Introducing LinkPatrol: A WordPress Plugin by Search Engine Journal

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LinkPatrol a WordPress plugin for finding links on websites

Search Engine Journal has been on WordPress for just over 10 years– we moved from Blogspot to our own hosted WordPress installation on April 22, 2004.

Since then we’ve become only further committed to what has since become the most popular CMS out there, and for good reason: WordPress is flexible, scalable and has a wonderful community of developers, users and evangelists.outgoing links

Today, a decade later,  we’ve released our own WordPress plugin called LinkPatrol. LinkPatrol helps site owners find, review and clean up outgoing links in posts ​and ​pages.

Why did we create LinkPatrol?

SEJ is a large, complex blog that, over the years, has accumulated many guest authors and even more posts. However we have rarely resorted to customizing WordPress. Whenever we have a need for a utility or feature, there’s always been a great selection of plugins out there that meet our requirements. Well, almost always…

In reviewing some older posts, we realized we had a problem: outbound links. Specifically, links with spammy anchor text or links to spammy domains.

Despite our best intentions, over the past 11 years some overly promotional links had slipped past editorial review. Other links were legit at the time they were included, but with many Panda and Penguin generations since passed, the domains had been penalized or were now totally different sites.

With the Google gods cracking down on links both incoming and outgoing, we knew we needed to assess our outgoing link profile, and take action accordingly.

With so many links and posts, manual review was going to be extremely tedious and possibly take longer than a tar pitch drop experiment. We turned to the WordPress plugin market to find a solution. A plugin that would ideally:

  • analyze our linking out profile
  • enable us to easily sort and search by keyword, domain and author
  • enable us to easily no-follow or strip links, all from a WordPress dashboard.

There was nothing.

We had a choice:

  1. Conduct an exhaustive (and expensive) manual audit: eyeball every single post, examining all links and anchor text. Thereafter, conduct periodic audits on new posts.
  2. Build our own WordPress plugin.

We decided to take the plunge and go for door #2. Our CTO Slobodan Manic has a lot of experience creating WordPress themes and plugins, so he was excited for the challenge.

We created a plugin that enabled us to run reports that showed…

  • all the domains we link out to
  • all the anchor text used
  • all the keywords and domains linked to, by author
  • search results for any of the above

Lastly, the plugin empowered us to take action: we could no-follow or remove links on an individual or domain basis.

LinkPatrol Screenshot

It was enlightening (and frankly somewhat entertaining) to go through the reports. We found:

  • Links with promotional anchor text. Coupons anyone?
  • Links to spammy domains… URLs withheld to protect the not-so-innocent

It was satisfying to fix dozens of problem links with a couple of clicks.

After using the plugin for a while, we realized others could find it useful.

What is LinkPatrol good for?

Single author blogs. You’ve written every post on your site, but who can remember every link, keyword and domain you’ve included in all your posts?

Blogs with multiple guest authors. If you’ve kept up with the times, your guest author linking policy has changed at an increasing rate. What was OK 2 years ago or even 2 months ago may need a re-visit. And examining outgoing link profiles on a per-guest author basis can be well, interesting.

Sites with new owners or new management. Just bought a website and need to clean up what’s under the hood? Or perhaps you’ve just taken on an editorial role for your company blog, and need to clean house. Or, your client has asked that you manage their blog for them. Domainers, webmasters, marketing agencies: LinkPatrol can help.

What LinkPatrol doesn’t do

LinkPatrol doesn’t provide a qualitative assessment on links. That is, it doesn’t pass judgment on domains or anchor text as being “good” or “bad”. We leave that decision for the user to make based on their own SEO & linking strategy and their respective vertical.

For more info on what are good links or bad links, Moz has a terrific guide. Or, here’s Google’s own webmaster guidelines on links.

Also, LinkPatrol does not identify links that redirect or are broken links. For identification of broken outbound links, we suggest Xenu Link Sleuth or paid auditing tools such as Raven Tools or DeepCrawl.

LinkPatrol available for $25 until July 22

LinkPatrol launches today for an introductory price of $25 for a single website license. Price goes up to $50 on July 22.

The team and I would love your feedback, thoughts, questions in the comments below.



Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • Kelsey Jones

    Congrats team! Loved being part of the testing process and I know so many webmasters will find this as useful as I have.

  • Karan Rawat

    Another great plugin! in a good price($25)

  • Debbie Miller

    I installed and played around with the plugin and it’s great! I know my site is in desperate need of a link audit and cleanup and this will help make the process so much easier.

  • Chuck Reynolds

    NIce guys! looks great.

  • Rich White

    Great news! Is there OR will there be “multiple site license” options for those agencies or SEO companies who want to purchase single licenses for multiple client sites they are working on?

    • Loren Baker

      Rich, that’s a great question. This is our soft launch of LinkPatrol, and we expect to add additional features in the future. A PRO or Agency version may be in that bunch, but it’s really early right now.

  • John Lincoln Ignite SEO

    Loren this is a really cool idea. Bravo for making this. I will give it a shot for sure. Surprised you dont have more tools and plugins for SEJ. But i guess that is what Raven is for.

    • Kelsey Jones

      Just give us a few more months, John! 😉

  • Rob Broley

    Could be a great product to use alongside Yoast.

  • Samuel Rix

    Very useful tool for SEO’s! Good job.

  • Roma

    Thanks for sharing its really helpful for me & affordable too ($25)

  • Lisa League

    Looks interesting.

    Does this rely on any external API’s, or how does this work?

    For example I know that some of the broken link plugins can be quite intensive on the site’s database, and are not allowed on all managed hosting environments.

    • Slobodan Manic

      Hi Lisa,

      There’s no external API involved, the plugin does all the work.

      LinkPatrol is nowhere near as DB intensive as plugins you refer to, we’ve been using it here at SEJ for a while now and saw no performance issues at all.

  • Christopher Herinckx

    This looks like it could be a big time saver for people in the field of SEO and online marketing. I know I could use something like this to quickly clean up my back links so I could spend more time on building good links. Question for you, if I purchase this will it be active based on wordpress account, computer or domain? What I am asking is do I have to purchase this for each website I work on or is there a way to purchase a larger package like a consultant package?

  • Slobodan Manic

    Hi Christopher,

    Currently only one site license is available and it’s good for one domain. We will add more license plans next week.

  • Priya

    Does this have a feature to tell which inbound links are less valued ?