other structural changes such as a new theme or new design of your online shop.

3 steps to avoid broken links due to changing a URL : 

  1. Instantly provide proper URL redirects using 301 redirects when you change the URL of a page. (with Yoast SEO, you immediately get the question)
  2. Usage consistent and descriptive permalinks reflecting the content of the page.
  3. Avoid unnecessary changes in URLs unless absolutely necessary.

Our advice is to use a url of a product, page or blog NEVER change. This almost always causes problems.

In its place, create a new product or page and link the old one to the new one. 

By carefully handling URL changes and managing this properly, you will prevent new broken links.

Therefore, it is important create a relink if the you change or delete a page or product in your webshop. 

7.2. Deleted or moved pages or products.

A 2nd cause is the delete or move your page without making a redirect. This may lead to a broken link.

If you get visitors to your webshop and they click on this link, they will get a 404 error page "page not found" instead of the intended content.

If this page is already included in the search results, this search result will also lead to this 404 page.

This is deadly for your SEO

3 methods to prevent broken links due to deleted or moved pages:

  1. Make always a proper rerouting when deleting or moving a page.
  2. Update internal links within your webshop to display the new URL or location of the page.
  3. Check and regularly update the navigation by your webshop to make sure all links work.

By proactively managing deleted or moved pages, you maintain a seamless user experience and prevent broken links from popping up.

7.3 Obsolete content and link rot

Over time, the content of your webshop outdated or irrelevant become. This very frequently leads to links that no longer work, when the linked content is no longer available or has been moved.

3 methods to prevent broken links due to outdated content and link rot:

  1. Check and regularly update content of your webshop to ensure it remains accurate and relevant.
  2. Usage automated tools or plug-ins to scan for broken links and restore or remove them as soon as possible.
  3. Avoid irrelevant external links to content that is likely to change or become unavailable in the future.

By keeping the shop content up-to-date and actively managing external links, you minimise the number of lost links and maintain a smooth navigation experience your the shop. 

With an online shop, the danger is in the blog pages. Given that the products you sell should always be kept up to date, a problem is less likely to arise there.

Generally, the products are also linked to a CMS platform that keeps a lot of info up to date using synchronisations. 

7.4. Technical problems and server errors

A 4th common problem that make URL links break are technical and server problems. If you have a webshop, prioritise a (very) solid Web hosting

These could include problems such as 404 errors, server failure or connection problems.

Your E-commerce revenue depends on it. So it does not allow you to save on good web hosting such as a Hosting and Web hosting at Combell 

Prevent broken links due to technical issues as follows:

  1. Check your shop regularly on technical problems or server errors.
  2. Create your 404 error page on to guide visitors on your shop when they encounter errors.
  3. Work together with a professional Web hosting provider to ensure reliable and stable server performance.

By solving technical problems as quickly as possible and maintaining the ensure stability of your webshop's serveryou minimise downtime and broken links. This ensures a pleasant shopping experience for your customers. 

8. Statistics and research on the impact of broken links

According to a survey by SEMrush, websites with broken links have an average bounce rate of 64.9%, compared to 48.2% for websites without broken links.

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(* – Semrush Broken links BLOG)

A high bounce rate indicates poor user engagement and has a negative impact on SEO.

A report by Databox shows that 85.7% of marketers find fixing broken links an equally effective or better method than link building an sich. 

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(* – Databox - Broken link building tips)

Google considers faulty links a negative signal for website quality and affects the position of web pages in search results.

By ensuring there are no broken links, you improve visibility and natural traffic to and from your webshop.

These statistics highlight the importance of putting the links back in order that were lost.

This also proves the tangible impact they have on the experience of visitors on your site and the impact on SEO-results.

9. Summarised info on broken URLs.

In conclusion, we can summarise that fixing broken links in your webshop should be tackled with priority.

Fixing dead links help ensure that your E-commerce web shop functions properly.

This fixing of broken URLs also improves your webshop's ranking in Google's search results.

Negative impact of broken links

Broken links negatively affect the experience of visitors to your online shop, dent your credibility and professionalism and undermine good SEO rankings.

Automatic broken link checker tools for efficient repair

You solve this by regularly testing for broken link connections.

  • In other words, testing and fixing broken links ensures smooth navigation.
  • This also contributes to the credibility of your company.
  • Ensures more visibility through better ranking of search results on search engines such as Google and Bing.  

To do this, use manual tests and automated broken link checker tools for broken links to detect and control them.

With automated brokenlinkcheker tools, you manage fast and efficient these issues in your webshop. 

Refer or remove dead links

Refer or remove broken links based on their type and cause. Use helpful external tools or Woocommerce webshop plug-ins to make the repair process smoother.

Prevent broken links for E-commerce success

In addition, give prioritise prevention of broken links by :

  • URL-manage changes
  • the content of your webshop regularly update
  • technical problems fast solve

By ensuring that there are no broken links in your e-commerce shop, you create a positive experience for visitors when using your webshop, you get a good reputation as a reliable online shop and increase your chances of getting higher in search results of search engines to score.

Take the necessary steps to redirect and prevent broken links, and experience how your webshop scores better in terms of ease of use and SEO performance.

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