This is a beta version, at this stage, please consider submitting a bug instead of rating it.
How does it work?
When a publisher writes an article and links back to you, the first visit coming from that link is automatically detected by the Incoming Links plugin as having a new referrer. The referrer is validated against a set of rules and filters, some of them being user defined. After a quick check, if the referrer qualifies for a possible valid backlink, is added to a waiting list for further in-depth analysis. The links from the waiting list are automatically crawled and all valid backlinks are added to a report in your Incoming Links Dashboard, along their anchor texts, rel tags and detection date.
Incoming Links Dashboard
This is the main dashboard and it basically contains two lists, called Valid Backlinks and Referrers Pending for Verifications.
The Referrers Pending for Verifications report contains a list of links that were detected but not verified yet. Links from this list are automatically verified and removed at specific time intervals.
The Valid Backlinks report contains the list of your valid backlinks along their domain, type (follow/nofollow), detection date, anchor text, referrer URL and the URL it refers to (your actual page).
A set of useful action is available for each link, which will allow you to remove, highlight or block a specific backlink. When you use the Remove option, the backlink is deleted from your report without being blocked for further detection. If you block an entire domain, all further incoming links from that domain will be ignored.
Two options are available for pagination purposes; you can set the number of items per page from Incoming Links -> Settings -> Pagination Settings -> Valid Backlinks and Referrers List.
Useful Tip: Removing a backlink from Valid Backlinks list will force the plugin to recheck its anchor text and follow/nofollow attribute, when a new visit comes back from that link.
Incoming Links Widgets
Three widgets are provided, two for your administration dashboard and one for website’s frontend.
The widgets from administration dashboard will display your latest incoming links and daily stats about your backlinks (stats for last 30 days). You can control the number of latest backlinks displayed in the Recent Backlinks widget from Incoming Links -> Settings -> Pagination Settings -> Recent Backlinks.
To enable the frontend widget, which displays a list of latest domains linking back to you, go to Appearance -> Widgets and drag the Recent Backlinks widget in to your sidebar or any other targeted area. You can control the number of domains displayed in this widget by changing the value for Count. A rel=”nofollow” tag is automatically added for all links displayed in this widget.
Reports by mail
If you use this feature you will receive daily or weekly alerts about newest domains linking back to you.
You can enable mail alerts from Incoming Links -> Settings -> Email Settings. Choose the desired mail frequency and add the email addresses which will receive the alerts. Use a comma with no additional spaces to separate multiple email addresses in Mailing List option.
Because this feature uses WordPress Cron for scheduling, if you don’t have enough traffic on your website you may experience some delays in mail delivery, but the mails eventually will arrive.
Useful Tip: The plugin uses WordPress time zone to schedule emails (you can check your time zone and current time in Settings -> General -> Timezone).
Cron Job Settings
By default, two main components are using WordPress Cron for task scheduling. WordPress Cron is used for sending automatic mail alerts and to check your incoming links for validity and in-depth analysis.
Because WordPress cron tasks are triggered by a new visit on your website, for low traffic websites some delays are expected while checking/validating the incoming links. Evan if this is rather a “pseudo-cron” than a real cron scheduler, this is something that most of you will use, because low traffic websites won’t have so many incoming links. Delays may appear but all your links eventually will be checked.
If the WordPress Cron doesn’t work or it’s disabled you can still use your own cron. To enable your own cron go to Incoming Links -> Settings -> Advanced Settings and set Cron Type to Use own cron. The provided link will trigger a cron job at each run. You can use it in linux crontab or you can setup a cron job in your website’s Control Panel (many hosting providers offer a Cron Job feature).
Crontab example (every minute run):
* * * * * wget-qO /dev/null http://yourdomain.com?action=wpmb_check_referrers&secret_key=[your secret key]
Blocked IPs, Blocked Domains, Blocked Referrers
For a better management of your backlinks, three blocking methods are provided. You can exclude incoming links for further checking based on referrer link, domain name and/or IP address.
To access the Blocked IPs, Blocked Domains or Blocked Referrers list go to Incoming Links -> Settings. Each list has its own dedicated tab.
Blocked IPs list can be populated manually. After entering a new IP all referrers coming from that IP will be automatically ignored.
Use the Blocked Domains list when you need to block/ignore incoming links from a specific domain and the Blocked Referrers list when you want to exclude a specific referrer.
Useful Tip: Blocked Domains and Blocked Referrers lists are also automatically populated when an invalid referrer is found or a certain limit of invalid referrers is reached. You can find more details about these features in Filters and other blocking options section.
Filters and other blocking options
We’ve tried our best to make this plugin to work out of the box, and it should work for most of websites. Because each website may have some particularities we’ve decided to give you full control over its options and the way it works, through Advanced Settings section.
Links/Domain will help you set a limit in the number of links per each domain that will be verified by the plugin. For example, if you set a value of 5, after 5 incoming links detected, all further incoming links from those domains will be ignored.
Exclude by role will automatically exclude incoming links checking for selected roles. If needed, you can select multiple roles at once.
Exclude Filters is a regex filter that will help ignoring incoming links from search engines and other similar platforms. The exclude filters must be separated by comma and must be compatible with PHP preg_match() function. This list is pre-populated with a set of default filters; you can further edit it or replace filters to fit your specific needs.
Block domains, after can be helpful when multiple invalid referrers are coming from same domain. Each invalid referrer found is automatically added to Blocked Referrers list. When the limit is reached, that domain will be automatically ignored and added to Blocked Domains list.
About Cron Type we’ve talked in Cron Job Settings section and will allow you to switch between WordPress Cron and your own Cron Job system.
Referrers per Cron will allow you to define the number of referrers that should be checked at each cron job run. Based on this setting N referrers from Referrers Pending for Verification list will be checked at each con job run.
Cron Recurrence is only available when you are using WordPress Cron. Using this option, you can set how often the links from Referrers Pending for Verification list will be checked.