Backlink analysis is an integral part of any SEO strategy. It’s a process that you have to go through before starting out your link building efforts.
It allows you to understand the current number of links from other sites as well as possibilities to increase your backlinks. The more backlinks from high domain authority earned, the more likely Google places your site in higher rankings.
Knowing how important backlinks are to place higher in search results, many attempt to manipulate Google as a means to increase their site’s rankings. They usually do this by buying links from third parties in bulk.
This is something that you should avoid. While earning links from these link sellers is fast and cheap, more often than not, those links are considered spam by Google. Spammy links, on the other hand, will only cause your site to receive a penalty from Google.
As an SEO agency, we understand this well. Hence before we begin working on our client’s site, we’ll conduct a backlink analysis. This gives us ideas for their current backlinks as well as ways to increase their backlinks without putting their sites at risk of Google penalties.
Read more to learn how it works.
What is Backlink Analysis?
For starters, backlink analysis is the process of evaluating incoming links from other sites to yours. These links are referred to as backlinks, which are one of the factors that determine Google search rankings.
When a site has more backlinks than its competitors, Google will grant it a higher ranking in the search engine result pages (SERP). This is due to the fact that a large number of backlinks often indicates trustworthiness and authority.
However, simply increasing the number of backlinks won’t improve a site’s ranking. Aside from the quantity of backlinks, you must also consider the quality of backlinks you earn. Earning a large number of backlinks is pointless if the majority of them are spam.
Why Is It Important To Perform Backlink Analysis?
Backlink analysis is an essential part of your SEO efforts as a site owner. In fact, backlinks are one of the factors that can be helpful for your site’s rankings in search results and contribute to its authority and visibility. That’s why it needs to be done from time to time.
But since SEO is a broad field, you may wonder, on which aspects of it will benefit from backlink analysis. To answer your question, let’s delve into the benefits of backlink analysis for your SEO efforts in the following:
Benefits of Backlink Analysis
- Understand Link Profiles
The foremost benefit of backlink analysis is that it allows you to gain insights into the link profile of your site. The process provides you with information of all the incoming links from other sites that point to your site.
By understanding your link profile, you can see which websites are linking to you. You can also acknowledge the quality of those links and the anchor text used. This, in turn, helps you to assess the overall strength and authority of your site’s online presence.
- SEO Performance Evaluation
Backlink analysis plays a key role in evaluating your search engine optimisation (SEO) performance. By analysing the quantity and quality of backlinks you earned, you can gauge how well your site is faring in search engine rankings.
If you obtain a satisfactory number of quality backlinks, you know that your SEO efforts are working well. On the other hand, if you feel dissatisfied with the results, it can help you to identify areas for improvement.
- Competitor Analysis
Backlink analysis allows you to observe the backlinks of your competitors. This is especially useful if you’re just starting out, as your top competitors typically have a large number of high-quality backlinks.
Analysing backlinks of your competitors, in turn, gives you a competitive advantage in the digital landscape. You’ll be made aware of their backlink strategies and build your ways to surpass them.
Throughout the process, you can learn and adapt from their strategies for obtaining high-quality backlinks. If you find that you haven’t implemented strategies that work for your competitors, now is the time to start and refine your approaches.
- Identify Link Building Opportunities
Backlink analysis can assist you in identifying potential link building opportunities. During the process, you will come across sites that link to similar content or businesses in your industry (i.e., your competitors). You can reach out to those sites to discuss potential collaborations or partnerships.
This is especially true if the sites are relevant to your niche and have a high authority domain. You can significantly improve your website’s search engine rankings and organic traffic by earning relevant and high-quality backlinks from those sources.
- Detect Negative SEO
Performing backlink analysis can help you to detect negative SEO attacks early on. Negative SEO involves malicious attempts by competitors or third parties to harm your site’s rankings by creating spammy or harmful backlinks.
By regularly inspecting your backlink profile, you can identify and disavow such toxic links. This, in turn, will safeguard your site from potential penalties by search engines.
- Improve Site Authority
Monitoring your backlink profile provides information about your current authority status, including the number and quality of backlinks you have earned. You can use such insights to improve your link building strategies, particularly if you fall behind your competitors.
In fact, the number and quality of backlinks determine your site’s authority and credibility in the eyes of search engines. Obtaining quality backlinks from authoritative sites signals search engines that your content is valuable and trustworthy, positively impacting your rankings.
- Refine Content Strategy
Backlink analysis gives you insights into your backlinks profile. This includes which pages, including the blog posts, attract the most backlinks. When others link to your pages, it indicates how useful they find your content is.
Understanding this particular aspect helps you to identify the topics that resonate well with your audience and the wider online community. In turn, you can refine your content strategy by focusing on pieces that have a higher likelihood to attract backlinks.
What To Look For When Running Backlink Analysis?
Running a backlink analysis is indeed beneficial. It gives you insights into multiple aspects of your SEO strategies that involve link building approaches. To successfully tackle your link building strategies, look for the following aspects when running backlink analysis:
- Spammy Links
Spammy links refer to low-quality, irrelevant, or manipulative links that violate search engine guidelines. These types of links are often created with the sole purpose of artificially inflating a site’s search engine rankings, rather than providing genuine value to users.
These links can come from a variety of places, such as link farms, paid links, or sites that are completely unrelated to your niche. Third-party link sellers should be avoided at all costs because they mostly provide spammy links from private blog networks (PBN).
If you are persistent and continue to buy backlinks from these sellers, the consequences are yours to bear. While spammy links may increase your authority, they will only result in penalties when search engines detect them, which can be challenging to mend.
So, what should you do if you’ve already purchased or unknowingly earned these links? It’s always best to remove and disavow them. By removing these spammy links, you can gradually improve your backlink profile and avoid search engine penalties.
- Link Relevancy
Link relevancy refers to the alignment between the content of your site and the websites that link back to you. When pursuing link building efforts, securing backlinks from websites that share a similar topic or niche as yours is highly advantageous.
By obtaining relevant backlinks, search engines perceive your website as more trustworthy and reliable within its field. This, in turn, can positively influence your search engine rankings and increase your organic traffic.
Furthermore, link relevancy fosters a sense of context and coherence to both human users and search engine crawlers. When users follow a link from one website to another, they expect the content to be related and complementary.
- Broken Links
Broken links are those that point to non-existent or inaccessible web pages. Other sites may intend to link to your pages in this case, but when the hyperlinks are clicked, they lead to inaccessible pages.
This problem could be caused by a variety of factors. Others may have made mistakes with the hyperlinks. Otherwise, it could be due to changes you’ve made to your site, which puts the ball in your court.
Either way, you can reclaim your lost backlinks. This can be done by contacting the site owners who have broken links to your content and asking them to update the links. Alternatively, you can use a redirecting strategy to replace broken links with working ones.
- Spammy Anchor Texts
Spammy anchor texts refer to anchor texts that excessively use exact-match keywords or sound unnatural. When it comes to backlinks, the use of spammy anchor texts can harm your search engine rankings and overall SEO efforts.
Search engines, like Google, have become increasingly advanced in their ability to detect manipulative link-building practice, including the spammy anchor texts. They place a strong emphasis on providing users with relevant and high-quality search results.
As a result, it’s crucial that you avoid buying links from backlink sellers. Most of the time, they’ll only give you links without paying attention to the anchor texts.
Consider white hat link building strategies instead, where you’ll have a discussion with site owners prior to linking opportunities. This enables you to plan which anchor texts will go with the hyperlink while avoiding exact-match keywords, which may sound unnatural.
If it is impossible to mend what has already been done, you can always choose to disavow some of the backlinks that went along with over-optimised anchor texts. This saves you time and gives you the opportunity to avoid search engine penalties.
- Popular Content
Running backlink analysis provides valuable insights into your popular content, which is determined by the number and quality of backlinks it has acquired over time. In other ways, popular content shows what others think is most valuable in your site.
After identifying your popular content, replicating success by producing more of similar content is what we advise. This allows you to attract additional backlinks from other sites and thus increase your site’s authority.
Furthermore, you should also think about improving your internal linking strategy. Start by determining what content you already have and how popular content links to content you have previously published. This will result in funnel link equity throughout your site.
- Competitors’ Backlinks
Running backlink analysis should always include monitoring both your and your competitors’ current backlink profiles. By analysing your competitors’ backlinks, you can learn about their strategies and identify link building opportunities to help you grow your own.
However, it should be noted that strategies that work for your competitors may not always be effective to implement to your site. This means, while you can copy what your competitors have done, you need to adjust the strategies to fit your site.
Differentiating some aspects of your strategy also makes you unique and allows you to stand out from your competitors. As a result, you can provide more value than your competitors and attract high-quality backlinks.
When To Perform Backlink Analysis?
Backlink analysis is something you should do on a regular basis. But when is the best time to carry it out? We’ll go over it in more detail below.
Before Performing Link Building Campaign
Performing backlink analysis before starting a link building campaign helps you understand your website’s current link profile. You can identify existing high-quality backlinks, potential areas for improvement, and any spammy or low-quality links that may need to be disavowed.
In addition, with insights from the analysis, you can tailor your link building strategy to focus on earning backlinks from relevant and authoritative sources, increasing the likelihood of successful link acquisition and improved search engine rankings.
Regular backlink analysis allows you to monitor changes in your link profile over time. By tracking new backlinks and identifying lost or broken links, you can take necessary actions to maintain a healthy link profile.
Periodic backlink analysis also helps you stay updated on your competitors’ link building efforts. You can identify their successful link building strategies and find opportunities to match or surpass their efforts, improving your site’s competitive advantage.
After Noticing a Rank Decrease
When rankings drop, backlink analysis can help pinpoint potential issues with your link profile. It allows you to discover any recent spammy links that may have triggered a ranking penalty.
In turn, by taking corrective actions based on the backlink analysis, such as disavowing harmful links or improving the overall quality of your link profile, you can work towards recovering lost rankings.
After Receiving a Penalty
Backlink analysis is essential after receiving a penalty to identify the specific backlinks that may have caused the penalty. The process enables you to determine which ones are high-quality or harmful links, allowing you to recover from the penalty.
As a result, you can compile a list of links that need to be disavowed or removed. By submitting a disavow file to search engines, you signal your efforts to clean up your link profile and regain trust from search engines.
Before Buying a Website
Performing backlink analysis is essential before purchasing a website. It helps you evaluate the quality of the existing backlinks and assess the site’s overall authority, ensuring that you are making a sound investment.
Furthermore, by analysing the website’s backlink profile, you can identify any potential spammy links that may lead to penalties if acquired along with the purchase. This analysis allows you to make informed decisions before finalising the acquisition.
After Significant Web Changes
Whenever you make substantial changes to your website, including a redesign, restructuring, or migration to a new domain, conducting a backlink analysis is an important step to do.
This helps ensure that all valuable backlinks are preserved during the transition and that any broken or redirected links are addressed accordingly.
After Running Link Building Campaigns
After running a link building campaign, analysing the acquired backlinks allows you to evaluate the campaign’s effectiveness. You can measure the success of different strategies, identify the most fruitful link sources, and refine your future campaigns accordingly.
If You Haven’t Done One Yet
If you haven’t conducted a backlink analysis before, starting now allows you to establish baseline metrics for your link profile. These metrics serve as a reference point for future analyses and help you track improvements over time.
Backlink analysis for a website that has never been analysed provides fresh opportunities for improvement. You can discover new link building prospects, capitalise on popular content, and strengthen your website’s authority within your niche.
How To Perform Backlink Analysis?
Performing a comprehensive backlink analysis is crucial for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your website’s link profile. Here’s a step-by-step guide to effectively analyse your backlinks:
Step #1: Start By Reviewing Your Backlink Profile
In this initial step, you’ll gain a broad overview of your backlink profile, which will serve as the foundation for more detailed analysis. Elements that you should pay attention to during this initial step include:
- Referring Domains: Identify the total number of unique domains linking to your website. A higher number of unique referring domains generally indicates a more diverse and authoritative backlink profile.
- Referring Pages: Analyse the number of individual pages on your website that have received backlinks. This information helps you understand which pages are attracting the most link equity.
- Lost and New Backlinks: Keep track of both lost and newly acquired backlinks over time. Understanding the changes in your link profile helps you manage link-building efforts effectively.
- Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD): Observe the distribution of backlinks based on ccTLDs. This information is useful if you have a geographically targeted audience or if you want to identify potential international link opportunities.
Step #2: Identify Your Top-Performing Pages
Identifying your top-performing pages is essential to capitalise on existing strengths and replicate their success. Focus on:
- Generating Similar Content: Analyse the content of your top-performing pages and consider creating similar, related content that can attract additional backlinks and traffic.
- Sharing Page Authority (PA): Distribute link equity from top-performing pages to other relevant pages within your website through internal linking. This helps boost the overall authority of your site and improves rankings for other pages.
Step #3: Identify Which Pages Will Benefit From Backlinks
By identifying the pages that stand to gain the most from new backlinks, you can prioritise your link building efforts. Focus on:
- High Value Pages: Prioritise pages that drive significant traffic, conversions, or revenue for your website. Acquiring backlinks for these pages can lead to substantial benefits.
- Lower Ranking Pages: Analyse pages with lower search rankings but high potential. Backlinks to these pages can provide the necessary boost to improve their visibility in search results.
- Pages With Less Backlinks Than Competitors’ Sites: Identify pages that are important for your business yet have fewer backlinks than similar pages on your competitors’ websites. Acquiring relevant backlinks for these pages can help you level the playing field.
Step #4: Look For Broken Links
Identify broken links that point to your website. Broken link opportunities present a chance to reach out to website owners and suggest your content as a replacement, potentially earning a valuable backlink.
In any case of broken links you can do the following:
Contact the Site Owner
Reach out to the website owner or webmaster of the site that has the broken link. Politely inform them about the broken link and suggest your relevant content as a replacement. Emphasise how your content adds value and provides an updated resource for their visitors.
When conducting outreach, be professional, courteous, and clearly explain how your content aligns with the context of the original link. This approach increases the likelihood of them considering your content as a replacement and potentially providing a valuable backlink.
Implement a Page Redirection Strategy
In some cases, the broken link may be pointing to a page on your website that no longer exists or has been moved to a different URL. Instead of reaching out to the site owner, you can use a 301 redirect to redirect the broken URL to a relevant, live page on your website.
By doing so, you salvage the link equity that the broken link was supposed to provide, ensuring that the link’s value is not lost. Additionally, visitors who click on the broken link will be redirected to a relevant page, enhancing their user experience on your site.
Offer Valuable Content
Offering valuable content as a replacement for the broken link is another thing you can do. However, ensure that the content you offer is of high quality, valuable, and relevant to the original link’s context, which is more likely to be accepted as a replacement.
It’s also important to avoid being overly pushy when offering a content replacement. Remain professional and address your intention calmly, as nagging the site’s owners will likely discourage them from considering your suggestion.
Keep Track of Your Outreach
Maintain a record of your broken link outreach efforts. Keep track of the websites you’ve contacted, the content you’ve suggested, and the responses you’ve received. This allows you to follow up on outstanding requests and assess the success of your outreach campaign.
Monitor and Update
Periodically monitor the websites that you’ve identified with broken links. As site owners update their content or make changes, broken links may get fixed without any further action from you.
Additionally, continue updating and maintaining your own content to ensure that the links you’ve suggested remain valid and valuable over time.
Step #5: Find Spammy Links
Identify any spammy or low-quality links in your backlink profile. These links can harm your website’s search rankings and reputation. Disavowing or removing such links can mitigate the negative impact.
Step #6: Assess Spammy Anchor Texts
Analyse anchor texts used in backlinks to check for over-optimisation or spammy practices. Opt for diverse, natural-sounding anchor texts that provide context and relevance to the linked content.
If you discover spammy anchor texts, you can take corrective action by disavowing some of them. Carefully select which ones you want to keep and which ones you want to remove as backlinks.
6 Ways To Boost Backlinks and Increase Your Rankings
A strong backlink profile is crucial for improving search engine rankings and increasing online visibility. But how can you increase your backlinks that adheres to Google Search guidelines?
Search Engine Journal has compiled a list of white hat link building techniques that will provide you with backlinks while avoiding search engine penalties. Take a look at the following practises:
Consider Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is an excellent way to acquire valuable backlinks from authoritative websites in your niche. By contributing high-quality, informative content to reputable blogs, you can showcase your expertise and attract a relevant audience to your site.
In addition, guest blogging can also be a way to exchange links. It offers a symbiotic relationship between you and the hosting blog, where both parties benefit from valuable backlinks.
However, it’s essential to avoid private blog networks (PBNs) or websites dedicated solely to linking back, as search engines penalise such practices.
Publish Original Research
Creating and publishing original research is a powerful method to attract backlinks from other websites. When you produce unique data, statistics, or insights, it becomes a valuable resource for researchers, journalists, and industry professionals.
They are more likely to link to your research as a credible source, boosting your backlink profile and enhancing your website’s authority.
Leverage Visual Content
Visual content, such as infographics, videos, and images, tends to attract more attention and shares from users. Compelling visual assets are highly shareable, increasing the likelihood of other websites linking to your content.
To maximise the impact, ensure that your visual content is relevant, visually appealing, and contains useful information that resonates with your target audience.
Create Step-by-Step Guides
Step-by-step guides are valuable resources that offer in-depth explanations or tutorials on a specific topic or process. These comprehensive guides are often cited and linked to as authoritative references.
By creating well-researched and comprehensive step-by-step guides, you position yourself as an industry expert and encourage other websites to link back to your content.
Create Roundup Blog Posts
Roundup blog posts involve curating insights, opinions, or tips from various experts in your industry. By reaching out to influencers and thought leaders for their input, you can compile a comprehensive roundup post.
When these experts share the published post, it creates opportunities for backlinks and exposure from their respective audiences, elevating your website’s authority.
Avoid Buying Links in Bulk
While it may be tempting to purchase backlinks in bulk to quickly boost your link profile, this practice can be detrimental in the long run. Search engines are vigilant in detecting paid and spammy links, and such tactics can lead to severe penalties or even de-indexing of your website.
Instead, focus on organic link building strategies that prioritise quality and relevance.
5 Recommended Tools To Perform Backlink Analysis
Backlink analysis is an essential aspect of SEO, and using the right tools can significantly simplify the process while providing valuable insights into your website’s backlink profile. Here are five highly recommended tools for conducting backlink analysis:
- Google Search Consoles
Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool provided by Google that offers valuable data on your website’s performance in Google’s search results. While GSC primarily focuses on various aspects of website performance, it also provides essential information about your backlinks.
- Links Report: GSC provides a report that shows which websites link to yours, the pages on your site with the most backlinks, and the anchor texts used in these links.
- Linking Domains: It allows you to view the number of unique domains linking to your website, providing insights into the diversity of your backlink profile.
Semrush is a comprehensive SEO tool that offers a wide range of features for conducting backlink analysis, competitor research, and keyword tracking.
- Backlink Analytics: Semrush’s Backlink Analytics tool provides a detailed overview of your backlink profile, including referring domains, top anchors, and historical backlink data.
- Competitor Backlink Analysis: You can also analyse your competitors’ backlink profiles to uncover link building opportunities and strategies.
Ahrefs is a powerful SEO tool that specialises in backlink analysis, competitive research, and keyword exploration.
- Backlink Analysis: Ahrefs offers extensive backlink data, including referring domains, referring pages, and anchor texts. You can also view the most linked-to content on your website.
- Competitor Comparison: Compare your backlink profile with your competitors to identify gaps and areas for improvement.
- SE Ranking
SE Ranking is an all-in-one SEO software that includes backlink analysis among its comprehensive suite of tools.
- Backlink Explorer: SE Ranking’s Backlink Explorer tool provides detailed backlink data, including referring domains, IPs, and anchor texts.
- Backlink Monitoring: You can monitor the status of your backlinks and receive alerts about lost or new backlinks.
- Monitor Backlinks
Monitor Backlinks is a dedicated backlink analysis tool that focuses on providing insights into your backlink profile and competitor link strategies.
- Backlink Tracking: Monitor Backlinks tracks your website’s backlinks and provides real-time updates on any changes to your link profile.
- Competitor Analysis: Analyse your competitors’ backlink profiles to identify their most valuable backlinks and potential opportunities for your site.
In conclusion, backlink analysis is a fundamental and inseparable part of a successful SEO strategy. It plays an important role in understanding the quantity and quality of links pointing to your website from other sites.
As a result, by performing backlink analysis, you’ll gain valuable insights into the current state of your site’s authority compared to your competitors’ sites. The data serves to pave your ways toward increasing your rankings in the search engine result pages (SERP).
As a link building agency, we understand the importance of backlink analysis as a means to develop a safe and effective link building strategy for our clients. Through our link building services we can effectively develop strategies to improve their backlinks while adhering to Google search guidelines.
In any case you need a helping hand, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Shoot us a message and our link building experts will gladly work on increasing your site’s backlink–all without the risk of penalties that could harm your rankings in the long run.
What is a backlink analysis?
Backlink analysis is a process of performing a complete audit of incoming links from other sites. These links are referred to as backlinks, which are visible as a part of your backlink profile.
How do you do backlink analysis?
Performing a backlink analysis is possible with the help of tools like Google Search Consoles, SEranking, or Ahrefs. You can start by assessing your backlink profile and develop strategies to enhance your backlinks from the given information.
Why is backlink analysis important?
Backlink analysis is important as backlinks, or links from other sites pointing to your sites, are top factors that determine your search engine rankings. From the insights, you can work on developing link building strategies that work.
How do you know if backlinks are good?
Backlinks are good when they’re coming from sites with high authority and credibility. Aside from that, the sites linking to you should be within your industry niche or have some degree of relevance. Otherwise, the links will be considered spammy.