The Custard Blog

Words of wisdom from our team of online marketing experts

Using Xenu Link Sleuth for SEO

Hello I’m Jamal. I’m Custard’s latest recruit and SEO Executive in the ever blooming search team. I’ve worked in online marketing for the past two and a half years, and in that time I’ve worked on SEO campaigns for some large multinational brands to niche brands in local markets.

Having completed my first week in the role with a brand new computer, I was scratching my head as to where I start in installing the SEO tools to help me do my job.

One of the first tools on my priority list was Xenu’s Link Sleuth. For those of you who are not yet familiar with the tool, Xenu’s Link Sleuth is a FREE bit of desktop software and is primarily a broken link finder. Xenu works by crawling an entire website and reporting back a list of identified broken links.

However, the reason why Xenu is so high on my priority list is that it can be used for more than just identifying broken links but can also help me carry out my daily SEO tasks.

Here’s a rundown of some of the tasks Xenu’s Link Sleuth can help with:

1.       Finding Broken Links

This is Xenu’s primary function, so really worth noting. Simply enter the web address and Xenu will start the crawl and report back a number of broken links.

Xenu for seo


2.       Getting an Extract of Meta Data

There is nothing worse than having to copy and paste meta data from backend CMS systems. When Xenu crawls the URL it also captures meta details of the site which is extremely handy when trying to analyse and edit meta details.

Finding broken links with Xenu


3.       Finding Pages with No Meta Data

As well as gathering meta details it can also be handy to find pages on a website with no meta data. You can also locate images with no alt data the exact same way.


4.        Analysing Number of Internal & External Links

Identify pages with the highest or lowest number of backlinks on the website.

Analysing links with Xenu


5.       Identify Large Page Sizes

With Xenu’s site crawl you are also given information on the size of the text, image or application on the page. This is useful for identifying any large images or landing pages which may be affecting website performance or page load times.


6.       Check External Links

Xenu can also extract a number of external URL’s linking out from your site, great for identifying links particularly if your site has recently been hacked or you suspect 3rd party spam links from your site.

Checking external links with xenu


7.       Create XML sitemaps

You can also create XML sitemaps within Xenu

Creating sitemaps with Xenu

Another great useful feature is the ability to export all the information in an Excel spreadsheet, which is handy for editing and filtering out data. To export to Excel, first you have to export to a TAB separated file, and then you have to copy and paste all the data into Excel.

Feel free to post if you have any other uses for Xenu’s Link Sleuth that I’ve missed.

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