Do you want to find and fix broken links on your site? To provide an excellent user experience to your visitors, you need to regularly monitor your website for broken links or 404 error pages. In this article, we’ll show you how to find and fix broken links with Google Analytics.
Stop Losing Traffic to Broken Links
When you try to visit a page that doesn’t exist, you’ll be directed to the 404 page of your site. Clicking on a broken link on your site is one of the main reasons for ending up on the 404 error page. The best way to fix your 404 error page is to find the exact source where it was linked from and correct it.
Below are a couple of reasons why you need to fix 404 errors on your website.
- User experience: 404 errors cause a negative user experience to your visitors because they won’t find what they expected.
- SEO: Search engine bots can’t crawl the right content on your site. If you have too many broken links on your site, they can even sabotage your reputation and negatively impact on your search traffic.
The Easiest Way to Find 404 Errors in WordPress
If you’re after an easy solution to find and fix 404 errors in WordPress, you need to install MonsterInsights on your site.
MonsterInsights automatically tags 404 pages for you, so you don’t have to make any additional configuration on your plugin.
Without MonsterInsights, you’d have to install a plugin like Broken Link Checker to manually check your site for broken links. This can take a long time and slow down your website as it searches through your links.
Using MonsterInsights will never affect your WordPress speed and performance.
You also get access to advanced tracking features like:
Once you have MonsterInsights installed, finding your broken links in Google Analytics is easy.
To find your 404 error pages, all you need to do is to go to Behavior » Site Content » Content Drilldown and look for 404.html.
In most cases, you’ll find URLs like this:
You can find that the above URL is structured in a neat way so you can get a clue about the error and how to fix it. Here is how you need to analyze your 404 errors in your Google Analytics account.
- The 404 error URL is shown after the ?page= query. In the above example, the 404 error URL is http://example.com/error-page-url-slug/
- The error URL is linked from the page that comes after the &from= In our example, the error page was linked from http://example.com/page/.
How to Fix 404 Errors in WordPress
1. Find Your Source URL and Fix It
Using the above step, you can easily find your broken links using Google Analytics. You can use this info to go to the source page where the broken link was included and update the link and fix it.
2. Use a Redirection Plugin
If you’ve recently edited your URL slug, chances are you’ll find tons of 404 error messages in Google Analytics. To fix them, install and activate the Redirection plugin on your site.
Upon activation, go to Tools » Redirection to set up your redirects.
Under the add new redirect section, you simply need to add the old URL in the Source URL field and the new ones in Target URL. This way you can redirect visitors from Source URL to Target URL.
For more details, you can read how to fix 404 errors using redirection.
We hope this guide helped you to find and fix your 404 errors using Google Analytics.