How to Fix and Find Broken Pages

How to fix find broken pages
This document will explain how to monitor broken pages on your website. Using links appropriately in your website content is one way to build trust with users. This documentation will explain:

  • Why pages break
  • How to find broken pages
  • Fix broken pages (404 error)


Linking For Good SEO and User Experience

You've created content that people are searching for that answers their questions, but sometimes users mistype a URL, and the page doesn't exist. It's like hitting a brick wall.  When a person clicks a link and doesn't work, it creates a bad user experience.

Your visitors will hit a page with a Page Not Found (404)error and either try again (if you are lucky) or wander away to another site with the information they are seeking.

What error pages look like:

404 page.png

How do broken links happen?

A Misspelled URL. Since we mostly use links to go from one site to another, it's rare that we need to type a URL manually. Add a small device such as a smartphone into the mix, and a mistyped letter is bound to happen.

The page has been moved or deleted, and there's no redirect set up. Sometimes, we need to update content or delete out-of-date content. In this case, set up a redirect so that all you see is the new information. 

The URL linking incorrectly from a different website. This takes place behind-the-scenes but you should be aware that it does happen on occasion. You may discover that this is when and if you need to contact the company, service or organization.

How to find broken links

1. The quickest way to access 404’ errors is from the Installation Broken Links Dashboard.  (Google Webmaster Console also has error tracking)
2. Go to the Installation Broken Links Dashboard
3. Click Choose your installation and search for your domain


4. Choose your installation from the drop down menu and click only.

choose only search.jpg

5. Export a PDF Or excel file to track your work.
6. This is a list that shows clues on where to fix errors.

Now that we've found the 404 not-found errors, what do we do? 

There are different methods you can use to fix 404 not-found errors on your website.

Correct the source link. If the broken link sending traffic to the not found error page exists on your website, and is under your control, you can correct the broken link at the source. This is also true for not-found errors on other properties within your control, such as social networks. However, most broken links are located on sources you don't control so in those cases, you can't fix the broken link and can only redirect people to the correct page.
Example: the broken link is in the last column, and the source

In this example the broken url is from They encourage content updates and link requests. Simply contact and request the fix. 

armymil sit.png

Restore pages in the trash. Sometimes, pages from your website, and people still come to your site to find those pages you deleted. If somebody tries to find a deleted page, they'll get a not-found error. That might be the point, and there may be a good reason for the removal. However, if there is still a lot of demand for removed content, you may want to restore the deleted page from the trash.

Ignore the not found error. Sometimes, for low priority not-found errors that aren't costing you customers and aren't affecting your SEO performance, you can simply ignore the 404. In other cases, it is a page you removed purposefully and there is nowhere relevant to redirect the error URL to (for example, you removed a product from your website and there is no new version of that product to redirect to). It may not feel right to leave an error in place, but sometimes fixing errors just isn't the right solution. By leaving the 404 error in place, that broken page will fall out of the search index and stop getting traffic (eventually).

Redirect the 404 error somewhere else. With a redirect, you route people from the error page to a working page on your website. This prevents people from reaching the error. For example, if people are reaching an error page with the URL /specials, you can tell your server to redirect people to the working page /special instead. Make sure the page you are redirecting to is relevant.  If the pages returning 404 codes are high-authority pages with lots of traffic or have an obvious URL that visitors or links are intended to reach, you should employ 301 redirects to the most relevant page possible.

How often should you check for site errors?

In an ideal world, you would log in daily to make sure there are no problems here. It might get monotonous since most days, everything is fine.
Check at least every 90 days to look for previous errors so you can keep an eye out for them in the future — but frequent; regular checks are best.




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