3 Not-So-Obvious But Totally Awesome Uses Of Xenu Link Sleuth For Webmasters

xenu link1   3 Not So Obvious But Totally Awesome Uses Of Xenu Link Sleuth For WebmastersXenu Link Sleuth (TM) (Windows-only) is one of the best-known webmaster tools. It helps find broken links throughout your site to fix the errors and offers your users a better experience. On top of all, it is free (and can be used for large websites like MUO as well).

That being said, the most obvious application of Xenu Link Sleuth is to use it to find broken links. You are equipped with various tools such as excluding some folders, restricting it to internal folders only and setting the number of retries for failed links, etc.


It’s been described a lot, you can for example read the official FAQ to get an idea.

What I am going to talk about here are 3 other, less obvious ways to take advantage of the tool.

1. Find Huge Images & Files

While making your pages easier to remember, images affect your load time and hence user experience. Therefore finding your largest images and optimizing them is one of the first things to do if you are going to improve your site’s usability and rankings.

To locate the largest images, run the general crawl for your site and then sort the table by “SIZE” column. This will bring up the largest files linked from your site pages:

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Tip: if you right-click on any line, you will be able to access “Properties” to see which page exactly (hot)links to a file or an image:

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2. Generate A List Of Valid Links

After Xenu finishes crawling a site, it generates a report that contains the list of valid URLs:

  • The list of plain URLs;
  • The list of linked titles reflecting the site structure:

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Tip: If you want to only crawl internal pages (and have them in your HTML map), uncheck “Check External Links” when adding your URL to crawl:

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3. Find The Deepest-Buried Pages

If you run a huge (possibly dynamic or database-driven) website, it is so easy to lose track of some of your pages. Some of them are gold, yet they are buried so deep in your site structure that no one will ever discover them.

Want to unveil the potential of those lost pages? Then sort your site crawl results by “Level” column to find those pages:

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Tip: If you can’t access the page but you want to know how valuable the content there is, right-click on an URL to get instant access to Google Cache and Internet Archive;

Bonus: Quick Tips

Some essential tips every Xenu user should now:

  • To save the whole table to Excel, export it to TAB separated file (located in FILE menu);
  • If you see too many pages failed or timed-out, decrease the number of parallel threads (Navigate Options -> Preferences) – the tool will work slower but will have fewer errors.
  • Retry broken link using the FILE menu (or CTRL+R shortcut);
  • Don’t forget to save the Xenu file to be able to get back to it any time to re-crawl or re-try broken links;
  • Find redirected pages (keep “Treat redirections as errors” in the crawl preferences:

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Do you use the Xenu Link Sleuth for anything else besides finding broken links? Share your tips!

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6 Comments -

Aibek

Hey Ann, thanks for the tips. I tried Xenu in the past but had no idea that I could use the tool to identify huge images or deep buried pages. Now I like tool even more.

Dan Taylor

I find xenu one of the most powerful free tools in my arsenal. From finding broken links, duplicate page titles and the three mentioned above – a really great tool.

Hector M.

Yay! i think this just saved me an hour of work. I just run it on one of my site and it found a few broken links. Thanks.

Hector M.

Yay! i think this just saved me an hour of work. I just run it on one of my site and it found a few broken links. Thanks.