Finding broken links on a large website is always a tough part and when it comes to WordPress, we have broken link checker plugin which does the job pretty well. Though, I always faced performance issues when I activate Broken link checker here, as SML structure is huge and creating so many threads inside dashboard to find broken links is not a good idea. In fact when ever I tried using this plugin, my site become unresponsive and I had to manually logged into FTP to delete the plugin. There are many external Websites to find broken links and here I’m talking about one desktop crawler tool call Minalyzer which find broken links on Website without making you sweat.
Why you should find broken links on your Website?
Broken links are bad for a good user experience and also too many 404 links within your site is bad for SEO. 404 links could happen because of many reasons, you might have deleted few content to get rid of low quality content issues, or while linking to deep page, you might have added a wrong or non-working links. No matter what, if you follow a SEO audit schedule of your site, you should also add a task to find broken links within your site and get rid of all such links.
When it comes to external links, it’s always a good idea to fix them too, but I’m more concerned about 404 links within my own site. As too many broken links on a website is a warning of bad SEO and bad site structure. Even your readers will be irritated, when they get too many dead links.
Minalyzer is a paid tool but they also offer a complete 30 days free trial, which is good enough for you to do your first site audit for free and if you are not using any other SEO software, you can purchase it for $29.99. Though, for a small Websites, there are many free tools available and you can see a list below:
But for a huge site, it’s always a good idea to use desktop Web crawler tool like Minalyzer or XENU link sleuth.
How to use Minalyzer to find broken links on your Blog/site?
Go ahead and download an appropriate version of minalyzer. It’s available for Windows, Linux and MAC. After downloading, Install Minalyzer and activate your 30 days free trial. It’s one click process and doesn’t require any Email or any other details. Now, follow the below guide and get a list of all 404 and dead links within your site or any other Website.
Creating a New project:
Click on File > New Index collection and give your project a name and add your domain address in the URL field. Select domain from right hand side selection.
Click on save. You might like to increase the thread from default 5 to some higher numbers like 20-30, which will speed up process. Though, make sure your hosting is powerful enough and use it when traffic on your site least. To increase the concurrent threads, click on tools > Advanced preference and increase the number of threads.If you have multiple sites,you can create multiple profile and crawl them at one go. Though, if you are hosting all your sites on one server, I won’t recommend to scan all your sites at one go.
Starting the crawler
Now click on Index collection at the bottom left and Minalyzer web crawler will start crawling your site and start finding all broken links within your site. This whole process may take time, depending upon your site size and number of threads you used. By default crawler will skip all external links and will check only Internal links for any dead or 404 links. Here is a snapshot of crawler in progress and you can click on left tabs to see individual links.
Now, once the crawler finishes the crawling of your site. Click on Fail tab and you will see a list of all URL’s which could not be accessed by crawler. One good thing about their crawler software is, it will skip the same URL, if it appear in other post, this will ensure that your server will be scanned quickly and without giving much load.
- Related reading: Host Tracker: Check your Webhosting performance
Finding Internal links with 404 response code:
Now, to see the complete list of broken links on your website, click on reports from crawler > Unique URL’s and you can see response code in front of all URL. I would recommend to check all the URL’s without 200 success code. Now, for the URL with code 404, click on the URL and you can see the list of pages linking to that URL. Here is a screenshot for the same:
That’s it and now go ahead and edit old posts and start editing all such links with 404 response code. You can use Minalyzer for many more purposes like, scan all the images on your site with Alt tag and title and you can edit the ALT tag for SEO advantages. If you are not aware of image SEO, you should check out our earlier guide on Image optimization for SEO and how to do SEO of image based Website.
Over all, this tool is very useful but $29.99 price tag is little too much for this desktop crawler, as there are many free options available. Though, depending upon your requirement, this tool could be a good options. If you are interested in other desktop based tool, then you should check out: Free Keyword monitor and Traffic travis.
Do let me know which tool or method you use to find Internal broken links on your website? How often you clean up such links? Don’t forget to subscribe to my Newsletter for more such updates.