Bulk Link Analysis with the aHrefs API using Ruby

by Christopher Yee on December 20, 2012

One of my top blog posts this year is the bulk URL checker and has become my staple tool for HTTP checks en masse when I don’t want to fire up third party software.  This accomplishment got me hooked (on coding) and to keep my momentum going I decided to write a Ruby script which interfaced with the aHrefs API and emulate their batch analysis tool.

If you’re only interested in the bulk link analysis script then you can find it here.

It may look simple but it took me a couple hours to complete and needs some cleaning up on my part.  This file is a good start for anyone who needs a quick analysis about a list (big or small) of URLs and their links.  Regardless, I’ll continue to build upon it so it resembles that of the aHrefs tool.

What Does It Do?

The script is built with the Ruby programming language and analyzes a list of URLs in bulk by accessing the aHrefs API then responds with the appropriate data (exact match).

The current version returns the target URL and the following link metrics to the page: total backlinks, linking root domains, unique IP addresses, .COM links, .EDU links and .GOV links.  It will also indicate the remaining API calls in your account upon completion.

This is what it looks like in action…

ahrefs_action

Where Can I Get My Copy?

1) The command line is required so Macs can use their Terminal whereas Windows users will need the RubyInstaller.  Installation and navigation is beyond the scope of this post but you can find a fairly basic tutorial by Distilled.

2) Head over to my Github repository and grab the Ruby script.

3) If you are unsure of how to do the previous step then click here and save the contents on your computer as a .rb extension.

4) Insert your aHrefs API key in line #12.

5) Open your favorite text editor (not MS Word), add your target websites (one URL per line) and save the document as links.csv

6) Type ruby file_name.rb (or whatever you named the file) and hit enter.

7) Analyze results.

8) Win.

Final Thoughts

The script now spits out the data file as ahrefs_results.csv so you don’t need to do anything.  If you want to save the results to a CSV file (which I’m sure you do) then append “ > output_file.csv ” at the end of the command before you hit enter. This is the same function from my previous post about combining multiple Adwords files.

If your list of links isn’t in .csv format, you can change line #15 accordingly to accept another file such as .txt.

Lastly, big thanks to Eric Wu who offered a ton of optimization suggestions but I have yet to implement them all.  If you like this sort of technical stuff then definitely follow him for more advanced command line tutorials.

I’m totally addicted and have another one in the pipeline which pings the SEOmoz Linkscape API – stay tuned!

Update Oct. 2013: The examples have been changed based on this code edit.