If your website has broken links, you could be damaging more than just your visitors’ user experiences. Your search engine ranking could take a hit as well.
Search engine spiders find content by crawling web pages and following links. Broken links will be logged as 404 errors. If you have a Google Webmaster Tools account, 404 errors will be noted as “crawl errors” in the Diagnostics section.
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines say to “check for broken links and correct HTML,” indicating that it is likely 404 errors will be factored into their search algorithm. Broken links are so easy to fix, it really is in your best interest to take care of them sooner rather than later.
If your website is fairly simple with few pages and links, you can manually audit each page for broken links by clicking on all of them. However a more thorough approach would be to use a broken link finder. There are many free ones you can use, but one that is recommended by several SEO experts is Xenu’s Link Sleuth. Its user interface is fairly bare bones, but it has multiple utilities to help optimize your website. Here’s a great walkthrough of Link Sleuth’s more useful functions.