If you are familiar with SEO and SEO tools, you may have heard of Xenu’s Link Sleuth. It is a FREE software developed by Tilman Hausherr. The software provides endless opportunities which enables you to perfect your ongoing SEO, and the best part is that it’s FREE!

Xenu free tool

What does Xenu’s Link Sleuth do?

It is a proprietary tool that works as a crawler and returns all necessary data about your website.  Listed below are a few advantages of Xenu’s Link Sleuth as highlighted by Tilman in Xenu’s website:

  • It is free
  • Simple user-interface
  • Better error reports (not just “network error”)
  • “Save” works while the software is busy
  • The “broken links view” shows only broken links.
  • While Xenu does not offer an “update” facility (which doesn’t work anyway), it has a “recheck broken links” function.
  • The software is small and won’t require too much operative memory.
  • The report can be viewed easily, even when you have long URLs.
  • Loading of saved files is faster.
  • Supports SSL websites (“https:// “)
  • Partial testing of ftp and gopher sites
  • Search for local orphan files
  • Special handling of redirected URLs
  • Site Map
  • Partial randomisation of checking order, means less concurrent requests on a single server

The best thing about Xenu is that it is unlimited! This means that no matter how big your website is and no matter how many times you need to use this tool, you can do it.

What can Xenu give to SEOs?

After crawling the website, you can easily export results to a TAB separated file and then copy and paste it to an Excel spreadsheet.

Xenu exporting to Excel

The excel spreadsheet will then include important columns for all possible entities (images, scripts, html pages, sitemaps, etc.) as:

  • Status-Code
  • Status-Text
  • Type
  • Size
  • Title
  • Date
  • Level
  • Links Out
  • Links In
  • Server Error
  • Duration
  • Charset
  • Description


Xenu's Link Sleuth for SEO

After implementing filters, the following can be carried out. You can separate HTML pages and find the broken links, find meta titles and meta descriptions, define page levels and site architecture. This can help to easily optimise the on-page elements of the website and do it in a more organised fashion.

If you are not comfortable working with an Excel sheet and find the TAB separated file a bit confusing, Xenu automatically generates a report that is laid in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If somehow you missed the report generation window, you can simply click “R” and it will open in your browser. The report includes:

  • Broken links, ordered by link
  • Broken links, ordered by page
  • List of redirected URLs
  • List of valid URLs you can submit to a search engine
  • Site Map of HTML pages with a Title
  • Broken page-local links
  • Orphan files
  • Statistics for managers


Xenu’s Link Sleuth is a comprehensive tool and includes much more than we have covered above but on a basic level it is a tool that will help with basic SEO optimisation and finding broken links.

Keep following our blog for more information on how else can you use Xenu’s Link Sleuth or other SEO tools to improve your on-page and off-page search engine optimisation efforts.

Get in touch with us if you have questions about this or other topics we discuss in our blog or if you would like to enquire about our digital marketing services.