Links From

Tutorial Directory

Evaluating links on a Webpage


How reliable are the pages that link from a Web site to other Internet resources?

Few Web sites are isolated. They include links to and from other Web sites and/or resources. Both types of links are clues to the credibility of the author and reliability of the information provided. For information on evaluating incoming links to a page, refer to Links To. The present MicroModule focuses on Links from the Webpage being investigated.

Finding outbound links

Links are fairly easy to spot if the style (css) format is the normal blue underlined text, like the image above. But it is easy to miss links if a different type of style is used (like it is on this page).

Web developer tools make it easier to locate all the links. For example, there are 11 outbound links on the page you are reading now. Using Firefox, right click on the page. Select Web Developer, then Information, then view Link Information. Here is the list:


Investigative Questions

  • Where do these links lead?
  • Who authored the information on the other end?
  • Do the links featured on the Website point to credible sources?
  • Do these links support or contradict facts or opinions on the author's page?
  • Do these pages add any new information on the topic?
  • Are the pages on another site or the same site? Domain?
  • What does this linked information reveal about the author's purpose?
  • Are the links advertisements? What does this tell you about the author's purpose?

Follow the links on an author's page to answer these questions. From the list above, it is clear that the site depends only on itself for linked information. No other publisher is referenced. The main purpose of the links is to make navigation possible to related or supporting files. The page could be criticised for not relying on other authorities.

Why investigate to whom or what an author links on a Web page?

Links to other pages are like footnotes in a hard copy document; they provide a context for evaluation. They reveal how an author supports his or her argument and the information that is valued.

How do I find out to whom an author links?

Click the link, or just hover over the hyperlink to see where it points--most browsers provide a highlight of the link destination. If a link no longer works, that could be an indication of (unintentional) neglect or dated content: the author hasn't kept the page current. There are techniques to locate "not found" Webpages, including looking at the search engine cache, truncating the URL of the site and searching for the page on For more information on finding lost pages, see Pesky Cases.

For links that do work, investigate using the questions above.

Authored by Lora K. Kaisler 2003 | Refreshed by Carl Heine, 2017