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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Google Shows Broken Backlinks

The Google webmaster tools added a feature which lets you see the sources of links which trigger a “file not found” on your site. To try this, click on your site in the dashboard (provided you verified it’s yours) and view Diagnostics -> Web crawl -> Not found. Next to a given unfound URL – say, “” – you can click the “pages” link to the right, which pops up a list of sites referencing that URL*. Often the link is just malformed and the error won’t be on your end.

Google’s Matt Cutts argues that this new feature may allow you to get what amounts to a free backlink – because you can ping the wrongly-linking webmaster and ask them to correct their link URL. This kind of work only seems to make sense for major backlinks though, so it would be more useful with indicators of the traffic the broken page gets, or the source’s PageRank.**

*Closing that popup made my browser always jump back to the top of the page.

**Traffic data could only be provided by a traditional stats program I guess, like Google Analytics.


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