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Tutorial – Xenu Link Sleuth: the must have SEO tool

Black and white image with chain on a floor

Xenu Link Sleuth is a free tool that’s usually used for checking broken links on your website and is considered something like a “Swiss knife” in terms of capabilities and futures – considering it’s also a freeware program. Except for finding broken links on your websites, we’ll explain in this article how to use its additional features.
Note: for the purpose of this post we’ve used a website close to our heart:

Xenu link sleuth - welcome screen


1. Find broken links

In order to find your website’s broken links, sort the results by clicking on the “Status” bar in the toolbar menu:

Xenu link sleuth - sort by status

To see which other pages are linking to your broken ones, right click on the according URL and select URL  properties – an example is shown in the picture below:

Xenu link sleuth - sort by out or inner links


2. Find pages and content that takes more space

Having large images or huge pages might decrease your web-page loading time, so make sure you adjust them accordingly. To see which images, video or other content takes the highest amount of space simply sort your results by clicking on the “Size” tab in the toolbar menu:

Xenu link sleuth - sort by size

3. Find pages that have duplicate or missing title tags

Having duplicate or missing “Title-Tags” is a “no-go”. Title tags will be covered in a future post about best On-Page search engine optimization practices. To see the pages that have none or duplicate title tags, sort your results in Xenu by clicking on the “Title” tab:

Xenu link sleuth - sort by empty or duplicate title tags

4. Find pages with the most out or inner links

To see which pages are linking internally and which ones are pointing to external sources, sort your results by selecting the “Out Links” or “In Links”, according to your needs:

Xenu link sleuth - sort by out or inner links

5. Find images that don’t have an alt attribute

Same as with the duplicate or missing tags, adding alternative attributes to your images is a very important factor. To see which images lack the ALT attribute, sort the results by “Type”, scroll until you reach the image/format (these can be in png, jpeg or any other image format) and see which ones do not have any “Title” attributes – most likely these have missing alt-attributes:

Xenu link sleuth - sort by empty alt attribute

Xenu link sleuth is a powerful tool, and there’s plenty more things you can do with it:

  • You can choose to see all redirecting pages – if you select “Treat redirections as errors” in the Options > Preferences menu.
  • View only the broken links – by selecting this option from “View” > “Show broken links only

Xenu link sleuth - show broken links only

  • Create your google sitemap file through “File” > “Create Google sitemap file” – it’ll save in the sitemap .xml format.

At the end, you can export your results into TAB separated file and edit them in Open/Libre or MS Office suites.

Xenu link sleuth - export to tab separated file

This tool is a must-have for any SEO specialist. Use it and it’ll simplify your daily search engine optimization tasks.

I’m Andreas, the founder and owner of BullSEO. I’m a former busker, painter, turned IT geek at the (very) late age of 22. After 8 years of IT&Sec adventures, I left it all behind and started my own blog. SEO and Online Marketing techniques came naturally on the way.

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