How to Find & Fix Broken Links with Google Analytics [GA4]
Broken links are hyperlinks on a website that no longer lead to a functioning page. When users click on these links, they typically encounter a “404 error” page, indicating that the requested webpage cannot be found.
Broken links can occur due to various reasons, including:
- The linked webpage or resource has been permanently removed or deleted.
- The URL structure has changed, causing the previously linked page to be inaccessible.
- The website or webpage was moved to a new location without implementing proper redirects.
- The linked webpage is temporarily down or experiencing technical issues.
- The URL was mistyped or entered incorrectly when creating the link.
Broken links are a red flag because they can negatively impact crawling and indexing, user experience, link equity, page authority, and even user perception.
Unfortunately, broken links are unavoidable because pages get deleted, new URLs get added, and neglect can occur, especially on large websites.
However, with the power of Google Analytics (GA4), you can effectively detect and address broken backlinks, improving user experience and maintaining the value of external links to your website.
Additional Read: Types of Backlinks
How to Find Broken Links with Google Analytics (GA4)
Here’s how you can track broken links in Google Analytics (GA4):
- Log in to your Google Analytics account
- Go to your GA4 account
- Click on “Reports”
- Click on “Life Cycle”
- Click on “Engagement”
- Click on “Page and Screens”
- Click on “Page Path and Screen Class”
- Select the following dimensions: “Page Title and Screen Name”.
- Add a filter for “Page not found”
- Now add the secondary dimension: “Landing page + query string”
Now that you know how to find broken links, let’s learn how you can fix them.
How to Fix Broken Links
Here are three effective methods, along with a brief overview of the steps involved:
Implement 301 Redirects:
- Identify broken links using GA4 on your website resulting in 404 errors or leading visitors to non-existent pages.
- Create a list of these broken URLs for concentrated efforts.
- Set up 301 redirects from the broken URLs to relevant, functioning pages, informing users and search engines that the content they seek has moved to a new location.
- Test the redirects manually by clicking on the old URLs or using automated tools to confirm that they successfully redirect users to the intended new destination pages, ensuring a seamless browsing experience.
Update Internal Links:
- Use GA4 to identify broken internal links and locate the pages containing the broken links
- Update the internal links with the correct URLs
- Test and verify that the updated links are functioning properly
Reach out for External Link Corrections:
- Identify broken external links through GA4 reports and make a list of these pages
- Contact the respective website owners or administrators, notifying them about the broken links.
- Request them to update the links or provide alternative URLs
By implementing these methods, you can effectively fix broken links and improve your website’s user experience and SEO performance. Remember to regularly review and update your links to prevent future broken link issues.
Additional Read: Internal Links Vs. External Links