Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2016

How to Find Your Website's Broken Links Using Google Webmasters Tools

According to Google Support, your website's broken links or 404s don't harm your site's indexing or ranking.

But if you would ask your SEO friends, they would highly recommend that you fix them as it will affect the ranking of your website. But Google says otherwise. So whom should you believe? It's gonna be Google, the gods of the search engine, right?

However, I don't think that our SEO friends are wrong. While Google may say that broken links don't affect your site's ranking, it can in the long run.

According to A Bright Clear Web, broken links are bad for your website because of the following reasons:

  • A source of frustration for the user
  • Gives the impression that you don't do regular housekeeping
  • Harms your credibility as an authority
  • Affects your sales page's conversion
  • Hurt your SEO and page rankings

If you always lead your readers to broken links, your website will have a higher bounce rate or exit rate making it appear that your website isn't of value at all. So what would search engines do? Lower your rankings.

So to prevent this from happening, you should start looking for your website's broken links. But how?

As web owners, I'm sure that you have already heard of Google Webmasters Tools. You might not be aware of it but Google Webmasters Tools also has a broken link checker.

Steps on finding your website's broken links with Google Webmasters Tools

1. Login to your Google Webmasters Tools account. Login here: If you don't have a GWT account, create one.  

Notes: If you have just created a GWT account, you need to wait for a few days for Google to "crawl" your website to gather data. Wait at least a week.

2. Go to the Search Console Dashboard of your website by clicking your website's property URL.

3. On the left side, look for "Crawl" and click "Crawl Errors."

4. Under "Crawl Errors," Google Webmasters Tools will show you the entire list of broken links if there's any.

5. To locate the source of the broken link, click the reported broken link, then click the "Linked from" tab.

By clicking the "Linked from" tab, you can discover which pages contain the broken link. To fix the broken links, you can change them, replace them with a new source link, or delete them entirely. Once you have fixed everything, click the "Mark as fixed" button.

What is your favorite way of finding broken links on your website? What tool do you use? Do you use Google Webmasters Tools too? Let me know your thoughts and comment below.