How to Perform a Backlink Audit

Nothing beats a great backlink. Google also considers backlinks when determining its ranking algorithm.

Low-quality backlinks can be just as damaging to your website as high-quality ones. Getting quality backlinks can be a challenge.

Backlink audits can help with these issues. In this post, I will show you how to perform a backlink analysis so that you can:

  • Maintain a positive online presence
  • Google Rankings: How to get a higher ranking
  • Maintain optimum site health

Let’s get started!

What is a Backlink Audit?

Backlink audits provide a detailed analysis and report of all the links pointing to your website. The information will show you which domains are linking to your website and which pages specifically are receiving the links. It will also include details that help you evaluate the quality of the links, such as the IP address, categories, anchor texts, types (follow or no follow), and authority score.

The majority, if you don’t all, of the backlink audit software will provide these insights and action items, which can be completed directly in the report. For example, allowlisting or disavowing.

Why do a backlink audit?

Backlinks are an important ranking factor for Google. Let’s dig deeper to see why this is a good practice for SEO.

  • Identify link opportunities: Building beneficial links is just as important as eliminating harmful ones. Backlink audits can help you identify websites that are worth reaching out to in a more deliberate initiative. You can also audit a site’s link profile to identify broken or toxic links and then offer your own as a replacement.
  • Troubleshoot anomalies in traffic: Many factors can cause spikes or dips in performance, including backlinks. You would be surprised how much traffic can come from a subset of links, such as a region or site. These backlinks can be affected by algorithmic, privacy, or policy changes, causing large fluctuations in traffic.
  • Avoid Google Penalties: In the name of EEAT, Google has methods of detecting unnatural links obtained through black-hat SEO practices. A backlink audit will help you avoid Google penalties even if you are not doing any of these things intentionally.
  • Don’t miss out on traffic: An audit of your backlinks will show you if there are broken links to your website and, if so, how much traffic is missing.
  • Remove harmful links: When Google associates you with a website that links to you, it builds a connection between you and the site. Backlink audits will reveal all of your toxic links, those that are from low-credibility or spammy sites. You’ll need to remove them or disavow them.

How to perform a backlinks audit in five steps

You can easily assess your website’s backlinks using this five-step procedure.

Select your tool

You can do a backlinks audit on your website in two ways. Google Search Console is the first option. It’s free but only provides a general overview. This is best used for smaller sites or to achieve a specific goal.

Second, you can use a tool such as Ahrefs and Semrush. These tools may be paid, but they will give you the insights you need to correct mistakes, exploit opportunities, troubleshoot abnormalities, and optimize your results. Later in this post, I will share the steps for both methods.

Have you ever tried our Keyword Tool, a free tool?

Know your metrics

Even the simplest audit report will leave you confused if you don’t understand backlink lingo. Here are a few key data points you should look for when conducting a backlink analysis:

  • The number of backlinks. Quantity is not as important as quality, but it can still be useful to compare your position with competitors.
  • The number of domains referring to your website: This will always be lower than the total number of links, as one field may link multiple times.
  • Authority score: Also known as Domain Authority, this is a measure of a site’s credibility based on a number of EEAT factors, including backlinks. You can see the Authority Scores of sites that link to yours as well as your Authority Score.
  • Top Linked Pages: Your site’s pages with the most links.
  • Top linking Domains: The websites that link to you most.
  • Link Velocity: How many new backlinks are you gaining every week?
  • Link Toxicity: Measure the number of harmful links pointing at your site. This includes links from sites with low authority or that are harmful.

You can also assess

A healthy backlink profile will have a mixture of anchor texts (branded and unbranded, keyword-based and non-keyword-based, for example) and authority scores of referring domains. It shows that these links were earned ethically and organically over time. The internet can be a very wild place, despite all your efforts. You should assess the quality of your links to ensure they reflect your trustworthiness and efforts.

Take Action

Your backlink assessment can lead to a number of action items. Here are a few examples.

  • Allowlist backlinks of high quality. Mark these backlinks to be safe and reliable or sites that are worth contacting for more opportunities.
  • Remove harmful links: Where applicable, contact sites to remove toxic links.
  • Disavow harmful links: You can submit a list of disavows in Google Search Console if you have many toxic backlinks or if you cannot get the website to remove its link. Disavow means to tell Google to ignore or disassociate those links from your website. For more information, visit Google’s disavowing link page.
  • Fix broken links: Contact the domain that refers you to fix broken links or to create redirects.
  • Identify the best and worst pages. Your most linked pages will help you to develop your internal link strategy. You can also use these pages to identify strategies that other pages should adopt to succeed. You’ll also want to determine which pages you should increase the number of backlinks.

Check and maintain

After you have completed all your actions, run the audit tool to check if there are any changes in your score. Schedule regular crawls of your backlinks, and make sure you set up notifications when there are new links, broken backlinks, or lost backlinks.

More ideas and tips? You can find 130+ tips and ideas here! Download the guide >> 130+ Best Tips for Online Marketing to Generate More Traffic, Leads & Sales

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