The 404 Dilemma.

The other day I found a mail from Google in my inbox. The people (?) at Google were complaining about a gazillion of broken links in my weblog entries and asked nicely if I were inclined to do something about this.

Of course, all those broken links didn’t come as a surprise since this weblog is now almost 16 years old and many websites I once linked to have simply disappeared or have changed their location on the web. Even internal links were buggered after I moved the blog from Radio Userland over to WordPress.

So, what to do? A WordPress plugin came in handy –
The Broken Link Checker.

It scanned my whole site, and after three day came back with … a lot of broken links. I now had the options of editing and relinking the broken URLs, link to the Waybackmachine or to simply trash the old posts.

In many cases I just made use of the “Trash” button. There were so many one-liner posts, only consisting of a link to long forgotten websites that it made no sense relinking to archive.org, which would only confuse matters even further; also, archive.org can be rather slow at times.

In quite a few cases I was able to either edit the URL or relink the content.

But still – it’s a dilemma. Is trashing old posts good or bad? I’m still not sure, but I’ll carry on regardless – mind you, the plugin is still scanning and still throws up bad links once a week.

Anyway, the Google Bots should be happy now. As should be the readers – there’s nothing more annoying than clicking on a link which ends up
in a grey nowhere zone.

So, no more 404s!

Screenshot of URL scanning

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