Links inspection at chain factory, 1943 (detail cut from public domain photo) Links Inspector: backlink profile audits and more
User interface renewed
About 60 usability and UX improvements
Performances improvements and stability
A complete video course on Visual SEO Studio
Visual SEO Studio "Links Inspector" presented at MSC17
Conclusions, and what’s next

 

With this new release Visual SEO Studio dives head first in off-page SEO analysis. It does its usual disruptive way, bringing to the Professional Edition users even more value with a complete links inspector to assess links, be they external, internal, inbound or outbound.

Links Inspector summary page
Links Inspector summary page (click to enlarge)

The feature sees the light after an extensive testing phase. Our beta testers were enthusiastic for how ease it made them diagnosticate link issues.

Much more than a backlink checker, Links Inspector - coupled with the now extended Crawl URL List tool - is a complete backlink profile auditor to analyze the real value of your backlinks, how they are distributed and shaped.

Breakdown of inbound links by link type
Breakdown of inbound links by link type (click to enlarge)

Links Inspector features a powerful link type classifier, and can save you tonnes of time as it performs for you all the background checks to understand whether the links pass PageRank and whether it is not wasted by the receiving end.

Links Inspector links list
Links Inspector links list, several columns are hidden (click to enlarge)

It also is a powerful inspector for all links in your site, to find all links pointing to a page, a site section, or all your outbound links.

Dealing with "links" instead of "pages" like in most other parts of the program presented an interesting challenge: scalability. The number of links in even a medium-sized e-commerce can be of several millions, and most treeviews - largely used to show grouped items - didn't handle them well and did freeze the UI while loading. We re-engineered them to heavily leverage asynchronous programming, and while there a limit to everything, they now handle large datasets much more smoothly, an experience will soon bring also in the other treeviews.

To know more about the new feature, see the page "Links Inspector".

User interface renewed

We listened to our users, and realized some of them had difficulties locating at first sight the most important controls. We decided to address those issues.
Now most important action buttons are larger, with more readable text, and have a light green background to make them stand out prominently.

Crawl dialog new style
An example of the new styled buttons

We redesigned several forms laying controls in a more natural way, and sometimes we did hide (with collapsible/expandable panels) those having default values which are good enough most of the times.
Many unnecessary borders in the user interface have been removed to make it lighter.

We also made extensive usage of toolbars to display labels, text counters and buttons horizontally in most views and panels. They save vertical space and better adapt to the available space for each language.

Every single window we changed were subject to user testing and were judged simpler in the "glance test" compared to the previous version.

There is nothing drastic in the UI changes, yet it is now considered cleaner and more intuitive.
We consider this just a first step.

About 60 usability and UX improvements

Not only the User Interface is lighter and clearer, it also is more usable: many main action buttons are now pre-selected when it makes sense to do so, and can catch the Enter key pressure. Text box fields show an example background text.

Changes in the UI layout were not only aesthetic, but also functional. Where the usage was judged not intuitive by users' feedback, we made changes to improve it.

A couple of features have been merciless renamed: the formerly "Index View" (a name inspired by a similar feature in BWT) is now named "Folder View" to make it clearer what it represents; ditto for "Administered Sites", now called "Verified Sites", a term SEO people are more familiar with.

Many bottom and right side panes now explicit in a field the full URL of the resource they refer to (again, a direct consequence of user feedback).

There are so many improvements both in usability and user experience that we cannot cite them all here. For the full list, please read the Release Notes.

Not all the planned changes made it for the current release, expect many more to come soon.

Performances improvements and stability

While this release cycle is not explicitly dedicated to performance improvements, we pinpointed a couple of performance bottlenecks that impacted crawl speed after the first 50-70.000 URLs, so users of the Professional Edition will appreciate the gains.

Stability too has improved. We fixed some crashing conditions, and several bugs as well.

A complete video course on Visual SEO Studio

We are happy to report the video course of Visual SEO Studio (in Italian), a complete course of twenty video lessons offered by Hosting Academy.
We consulted them during the course development, and we have been impressed by how thorough and well done it was. The introductory lesson is free, the others are highly worth their price (we do not earn on the course, it is an independent initiative by Host Academy, and we feel they bring much more value than what they ask for).
We can certainly recommend and endorse it.

Visual SEO Studio "Links Inspector" presented at MSC17

Links Inspector is going to debut at Search Marketing Connect 2017 (Rimini, Italy, 1-2 December 2017) in the SEO Tools room, where our Fred will show and explain it to the public.
Many thanks to the Search On team for the space they are giving us and their usual amazing organization!

Conclusions, and what’s next

There are many nice things we are working on. Links Inspector will be further expanded with what didn't make it for its debut, most notably API integration and language recognition. We'll then concentrate on bringing on other parts of the program further API integrations, better usability and better performances.
On a parallel development branch, the Mac version is evolving quickly. We plan to deliver the first public beta within the next few months.

Now, I know you are hitching to check your links, so go ahead and launch Link Inspector!


Comments are open on linked Facebook and Google+ pages.