Link building is an invaluable part of SEO. In fact, it is one of the most important factors that search engines consider in determining your ranking.
Whether you’re developing a new link building strategy or revising a current one, it’s important to consider where you currently stand. This is where a backlink strategy comes into play.
Let’s explain what a backlink analysis looks like and what tools are required to perform it.
What is a backlink analysis?
Backlink analysis is a comprehensive review of a website’s backlinks to analyze website performance and identify issues that could affect search engine rankings.
The backlink analysis is like the SEO version when you go to the doctor for an examination. You should do it regularly to make sure everything is okay, but you also do it when you discover something is wrong.
Completing this process is one of the best ways to understand the health of your website and what factors contribute to its ranking. Perhaps you’ve noticed a sharp drop in your ranking, or you just don’t see the progress you expected.
A backlink analysis also shows you how your website stands out from your competitors. You will gain insight into what strategies your competitors are using and what you can implement in your own process.
After all, it’s a chance to identify new growth opportunities that you haven’t explored yet.
How to do a backlink analysis
- Select the sites that you want to analyze.
- Select an auditing tool.
- Get a quick overview.
- Analyze the details.
- See what your competitors are doing.
1. Select the sites that you want to analyze.
While it is obvious that you are analyzing your own website, you will also want to narrow down the competitor websites that you want to review.
You may already have some top thoughts, but if you don’t then you should choose websites that:
- Offer similar products or services.
- Are you currently considering your target keywords.
2. Select an auditing tool.
While you could do a manual backlink check, it is likely more efficient to use a backlink tool that already has the most important features you are looking for.
There are several tools for checking backlinks that differ in price and functionality. You can usually find them as a section in an SEO tool like Majestic and SEMrush.
Need help finding a backlink analysis tool? Here are some suggestions.
3. Get a quick overview.
Once you’ve chosen your auditing tool, it’s time to start analyzing.
Enter your domain name in the search bar and see the results.
You start with a lot of data. To get a quick idea of your website’s performance, focus on the following metrics:
- The total number of backlinks: The total number of links pointing to the site. For example, if website A writes a blog post and links to a page on website B, it is a backlink. If this number is very low, it could be why your page is not ranking well.
- Referring domains: The total number of websites linking to your website. Website A, which links to website B, counts as a referring domain. Sorting these domains by authority can help you determine how valuable these pages are to your ranking and get ideas for contacting them later.
- Pages linked above: The pages on a website that get the most backlinks. This can indicate the type of content that is best suited for link building.
Repeat this step with your competitors to set a benchmark and see where you are falling. Depending on the tool you’re using, you might be able to compare these metrics on the same page without going back and forth.
4. Analyze the details.
Now is the time to dive into the details and look at metrics that answer the “why”.
First, take a look at your anchor texts that are used to hyperlink your website. This is a great way to identify spam backlinks that could be affecting your ranking.
If you are not sure whether the referral domain is spam, check that the anchor text is related to the content of your website. If it looks like the junk section of your email and contains gross language, it is likely spam.
Once you have identified these links, you can go to the websites to request removal. It’s a long way to go, but it might work in some cases. Disabling these links is the more realistic option, which basically tells Google to ignore these backlinks.
Speaking of spam, you should also look at the distribution of your country code top-level domain (ccTLD). ccTLD refers to the last part of a URL that indicates the country it is from.
This is another way to identify websites that could be the cause of your negative search engine optimization (i.e., malicious practices intended to negatively affect your ranking).
For example, if your website is getting a lot of traffic from Haiti, seeing lots of .ht backlinks wouldn’t be a red flag. However, if you notice links like .cn or any other unfamiliar TLD, this is a good time to take a closer look.
Next up: broken or lost links. It is important that you identify your broken and lost links if you miss “Link Juice,” the potential to rank higher than a backlink. It can also make it difficult to crawl your website.
How do you fix it? There are several ways to do this:
- Contact the referring domain and request that they be fixed.
- Redirect the damaged page to a new webpage on your website.
- Redirect the damaged page to another page on your website with similar content.
5. See what your competitors are doing.
Compare your results to those of your competitors as you dig deeper into your domain.
For example, look at the referring domains for the website you are superior to. If your list and theirs barely overlap, this is a great way to determine which domains to target.
It’s also helpful to compare your backlink acquisition rate with that of your competitors. Are they growing much faster than you? It could highlight another section worth exploring.
Top backlink analysis tools
1. Google Search Console
The Google Search Console is a free tool for checking backlinks for the first time. You can view the most important measurement data, e.g. B. All your links and referring domains.
The downside to this platform is that you can’t compare your website to any of your competitors. However, this is a good starting point to get an idea of how your website is performing.
Ahrefs is a feature-rich SEO tool that businesses can use to optimize their websites.
The backlink checker is easily accessible via the “Site Explorer” and enables you to quickly export the data for further analysis. You can also access the sections in the left sidebar to examine each of the backlink functions in more detail.
Ahrefs is a paid tool with prices starting at $ 82 / month and going up to $ 832 / month for agency-level features. You can also take advantage of the seven-day free trial for $ 7.
SEMrush is another top SEO tool with a backlink tracker available to subscribers.
You can easily compare your report to three competitors at the same time and use the graphs for a visual understanding of the data.
To get an insight into how it works, users can make 10 requests per day with SEMrush. While you only get a limited view of what it does, you can get an idea of how the dashboard works.
You must get a subscription for full access. Prices start at $ 99 per month and go up to $ 449.
Moz is one of the best backlink tools out there.
The dashboard allows you to quickly download and focus on important areas.
The Spam Score feature provides insight into which links can harm your SEO efforts and how you can reduce them. Another standout feature on the site is the “Discovered and Lost” section, which shows the linking domains you’ve gained and lost within a certain date range.
You can use Moz with a free 30-day trial or subscribe to one of their monthly plans starting at $ 79.
Backlink analysis is an essential part of your SEO strategy and requires ongoing maintenance. However, once you know what to look for, it should be a painless process.