A backlink profile audit is a process of analyzing the links that point to your webpage content from other websites.
How do you do it?
That’s exactly what we look at in the article! We also discuss the importance of the backlink profile audit and the tools you can use to conduct it.
Let’s get right to it!
- A backlink profile is made up of all inbound links to your site and is crucial for search engine rankings.
- A backlink audit is a review of your backlink profile that identifies low-quality or spammy backlinks that may harm your rankings.
- A healthy backlink profile contains natural, varied, and high-quality backlinks from reputable sources relevant to your content.
- Conducting a backlink audit is essential for improving your website’s visibility and ranking, and it’s an essential part of a link-building strategy.
- Regularly auditing your backlinks can help you keep improving your website’s performance and stay ahead of the competition.
- Benchmarking your website is a key part of understanding your backlink profile.
- Identifying bad backlinks is another key reason for regular backlink profile audits.
- A backlink profile audit can also help you spot chances to upgrade your website’s link profile and boost traffic.
- Broken links have a negative effect on SEO and user experience, so it’s essential to identify and fix them quickly.
- Using data from a backlink audit will help you benchmark various metrics such as authority, link profile growth over time, and top anchor texts & keywords used.
- Dofollow links pass SEO value to the website they point to, while nofollow links don’t pass any SEO value but still help build a diverse link profile.
- Harmful links need to be disavowed by sending an email request to the webmaster of that domain or using Google Search Console’s disavow tool.
- Popular tools that you can do to carry out backlink profile audits include Google Search Console, Ahrefs, Moz, Semrush, and Majestic.
- Want to see how BacklinkManager can help you improve your backlink profile? Book the demo!<
What is a backlink profile?
A backlink profile is a snapshot of all the inbound links pointing to your site.
It includes information about the quality, volume, and structure of the backlinks, all of which are key factors that determine your website’s search engine ranking.
As such, having an effective backlink profile is essential for improving your website’s visibility online.
What Is a Backlink Profile Audit?
A backlink profile audit is a process of analyzing the quality of links pointing to a website from other domains. It assesses your backlink profile and helps you to identify any low-quality or spammy backlinks (that may be damaging your search engine rankings!) See an example below:
Its goal is to make sure there are no bad backlinks that could harm SEO performance through Google Manual Penalty. It also helps you identify content refresh opportunities and 404 errors.
What does a healthy backlink profile look like?
A healthy backlink profile consists of natural, varied, and high-quality backlinks from reputable sources that are relevant to your content.
What’s more, a robust backlink profile should be balanced and contain a mix of different types of linking domains. No single website should dominate it to maintain an organic look.
What is the importance of a backlink audit?
Conducting a backlink audit is an important part of any successful SEO strategy.
It helps identify potentially harmful links and backlinks, fixes link errors and anomalies, and gives you the opportunity to build authoritative links that boost your website’s visibility and ranking.
By regularly auditing your backlinks, you can keep improving your website’s performance and stay ahead of the competition.
Why Should You Perform a Backlink Profile Audit?
A regular backlink profile audit ensures that your website has a healthy link portfolio.
Benchmark Your Site
Benchmarking your website is a key part of understanding your backlink profile.
By benchmarking, you can gain an understanding of the total number of backlinks, distinct domains linking to your site, and whether they are nofollow or dofollow backlinks.
This helps you evaluate how your website is performing compared to competitors and detect any potential issues with your link profile.
Discover Bad Links
Identifying bad or toxic backlinks is another key reason for regular backlink profile audits.
What exactly do we mean by bad bad links?
These are links from low-quality, spammy or irrelevant sources (e.g. your website is in a marketing niche, and you have links built from a funeral parlor!) that can damage your website’s SEO.
To discover such spam links yourself, look at the domain authority of the linking sites. Additionally, watch out for links from websites with different search intent than yours, article directories, or shady forums.
Similarly, link schemes such as paid links, link farms, or private blog networks (PBNs) can also damage your content’s performance in SERPs.
A backlink and link profile audit that can also help you spot chances to upgrade your website’s link profile and boost traffic.
Taking the time to analyze your link profile allows you to discover potential link-building opportunities, such as posts with organic links. You can also use tools like Google Analytics to measure the traffic generated by your site’s backlinks, and find any possible openings.
A backlink analysis or profile audit can also be used to detect broken links on your website. Broken links have a negative effect on SEO and user experience, so it is essential to identify and fix them quickly.
You may also use a backlink profile audit to recognize content refresh possibilities. By analyzing the anchor text of your backlinks, you can determine which pages need updating or refreshing with new content.
How to conduct backlink profile audit? Best practices + step-by-step instructions
If backlink profile audits are so important, how do you go about them? Let’s look at it step by step (+some best practices.+
Step 1: Benchmark Your Website
Benchmarking your website is the initial step backlink profile audit.
This includes assessing the current link profile along with total number of backlinks, referring domains count, and link types – all of which give an overall view of how well your website performs in terms of SEO & link building.
To conduct a backlink profile audit, start by benchmarking your website:
- Assess your current link profile, total number of backlinks, referring domains count, and link types.
- Compare total links vs linking domains.
- Check the dofollow vs nofollow ratio.
- Analyze how many homepages have linked to yours.
- Benchmark metrics such as authority, link profile growth, SEO strength, countries where most links come from, and top anchor texts & keywords used.
Step 2: Examine Link Types
Backlink profile audit is not only about link numbers but also their types.
Identify different link types in your backlink profile:
- Dofollow links: Valuable for passing SEO value, increasing referral traffic, and boosting rankings.
- Nofollow links: Don’t pass SEO value but help build a diverse link profile.
Step 3: Identify and Disavow Harmful Links
Apart from dofollow and nofollow links, look for spammy links that come from low-quality websites or those with many referring domains. These other toxic links can damage your website’s link profile and harm your SEO performance, so it’s important to identify promptly.
Detect and address potentially harmful links:
- Identify spammy links from low-quality websites or those with many referring domains.
- Request link removal from the webmaster of the domain.
- If unsuccessful, use Google Search Console’s disavow tool (keep reading for a more detailed description on how to disavow links.)
Step 4: Discover Linkable Content
Discovering the content people link to is a crucial step in assessing your backlink profile.
By examining the content that individuals are naturally connecting to, you can gain insights into what topics your target audience finds interesting and valuable. This can help you create more linkable content and increase your chances of getting more backlinks.
This could be pretty handy if you’re thinking of using the skyscraper technique to boost your backlink profile.
Step 5: Identify Content Refresh Opportunities
Apart from helping you fill content gaps, use a backlink audit to find opportunities to revamp and enhance your old content to make it more relevant and captivating for users. And search engines.
This may include changing the content format into a list format, adding new images, introducing fresh material, or optimizing the text for SEO. Moreover, you can use any broken links found in the Ahrefs report to fix any faulty links on your own site.
Analyze your backlink profile to find content that attracts backlinks:
- Examine the content that people naturally link to.
- Gain insights into topics your target audience finds interesting and valuable.
- Create more linkable content to increase your chances of getting backlinks.
Step 6: Look for 404 Errors
A 404 occurs when someone clicks on a broken link. They can have a huge effect on your website’s performance in SERPs because they interrupt the flow of the “link juice.”
Fortunately, it’s easy to find these errors if you have the right tools. For example, Ahrefs and SEMrush pick them up in their weekly site audits.
Choosing the Right Backlink Audit Tool
Choosing the right backlink audit tool is essential for maximizing the benefits of your audit. With the right tool, you can evaluate the success of your link-building strategies, detect bad links, and discover new opportunities.
There are a variety of backlink audit tools available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. It is important to select the one that best suits your needs.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free service from Google that helps you keep track of, maintain and troubleshoot your website’s presence in Google Search results. It offers a range of tools and reports to measure your site’s search traffic and performance, fix issues, and enhance its SEO.
Its link report shows the number of backlinks to your website, who links to it, as well as which pages are linked most often. Moreover, it provides anchor text information plus manual penalty report.
Using Google Search Console for backlink audits can be advantageous since it gives insight into a website’s referring domains and links pointing to the page. It also supplies metrics such as domain authority and amount of backlinks.
However, there are some drawbacks when using GSC for backlink profile audit like no link context or ability to assess link quality. This makes it hard to spot problems or opportunities.
Also, the tool doesn’t provide a complete link audit either because it does not show the quality of links pointing at the website.
Despite these cons, Google Search Console remains an effective tool for auditing one’s backlink profile.
How to perform a backlink audit with Google Search Console?
Performing a backlink audit with Google Search Console allows you to analyze the just how many backlinks are pointing to your website from Google’s perspective. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you conduct a backlink audit using Google Search Console:
- Sign up for Google Search Console: If you haven’t already, sign up for a free Google Search Console account.
- Verify your website: To use Google Search Console, you’ll need to verify your website ownership. Follow the instructions provided by Google here.
- Log in to Google Search Console: Once your website is verified, log in to your Google Search Console account.
- Select your property: On the main dashboard, click on the dropdown menu at the top-left corner and select the property (website) you want to analyze.
- Access the Links report: In the left-hand menu, click on “Links” to access the Links report.
- Review the external links: On the Links report page, you’ll see several sections related to external links, including “Top linked pages,” “Top linking sites,” and “Top linking text.” These sections provide an overview of your website’s backlink profile from Google’s perspective.Check the “Top linked pages” section: Click on “More” in the “Top linked pages” section to see a detailed list of pages on your website that are receiving the most backlinks. This helps you understand which of your pages are attracting the most attention and why.
- Analyze the “Top linking sites” section: Click on “More” in the “Top linking sites” section to see a list of websites linking to your site. This helps you identify high-quality, relevant links and low-quality or spammy ones.Google Search Console doesn’t provide metrics like Domain Authority (DA) or Spam Score, so you might need to use third-party tools like Moz or Ahrefs to assess the quality of these links.
- Export the backlink data: To analyze your backlinks more thoroughly, export the data by clicking the “Export External Links” button at the top-right corner of the page. This will allow you to work with the data in a spreadsheet, making it easier to organize and analyze the information.
- Take action on low-quality backlinks: for low-quality or spammy backlinks, you can either contact the webmasters to request the removal of the link or use Google’s Disavow tool to disavow those links.
How to disavow links using Search Console?
To disavow links using Google Search Console, follow these steps:
Step 1: Create a list of links to disavow in a text file (.txt) with one URL or domain per line. You can include comments by starting a line with a ‘#’ mark. Ensure the file is in UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII format.
Step 2: Visit the Disavow Links Tool page.
Step 3: Select a property (website) from the property list. Uploading a new list for a property will replace any existing list for that property.
Step 4: Click the “Upload” button and choose the disavow file from your local computer.
If there are any errors in the file, you’ll see a list of errors. Fix the errors and re-upload the file. Once uploaded, it may take a few weeks for Google to process the disavowed links.
For more information, visit Google’s documentation on disavowing links.
Ahrefs is an SEO software suite that contains a range of tools for a link building campaign, keyword research, competitor analysis, rank tracking, and site audits. It’s also used by PPC teams for competitive analysis.
Ahrefs an audit report includes essential metrics and information about all the links pointing to a website – including breakdowns of links and referring domains as well as detailed analyses of anchor text and link quality.
Additionally, it offers metrics such as Domain Rating (DR), Ahrefs Rank, organic traffic, and organic search traffic.
Ahrefs’ backlink audit tool allows you to view all your backlinks – both dofollow & nofollow ones and helps you identify potentially harmful ones and track changes in your link profile.
How to perform a backlink audit with Ahrefs?
Performing a backlink audit with Ahrefs involves using their Site Explorer tool to analyze the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to your website. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you conduct a backlink audit using Ahrefs:
- Sign up for Ahrefs: To use Ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool, you’ll need an Ahrefs account. Visit https://ahrefs.com/pricing to sign up for a 7-day trial or choose a paid plan that suits your needs. If you already have an Ahrefs account, log in.
- Access Site Explorer: After logging in, click on the “Site Explorer” tab in the top menu.
- Enter your domain: Type your domain into the search bar in the Site Explorer tool and click “Search.” This process may take a few moments as Ahrefs gathers data on your domain’s backlinks.
- Review the overview: On the overview page, pay attention to the key metrics, such as Domain Rating (DR), Ahrefs Rank (AR), and the total number of backlinks. These metrics provide a high-level understanding of your website’s backlink profile.
- Analyze backlinks: Click on the “Backlinks” tab in the left-hand menu. Here, you’ll see a detailed list of all the backlinks pointing to your website. You can sort these links by various criteria, such as DR, URL Rating (UR), or Referring Domains.
- Filter by the backlinks by lowest DR (DR <20): To narrow down your search for “bad” links, filter them by the lowest DR (I like to look at links below DR 20):
- Export the backlink data: To review your backlinks more thoroughly, export the data by clicking the “Export” button on the top right of the links column. This will allow you to work with the data in a spreadsheet, making it easier to organize and analyze the information.
- Assess the quality of backlinks: Analyze the backlinks you’ve exported to identify high-quality, relevant links, as well as low-quality or spammy ones. Pay attention to the DR, UR, and Referring Domains of each backlink, as well as the relevance of the linking site to your content.
- Take action on low-quality backlinks: For low-quality or spammy backlinks, you can either contact the webmasters to request removal of the link or use Google’s Disavow tool to disavow those links.
- Identify opportunities for new backlinks: Use the “Competing Domains” feature in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to identify websites that are linking to your competitors but not to you. This can help you discover new opportunities for acquiring high-quality backlinks.
Moz is a popular SEO tool that offers a range of features and analytics to help boost search engine visibility.
Its Link Explorer provides website owners with valuable backlink data, including the number of backlinks and referring domains, anchor text analysis and Domain Rating (DR). It also helps identify suspicious links.
Additionally, the Moz audit report includes domain health checks, broken links and redirects. This helps website owners identify harmful links and improve overall visibility.
How to perform a backlink audit with MOZ?
Performing a backlink audit with Moz involves using their Link Explorer tool to analyze the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to your website. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you conduct a backlink audit using Moz:
- Sign up for Moz Pro: To use Moz’s Link Explorer tool, you’ll need aMoz Pro account. Sign up for a free 30-day trial or choose a paid plan that suits your needs.
- Log in to your Moz Pro account: Once you’ve signed up, log in to your Moz Pro account by visiting https://moz.com/login.
- Access Link Explorer: After logging in, click on the “Link Research” tab in the left-hand menu, then choose “Link Explorer” from the dropdown menu.
- Enter your domain: Type your domain into the search bar in the Link Explorer tool and click “Analyze Domain.” This process may take a few moments as Moz gathers data on your domain’s backlinks.
- Review the overview: On the overview page, pay attention to the key metrics, such as Domain Authority (DA), Spam Score, and the total number of backlinks. These metrics provide a high-level understanding of your website’s backlink profile.
- Analyze inbound links: Click on the “Inbound Links” tab in the left-hand menu. Here, you’ll see a detailed list of all the backlinks pointing to your website. You can sort these links by various criteria, such as DA, Page Authority (PA), or Spam Score.
- Export the backlink data: To review your backlinks more thoroughly, export the data by clicking the “Export CSV” button. This will allow you to work with the data in a spreadsheet, making it easier to organize and analyze the information.
- Assess the quality of backlinks: Analyze the backlinks you’ve exported to identify high-quality, relevant links, as well as low-quality or spammy ones. Pay attention to the DA, PA, and Spam Score of each backlink, as well as the relevance of the linking site to your content.
- Take action on low-quality backlinks: For low-quality or spammy backlinks, you can either contact the webmasters to request removal of the link or use Google’s Disavow tool to disavow those links.
- Identify opportunities for new backlinks: Use the “Link Intersect” feature in Moz’s Link Explorer to identify websites that are linking to your competitors but not to you. This can help you discover new opportunities for acquiring high-quality backlinks.
While BacklinkManager doesn’t allow you to do a full-on link audit, is a link-building tool that allows you to stay on top of the links built in specific campaigns (e.g. through link building agencies.) So it basically works like a CRM – and it lets you know when those expensive links you paid for have been taken down by the webmasters.
Thanks to its link-monitoring features, you can:
- track links and receive automated status updates,
- get notifications about link status changes (dofollow, nofollow, page not found, link removed),
- track how many links you’ve built to reach your targets.It’s useful for both link-building and marketing agencies and other content marketing teams in managing their link building operations.
Other SEO Tools
In addition to BacklinkManager, GSC, Ahrefs and Moz, there are other SEO tools that can provide extra insights into your backlink profile.
SEMrush, Majestic and SpyFu offer similar features and metrics as Ahrefs and Moz.
- SEMrush allows users to track their backlinks, discover new link opportunities, analyze competitors’ backlinks, and detect spammy backlinks. It also provides a comprehensive link audit report which includes types of links and referring domains.
- Majestic is a web-based tool that offers various features for analyzing backlinks and monitoring them.
- SpyFu gives an extensive analysis of the user’s backlink profile along with competitor analysis and keyword research.
- Google Analytics usually does not have SEO functionality for auditing backlinks, but it can give useful information about the performance of your website.
A backlink profile audit is an essential process for website owners and SEO professionals seeking to increase their website’s SEO rankings, visibility, and traffic.
By performing an audit of a website’s link profile and benchmarking it with that of its competitors, they can identify potential link-building opportunities and eliminate potentially harmful links or 404 errors.
Tools such as BacklinkManager, Google Search Console, Ahrefs, Moz, SEMrush, Majestic, and SpyFu provide insights into a website’s link profile and give your the capability to analyze backlinks and identify optimization opportunities.
If you want to see how BacklinkManager can help you manage your links and maintain high quality of your backlink profile, book the demo!