Links Position Analysis

Link position analysis for handling corrupted links and internal ranking.

Links Position Audit

The proper distribution of links and their positioning are important factors in the ranking of the website and in ensuring a proper browsing experience for the Search Engine Spider.

Knowing the location will make it easier to identify any “corrupted links” redirects etc. while at the same time assessing whether links to the most important pages have the right relevance (a link in the top menu of the website has a higher value than one hidden in the text based on the assumption that Google analyzes from top to bottom).

Through this insight you can analyze the position of links found during a crawl using Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

“Link Position” refers to the different positions of links on a page; for example, in the navigation menu, sidebar, main content, or footer.

The Seo Spider classifies links using semantic HTML5 elements such as <header>, <nav>, <footer> (or well-defined non-semantic elements, such as div. id=”nav”) to determine what different areas they are placed in.

The tool does not render the web page to analyze where a link appears but uses a classification that is based on common HTML tags. In case some sites do not use semantic HTML5 elements or easily identifiable HTML, you will be able to configure ad hoc classification through the specific functionality of the Seo Spider.

Why is it important to know the location of links?

  • 1. Identify and correct critical linkages

Knowing where a link is located can be super helpful in finding and fixing problematic links, such as broken links, jump-links, redirects, etc.

This condition also allows you to establish a priority scale on which links to optimize; for example, a “sitewide link” in the main navigation might be considered somewhat more important than a link within the content on a secondary page.

  • 2. Improving Internal Links (Internal Links)

The user’s browsing experience depends not only on the content but also on its placement on the page; proper placement of links and especially CTAs will increase conversions. In addition to the UX aspect a proper distribution of links allows for the best possible direction of Search Engine spider scans.

For Search Engines, Google’s “Reasonable Surfer Model” considers the amount of PageRank a link might convey based on the likelihood that someone might click on that specific link. So it goes without saying the importance of serving key links in strategic positions also considering the level of PageRank that is passed.

How to analyze Link Position

First enter the subdomain to be analyzed and perform the crawl; when the process is complete, you will be able to select one or more URLs to delve into “Link position” in Html documents.

Using the window below you can view the “Inlinks” tab and filter the data populated with “Hyperlinks” type.

In the second “From” column you find the previously selected pages, while in the third “To” column you find all the pages that are linked through a hyperlink.

In this tab you can consult analytically the details of each link such as anchor text, the presence or absence of alt text (if an image is hyperlinked), whether the link has the “Follow” attribute, and the target.

As you then scroll the window to the right you will come to the “Link Position” column, with respective details on where each link is located.

A very useful check could be to check Url response codes and filter out 4xx errors. By clicking on the urls that have “Client Errors” you can view the source page, as well as the anchor text and the location of the links to fix them.

Screaming Frog ranks link placement following this pattern:

  • Navigation: includes links contained within the main nav element, usually corresponding to the main menu.
  • Header: identifies the links contained within the header that are commonly found at the top of the page.
  • Aside: consist of the links used for “call out boxes” and sidebars.
  • Footer: includes links contained within the footer at the bottom of the page.
  • Content: links contained within the main content of the page.

This classification uses the ‘link path’ (such as XPath) to identify known semantic substrings. For developers, the “Link Path” column can provide even more specific context about where exactly each link is located within the HTML.

In case the website to be analyzed has a very large number of links, it is good practice to filter the analysis results by isolating each individual position by clicking on the green icon in the “search” bar.

Once this process is completed you have the option of exporting the data through the “Export” button directly on the board, right-clicking on the Urls and selecting “Export>>Inlinks” or downloading the All InLinks report.

Bulk Export > Links > All Inlinks

Please note: This process can also be replicated for an analysis of Outlinks.

Ranking the location of links

More than 90 percent of link ranking analyses are covered by Screaming Frog’s standard ranking but in case this does not return reliable data you have the option of configuring your own ranking.

Config > Custom > Link Positions

To best understand its application consider the Screaming Frog website in which mobile menu links are outside the “nav” element and are classified as ‘content’ links. This condition is a mistake, as they only represent further navigation of the site on mobile.

By taking the class name ‘mobile-menu__dropdown’ present in the image link path you could re-define the correct location.

Once you have completed the customizations and started a new website scan you will get the correct interpretation of the locations in the Inlinks tab.

This process can be followed for any type of link, so you can essentially “clusterize” links based on their XPath sub-strings.

Link Position Tutorial

Seo Spider Tab