Review Links Regularly
What It Is
Regularly reviewing your internal and external links is one of the requirements for managing your agency’s website, as outlined in OMB Policies for Federal Public Websites. According to OMB, you must have “reasonable management controls” to ensure external links remain active and appropriate. Establishing a regular review process is an important part of your linking policy.
Why It’s Important
- Broken or dead links drive people away. Users will leave your site—to look for the information elsewhere—and may not return.
- Broken links keep search engine spiders from properly indexing your site.
- Broken links and code errors make your site look bad and confuse your visitors. It gives the impression that you’re not actively maintaining your site.
- Even if links aren’t “broken,” they may no longer be relevant or appropriate. URLs sometimes change hands and may no longer be providing the same original content as before.
How to Implement
Here is additional guidance from the Federal Web Managers Council to help you implement this requirement.
- Establish a process and schedule for reviewing existing links to make sure they work and they still add value.
- Review links monthly or quarterly, at a minimum. If you have a large number of external links (for example, a “portal” site), you should review links more often.
- Include the review schedule in your linking policy.
- Consider purchasing or developing an automated link checking tool. Search the web for “automated link checker” to see what products are available.
- We’d like to compile a list of link checker products agencies are using, so we can all see examples of what others use. If you use a particular product, contact us so that we can add it to the list. You can also search the web for "link checking software".