Everybody dreads it. It’s a nightmare.. It’s a bad experience for your site visitors.
Google certainly does not. It recommends checking your website for broken links and improper content regularly. Manual checking would prove cumbersome leading us to come up with a few aces up our sleeve to deploy. These are the tools which can help:
What are Broken Links?
Broken links or dead links are those links that send a message to its visitors that the webpage no longer exists, triggering a 404 error page.
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.
Types of broken links on your website:
1) Internal Broken Links
The internal links refer to links that go from one page on your website to another page. These links are the ones that you have the most control on your website.
So whenever you update or make any changes to your website, you should always check your internal links and make sure that the links are working.
2) External Broken Links
External links or outbound links refer to the links that are pointing to another website.
For example, I am referring to Neil Patel’s blog post on how he used a case study to grow his sales by 185%, and I’m linking to it here. This will be an external link because it is linking to another website.
However, the thing about external links is that you need to spend more time checking them because you wouldn’t know when will the link changes as we are not in control. So you’d have to check it from time to time to see if the link is still working.Yes, manually
No matter how much time you have spent in getting customers to your site, if they can’t get to the conversion page, all of your SEO efforts will be a waste.
Other than losing revenues, you are losing customers as well.
This is because when one customer is unhappy, he/she will let their friends know about it and you will end up losing not one, but more customers.
Your Bounce Rate
The bounce rate is measured by the number of time visitors spend on your page, and if the user doesn’t stay for a certain amount of time, they will be considered to have “bounced” from your page.
When you have unhappy visitors on your site, each of them will leave your website, resulting in a higher bounce rate.
Your Google Ranking
When Google sees that visitors are leaving your page within seconds of landing, they will assume that the visitors didn’t find what they’re looking for. Then, Google will lower the page on SERPs as since it’s flagged as less credible and reliable.
Another factor that will affect your Google ranking is not having your page indexed.
Xenu’s Link Sleuth
Xenu’s Link Sleuth is a free Windows app that scans entire sites for broken links. Add in the URL and we are done for the day.
It runs an exhaustive scan which prowls for broken links, frames, images, stylesheets, scripts and backgrounds.
It has other uses beyond being just a scanner. Xenu can aid in helping you weed out duplicate content, page depth and so forth which makes it quite an arsenal.
W3C Link Checker
The W3C Link Checker tool digs through links (obviously!) and provides you with information that it has unearthed.
You can (and should) set a limit on how deep the tool digs. Otherwise you’ll find it keeps going. And going. And going.
Broken Link Checker
Broken Link Checker monitors links in your pages, comments, posts, and even custom fields.
Should it spot an error, it will alert you via the wordpress site plugin.
Unfortunately Broken Link Checker is infamous for using humongous resources slow down your site. Should you decide to go for it, be prepared for a bogged down website until it completes its diagnostics.
Link Alarm is a 14 days trail website broken link checker. It delivers detailed reports and is focused to improve your website’s performance. This tool can be used to check up to 100 pages automatically for the broken links. Their reports are proposed to make the life of the website owners improved by removing the uninteresting information. It is helpful for web shops, universities, administrations, and for anyone with the concern for caring a site.
Google Webmaster Tools
Authentication by Google Webmaster Tools is the best way to understand how your site is perceived by Google.
When Google spots out broken links on your site, you’ll be notified through the Webmaster Tools dashboard which has been made a little more “readable” thanks to the recent updates.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Screaming Frog is a standalone desktop app for Ubuntu, Mac, and Windows. Add in the URL and it’ll retrieve the relevant info you need.
Unlike Xenu’s Link Sleuth, Screaming Frog is comprehensively recommended for site optimization. It dives deeper into page-level elements like meta data and page titles.
Screaming Frog’s free version has a limitation on the number of pages which can be crawled through. The Licensed version removes that limit, unlocks all configuration options, allows saving/uploading of crawls, adds source code search, and includes customer support.
Dead Link Checker
It is a completely free online broken link checker. Dead Link Checker crawls your site thoroughly and finds out all the dead links that are affecting your site. It has two options- MULTI CHECK to check multiple sites, and AUTO CHECK to check your site on a regular interval and report you.
Check My Links Google Chrome Page Checking Plugin
Check My Link is a popular plugin for those who are using Google Chrome. It detects the dead links by crawling the entire webpage. It is a Chrome extension and especially wonderful for the content editors, web designers or developers.
Sitechecker website crawler checks your website for broken links and provides the whole information about how to correct them. You can research the anchors of 404 error pages and fix them immediately.
It is a web tool, so it can be run by any operating system. Moreover, the website on any CMS can be crawled.
InterroBot is a website crawler and link analysis tool. It is powered by an advanced field search, allowing web administrators to query against status codes (Example: 404, 500, etc.), headers, body content, and more. Once an affected page, image, or other linked asset is identified, a document graph identifies the incoming links to the trouble spot.
InterroBot runs on the desktop, making access behind a firewall or on localhost a non-issue.
Online Broken Link Checker
Online Broken Link is a free online website validator tool that checks your web pages for broken links, authorizes, discovers, and accounts bad hyperlinks if any originate. It can scan an unlimited number of web pages. It works for both external and internal links.
This tool runs on Windows, iOS, Linux, and Mac OS.
Internet Marketing Ninjas Sitemaps Generator Tool
IMN also has a free link checker built into their sitemaps generator tool, so the report actually has more useful information you can put into action aside from just the broken links. It is free, but there is a limit of 5 site crawls per IP address.
IMN also has the choice to choose 500 to 1000 pages for the first scan. Due to this, the server load will get reduced and therefore there will be lesser chances of your server getting overloaded.
Dr. Link Check .com
Dr. Link Checker inspects all links that contain internal and external links to another website. It can also check links to images, style sheets, and other files. It inspects all HTML and CSS code records and scans your whole website. Each link originated by Dr. Link Checker passes through several checks to confirm that no threats should be left which can harm your websites.
Integrity Link Checker
Depending on the extent of your Website, this tool might take periods to complete the report. It has numerous choices to sort the results, and it can only check corrupted links, by choosing the option on the report page.
It benefits to inject the broken links from the comment forms as well. Options like transferring the data, verification, handling multiple sites, sitemap generation, spelling checks are all available in two connected apps i.e. Integrity Plus and Scrutiny.
Integrity Checker is a free Mac desktop application.
Ahrefs Broken Link Checker
Ahrefs Link Checker tool delivers a detailed report related to all the backlinks to your site.
It can understand by what means of your site, the links are growing or falling. It is backed up by the largest database of live backlinks and great crawling speed of AhrefsBot. It is a good tool for knowing info about the broken backlinks across the network in one place.
SEO Skipper – Free Broken Link Checker Tool is a comprehensive tool to use for link issues and validate object references in your webpages.
ADD ME – BROKEN LINK CHECKER
AddMe.com – Broken Link Checker is a sophisticated tool which analyzes your site and identifies broken links.
Small SEO Tool
Small SEO Tool will crawl for all web pages and will exactly show the outcomes in the picture of a chart, together with the code. It is totally free, hence requires no credits, no software care, and no installation.
Small SEO Tools offers tools like Link Count Checker Tools and Link Analyzer which can benefit you to check the internal & external links and backlinks of your web pages.
SortSite – Error and Link Checking
SortSite is a very popular tool for testing broken links free. It finds out the broken links and other problems by testing your whole website. It not only checks broken links, but also detects server configuration problems, and tests the mistakes or errors of ASP/ASPX/PHP script.
Sortsite is a desktop application for Mac OS X and Windows. This works on a single click and checks for accessibility, broken links, compatibility, SEO, privacy, web standards, and usability. It’s a very fast tool and tests all the pages available in the site.
Lastly, LinkChecker is a validates websites.
Being the most technical option in our top five list, it sports a command line interface, desktop app, and web app.
We are yet to try it ourselves but rumours have it that power users would love it.
Which tool is best among them all?
Top Broken Link Checker Tools Reviews
Enlisted below are the most commonly used dead link checker tools that are available in the market.
Comparison of Top 5 Dead Link Checker Tools
|Tools||Ratings||Cool Features||Type||Price||Free Version|
|Sitechecker||4.8/5||The whole website audit,|
backlink tracker, keywords rank tracker, SEO monitoring.
|Screaming Frog||4.7/5||Custom Search and Custom extraction with support of Robots.txt to check performance.||Desktop Application||From 149.00 EUR/year||Yes (Till 500 links)|
|Google Webmaster||4.5/5||SEO Optimization for most hunted websites on the Google||Online Tool||Contact Google for Pricing.||Yes|
|Xenu’s link Sleuth||3.5/5||Good for Temporary network issue and supports SSL certificates and Site map.||Desktop Application||Free available without any subscription plans.||Yes|
|Ahrefs Broken Link Checker||3.5/5||Notice backlinks of competitor’s contents and display picture of Do-follow and No-Follow links.||Online Tool||From $99/month(Trial for $7 for 7 days)||No|
|Dead Link Checker||4.2/5||Feature of Site Check, Multi Check and Auto Check.||Online Tool||From $9.95/month||Yes|
|InterroBot||4.75||Field search enables locating outdated content references in addition to troublesome links. Document visualization plots a high-level overview of incoming and outgoing links, as well as media references.||Desktop (Windows 10)||$33||Yes (non-commercial)|
That depends on your needs and wants. Consider:
- How complex is your website? Large website requires more resources which could prove cumbersome to a mere plugin tool.
- What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to scout bad links or hope to improve your website ratings by weeding out more of the bad code?
- How frequently are you running scans? Is this a recurring task or a one-time audit?
In our opinion: Xenu’s Link Sleuth is the priority for Windows users, while Screaming Frog SEO Spider comes up as runner up .