How To Find Broken Bookmarks
How To Find Broken Bookmark & Jump Links
This tutorial explains how to configure the Screaming Frog SEO Spider to find broken bookmark links, analyse the source pages, and export in bulk.
First of all, let’s quickly summarise what we mean by a bookmark link.
What’s A Bookmark or Jump Link?
Bookmarks are a useful way to link users to a specific part of a webpage using named anchors on a link, also referred to as ‘jump links’, ‘named anchors’ and ‘skip links’.
The set-up is simple, in the HTML you’re able to use the ID attribute to create the bookmark –
<h2 id="example">Bookmark Example</h2>
You can then link directly to the bookmark by appending a fragment (#) and the ID name (‘example’) to the page URL.
<a href="https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/how-to-find-broken-bookmarks/#example">See our bookmark example</a>
When the link is clicked, the page will scroll to the location with the bookmark – in this case the ‘Bookmark Example’ section. While Google will see these URLs as the same page (as it ignores anything from the #), they can use named anchors for ‘jump to’ links in their search results for the page ranking.
While these links can be excellent for users, it’s easy to make mistakes in the set-up, and they often become ‘broken’ over time as pages are updated and IDs are changed or removed. A broken bookmark will mean the user is still taken to the correct page, but they won’t be directed to the intended section.
Not As Simple As A Broken Link
These broken bookmarks can’t be found in the same way as finding broken links, as they don’t respond with a 404 status code, and they often go unnoticed.
To help with this problem, we introduced a check in the SEO Spider which crawls URLs with fragment identifiers and verifies that an ID exists within the HTML of the webpage for the bookmark to work properly. This allows you to find broken bookmarks links at scale in an automated way.
1) Enable ‘Crawl Fragment Identifiers’
This setting is located in ‘Config > Spider > Advanced’.
This means URLs with fragment identifiers will be crawled and they will appear as unique URLs within the SEO Spider’s various tabs.
2) Crawl The Website
Type or copy in the website you wish to crawl in the ‘Enter URL to spider’ box and hit ‘Start’.
3) Click The ‘URL’ Tab & ‘Broken Bookmark’ Filter
You can wait until the crawl finishes and reaches 100%, or you can just view broken bookmarks while crawling by navigating to the ‘URL’ tab and using the filter for ‘Broken Bookmark’.
There are two ways to do this, you can click on the ‘tab’ at the top and use the drop down filter –
Or you can use the right-hand window crawl overview pane and click directly on ‘Broken Bookmark’ under the ‘URL’ folder. They both show the same results, regardless of which way you navigate.
4) View The Source Of The Broken Bookmarks By Using The ‘Inlinks’ Tab
To view which URLs on the website link to these broken bookmarks, so they can be fixed (or the attribute ID can be updated on the page with the broken bookmark), click on a URL in the top window pane and then on the ‘Inlinks’ tab at the bottom to populate the lower window pane.
Here’s a closer view of the lower window pane which details the ‘inlinks’ data –
‘From’ is the source where the broken bookmark can be found, while ‘To’ is the page with the bookmark that isn’t working. You can also see the anchor text, alt text (if it’s an image which is hyperlinked) and whether the link is followed (true) or nofollow (false).
In this example there is a broken bookmark on the review snippet page, which has an ‘aggregate_rating_type_definitions’ anchor (https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/review-snippet#aggregate_rating_type_definitions).
It’s linked to from various pages with the anchor text ‘AggregateRating properties’.
When reviewing the HTML of the review snippet page, it appears the ID attribute to be used on links should be updated to be #aggregated-rating-type-definition (rather than #aggregate_rating_type_definitions which is used) to take users to the correct section of the page.
5) Export In Bulk Using Right Click ‘Export > Inlinks’
If you’d rather view the data in a spreadsheet you can export both the ‘source’ URLs and broken bookmark pages by highlighting all broken bookmark URLs in the top window, then right clicking and using ‘Export > Inlinks’.
Alternatively you can use the ‘Export’ button on the lower window inlinks tab.
This tutorial will hopefully help you identify broken jump links when using named anchors at scale across a website.
If you experience any issues crawling a website after following the guidance above, check out the following FAQs –
- Why won’t the SEO Spider crawl my website?
- Why is the SEO Spider not finding a particular page or set of pages?
- HTTP Status Codes – Why Won’t My Website Crawl?
Alternatively, please contact us via support and we can help.
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