Believe it or not, a lot of folks running PPC campaigns are sending traffic to missing (as in 404 Not Found) landing pages. Although I’m sure this couldn’t possibly apply to you, just think of it as a problem that other people have, in spite of their best intentions.
Brad Geddes from Certified Knowledge has written up a nice, simple process that lets anyone easily check their entire Adwords campaign for broken links. As described by Brad, it’s easy to do the same with other PPC campaigns (like MSN Adcenter).
The basic process is pretty straightforward:
- Make sure your site actually returns a 404 Not Found response code when a non-existent page is requested. You should do this even if you don’t run PPC campaigns, because it’s a huge SEO and usability issue as well.
- Export your campaign data into a Microsoft Excel compatible CSV file
- Convert the URLs into hyperlinks, and export the resulting document into HTML
- Use a tool like Xenu Link Sleuth (Google it) to spider the HTML document for broken links
Windows is required for the process Brad describes – which should not be a big deal for most of the Mac folks I know, since it’s easy to clone a PC as a virtual machine using something like VMWare Fusion.
Anyway – if you run any large campaigns, it’s worth checking them over periodically. If you manage campaigns for clients, this is a great diagnostic to run when you first begin working with a new account.
Step by Step Guide to Checking your Entire PPC Account for Broken Links – Brad Geddes, Certified Knowledge