Are 404s Hurting Your Rankings?

When was the last time you checked your site for 404s? If you’re like most people, it’s probably been a while.

They are not the most important SEO ranking factor, but according to the latest SEO ranking factors from Moz.com (see here), linking to 404s on your site is a pretty bad idea.

Luckily, there are several great tools available to help clean up 404s. In this post, I’ll list a couple of my favorites.

For Windows Users:
Xenu’s Link Sleuth has been around forever (for good reason). It’s a great tool for finding 404s, and somehow, it’s still free. In today’s world of premium SEO tools, having a free resource like Xenu is pretty awesome. Xenu is a real jewel, and actually good for so much more than finding broken links. Check out this great guide for many uses of Xenu

For Mac, Linux, and Windows
Screaming Frog is a relatively new tool for finding 404s. I have to admit, I didn’t really like it the first time I tried it. It wasn’t that the features weren’t great. The problem was that when I ran it on a large site, it would crash. Well, it turned out that I was just doing it wrong. I later learned that you need to increase the amount of memory that Screaming frog is allowed to use. Once I did that, it worked like a charm, and it has been my favorite site spider ever since.

Like Xenu, Screaming frog is also great for more than finding bad links, but in the case of Screaming Frog, it’s great for A LOT more.

The only down side is that like most other good SEO tools today, it’s not free. Actually, they do have a free version, but it’s only good if you have a really small site.

Check out this video that shows some of the features:

Remember to check for 404s, and check often.