Xenu: Not just for Broken Links.

The following is a guest post by Chris Falzone, Web Developer at Edinboro University.  Chris has a personal blog and you also connect with him through Twitter or LinkedIn.  This is the second post in the .eduGuru Blogger(s) Search Contest.

Many of you may heard of and perhaps are already using Xenu’s Link Sleuth to check your website for broken links.  However, what you may not know is some of the hidden extras that I have come to love.  Most of the features can be found, by simply sorting the results in a certain way.

So here are some of the uses I have found:

  1. Find Broken Links: Sort the list by “Status” and you can quickly see all the broken links on your site.
  2. Optimize Page Load Times: If you sort the results by “Size” you can easily see what images, videos, ect. are taking up the most space.
  3. Find Duplicate Titles: Sorting by “Title” will allow you to see pages that have duplicate titles.  This has many advantages, from  SEO (See Google’s SEO Quick Start Guide) to finding and removing duplicate content within your website.
  4. Find Buried Pages: The “Level” column shows you how many clicks the user would have to perform to get to the page.  If you sort this in a descending order, you can quickly find pages that are buried and make decisions to either make the page more accessible or perhaps remove the page if it is not needed.
  5. Find Link-Heavy Pages: If you sort on the “Out Links” column you will get a list of the pages with the most out-bound links.
  6. Find Least Linked Pages: The “In Links” column tell you how many pages are linked to a particular page.
  7. Find Images Missing Alt Text: Start by sorting the list on the “Type” column.  Now scroll down the list keeping an eye out for image content types.  A glance over at the “Title” column will show you images that do not have alt text included.

As you can see, just by looking at the results a little differently you can accomplish many different tasks in Xenu.  Here are a couple other tips that may help you out:

  • By right-clicking a result in the list and selecting “Properties” in the menu, you can view lings like:  what pages link to this url, what links are on the page, and the title or link text.
  • By right-clicking a result you can also access the Google cacheWayback Machine, and Alexa results for the page.  I have found Google Cache and the Internet Archive to be a life-saver a couple times that I’ve lost pages.

What other uses of this product have you discovered?

content typesedinboro university, find duplicate titles, find number of links on page, image content, optimize page loads, page load times, quick start guide, title columnweb developer

Read Related Posts on .eduGuru:

  1. Links of the Week September 12th
  2. Using 301 Redirects to solve URL Canonicalization: Low Hanging Fruit for SEO and Web Standards
  3. Links of the Week June 20th

4 Responses to “Xenu: Not just for Broken Links.”

  1. Says:

    Thanks, Kyle!

    Hope everyone likes my article or at least finds it informative. Don’t forget to vote for me :)

  2. Says:

    @Chris - as I told you I downloaded Xenu a few months ago after Jason Johnstone recommened it through twitter, but just never used it. Your post definitely has me interested in it again and worth giving it a real chance. Especially now that I better understand what I can use it for.

  3. Says:

    Chris -

    Great post. I’ve been using Xenu for several years but never thought to use it in the ways you have described.

  4. Says:

    @Mark - Thanks, I am glad you liked it.