I've just run a Screaming Frog spider against a client's website and it has returned 370 links that are Unsafe Cross-Origin Links. However when I have investigated the links they don't match the description of what an Unsafe Cross-Origin Link should be. They don't have target="_blank" on them and they all point to internal pages.

Example result:

Type        From                        To                          Anchor Text Alt Text    Follow  Target  Rel Path Type       Link Path                                                                   Link Position
Hyperlink   https://www.example.com/    https://www.example.com/                Example     TRUE                Path-Relative   //body/div/header/div[@id='headerTopOuter']/div/div[@id='logoDiv']/p/a[1]   Header
Hyperlink   https://www.example.com/    https://www.example.com/                Example     TRUE                Path-Relative   //body/div/header/div[@id='headerTopOuter']/div/div[@id='logoDiv']/p/a[2]   Header

What is going on here? Why are they being reported as Unsafe Cross-Origin Links and how do I fix them?

  • Have you contacted Screaming Frog to ask them?
    – Steve
    Feb 3, 2021 at 12:28
  • Not yet, I thought I'd check with the community first.
    – Burgi
    Feb 3, 2021 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


Go to Security > Unsafe Cross-Origin Links report

  1. Go to one of the URLs or pages listed
  2. Right click mouse on "View Page Source"
  3. Ctrl + f Windowns or Command + f on Macs to search for "_blank"
  4. Find an <a> html element with the attribute target= "_blank"
  5. Make sure that <a> html element has also rel="noopener" attribute

This is what screaming Frog said about it

This shows any pages that link to external websites using the target=”_blank” attribute (to open in a new tab), without using rel=”noopener” (or rel=”noreferrer”) at the same time.

Note At the same time, meaning they both need to be present

  • But these links don't have target="_blank" on them and go to internal pages so they shouldn't be considered Unsafe Cross-Origins.
    – Burgi
    Jun 1 at 11:33
  • 1
    It sounds like screaming frog isn't taking same-origin into account and adding that attribute would get it to stop complaining. Jun 1 at 11:53
  • @StephenOstermiller I tested it, I also used relative paths, and SF only reported outbound links with that issue
    – Raul Reyes
    Jun 4 at 8:00
  • @Burgi One thing that could be happening is that you are misinterpreting the "Unsafe Cross-Origin Links" report, take into account that the URLs listed in this report are ALL internal pages, this is not the list of unsafe URLs, this is the list where the the outbound link target blank issue was found. When you ave a big number like that is probably a sitewide link usually found in the header or footer.
    – Raul Reyes
    Jun 4 at 8:02
  • @Burgi Try looking at the "Outlink" tab and see the other than internal links pointing to external pages only.
    – Raul Reyes
    Jun 4 at 8:04

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