Link auditing can be a great way to expand insight into the websites sending you the most traffic and shape your link-building strategies accordingly.
What’s a Backlink?
A backlink connects one web page to another. The more links leading to a site, the higher its topical reputation, domain authority, and popularity may grow over time. Don’t know what a link audit is?
It’s an essential part of managing the off-page optimization and SEO strategy that you should be doing at least four times per year, especially if there are any changes in the content or URL structure for one reason or another.
What is hyperlink?
Hyperlinks blue underlined, bold, or different colored text on web pages that take you to another page. (typically, that’s what we’ve been conditioned to perceive as what a link looks like). Now, they can be any character, such as Instagram or Twitter handles with the “@” in them.
What are inbound links?
Inbound links are hypertext references that point from external websites to yours. They can come in many different forms, including blog comments or forum posts.
They’re essential because search engines consider them an indicator of website reputation and a vote of confidence in the content on the linked page.
What are internal links?
Internal links connect one page on your site to another.
What are outbound links?
Outbound links connect one page on your site to another page offsite, to another website. Outbound links are utilized to provide authoritative supplemental content to your content articles.
Why are backlinks important?
An incoming hyperlink is like a road built to a website. The more backlinks (roads) you have pointing to your site, particularly those that link to it directly or indirectly from other websites (mentions and co-citations), the higher the likelihood of obtaining relevant organic traffic and having an active following online.
Backlinks are among the most reliable and effective methods for improving your rankings in search engine results pages. Search engines (most notably, Google) emphasize link quality, link destination, where these links come from, and several other critical factors that can determine spammy sources negatively affecting Domain Authority Score.
Quality backlinks will be more important than ever, considered one of the most critical SEO factors. They’re often listed as a top priority for site owners and companies that utilize link-building strategies.
They can help your site rank higher with search engines and build credibility and domain authority for a specific topic. If your goal is to make money online, then backlinking will help visitors find your pages.
What is an example of a backlink?
An example of a basic hypertext reference in anchor tag is:
<a href="https://ukrcodecorps.com">SEO Agency</a>
Why do a Link Audit?
The primary reason to perform a backlink audit is to analyze the link profile find toxic links pointing to your web pages.
What is a link profile?
A link profile is a collection of metrics that determine the health of inbound links.
What are toxic links?
Toxic backlinks are unnatural links that harm a website’s search visibility and rankings.
In Q1, 2012, Google launched the Penguin Update targeting link schemes, toxic links, and keyword stuffing. This algorithm update addressed off-page and on-page optimization tactics. Keyword research, selection, and usage are reviewed at a high-level overview in using our content optimization checklist in the On-page SEO Guide.
Beginning of Penguin and Google’s War on Link Spam
List of Google Penguin and highly relevant backlink & outbound link updates with major impact (known to us as heavy link related updates and tracked in our research and testing)
- March 26, 2012, Google Penguin 1.1, data refresh, Matt Cutts published statement about Penguin on April, 24, 2012 (Matt Cutts was lead search spam engineer at this time before officially leaving Google December 31, 2016 to be Administrator of U.S Digital Service for the federal government)
- October 5, 2012, Google Penguin 1.2, data refresh
- October 16, 2012, Google announces Disavow tool, an advanced feature (the most devastating task for a domain if done incorrectly) to disavow links after manual action penalty
- The disavow tool was launched during the 2nd day of PubCon Las Vegas 2012. This was also the point in time that Chris Cemper debuted his revamped Link Research Tools (LRT) Suite and Link Detox tool to the top SEO experts in the world.
- My first experience with the disavow tool was October – December, 2012 with Bill Hartzer on a website with 1.6M inbound links.
- May 22, 2013 , Google Penguin 2.0, advanced version targeting index page and category pages
- October 4, 2013 , Google Penguin 2.1, data refresh and deeper analysis of internal pages
- October 17, 2014 , Google Penguin 3.0, data refresh
- September 23, 2016 , Google Penguin 4.0, Penguin now in core algorithm; massive real-time impact
- February 1, 2017, Unconfirmed Update, Google beginning to discount bad links
- March 8, 2017, Fred (unofficial name from Gary Illyes, Google’s Chief of Sunshine and Happiness; read that as Google’s lead search spam engineer), inbound link spam
- February 20, 2018, Unconfirmed Update, smaller update with several factors, including links
- March 8, 2018, Brackets Core Update , many factors including inbound and outbound links
- September 10, 2018, Unconfirmed Update, loss of inbound links affected pages
- October 15, 2018, Unconfirmed Update, rather large PBN (private blog network) take-down
- November 29, 2018, Unconfirmed Update, possibly correlated to link velocity, however this was more of a core update regarding content and RankBrain (AI going through further advanced training)
- July 12, 2019, Maverick Update, more so lack of article citation and outbound linking for medical topics and YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) websites
- May 4, 2020, May 2020 Core Update, impact to on-page content relevancy and inbound links related to content that may need to be updated
- December 3, 2020, December 2020 Core Update, rollback and/or less impact from May core update, less link impact, more so content layout
- December 17, 2020, Unconfirmed Update, December 3rd update went way too far with impact and SERP (search engine results page) movement; Google fixed with this update
- June 2, 2021, June 2021 Core Update, big-time SERP hammer down on thin-content pages with outbound links
- June 23, 2021, June 2021 Spam Update #1, swinging the hammer harder on thin-content pages with outbound links
- June 28, 2021, June 2021 Spam Update #2, swinging the hammer for total annihilation on thin-content pages with outbound links
- July – November 2021, Many unconfirmed Updates, high impact towards inbound unnatural spam linking, Google’s update train rolls on and Barry Schwartz always has the best, easy-to-digest, and most up-to-date Google algo update coverage
What is backlink analysis?
It’s a methodical SEO technique that helps you find out which other sites link to web pages. Anchor text, link footprints, link type, and placement matter most when it comes time for harm assessment and determining toxicity markers.
What is a backlink audit?
A backlink audit is simply a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the number and quality (or relevance) of links pointing to your website.
What is competitor backlink analysis?
A competitor backlink analysis is helpful to find out which quality links your competitors have and how you can get them too. Analyzing the negative impact and potential harm of toxic links ensures proper identification of healthy competitor links for future link acquisition plans.
How do you disavow toxic links?
Very carefully. Submitting a link disavow file is the most potentially dangerous and detrimental project to website health. It’s advisable to have a professional do the disavow.
How much does a link audit cost?
$2500 up to $65,000+
How long does a backlink audit take?
Eight hours up to weeks. The time it takes to do a proper link audit will depend on how many anchor texts there are and how many hours it takes to classify them.
Other critical factors include:
- The number of referring domains.
- The number of total inbound links.
- An existing manual penalty.
How many backlinks do I need to rank?
The number of backlinks needed to rank a page for a specific keyword is relevant to the quality of content on-page, internal linking, schema, quality and relevancy of linking page, anchor text(many different variables regarding anchor text), and number of links your competitors have.
What is a backlink strategy?
The number of backlinks needed to rank a page for a specific keyword is relevant to the quality of content on-page. The quality and relevancy of linking pages, anchor text variables, and the total number of links your competitors can determine how many links are necessary.
Internal linking, schema are two significant on-site factors that can reduce the number of links needed. The short answer, there’s isn’t a magic formula to determine the number of links you need.
Are too many backlinks bad?
Again, the answer to the question, “Are too many backlinks bad? ” is relative to many factors. For example, if your company cured cancer and your website earned 100,000,000 links the following day, that’s not a bad thing, and search engine algorithms understand why that happened.
However, if there is no good reason to get 100,000,000 links in 24 hours, that’s not a good thing and certainly will result in manual action against the site. Steady and consistent link velocity makes money in the long term.