Do you have an old website with hundreds or thousands of articles and external links ?
Is your site affected by Google’s Penguin?
Are you worried that your website contains links passing critical link juice to bad or spammy sites?
If you, like me, have scoured the web for free plugins, or cheap web services to help you clean up your external links, and FAILED, here’s a tool that is so brilliant, it will have you managing all your links in no time at all.
The tool is called LinkPatrol and it has been developed and published by Search Engine Journal, experts in the field of search engine marketing.
In this post, I’ll show you how the plugin works and how it has helped clean up bad links on one of my sites.
To understand the importance of LinkPatrol, we must first understand how outbound links affect our website performance. Let’s dig in.
Issues Caused by Outbound Links
Outbound links can create SEO trouble for you in a number of ways.
Passing Link Juice
When your website links to an external site, you are passing on some of your website’s SEO value (or link juice) to them.
You obviously won’t link to a bad or spammy website deliberately, but you have no control over that website’s content either.
That leaves room for several problems. Since your linking, the webmaster of that site may have modified or removed that content, sold the website to someone who is now engaging in dubious practices, or the domain may have simply expired, leaving you with one or more bad links.
You’ll be surprised how many links on your site get caught up in these scenarios.
Poor User Experience
It often happens that website owners change their permalink structure or move their content to a different location. If you have linked to one of those articles, your website readers will end up looking at a 404 page.
This creates a bad user experience for your visitors and you may lose credibility if you have many such links going out.
Google Keyword Penalties
If you have allowed guest posting in the past, chances are, many of those articles contain generic keywords or money keywords within.
Google’s Penguin algo has penalized thousands of websites that have entertained such type of anchor text links in their articles. If you have accommodated such type of content, expect nothing less than a harsh dressing down from the G monster.
Another problem with outbound links is that they may sometimes direct your website readers to information that is old and outdated. This is obviously going to offer another poor experience for your readers.
Banish External Link Demons Forever
The best way to deal with one or more of these issues is to know what links are flowing out of your site. LinkPatrol helps you unravel the complicated mess that is external linking.
What is LinkPatrol?
- LinkPatrol is a WordPress plugin that does an in-depth analysis of your website and:
- Extracts all external links in your posts and pages
- Publishes a report on your link statistics by domain, author, internal vs. external links, and links per post
- Lets you nofollow or strip links using one click action
- Continues to scan and monitor your external links
What LinkPatrol Does NOT Do
LinkPatrol does not:
- Automatically identify the 404, broken, or spammy links
- Make recommendations on what links must be removed from your site
- Automatically fix bad links
How to Monitor and Manage External Links with LinkPatrol
Now that you’ve got a basic idea of what LinkPatrol can do for you, here’s how it works.
- Buy LinkPatrol from this website.
- Install the plugin by uploading the file to the plugins page of your WordPress dashboard.
- Go to LinkPatrol->Scanner.
- Hit the Start Scan button to get LinkPatrol to start scanning your website. You only need to scan your website once. LinkPatrol will automatically scan and monitor all future links that are published in your posts.
- Next head over to LinkPatrol->Reports. The Reports page contains 4 tabbed pages.
Reports dashboard: Displays an overview of the link stats. It shows you how many posts were scanned, how many links were found, and how many links there are per post.
You’ll also see a section with a bar chart depicting most linked to domains, authors with most links per post, a pie chart showing you the distribution of internal and external links as well as the external links per post.
Domain Reports: This tab, which is the most important one you need to focus on displays a report of the number of posts linking to each domain, the number of links pointing to each domain, the number of authors who have written posts linking to those domains, and a couple of check boxes to strip or no follow the domains.
Author Reports: This page lists all the author names, their contributions, and links per post in each of their contributions.
Keyword Search: If you need to do a quick keyword search, this page offers a search box to find posts with specific anchor text.
6. Go to the Domain Reports dashboard. Examine each domain your website is linking to. Right-click the links hyperlink to evaluate the post. Examine the post title, the external link and the anchor text. If you think that a post should not be linking to that domain, or a no-follow link will suffice, check the appropriate checkbox and click Update.
How LinkPatrol Helped me Overcome Google Manual Spam Penalty
When Google let loose its Panda and Penguin updates, my tech blog (http://theapptimes.com) took a hit. The 4 year old blog has over 2500 posts.
In previous years, I had accepted many guest posts from contributors around the world, and authored plenty more. When Google webmaster slapped my website with a manual spam action for unnatural links, I had to scramble to identify the sites I was linking to.
As you can imagine, there was no single tool that could pull that sort of data, at an affordable price. The result? I had to manually open up each article and do an evaluation.
It looked like I would be fixing the problem for at least the next 6 months – IF I WORKED LIKE A MAD DOG THAT IS!
It so happened that during my searches, I stumbled upon a post on Search Engine Journal explaining a similar situation they found themselves in and how they came up with a plugin to solve the problem.
I decided to give it a go and save myself from the link purging insanity that I was currently trapped in.
LinkPatrol turned out to be a revelation.
One of the first things that took me by surprise when I activated and hit the Scan button was that the plugin analyzed all my posts and identified that I had over 14500 links, that’s over 6 links per post in just a few seconds.
Yep! In JUST A FEW SECONDS! There was no time lag, performance hits, slowdowns or anything of the sort.
The plugin gave me a very good overall and in-depth domain and author-wise link history of all my 2500+ posts.
This enabled me to focus on my grueling task ahead. I was able to easily overlook posts that linked to good, authoritative domains and focused my attention on the not-so-familiar dubious ones. (As for the 404s, I had Broken Link Checker to handle them.)
This was still a manual task, but now I could quickly right-click a link to see what the post was about, what I was linking to, and the anchor text of that link. With this structured approach I was able to evaluate all my external links, all 14500 of them in just under 2 weeks.
I wasn’t slogging over the data for hours. I was able to organize all my blogging tasks during the day, while spending a couple of hours to clear up the external links. This way, I continued to focus on blogging while still fixing my outbound link issue.
Thanks to LinkPatrol, I was able to complete my fixes within a reasonable time and clear the manual spam action on my blog. Now I’m back to focusing on other aspects of my business.
If you are struggling to make sense of your external links, give LinkPatrol a go. I guarantee it will save you hours of painstaking work.
LinkPatrol – Pros
- Light-weight plugin
- Super fast analysis of your link data
- Clean dashboard showing you a history of your outbound links
- One click options to strip off or no follow links
- Ability to export data as CSV
- No need to backup the database, and should you make a mistake (in no-following or striping a URL), fixing is just a matter of unchecking the error.
LinkPatrol – Misses
- LinkPatrol does not let you see if links are broken, which would be extremely helpful. If you were linking to a good domain that has since gone 404, you could easily overlook it when using the plugin. This forces you to place your reliance on another plugin.
- Future versions are expected to support comment scanning, but for now the plugin EXCLUDES links in comments.
- Pricing could a little steep for small bloggers.
LinkPatrol is Recommended For:
- Anyone who is running a big blog or website, say over 2 years and over or with over 500 posts
- Blogs that support guest authors or multi author blogs
- Blogs that have been affected by Google’s Penguin algo
Remember, investing in the right business assets is essential if you want your blog to grow and beat your competitors. If you choose to go with LinkPatrol, you can choose from one of three plans.
Blogger: Perfect for individuals running a single blog. Cost: $50 for a single site license. You get one year of support and updates for free during this time.
Consultant: Perfect for managing up to 5 sites. Cost: $100. Free support and updates for one year.
Agency: Perfect if you are running a small SEO agency. Cost: $200.Free support and updates for one year.
Are you ready to take control of your website’s external links?
Say goodbye to your external link cleaning woes!
Download LinkPatrol Now (aff link)