Broken links are like SEO vampires.
They suck away your potential to keep visitors engaged.
They reduce your chance to convert offers.
Over time, websites become massive so it becomes very easy to break quite a few links.
If you’re lucky, you’ll receive an email from someone saying the link is broken. Or, they’re having trouble accessing the page. You may also find these broken links in your analytics reports.
What if you have a huge site?
One you redesigned/relaunched or did an extensive content audit resulting in a ton of broken links?
Well… there are tools for that.
A standard and straightforward tool to find broken links…
- Plug in the address of the website you want to check
- Select whether you want distinct or all instances
- Let it do its thing
The process time is variable so keep yourself busy with something else.
Check back, note the links, and get to work fixing ’em!
The W3C site has always been great for understanding the validity of your code and learning about the Web.
The tool they’ve created is quite comprehensive for crawling your site and finding faults.
Their Validator tool is probably the best for our purpose because it’s simple.
- Plug in your URL
- Select your options
- Click Check
It’ll run for a while and spit out what it finds. Easy!
Xenu Link Sleuth
Xenu is for the power user.
It goes very deep into your website to find all those broken links.
It has many different uses if you dig into it.
But, for the purpose of our topic…
The interface is certainly dated but it is the most thorough for digging through the site.
Plus, it’s free.
It has a slight learning curve but once you’ve mastered it you won’t be using any others.
Why You Need to Find Broken Links Right Now
I already covered the fact that having broken links can be frustrating for your users.
It also begins to do a number on your search engine optimization.
Google isn’t finding those pages.
More importantly, those backlinks you’ve been building are now pointing to a 404 page — no good! Plus, a competitor could swoop in and ask your link replaced with theirs — even worse!
Now knowing this… will you take the time to find broken links be on your to-do list?