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How To Do A Quick Backlink Audit?

Last Updated Oct 5, 2023

Alekh Shah
Written By Alekh Shah

Are you looking to boost your website’s performance and soar up the search engine rankings? Well, you’re at the right place Today, we’re diving into the world of SEO audits – a powerful technique that can work wonders for your site’s SEO.

A quick backlink audit can help you identify hidden opportunities, weed out harmful links, and fine-tune your link-building strategy like a pro. We’ve got you covered with a step-by-step guide on how to perform a quick and effective backlink audit. Let’s unravel the secrets to mastering the art of backlink audits together.

What Is A Backlink Audit?

A backlink audit is basically checking out the links that lead to your website from other places online, which is an essential part of keeping up with current SEO trends. The idea is to make sure those links are good and not weird or spammy ones that could mess up your site’s SEO or get you in trouble with Google.

Why Should One Perform Backlink Audit?

A backlink audit is super important because links play a huge role in how Google ranks websites. They’re like the fuel that makes your website run and rank well in searches. Backlink checker tools can be used to assess these links. Backlinks can be tricky, though, and some bad ones can mess up your site’s SEO. However, doing a backlink audit can do wonders for your SEO and getting organic traffic to your website. Here are a few reasons why it’s so helpful:

  • Benchmark Your Site: 

The audit gives you valuable info about your backlinks, helping you measure the impact of your link-building efforts and see how well you’re doing.

  • Discover Bad Links: 

Bad links can mess up your Google ranking, so it’s crucial to find and remove them. The audit will highlight any problematic links you might have.

  • Find Opportunities: 

The audit helps you spot new opportunities, like content that attracts the most links. You can create more of that kind of content to get even more links.

  • Suss Out the Competition: 

You can also check how your competitors are doing with their sites. Staying one step ahead of them is always a good idea!

Choosing The Right Backlink Audit Tool:

Now that you know what a link audit is and why it’s essential for your SEO campaign, you’re probably wondering where to start. First things first, you’ll need the right tools for the backlink audit. There are some great options out there, both free and paid. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones:

  • Google Search Console: 

This one’s free and gives you backlink data directly from Google. It’s got useful info like how many backlinks point to your site, anchor text usage, and even manual link penalties if any. But it lacks some in-depth link context compared to other tools.

  • Ahrefs:

A popular choice for backlink audits, Ahrefs provides detailed insights about your backlink profile, including referring domains, domain rating, and anchor text data. It’s excellent for assessing link quality and comes with a USD 99 monthly starting price.

  • Moz: 

Another well-known tool, Moz offers essential backlink data like referring domains, inbound links, and domain authority. Its Spam Score feature helps spot spammy backlinks. Moz too starts at USD 99 per month, but you can try most of the tools for free.

  • Other SEO Tools: 

You may also consider Semrush, Majestic, or SpyFu for your link audit. They provide the metrics you need for backlink analysis. These tools will help you dig into your backlinks and make informed decisions to improve your website’s SEO. 

Step By Step Guide For Quick Backlink Audit 

Now that you’ve got the right tools, it’s time to kick off your backlink audit! Let’s go through eight simple steps to get there:

Benchmark Your Website: 

Start by getting an overview of your backlink profile. This will help you assess your website’s current performance and measure any improvements you make.

Here are some key factors to consider for effective benchmarking:

  • The total number of backlinks pointing to your site.
  • The number of different domains (websites) that link to your site. Count each domain once, even if it has multiple links to your site.
  • Do-follow links are valuable for ranking; make sure to note their count.
  • Check your website’s authority score, often denoted as Domain Authority (DA), which reflects the quality and quantity of your backlinks.
  • Keep an eye on your link acquisition rate, which shows how quickly your site is gaining new links. When doing link building campaigns, you’d want to acquire links at a faster rate than usual.

Taking note of all these metrics will give you a clear picture of your website’s current backlink profile.

Evaluating Each Individual Link

Now it’s time to dive deeper and evaluate each individual link, especially if you want to spy on competitor backlink strategies. Why? Because not all backlinks are created equal. Some can significantly benefit your site, while others might not help much or even hurt your rankings by triggering penalties from Google. This can happen if your site is associated with link spam or manipulative tactics.

To analyze your backlinks, you can use Semrush’s Backlink Audit tool. Follow these steps:

  • Start a project and configure the tool.
  • Click “Start Backlink Audit” to begin the analysis.

Once the audit is complete, you’ll get a detailed report with valuable insights. Here’s what you should pay attention to:

  • Overall Toxicity Score: 

This indicates whether you have a high number of low-quality links pointing to your website. High scores may be a concern, as they could impact your site’s performance.

  • Analyzed Backlinks: 

Check if the number of backlinks analyzed is within your expectations. An unusually high number might suggest a negative SEO attack, but usually, Google handles such situations well.

  • Referring Domains: 

Evaluate how many unique domains link to your site. Multiple links from the same domain don’t hold as much value for ranking. Focus on building links from diverse and relevant domains.

For a more detailed view, head to the “Audit” tab, where you’ll find all the backlinks pointing to your site. Here’s what to look for:

The URLs: 

Check if they come from legitimate websites to ensure link quality.

  • Anchor Text: 

High-quality backlinks have relevant anchor text, while low-quality ones might use unnatural or spammy anchor text.

  • Authority Score (AS) of the linking domain: 

This indicates the reputation of the linking domain and its impact on your rankings. Higher AS means a positive influence, while lower AS might not be as beneficial.

  • Toxicity Score (TS) of the linking page: 

This measures how potentially harmful a linking page could be. Lower TS scores indicate higher link quality, while higher TS scores indicate lower link quality. You can click on the TS score to learn why Semrush considers a link as low-quality or bad.

By evaluating each link, you’ll gain valuable insights to improve your backlink profile and boost your site’s search engine performance.

Find The Types Of Backlinks

Knowing your existing link types can help shape your future link-building efforts, especially if you’re starting with a new website or taking over SEO from a previous company.

To check your links, head to Ahrefs’ “Backlink Profile” menu and explore the “Backlinks” section. You can even sort them by Domain Rating (DR) to see links from authoritative sites first or filter for do-follow links.

Here are some common link types to keep an eye out for:

  • Guest Posts: 

These backlinks come from writing articles for other websites, and they link back to your own site. They’re valuable for generating high-quality links and allow you to link to specific pages on your site.

  • Roundups: 

These articles gather opinions from multiple experts on a specific topic. If a website has many links from such roundup articles, it might be using services like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) for link-building.

  • Niche Edits: 

Niche edits involve paid links, where one website pays another for direct links. You can spot paid backlinks by looking for keyword-match anchor text or links that don’t add much value to the article. If you notice many of these links, it could indicate the website has used this link-building strategy in the past.

Knowing the different link types in your backlink profile can help you plan and execute your link-building strategy effectively.”

Identifying And Disavowing Harmful Links 

While we’ve focused on finding SEO opportunities, it’s equally important to uncover and address links that could hurt your site. Here’s how to do it:

Step One: Check for Manual Actions

If you’ve recently taken over a site, start by checking Google Search Console for manual actions. Look under the “Security and Manual Actions” tab in the sidebar. Ideally, you’ll see a “No issues detected” message. However, if there’s a manual action, you need to prioritize addressing it to improve your site’s ranking. 

Google will provide guidance on how to handle this situation, likely involving disavowing links. After fixing the issue, submit a reconsideration request to inform Google about the improvements.

Step Two: Check for Spammy and Toxic Backlinks

Even without manual actions, it’s a good idea to examine your website for spammy backlinks. These could come from link farms, link schemes, private blog networks (PBN), or irrelevant blog comments.

Step Three: Check Your Spam Score

Use the Moz Spam Score tool, which indicates the percentage of links from sites with features similar to those penalized by Google. A lower Spam Score is better. Moz also presents a list of your links organized by spam score, making it easy to identify potential culprits for removal.

Step Four: Check Your ccTLD Distribution

Review the Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLD) of your backlinks. Links from websites with ccTLD unrelated to your website’s country are often suspicious. While some irrelevant links are normal, an unusually high percentage from unrelated countries should be investigated.

Step Five: Review Anchor Text

Examine the anchor text, which are the clickable words in hyperlinks that redirect visitors to other pages. Normal anchor text may include branded terms or content-related keywords, which you can discover through free keyword research tools. Be cautious if many of your links have anchor text unrelated to your site’s content, especially if it involves topics like casinos, loans, or pharmaceuticals.

By going through these steps, you can identify harmful links and take appropriate action, ensuring your website’s SEO health remains strong.

Recovering Lost Backlinks 

It is a crucial step to maximize the value of your previous efforts in building links. As a professional writer, you understand that backlink acquisition requires time and dedication, making it even more important to reclaim those lost links over time.

There are various reasons why links might have been lost:

  • The author removed your link from the content.
  • The linking page was redirected to another page.
  • The author replaced your link with something else.
  • The linking page was accidentally deleted.

To simplify the process of reclaiming your hard-earned links, you can utilize Semrush’s Link Building tool. Start by configuring the tool according to your needs. Then, head to the “Prospects” tab and click on “Lost Backlinks.”

This will display the links that you previously had but are no longer active. By examining each link individually, you can gather information about why it disappeared. For instance, if it’s showing a 404 error, it indicates the page was deleted.

Once you’ve identified the reason behind the loss, you can take action and reach out to the website owner. Politely ask them to reinstate the page or re-establish the link. By reclaiming your lost backlinks, you can bolster your link profile and further enhance your website’s search engine performance.

Discovering Fresh Content Opportunities

By analyzing your website’s pages with numerous links but limited search traffic, you can uncover potential ways to boost your site’s performance. Start by accessing Ahrefs’ top pages by links report, which provides valuable insights into each page’s organic referral traffic.

If you notice a page with an abundance of backlinks but relatively low traffic, it might be a great candidate for a content refresh. To enhance your rankings, it’s crucial to understand why the page isn’t attracting search traffic despite its backlinks. Some possible reasons include: 

  • Outdated Content, 
  • Insufficient SEO Optimization,
  • Disconnect With The Searcher Intent For The Targeted Keyword.

Before proceeding with the update, examine the pages that currently rank for your target keyword through thorough keyword research. If they possess more backlinks and authority than your page, achieving higher rankings after the update might still be challenging.

By strategically refreshing and optimizing your content, you can capitalize on the potential of your existing backlinks and improve your website’s overall search performance.

Identifying And Resolving 404 Errors 

It is another crucial step for maintaining a smooth user experience on your website. When a link leads to a non-existent page, visitors encounter an error instead of the content they seek, which can be frustrating. Moreover, it negatively impacts your link building efforts since the link juice from referring domains is lost when it encounters a 404 error.

Thankfully, fixing this issue is straightforward. You can simply redirect the old URL to a new page on your website, effectively addressing dead backlinks. By doing this, anyone who clicks on the old link will be automatically redirected to the new page, and the link juice will flow to the updated destination.

Ahrefs provides a user-friendly solution to detect 404 errors and address dead backlinks. Just navigate to the “Broken backlinks” report in the “Backlink profile” sidebar menu, and it will highlight all the broken backlinks on your site and the pages that point to them. Taking care of 404 errors ensures your website maintains a positive user experience and maximizes the value of your link building efforts.

How To Build High Quality Backlinks?

Elevate your website’s competitive edge by focusing on building high-quality links, especially if your backlink audit uncovers a lack of such links.

  • Discover Relevant Websites with Semrush’s Link Building Tool

Semrush’s Link Building Tool is your ally in this endeavor. It automatically scans the web to find websites that are relevant to your niche and potential targets for link building. What’s even better is that you can directly contact these website owners through the tool itself, streamlining the process.

  • Getting Started with the Link Building Tool

To begin your link building journey, start by setting up a project in the tool. Once configured, head to the “Prospects” tab. There, you’ll find a list of websites you can reach out to for backlinks.

  • Identifying Promising Prospects

Manually review each prospect and mark the most promising ones by clicking “To In Progress.” These selected prospects will move to the “In Progress” tab, simplifying your ongoing efforts.

  • Initiating Contact

Within the “In Progress” tab, you can now reach out to the selected websites. Click on the “Contact” button next to a website you wish to approach. This will open up an opportunity to craft and send your outreach email directly from the tool.

By utilizing Semrush’s Link Building Tool, you can efficiently build high-quality links and enhance your website’s overall authority and search engine performance.

Understanding The Importance Of A Link Requirement Estimate Plan

To propel your rankings to new heights, crafting a robust link-building strategy is essential. That’s where the Link Requirement Estimate Plan comes into play.

What Is A Link Requirement Estimate Plan?

In simple terms, the Link Requirement Estimate Plan is a carefully designed spreadsheet that aids in calculating the quantity and types of links needed to compete with your rivals. By comparing your backlink profile with theirs, this plan provides valuable insights.

The Key Elements of the Link Requirement Estimate Plan:

  • Competitors Overview: 

A comprehensive analysis of your competitors’ link profiles, helping you gauge their strengths.

  • A Target Distribution of Backlinks: 

Setting the desired distribution of backlinks to achieve optimal results.

  • An Anchor Text Distribution Chart: 

Planning the strategic use of anchor text to enhance your link-building approach.

  • A Backlink Forecast: 

An estimate of the number of links required to bridge the gap between your site and competitors.

Why Do You Need A Link Requirement Estimate Plan?

The primary objective of a Link Requirement Estimate Plan is to assess your website’s link authority, commonly referred to as “link juice,” compared to your competitors. Armed with this information, you can strategize your link-building efforts effectively.

Moreover, this plan provides a roadmap to narrow the gap between you and your competitors. By estimating the number of links needed and the most impactful anchors to use, you can chart a course towards improved rankings and SEO success.


In a nutshell, a quick backlink audit can be a game-changer for your website’s SEO. It empowers you to find hidden opportunities, clean up harmful links, and supercharge your link-building strategy. So, don’t wait! Invest a little time in this powerful tool and watch your website soar to new heights in the search rankings. 

With over a decade of experience in the digital marketing landscape, Alekh has driven exponential growth for global Fortune 500 brands. He has led dynamic, results-oriented teams to acquire customers across digital channels. He develops strategies that deliver tangible business results. His expertise spans digital marketing, branding, organic growth, partnerships, and campaign management. He stays ahead of emerging marketing trends and technologies.

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