Anyone involved in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) will undoubtedly spend some of their time trying to find new link building opportunities. Whilst this is perfectly sensible, there are many occasion when existing third party links exist but point to a dead page, i.e. the page no longer exists and results in a 404 error. Bad news.
There are many tools to help spot broken links such as the fantastic Xenu application but even Google Webmaster Tools provides this information. We’ve reported this before – Google Webmaster Tools Reports 404s – but worth repeating again.
Just log in to your account and go to Diagnostics | Crawl Errors. From here, you will see a list of broken links:
Crawl Errors (404s) in Google Webmaster Tools
There is even an option to download this information should the site you’re looking after have many broken links. Hopefully, this won’t be the case!
Although not shown in the screenshot above, to the right of the URL, Google will even show which pages are linking to this 404 page.
The solution? Fix this problem by implementing a 301 permanent redirect to a replacement page within your site. Whilst this may not be as rewarding as finding a new link, it is just as valuable.