4 Ways To Check Outbound Links And Why It’s Important
Checking the outbound links on your website is a task you should put on your regular website maintenance list, in order to keep it as useful, relevant and well-organized as possible.
Since finding outbound external links is not exactly a walk in the park if you choose to do it manually, you will need the help of an external links tool in order to get the job done efficiently.
Here are 4 different ways to check the outbound links on a website, and why this task is an important one.
Why Is Checking Outbound Links Important?
While finding internal links helps you improve your internal linking structure and identify any orphaned content, ensuring your outbound links are working as they should will help you boost the reputation and user experience of your pages.
Here’s why performing an outbound link check is important:
- It will find any 404 links
- It can help you identify spammy links
- It can help you update outdated links that are no longer relevant
The key steps to include in your outbound links audit include:
- Checking that the destination page is still live
- Checking that the destination page still has relevant, valuable content that enhances your own page and that the information is still valid and up to date
- Checking if the destination page has the rel=”nofollow” attribute – if not, making sure that the website in question deserves a dofollow link
- Checking that the page opens in a new tab using the target=”_blank attribute
- Checking that the page has the proper rel=”noopener noreferrer” attribute when using target=”_blank”
Let’s look at 4 ways you can perform this checkup:
Use Link Whisper to Check Outbound Links
Link Whisper features an outbound link checker that can help you see which of your pages link to which domains. In fact, there are several ways you can check your outbound links.
Your Link Whisper dashboard will give you an overview of the total number of external and internal links your website has.
The Link Stats report will also show you the total number of links that have been found on your domain.
When you click on the Links Found tab, you will see a breakdown of both incoming and outgoing internal links, as well as the number of outbound external links. You can then open the dropdown menu for each page whose outbound links you want to check.
You can easily delete all the links you no longer wish to keep with a couple of clicks, and make sure that all the anchors are relevant and useful.
Another way to use Link Whisper to check outbound links is to click out the Domains Report in your Dashboard (which also happens to already show you an overview of the most linked to domains).
From there, you will be able to see which domains you link to from which pages, and which URLs you target with which anchor text.
You can also easily apply all the relevant attributes to a domain from this dashboard, saving yourself hours of manual labor. You won’t have to open any of your pages manually, the plugin does all the work for you.
Check Outbound Links With an SEO Spider
Another way to check outbound links is to use an SEO spider, such as Screaming Frog.
Add your website to Screaming Frog and run the crawl. Once it’s completed, click on the External tab, and you’ll see a list of all the URLs you are linking to: domains, subfolders, pages, files, images, etc.
You can check out the status code of each URL, as well as how many pages on your website are linking to it (noted in the Inlinks tab).
When you click on a URL, you will be shown more information about it in the URL Details tab. If you want to see which of your pages are linking to it and the anchor text used, you can click on the Inlinks tab in the bottom section of the report.
You can export this list and slice and dice it further as you need.
The downside of Screaming Frog is that the information is not presented in the most simple or straightforward way, so going through a large amount of data can be a bit of a chore. It is however very accurate, so you can rely on the information being valid at the time of the scan.
Use an SEO Tool to Find Outbound Links
You can also use an SEO tool that has an outbound link checker. We’ll be looking at the process in Ahrefs.
Add your domain to Site Explorer. To see all the domains your website is linking to, click on the Linked domains tab under the Outgoing links section.
You will be shown a list of domains and a bunch of informative metrics. By clicking on the Link from target dropdown menu, you can see all of your pages that are linking to the domain you are analyzing, and its specific URLs.
You can also check out the Outgoing links tab. This will show you a list of your pages and the external links each of them has.
The drawback of using this kind of tool is that you aren’t able to make any edits to your pages while looking at the report. You will be given a lot of data, but you still need to sift through it and go back and forth between the report and the backend of your website.
Check Outbound Links Manually
The slowest and most painstaking way to perform an outbound link check is to do it manually. In other words, to open every page on your website and look at all the external links yourself.
If your website is small and has only a dozen or so pages, this can be an effective option. If you have over 30 pages, the better choice is to use one of the methods mentioned above, as it will be much faster.
The Best Way to Check Outbound Links
As you may have already concluded, the fastest and best way to check outbound links is to use Link Whisper.
It will show you all the information you need to make a decision about an external link (except of course the content of the page itself, which you still need to check manually). If you are working with hundreds of pages, our plugin can save your hours of boring, repetitive work.