We were studying the smart techniques that help build great backlinks.
We started by looking into few of our clients’ previous backlink strategies. What we concluded is there wasn’t any structured strategy that they follow. It is clear that their knowledge on the same is less due to lack of research.
As we started explaining about link penalty, they were surprised. It’s a news to many for them and they had hard time believing it.
However, it is a situation we come across almost every day. Bad and dangerous links are something we do tackle with, often.
Now that the point has been made, this is where we wish to tell you, the penalty is the reason why you need to do backlink audits. And, you need to do them from time to time.
Here is a fact, there is one other reason that beats this risk factor; it’s the opportunity!
If you carefully go through your website’s backlinks, you will be able to comprehend the strength of a good link. You might as well come across advantageous places where good link building can happen. This would be the kind of work that will lead to high ranking and great performance of your website.
Heading to the point, backlink audit!
The aim of link audit is to analyse all the links related to your website. Basically, there will be an evaluation of the links to determine how efficient they are to help your website success.
Assessing good links is not enough. As stated before, bad links are risky. The audit must also determine the list of those links that can be threatening to your website performance. It should end with a strategy which can help get rid of the junk and boost the right link building tactics.
Think about it, risky links are there for sure. Eliminating them doesn’t conclude the job. The website can still perform below expectation. This is where link audits actually play a vital role; they help you enhance your SEO and stand out among your competitions.
If you are aware how link audits work, you might have an idea on how much time it consumes. The average time estimated by agencies performing link audits is somewhere around 100 hours.
Charging anywhere between 1700 to 6000, the average that an agency charge for link audit is about 4000.
With the support of tools, the average time consumption on performing the task drops around 5 to 10 hours.
After all, we are interested in better results in less time! We have generated a link profile audit system that wraps in 45 minutes.
If you are a beginner or never done the audit before, you can still catch up with this as we are stating the process in detail, and as simple as possible.
Research Before Link Audit:
Time Span: 30 Seconds Per Competitor
Take some time to study and understand your competitors before initiating the audit process. This will allow you to get a grip on their backlink tactics.
It is not a compulsion to go through this step, however, we recommend the same as it hints on what they are doing and how you need to proceed.
The Majestic analysis is a go-to tool to get this done quickly. It takes barely 30 seconds to assess a competitor.
One don’t require a subscription, go directly to Majestic.com
Keep the list of competitor’s URLs handy, type it in there and click the magnifying glass button in orange.
You will witness a list of backlinks along with referring IPs and domain names, type of links, subnets, and other histories.
Sure it’s a bit overloading!
No need to be upset if you are not yet able to figure out the stuff.
The key characteristic is that the crucial information is in your hands. This is the kind of information that will allow you to comprehend your own websites’ link building outline. Now that you have it, you are well equipped to move to next step.
Get Hold of Your Own Backlinks:
Time Span: 2 minutes
Start by fetching all the links which are contributing to the generation of traffic on your website. You can use Google Webmaster tool to do the same. It will give you all the backlinks along with the website domain name. You can rely on this information as it is most accurate in our opinion.
Log into your Google Webmaster tool by clicking “Sign In”.
Click “Links To Your Site”
You can check the list of links to your website here:
“Who links the most” is one of those helpful categories which shows the list of sites that gives most backlinks.
It shows how your content is linked and also shows the most linked content. This way you will be able to check the anchor text that is used in your backlinks.
Now, You Can Analyse The Backlinks:
Time Span: 20 minutes
Analysis can be done 2 ways here. You need to pick your option depending on your comfort and availability of resources.
You can do a manual check
You can use Analytics tool
As the name suggests, a manual check would involve visiting every link individually to analyze the health and value.
This, in our opinion, is a time-consuming task and could be feasible for limited links. If you have much to deal with, you need to forget this method.
Get a tool to analyze links! This is much faster and does the job better. The tool will do everything and generates a comprehensive report. All you got to do is take a look at it.
There are a few popular tools handy, we have listed the best below, along with a brief.
Doesn’t matter which tool you opt for, but you need to focus on a few crucial results as stated below:
– Backlink list
– Domain name or Domain Authority
– Page Authority
– Dead link list
This is considered as one of the best tools to perform backlink audits. It actually analyses your backlinks basis 30 different toxic markers.
It originally keeps an eye out for threats. The results also determine the areas of improvement and the links that can be shaped better.
You can start by creating a free account by going to SEMrush
Once you enter log-in details, click Register” and set up a free account.
Now, proceed to your Dashboard
Click Projects on the left-hand sidebar, and create my first project
Now, click on“Create my first project.”
Type your site URL, you can name your project, something like “Backlink Audit”, and “Save.”
From the options on the screen, find “Backlink Audit” and click “Setup.”
Once you select your campaign scope, click“Start Backlink Audit.”
If you come across a pop-up notification which says “connect Google Webmaster”, you can use it. This is not compulsory, however, benefits the audit performance.
Once you are done with this, all you got to do is let the SEMrush do it’s thing. It will take some time before showcasing the results. Do you see the progress bar at the top? Click it!
Post audit, you’ll get a notification as below:
The results page looks like this:
An estimation of 3 to 8 minutes should do in running this tool. It may take a bit longer, if you have a bigger site.
We did pick Majestic for a reason! It is easy, quick and free. Plus, it gives all the information you need. It is a giant link index database with several useful metrics.
Go to Majestic.com and type your site URL as usual:
Choose from the historic or fresh index. Fresh index carries information from 90 days past. It is recommended to use fresh index as it yields most results.
If you have followed the steps so far, you will notice the same kind of results as SEMrush. External backlinks, along with anchor text, domain names and other information such as backlink breakdown chart and more.
Since Majestic offers free plans, you can go with this one. However, there are additional features which boost the backlink audit that one can upgrade to.
The unique feature such as the Lost tab. It displays the backlinks that are not pointing your site in the last 90 days.
Its outstanding features make Majestic a right investment of time, besides, doesn’t cost you to set up an account.
#Moz Open Site Explorer
If you are into SEO, you may have heard about MOZ. Their backlink audit tool is one of the best. It is called Open Site Explorer or OSE, in short.
This tool is beneficial in multiple ways and we say this as the information gathered from this tool can be applied in a varied range of situations.
The general results will not deviated from SEMrush or Majestic. It renders the result page with same information such as backlinks list, page authority and domain authority.
Domain authority is on priority as we are aiming at backlinks. However, page authority is still important.
Like earlier, enter your site URL in the tool:
It will render a result page:
Domain authority and page authority displays below the URL bar:
A 100 is the score assigned to both domain authority and page authority. In general, 60 to 80 could be considered as a good score on an average. You can also check a number of backlinks and root domains on your site:
Backlinks will be listed in a table as below:
“Compare Link Metrics” is the feature that you need to use for sure.
This feature will let you compare your performance to your competitors’.
This is how the matrix should look like:
Click “Add URL” button to compare yourself with a competitor
By entering the competitor’s URL, you will be able to see where you stand and where your competitor stands:
Executing this step for at least top 5 competitors will give you a good frame of your website performance.
Ultimately, it will result in the betterment of your website. Let’s say, for instance, your page authority score is around 50 and your competitor’s score is about 70. By verifying their page authority and link building strategy, you may come across few great points that you can incorporate into your own strategy.
Any one of the above tools’ will suffice the need to execute a neat and clean profile link audit.
We may have come across groups stating their comfort and ease with Open Site Explorer, due to its multi-skilled characteristic. Besides, it comes handy with zero investment.
Time Span: 5 minutes
Once all the information you need is gathered, make sure there are no penalties received. This step is important before you start analyzing the gathered information.
Following are the two type of backlink penalties
Manual penalties: This is the type of penalty slapped by Google, when their team goes through your link profile manually. If they find anything wrong with your backlinks, they mark a manual penalty accordingly.
The reason here may be due to one or more spam reports or other means of your website that caused a human review of your backlinks.
Algorithmic penalties: You must have heard about Penguin. Cute name, but it gets people in trouble. Well, that’s what its job is – to find mistakes and highlight. Tape a penalty in this case!Both manual and algorithmic penalties take part in reduced inbound traffic and drop in page ranking. However, you have the opportunity to shake off these link penalties.
Start by checking if you got any penalties. Go to Google Webmaster and see if you have received any messages regarding the same. It would look like this:
Image Source: Kissmetrics.com
If you get this sort of message on your Webmaster account, that means you have got a manual penalty.
It’s a bit troublesome to spot these penalty notifications from Google. However, the dramatic drop in your organic traffic is a huge sign of these algorithmic penalties.
According to Ahrefs, after receiving an algorithmic penalty, your traffic should look as below:
The huge loss of organic traffic on a specific page could be due to penalty. However, it is hard to tell as it could be a natural phenomenon.
We recommend checking for bad links, if in case you notice a great drop in organic traffic. You should also consider paid links. It is highly important as Google penalises paid links much too high. And, by the way, any exchange or trade made in order to get links also gets considered paid by Google.
The general idea is that your backlinks should be organic and any paid links may get you into trouble.
Link Structure Improvement Planning and Execution:
Time Span: 15 minutes
Since you are done with all the initial steps successfully, you are good to go with link profile audit. But you need a plan to execute, create one by keeping in mind:
Improvement of your profile links
New link building that can exercise more profitable results
It is vital to structure and have a plan of action as a final step, as getting rid of penalties and bad links is only helping you play safe. Not that it won’t help generate the results, yet it could prove more fruitful with an improvement plan.
This is the sort of thing most people don’t understand. They can check for the glitches but fail at fixing them.
How the backlink results shine and raise depends on these last 15 minutes that you spend on your audit. This will help you have a plan of action and a target set.
Here is how you can break down the plan of action and execution:
Get rid of the link penalties
Fix all the dead links
Last but not least, improving your Page Authority and Domain Authority
This is what could be done in each case:
Getting rid of the link penalties: Once all the bad links are successfully churned out, it should be easy to eliminate them and get rid of the penalties.
You can also use Monitor Backlinks to find the disadvantageous links.
Below is a brief on how to do the same:
1. Find all the bad backlinks. This could be from paid links, spam sites, and links from penalized sites.
2. Make a request in order to get rid of those links. This is how a request should look like:
If in case your request has not been processed, you can go ahead and disavow that bad link.
Fix All The Dead Links: If you come across backlinks from non-existing websites, you can disavow those too.
You can use Deadlinkchecker.com to check for the same:
It is simple, use the search bar by entering your page URL. That’s it, it will enlist the dead backlinks which you can eliminate.
Improving your Page Authority and Data Authority: Spotting dead backlinks or backlink penalties is not a great deal of a tasks. However, having a strategy for page and domain authority is.
The best approach is to start by gathering backlinks via good authority websites, in order to notice an increase in the matrix. As Domain Authority is the main aspect, it must be paid more attention.
By dividing the time and carefully following the above steps, an approximation of 40-45 minutes should conclude your audit. The trick is doing it often, which will result in snappy and easy audits with time. Few things might get you stuck at times, but that is alright too. It’s important to take time on certain necessary aspects.
Consistency is the key! Keep performing audits and keep looking for ways to improve things. Having a link audit every 6 months is a healthy habit. It will help you maintain your website’s health. Since a good link profile is important, you sure do understand how essential it becomes to have audits.
It is advised to have through knowledge on Google’s stipulations and how things work around. This way, you don’t have to invest a lot of time on recovering and fixing things. Instead, you can get things right in the first place and save time too during audits.
Think of penalties and the troubles the bad links can bring while strategizing. This will also help you improve the results.