How to Identify Hard (404) Broken Links

Created by Margie Wylie-Petruzziello, Modified on Tue, 14 Dec 2021 at 02:07 PM by Margie Wylie-Petruzziello

SiteImprove reports a wide range of web errors under the rubric of broken links, including:

  • 503 - Request timed out/site unavailable
  • 403 - Forbidden (usually a URL that exists, but isn't publicly accessible, e.g., behind a login or paywall)
  • 301 or 303 - Temporary or permanent redirects
  • 404 - Not found

All of these errors can affect the quality of user experience, so it's good to review them from time-to-time. However, if you just want to see links that aren't working at all, you can filter all broken links by error code from your user "dashboard". (You can access your user dashboard using the "Log in to view live dashboard" link in the dashboard report email.)

It is possible to "ignore" links, (see screenshot below) but use this button with care because it excludes that link from ALL bad link reports for everyone.

If you find that there is a common URL that returns a lot of false positives, open a ticket. The SiteImprove admin an exclude entire URLs and sub URLs from bad link crawls. For example, all DOIs appear as "bad links" because they are redirects (301 or 303). As a result, the CS SiteImprove administrator has excluded all links that starts with "" from bad link reports. 

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