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How to use the Link Explorer

The Link Explorer allows you to analyse links and anchor text within the user interface of Sitebulb's website audit software, which offers an extremely powerful and flexible mechanism for performing link analysis.

Note: The Link Explorer will only show if you have selected 'Crawl Website' in your Crawl Sources when setting up the Audit. 

It looks like this:

Link Explorer

Accessing the Link Explorer

You can jump straight into the Link Explorer itself, through the top navigation:

Link Explorer

Or alternatively, the Links report itself contains a number of 'data insights' which you can click through to view a pre-filtered list in the Link Explorer, for example:

Link Locations

This table splits out internal links based on where the links are located on page. Click on the black underlined numbers to jump into the Link Explorer.

Understanding Unique Links

If we find over 2.5 million links on the website, Sitebulb will stop showing 'All links' as options you can click on, and instead default to showing only unique links.

Unique Links Report

With unique links, we stop considering every link as a pairwise relation, and instead group like links together.

Unique links all link to the same page, from the same location in the HTML, using the same anchor text. It is 1 unique link, that occurs x number of times.

Clicking through to any of those Unique Links values will drop you on the list of unique links in the Link Explorer;

Link Explorer

As you can see, scrolling across shows you the important data points you need to make decisions about these links:

  • Target URL
  • Anchor Text
  • Example Linking URL
  • Number of Linking URLs

If you want/need to explore all links pointing at a particular page, you can use the 'All Links to Target' button

Using the 'Unique' links, in combination with the link location, can make for a powerful combination.

For example, consider the internal link location across the Sitebulb website:

Internal Links in footer

This shows that there are over a thousand internal links that live in our footer, but only four unique ones, since we use a common template for the footer.

We can click on the '4' to see open these footer links to view in the Link Explorer. Since we are only looking at unique links in this case, the list will only show one example link in the 'Example Linking URL' column:

Internal footer links in link explorer

Filters & Controls

Along the top of the Link Explorer, there are a number of pre-filtered dropdown lists, a Target URL search and an Advanced Filter.

Filters and controls

If you hover over the dropdowns you can see all the pre-built filters along with the number of links for each one, and clicking through will bring you to the list of links in the explorer.

Link Explorer Dropdowns

This allows you to jump into Internal or External link data, or into Internal or External Anchor text data.

The target URL search enables you to quickly filter the list you are in, based on a full or partial match of the target URL. When doing internal link optimization, it is the target URL that is important, so being able to filter on this can surface the most relevant data very quickly.

Target URL

Advanced Filtering

By clicking the Adv. Filter button you will open up a panel that allows you to filter on any column with multiple different rules.

Multiple Queries

You can click the green buttons to Add Rule or Add Group to build nested filters, as below. This allows you to mix and match the AND/OR statements for much more fine-tuned filtering.

Nested Queries

Anchor Text Explorer

By selecting one of the dropdowns related to anchor text, you turn the Link Explorer into an Anchor Text Explorer instead.

Anchor Text Explorer

It brings you to a view which is very similar to default links view, but focused around anchor text.

Anchor text first column

The 'Links' column joins up with the link data, so if you wish to explore the links for a specific anchor text variation, you can click the underlined value and this will show you a list of links that use this anchor text:

Anchor text explorer example