90 Digital CEO Nick Garner talks about using Xenu for crawling your site for errors in this edition of CalvinAyre.com’s SEO Tip of the Week.
Hi there, this is my SEO tip of the week – extended version!
Xenu is one of my favourite onsite analysis tools. It’s free and really powerful but only works on windows.
I like it because once its done a crawl, it creates a csv file which can be processed in Excel. The great thing about Excel is how easy it is to manipulate data and therefore come up with insights
It crawls a site and looks for a bunch of things:
Here are just five things that Xenu is great for:
Finding broken links
This is important because fixing them makes your site easier for Googlebot to crawl your site. Because if you have a crawl budget more or less in line with your site’s page rank, it means you get more pages crawled more often and therefore you are more likely to rank on your long tail phrases. It’s just good housekeeping.
Spot duplicate title tags and other duplicate content issues
Title tags are really important and so its really important to make sure they are not duplicated. Xenu is great for sorting and easily identifying duplicate title tags and descriptions. And because Xenu also shows you page sizes, you can see what pages are identically sized, which gives you a clue on whether the page is thin content or no content.
Finding oversized images
It’s just a housekeeping thing but isn’t it annoying when you look at a page and there is some huge image file downloading slowly on the page? Since Xenu gives you file sizes, you can see if there are any over-sized image files (or other file type) that can be optimized.
Links to a page
As you may know, the pages most likely to rank on your site are the ones that have lots of external links pointing to that page and lots of internal links pointing to that page. This is why typically a home page will rank best on most sites.
Anyway, Xenu will give you an link count on any given page so you can sort by largest number of links and smallest number of links…so useful.
So if you want a page to rank better, with Xenu you can see if it has enough internal links pointing to it. If there aren’t enough… then reorganize the navigation and get more page rank to that page.
Find Deepest buried pages
Let’s say you have some really nice content you want to resurface from your site but its 10 levels deep i.e. from the home page the crawler had to go through 10 different links to get to that content, then its quite possible the Googlebot may not even get there. No Googlebot recrawling the page means it’s unlikely to rank for anything. By identifying those pages you can make a call on whether to link to them differently on your site.
Right-click on an URL to get instant access to Google Cache and Internet Archive;
CTRL+R will retry all failed URLs;
Set less parallel threads in “Options”=> “Properties” to have fewer failed connections.
To learn which exactly pages link to the current page, right-click / ALT+ENTER on the URL and choose “Properties”):
As you see, Xenu is really powerful and so useful for site housekeeping. Another good tool is screaming frog but you have a 500-page limit before you have to buy the paid for version