5 Best Tools to Check Broken Links on Your Site
They may seem like hindsight, or a little problem you can brush aside, yet don’t be fooled by the potency of broken links. A single dead link can mislead and frustrate customers, show that you’ve been out-of-touch and sloppy with your website maintenance, and it can even potentially push you down in search engine ranks. This isn’t just a small issue – according to Entrepreneur.com, “link rot” has been described as an actual web epidemic.
Remember – no matter how hard it is to get a website running perfectly, that sort of smooth experience is what web users expect as normal. Anything hindering that sort of experience – even a sensible issue like a broken link – can carry dire consequence for you and your company.
Utilizing the Best Tools
Combat your broken links today in the most sensible way – by utilizing a fast and reliable tool, rather than manually combing through your website and the Internet in search of years-old dead and broken links. We’re here to offer you a few alternatives you can use to get started in picking up the pieces:
- Xenu’s Link Sleuth – A Windows-only tool, Xenu’s Link Sleuth provides a wide array of uses from finding duplicate content to checking page depth, but our main interest in it is its comprehensive ability to scan for and find all broken links.
- Google Webmaster Tools–A straight-from-the-source kind of tool, Google Webmasters Tools gives you an overview of what Google thinks of your website, and where you should improve it – specifically in crawl errors, which are broken links that force crawlers to move onto another domain.
- Screaming Frog–For Windows and Mac, Screaming Frog crawls websites and finds out more than Xenu’s Link Sleuth, at a premium price.
- Link Checker–A little less user-friendly than the other options, but more powerful under-the-hood – perfect for users who want a more comprehensive look at their links while running a command line interface.
- W3C Link Checker–A simple link-checking tool, W3C’s Link Checker can be downloaded or run from a browser.
Broken Links are a Result of Negligence
As per Computer Hope, a broken link is a link that points to a page that no longer exists. In most cases, websites present viewers of a broken link with a 404 error code, presented within a custom page of some kind.
Usually, the most common reason is moving a webpage without modifying all the links leading to it, thus having older links within your web content that prompts users to find your error 404 message instead of your updated page.
Why Broken Links are Important
Aside from user frustration or complaints, a broken link can actually damage your SEO. Although search engines like Google have explicitly stated that a few broken links won’t hurt you, according to SiteImprove.com, what they can do is force search engine algorithms to stop short and move onto the next site.
That’s right. Search engine optimization is all about creating a website that makes it easy for search engine crawlers to index and rank it. If a crawler encounters a broken link, it ignores the rest of the page – which is detrimental to you and your ranking. You’ll need the help of an affordable website SEO company like SEOTuners to take control of the situation if your site’s broken links are particularly troublesome.