Broken links is one of the factors which negatively influence on the quality of the website and, in its turn, website position depends on its quality in general. And what turns out? Broken links indirectly influence ranging, and respectively, the website traffic.
If today there are no broken links on the website, it does not mean that after a while they will not appear. Therefore, we recommend to check the website for broken links from time to time. The frequency of check depends on the type of your website (online store, news site, etc.) and traffic volume.
All broken links need to be eliminated the sooner the better.
In article we will consider several tools by means of which it will be possible to find broken links on the website.
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool
- Netpeak Spider
- Xenu’s Link Sleuth
1. Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool
There are pay and free versions of the program. In free version there is the number of restrictions in settings, it scans not more than 500 URL-addresses, but it will be quite suitable for the small websites.
To start with, it is necessary to download and install the program because it is a desktop application (available for Windows, Mac OS and Ubuntu).
How should it be used?
1.After starting the program we select the search type of pages. As we need to check all website for existence of broken links, we select the “Spider” mode:
2. We enter the website address, which needs to be analyzed, into the searching box:
3. We click «Start» and wait until Screaming Frog scans all website. Scanning time mainly depends on website size.
It is possible to observe the process of scanning; it is displayed at the very bottom of the program window:
After Screaming Frog completes scanning of the website, we start the following step of broken links search.
4. We go to the “Response Code” tab and select from the filter at the left errors that we are interested in:
Pay attention to the nuance: we cannot check out the pages with errors 4xx and 5xx at the same time, only separately. Therefore, at first, we check out one group of errors and upload them, and then we select other error packet from the filter and also upload them if necessary.
If Screaming Frog have found broken links on your website, we detect on what pages they are located.
To see the pages with broken links, it is necessary:
- Select one of broken links.
- Select the “Inlinks” tab from the lower working window.
- There will be the list of all pages in the lower window, where broken links were found.
Export of broken links
Lists of broken links can be exported in the csv, xls and xlsx formats.
2. From the appeared dialog box, we select the necessary format of exported files and place, where to save the file with the list of non-working links.
In such a simple method it is possible to check the website for existence of broken links by means of the Screaming Frog SEO Spider program.
Pluses of Screaming Frog SEO Spider:
- Operating speed (the website from 4000 URL addresses (the page, images, etc.) Screaming Frog SEO Spider have scanned less than in the minute);
- Big set of settings and manual filters;
- Export of broken and related links to one of three formats: xls, xlsx, csv;
- There are clients for Windows, Mac OS and Ubuntu operating systems.
Minuses of Screaming Frog SEO Spider:
- License price
2. Netpeak Spider
Netpeak Spider is the desktop Windows application designed for scanning of the website and its analysis.
How should it be used?
1.After the installation we start the program, in the field (1) we enter the address of the website and press the start button (2).
In order to scan all website, we recommend to set the following settings:
2. The process of scanning can be observed in the bottom of the working window of the program:
3. After Netpeak Spider have analyzed all website, there will be the big list of pages in the program. To find beaten links quickly, we select the “Search” (1) tab, in “Answer” filter we choose «404» (2) and press the “Search” button (3). Now the program will display all URL addresses with the error 404:
4. To learn, on what pages the links, which refer to any of URL address, are located, click the left mouse button on the link you are interested in, and then with the help of the right button open the context menu and click «Look at all links to this page»:
5. In the new window you will see all pages, which refer to the selected URL address.
- It is free
- The simple interface which is developed for the usual user
- At large volumes of scanning, the program can «run slow»
- Works only on Windows OS
Initially, the search of broken links on the website was the main destination of this program, but over time it has extended and now, except search of broken links, it can execute other functions.
The program is free, and is written only for Windows OS. However, developers say on the official site that you can start Xenu on other OS, just use «laying» (wine for crossover, etc.).
How should it be used?
1. After installation start the program, in the upper menu of the Xenu program we click «File» and select from the drop-down list «Check URL …»:
2. In the appeared window we enter the address of the website which needs to be checked, and press the “OK” button:
We wait until Xenu checks the website. The running status of the program is displayed in the lower part of the window:
3. After the analysis we see many different links with different values. To select only broken links, in the upper menu we click «View» and select «Show broken links only» or the key combination Ctrl+B. Now, only broken links, which we looked for, are displayed.
To look, where the broken link is, open the context menu by clicking on one of the links with the right mouse button and choose «URL properties»:
In the new window you will see the list of pages with broken link.
Perhaps, it is not the most successful example, because here the beaten link is in the file of style, often they are on simple pages of the website, but the essence remains the same. Of course, all broken links need to be eliminated no matter where they are.
It should be noted that Xenu checks the website in more detail, than two previous programs and that is why the check takes more time.
- Deep analysis of the website
- The analysis of the big website can take a lot of time
- Works only on Windows OS (at other OS only through «laying»)
4. Siteliner online service
The online service is conditionally free. It checks 250 most popular pages of the website free of charge. These 250 pages are defined on the basis of the inner pattern of links. There is the only restriction for the premium account: it is the number of pages of the website which service can check, it is 25 000 pages.
How should it be used?
It is simple to use – to find broken links on the website by means of Siteliner, you should do the following steps:
- Pass to the page of service.
- Enter the website address in the searching box on the page and click «Go».
- After Siteliner scans your website completely, the report will appear on the page. We need the “Broken Links” page.
All pages of the website, on which at least one broken link exists, are shown on the “Broken Links” page. The number of broken links on the page is displayed in the “Broken Links Out” column.
If we click on one of links of the “URL” column, then we will be switched to the page of the analyzed website on which broken links will be highlighted. The example is on the screenshot:
- Web service
- Speed of check is higher, than on desktop applications
- Visually displays the broken link on the page
- It does not show the list of broken links, but it displays URL addresses where broken links were found
We have analyzed 4 services which will help you to find broken links. In order to find broken links on the website, I give preference to Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool and Siteliner.
- Screaming Frog SEO – simplicity, speed, convenience;
- Siteliner – the speed of work and «visualization»;
The first service displays all broken links and lists of pages which refer to them. The second shows the list of pages at which the broken links are, and visually highlights them on the page.
O, broken links is not the most important factor which influences ranging of the website in search engines, but it is worth paying attention to broken links, correct errors and try to prevent them in future. But as this task is not always realistic, I recommend to check the website for broken links from time to time.