What is a broken link? The link leads to a non-existent error page.

How are the broken links generated?

1. The webpage is deleted;
2. Database no longer supports dynamic links;
3. The location of a file or webpage has been moved and the path has changed;
4. Hosting or server problems, wrong settings;
5. Human input error;

Two kinds of 404

1. Soft 404

The broken link page returns an HTTP status code of 200 instead of 404 due to a bug in the website program.

1. Hard 404

Wrong link. The page doesn’t exist or isn’t indexed by search engine, this kind of problem might be due to operation mistakes, like input a wrong URL.

Broken links. The original webpage can be visited and is indexed by search engine at first, somehow the URL has been changed, or the error page caused by the original article has been deleted.

What is the effect of broken links?

For search engine

If the search engine spider is crawling a website, and it encountered a lot of broken links, it will be recorded as abnormal crawling in search engine’s database. If the site did not properly deal with the broken links, then search engine will reduce the site’s authority, the search engine spider is not willing to waste time crawling on this kind of website, and it won’t be indexed by search engine.

For visitors

If a visitor failed to open a page on your website, he is likely to close the site immediately, then the website’s bounce rate will be higher and higher, thus affecting the ranking of the website.

How to check website dead links?

Manual checking

Manually click on the links of the website, check whether it is a broken link, it is doable for a website with fewer pages, but for large sites, manual checking is not an option. So I don’t recommend it.

Google search console

You can check the list of 404 pages with the help of the Google search console.

View the web IIS logs

Download the IIS log of the site, view the status code in the log, and find the link to the 404 error pages.

However, the methods for determining broken links and the depth of detection are different. I can guarantee that you can get different reports through the 3 tools above.

Therefore, some developers aimed at this opportunity and created 404 pages and broken links detection tools, such as the famous Xenu. But Xenu is a bit expensive and comes with a lot of complex features.

If you only need to detect 404 pages and broken links, and do not need other complex features, you can try the tool produced by atomseo. Now, this tool has a 5% discount.

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