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WordPress: Remove broken links

As a general rule, I don’t do much in the way of SEO (search engine optimization) on this blog. I’m not trying to sell anything, readership numbers are largely irrelevant to me, and I am not serving any ads. While I wouldn’t mind having a readership in the tens or hundreds of thousands, the fact is I have neither the time nor the inclination to spend money on increasing readership numbers.

On the other hand, I do care about the quality of the content on this blog. As a result, the one SEO activity I pursue is the removal of broken links. This isn’t something you can usefully do manually, and so I depend heavily on a plugin for WordPress called Broken Link Checker, which does exactly what it claims to do; it checks for broken links.

In practice, it checks all links in the blog on a schedule (the default is 72 hours, mine is set to check every 120 hours), and sends me an email whenever it detects broken links. In addition, it also has a box in my WordPress dashboard:

Screenshot of Broken Link Checker, displaying "No broken links found"

When I go to edit a broken link, it automatically checks the WayBack machine to see if there are relevant entries there, which I find to be very useful:

Screenshot of Broken Link Checker's Edit Link functionality, showcasing the suggested page at the WayBack Machine.

When I first installed and activated the plugin, I slogged through about three hundred and fifty broken links. In the more than five years since then, I have, on average, dealt with three to ten broken links per month. Correcting these as they are found means it’s relatively quickly done, and maintains the link quality.

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