Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Atomseo finds broken links, cures 404 blues


Gizmo Editor Review

If you know anything about 404, you know it’s nothing good. On the web, it means you’ve driven down a dead end. You followed a link to a page that is broken, outdated or unresponsive, usually for reasons unknown.

The dreaded 404 error message is the bane of web managers everywhere. When I was in charge of more than a dozen websites, I would literally lose sleep wondering if I was sending my readers down an off-ramp to nowhere.

Today, webmaster have access to sophisticated tools like the Broken Link Tool from Atomseo, which will launch a speedy analysis of any website and deliver a detailed report within a few minutes.

You can get a free link check (up to 3,000) by entering a web address on the front page of the Atomseo website. I gave it a test drive by entering the address of a site run by a local small business that is well known in my community.

Atomseo checks both internal and external links as well as backlinks pointing to a site from a third-party location.

The internal check helps you discover links you might have forgotten about. If you delete or rename a page on your site, that breaks any links that point to that page. External links point to a page outside your domain.

Perhaps most important are broken links that point to your site from third-p[arty sites. Getting linked from an external source, especially a high-value site like CNN or The New York Times, can boost your visibility with Google and other search engines. At the same time, an external pointer that delivers a 404 error is a serious demerit.

The check I ran on the local business's website scanned about 3,300 pages. It found only a couple of internal and external errors, but logged a stunning 10 percent error rate for links pointing to the local site after checking only 100 backlink pages. That’s the sort of report card you wouldn’t want to show to your parents.

The free version of Atomseo is like a quick checkup. It delivers a snapshot of your site and lets you know if you have a link issue. Serious webmaster will want to consider the Professional package, which costs $9.95 a month and checks thousands more pages and links.

Future enhancements for Atomseo include real-time link monitoring, scanning for broken images and automated redirection for broken links. You can get their full story in the video below and more details about services and prices at the Atomseo website. The link-checking tool is also available as a Chrome extension in Google's Chrome Web Store.


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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