The new 2.4 version of Visual SEO Studio is out. We code named it "Beagle Unchained".
“Link Inspector” is even more powerful: redirect chains and redirect loops in details
There are so many improvements in the Links Inspector tool, it's hard to decide where to start from.
The first thing you might notice is the new match type "All links" added to the toolbox.
The new "All links" match option
It's the fastest to compute as it doesn't need to match a URL pattern when extracting links (thus the "Domain/URL to match" field is disabled and ignored for this option).
This was the missing option, originally kept apart because on medium-big sized websites could easily fetch and hold in memory the data of millions of links.
Computers become more powerful and ship with more memory now, and we felt average hardware used for Visual SEO Studio could handle the task, as already many users used the "Domain" option for the crawled website, which already by itself can extract huge quantities of link.
The most prominent thing however are the addition to make it easier to audit redirect chains.
We started adding a "Redirect chains" filter in the main Link List table.
The "Redirect chains" filter option
Previously redirects were included in the "Broken links" filter, stretching a bit the definition of broken link; now "Broken links" are only links leading to a 404 or 410 HTTP status code.
Spotting redirect chains with Visual SEO Studio was already simple (with the "Destination status" column), but we wanted more.
When auditing things like auditing affiliate marketing links (as an example, because they are a common case of redirect chains), you want to see at first glance:
- where the redirect chain ends to
- the details of each step in the redirect chain
- if the chain doesn't end on a correct landing page, why it doesn't
The information was already there, it just needed to be highlighted better. So we added three new column on the main link table:
The three new columns are:
Final landing page
The absolute URL of the final landing page reached by clicking on the link.
In normal cases, when the response code of the URL pointed by the link is "200 OK", it is the same as the "Destination URL".
In case of redirect (HTTP 3xx family response code), it is the URL of the final landing page reached at the end of the redirect chain.
The sequence of HTTP status codes and URLs of the HTTP requests performed following a redirect chain starting from the URL pointed by the link.
The cell content is multi-line, each line showing the URL and the status code of a chain step.
These information were already provided by the "Destination status" column (which already permitted to locate redirect chains) in a tooltip, but we wanted to give both a way to visualize them for all rows, and to be exportable to a spreadsheet.
Indicates whether a redirect chain would potentially be infinite due to a circular reference.
An example of redirect loop detected with Visual SEO Studio
The changes do not end here, there are many improvements over the whole Links Inspector:
For example, the Destination status column (along with the new Redirect chain field) gives better diagnostics in case redirect chains are interrupted for some reason. The two columns also show details in case the redirect chain was ended because of non-explored pages due to reasons like timeouts, protocol violations, robots.txt blocking, etc.
Column sorting has been sped up in several cases.
Export to Excel has better formatting (for all grids, not only for Links Inspector, which drove the changes).
Auditing affiliate marketing links
As a side note:
In order to audit affiliate marketing links of a website, we recommend to perform a site crawl enabling the visit of external links, and - this is very important -
setting all the options to ignore
Disallow robots.txt directives, and ignore all
Set the most permissive settings for robots.txt unexpected status codes. You might also prefer using common browser user-agent name.
Some of these settings are available only for verified websites, so please ensure to have verified your website.
More crawling details
Crawling as improved its diagnostics; now several cases where an external page can't be explored are reported as "non-explored" items, with a clear explanation of the reason preventing the page to be explored.
Conclusions, and what’s next
The release also introduces several Usability and UX improvements, and some bug fixes. For a full list of the changes, read the 2.4 Release Notes.
Several new features are on the processing line, we are sure you will appreciate them.
These recent times have been hard for many people, and it affected us too personally. Thank you for all the support, and for loving (and buying) our product, it really made the difference!
And now, time to audit your (or your clients’) redirect chains.
Launch Visual SEO Studio 2.4, Beagle Unchained!