When you want a website to rank high in search engine results, you rely on SEO methods. Getting more backlinks is an important element of that strategy. For that purpose, you write guest blogs that feature your links, and you get traffic from bloggers who liked your posts as an authority source. Google sees you as an authority when you get many backlinks.
But backlinks can be bad, too. If you’re getting them from irrelevant or spammy pages, they drop your site’s authority in Google’s eyes.
That’s why it’s important for you to perform a regular backlink audit. We’ll teach you how to do that.
How to Perform Backlink Profile Audit
First, Get the Links
The first thing you need is a complete list of links that lead to your site. Don’t worry; this part is easy. You’ll just use a backlink checker tool that gives you a detailed report within minutes. Sitechecker is free, and it’s pretty great.
You’ll just enter your site’s URL and you’ll get the list. Sitechecker identifies both dofollow and nofollow links.
Google Search Console also gives you a link report to download. This one, however, is less comprehensive. If you’re used to Google Webmaster Tools, you won’t have any trouble with it. But if you’re a beginner in this type of audit, you’ll do better with another tool.
1. Evaluate the Backlinks
Once you have your list of backlinks, you can start evaluating them all. The first idea that comes to mind is to visit each of the links and check if it’s valuable. If you can do that, then you’re probably at the beginning of your SEO campaign and not many sites linked to yours. But if this isn’t a new project and you have a short list of links that you could check manually, then you should rethink your SEO campaign.
Hopefully, you got a lengthy list of backlinks. That means you did your job well. But it also means you can’t evaluate each link separately, so you need a tool that gives you a list of backlinks that don’t work. If you used Sitechecker or a similar tool, you’re good.
If any of the links are dead or come from sites that lack authority, you’ll need to clean them up. Follow Google’s recommendations to disavow backlinks!
2. Dofollow Vs. Nofollow Links
Webmasters don’t line nofollow links, since they don’t have the same SEO value as dofollow links. However, it’s only natural for you to see some nofollow links in the report. If you don’t see any, you just got an indicator that you didn’t acquire the links in a natural manner. Google got the hint, too.
A mix of both types of links is what you’re after (obviously; with dofollow links being the dominant type).
3. Check the Anchors
Are there too many identical anchors among the backlinks? That’s not a good sign; it indicates a spamming SEO strategy that Google doesn’t appreciate. Irrelevant anchor text is also a problem.
If there are issues with the anchors, there’s not much you can do about it. Disavowing them all would be going too far. But you should pay attention to this aspect of your guest blogging strategy in future. Use different anchors and don’t include controversial keywords in them.
4. Identify the Total Links vs. Linking Domains Ratio
If you got many links but they came from few domains, your backlinking strategy isn’t perfect. Link count is a less important metric than link domain. You want this ratio to be as even as possible. If you got too many links from a single source, you should consider removing some of them.
5. Compare Your Site with the Competition
Now you know how many backlinks your site has. But to get a clear understanding of where you stand with your strategy, you need to analyze backlinks of competitors, too.
That’s an easy thing to do. Just use the same backlink checker you used to analyze your own site. Enter the competitor’s URL, and you’ll get a report similar to the one you got for your website.
Compare the results. Did your competitor get more links than you did? Where do they come from? Maybe you can include those websites in your SEO strategy, too.
6. Where Are Your Links From
Let’s say you maintain a website that sells watches, but specifically targets French buyers. Getting links from other countries is good, but you want most backlinks to be location-relevant.
But maybe the site is focused on an international audience. In that case, the diversity of locations is a good indicator. If you see the majority of links coming from a single location, you should change something in your marketing strategy to target a broader audience.
7. Check the Progress
The report shows when you got the backlinks. Do you see a spike in the progress? It shows that you did something really well in that period of time. Maybe you published an infographic, video, or an elaborate how-to article that got you attention. Maybe you changed something in your guest blogging strategy and it worked.
Analyze the spikes, so you’ll realize what you did well.
8. Manually Check the Suspicious Links
The report will show the risky linking domains and nofollow links. Before you start thinking about a removal strategy, you should manually check these links to filter the ones that really hurt the site’s reputation. Just check the pages to see if they are trustworthy.
9. Do Something about It
Now that you have the bad backlinks, it’s time to take them down. The first step is to contact the webmaster and ask for removal. If your site got too many bad backlinks as a result of a competitor’s black-hat SEO strategy, you can use an email template to easily contact all webmasters.
If this strategy doesn’t yield results, you can take the next step: create a disavow file and upload it in the Google Disavow Links tool.
Yes; it turns out that the backlink profile audit is a lot of work. But maintaining a successful website is a lot of work, and you understood that before you even started. With the right strategy to mind, it won’t be hard for you to conduct the audit and take all necessary steps to improve your backlink strategy.