You can gain insight into your overall SEO health by performing a backlink audit since it provides you with a better understanding of your link profile, which can give you an estimate of the health of your overall SEO. In addition to that, backlink audits can help you identify any potential SEO link building risks, and determine if you need to take any action to improve your link profile as a result.
The results of a link building campaign can be dangerous if not done properly. For starters, they could hurt your own ranking if the backlink came from a low-quality or spammy website. Also, if the backlink came from a website that’s irrelevant to yours, it could also hurt your ranking. Last but not least, if it came from a penalized website, it might pass the penalty on to your site.
The real question is how many of your website links are built on backlinks that contain a high risk for penalty… Here is what we see typically that leads to that when we conduct our SEO website audits.
Using cheap marketing/ SEO “expert”
Paying for SEO services on Fiverr
Trying to Join a “Blog Network”
Competition sending spam links to you
Random stroke of bad luck
So how do we fix it?
The purpose of a backlink audit is to determine whether the backlinks pointing to your website are of high quality and quantity. It is important to make this assessment in order to prevent your website from getting penalized by Google for low-quality backlinks. Assuring your website is not outranked by competitors with higher-quality backlinks is important. As a result of building more high-quality backlinks to your website, you will improve its search engine optimization (SEO).
Identify all of the backlinks that are pointing to your website
Analyze the quality of each link one by one
Get rid of any links that don’t align with your SEO goals
Identifying all of the backlinks pointing to your website is the first step of conducting a backlink audit. Tools such as Ahrefs, Majestic, and Moz can assist you in this process. Or we can help you out with our standard SEO website audit service. Remember we are looking not just for a total of referring domains but the quality behind them.
After you have compiled a list of referring domains pointing to your website, the next step is to analyze each backlink’s quality. When doing this, you should take into account a number of factors, such as the link’s PageRank, anchor text, and whether it’s a dofollow or nofollow link.
There is a numerical value called Pagerank that indicates how important a website is. The higher the PageRank, the greater the importance of that website. Pagerank is determined by the number AND strength of inbound links. Inbound links are all the links from other sites that point to your website. A website linking to yours with a high PageRank is exactly what you want because that shows it is a high-quality link and signals to Google that your piece of content is great!
It is important to know that PageRank is one of the factors that search engines use when ranking sites in search results. Higher page ranks result in higher SERP rankings. High rankings result in more visitor traffic to a website in kind and likely more sales, signups, users, etc.
In order to boost a website’s PageRank, you have to build more inbound links (referring links). You can do this by submitting the website to directories, writing an article and sending it out to article directories, and exchanging links with other sites. You can also get more inbound links by getting links from websites with a good PageRank, and by getting links from sites that are relevant to your site.
You’ll notice that this web of links we are discussing now contributes to PageRank very heavily and it all makes sense to focus on sites that have established high levels of authority by “vouching” for and being “vouched for” by other high PageRank sites. This system really works well at helping push up good high authority websites providing content and value while pushing down sites that cannot play nice with others! This will flow into our strategy for link building very heavily further down in the post!
In a hyperlink, anchor text is the visible, clickable text that pops up when you hover over it. Usually, it’s blue and underlined. Google uses anchor text to determine how and if the destination URL is relevant to the linking page when it crawls a web page and finds a link.
Ideally, anchor text should contain the page’s target keyword in a way that is natural and relevant to the page it is linking to. It would be ideal to include anchor text that includes words like “wedding”, “photography”, “photographer”, “wedding photographer”, or something along those lines if an article about wedding photographers links to a page selling their services.
Your most valuable backlinks will be those with keyword-rich anchor text, but having a link profile that uses nothing but direct matching keyword anchor text will hurt you we will talk more about this later but you should have diversity in your link anchor text or it will look fake to google.
Ideally, you would want your page’s link profile to have a mix of anchor texts including:
- Direct match Keyword-rich anchors
- Brand name or branded search anchors
- And a handful of generic phrases like “click here” or “learn more”
Look closely at the anchor text and surrounding text of your links when evaluating how toxic your overall link portfolio is. It is common for cheaper SEO services to automate their link building efforts, resulting in hundreds or thousands of spammy-looking links with the same anchor text and surrounding text that looks completely unnatural to Google.
There are two kinds of links that you should be aware of when it comes to backlinks: dofollow and nofollow. Both are essential to your backlink profile, however, they do differ in some key ways.
A dofollow link is the most common type of link. When a website links to another website with a dofollow link, it is telling search engines that it gives its approval to that website, which is a strong signal that will help boost your website’s search engine rankings.
On the other hand, nofollow links are used to prevent search engines from counting a link as an endorsement. They are usually used when a website links to another website that it does not necessarily endorse. As an example, if you write a blog post with a list of resources, you might include nofollow links for some of the less reputable websites.
As far as your website’s backlink profile is concerned, both dofollow and nofollow links are important in order for them to rank well on search engines. Dofollow links can help improve your site’s ranking on search engines, while nofollow links help make your website look much more natural to Google as they tend to frown on many link building tactics in place today. Make sure that you include a healthy balance of both types of links in your backlink profile.
If you find any low-quality, toxic backlinks pointing to your website, you should disavow them using Google’s disavow tool. This will tell Google to ignore the low-quality backlinks that we found in your audit earlier when determining your website’s ranking. You can create a simple text file using a basic text editor and simply upload that to disavow any links that you found during the SEO backlink audit.
To format your text (.txt) file to disavow links, you will need to add a line for each link that you wish to disavow. For each link, you will need to add the following:
The word “disavow” then a “:” followed by the URL of the link
You can also add comments to your text file by adding a “#” symbol at the beginning of the line if you’d like to break things up. The comments will be ignored by Google so you can type in whatever you need to organize your file.
#This is a comment example in a disavow document disavow:http://www.example.com/linkA disavow:http://www.example.com/linkB
Now go to Google’s disavow tool page (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main).
Enter your website’s domain name
Click “Disavow Links”.
Click “Choose File” and select the file containing the backlinks list you wish to get rid of
Click “Submit” and you’re all done now!
If you’re looking to build backlinks for your website, there are a few things you can do. First, reach out to other websites and ask if they’d be willing to link to your website. This can be done by sending an email or reaching out on social media.
Another way to build backlinks is to create content that is shareable and informative. If you create content that is worth reading, other websites will be more likely to link to it. This could include blog posts, infographics, or even videos.
Finally, you can also participate in forums and comment on other blogs. If you leave helpful and insightful comments, you may find that other bloggers will link to your website.
For a local business website, the number of referring domains required depends on the amount of competition in your area and the number of high-quality, relevant websites you have linking back to your site. If you are in a competitive area, then the number of referring domains required will be very high.
It is true that creating backlinks is a time-consuming process, but it is well worth it if you want to improve your website’s rank tracking and boost authority in search engines. By following the link profile audit guide above to do your auditing, you can start to optimize your backlinks and see an improvement in the users navigating to your website. If you would like us to help build an SEO website audit for you to DIY or help out with a backlink strategy you can implement reach out today and we would be happy to serve you!