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Last UpdatedOct 5, 2023
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
You can also check how your competitors are doing with their sites. Staying one step ahead of them is always a good idea!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
Taking note of all these metrics will give you a clear picture of your website’s current backlink profile.
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:
Once the audit is complete, you’ll get a detailed report with valuable insights. Here’s what you should pay attention to:
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.
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.
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:
Check if they come from legitimate websites to ensure link quality.
High-quality backlinks have relevant anchor text, while low-quality ones might use unnatural or spammy anchor text.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 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.”
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
Elevate your website’s competitive edge by focusing on building high-quality links, especially if your backlink audit uncovers a lack of such links.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
A comprehensive analysis of your competitors’ link profiles, helping you gauge their strengths.
Setting the desired distribution of backlinks to achieve optimal results.
Planning the strategic use of anchor text to enhance your link-building approach.
An estimate of the number of links required to bridge the gap between your site and competitors.
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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