Fix broken links with Siteimprove

Step-by-step guide to fixing broken links.

Overview

Step 1: In the navigation menu on the left, click “Quality Assurance”

Under links, you’ll find the following options to help you find and repair broken links. Here are the 3 most important menus:

  • Summary: View a summary of all content with broken links, including a dashboard with this data. This summary includes 2 lists at the bottom: a list of pages that contain broken links, and a list of links that are broken. Clicking “View all” at the bottom of these lists will take you to the “Pages with Broken Links” and “Broken Links” pages respectively.

  • Pages with Broken Links: A list of content with 1 or more broken links

  • Broken Links: A list of links that are broken.

To preview which links are broken on a page, click the arrow in the “broken links” column. This will open a dropdown that previews the broken links on that specific page.

Clicking a page in the list will open a preview of it in Siteimprove with the broken links highlighted:

On the left side, you’ll see a toolbar that offers general information about broken links. “Occurrences on this page” will tell you:

  • How many broken links are on this page

  • Any links that’ve been identified as broken

  • Why Siteimprove thinks those links are broken

  • The option to “Open link in new window”

The “Occurrences on this page” toolbar allows you to view broken links 2 ways. First, “Page content,” which is the default selection, shows you a preview of the page as users see it — except with links that don’t work highlighted in red.

Second, the “HTML” view shows you the content’s source HTML.

Sometimes the broken link is only visible in the HTML view. (You can learn more about why this is from this Siteimprove resource about finding hidden broken links, though you’ll need to be logged in to open it.)

Here’s how your broken link will appear with the “Page content” view:

Here’s how the same broken link will appear in the “HTML” view:

Click the “Edit in CMS” in the toolbar at the top of the page to make changes in the CMS.

More tips

Another way to use Siteimprove to find broken links is to by broken link. This is helpful when you know which link is broken, but not which page(s) it appears on. To view this list, click on “Broken Links” in the sidebar menu.

This will take you to a list of links that are broken, including the number of pages they appear on and when Siteimprove first noticed that they didn’t work.

To see the list of pages each link appears on, click on the arrow next to the number. This will open a dropdown of URLs.

Clicking on any of these will take you to a page report for that page, where the link will be highlighted. Click the arrow again to collapse this section.

You might find that Siteimprove says there’s a broken link on your page, but when you try it, the link seems to work fine. This might because the link works in some browsers, but not others. For example, a license verification application may work when using Google Chrome but not Internet Explorer.

Other reasons for broken links

There are several reasons that Siteimprove might consider a link broken (you’ll need to be logged into Siteimprove to view this resource). The most common reasons include:

  • 403: Forbidden, 401: Unauthorized

These are typically pages that require a username and password (e.g. edit.mass.gov). These types of errors are related to security.

  • 404: Not Found

This means the link goes to a page that doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Maybe it’s been deleted or unpublished.

Another common cause for 404s are specific to web browsers. When you link to a page with an incomplete URL (ie. https://mass.gov instead of https://www.mass.gov) that page will not open on Internet Explorer. This is another reason it’s important to use the autocomplete fields for linking pages whenever possible.

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