An SEO journey is a repetitive process involving the implementation of strategies, allowing them to boil, then going back to those strategies to better them again and again.
It’s the essence of search engine optimization. Whatever goes up must be audited regularly for the ultimate performance.
That includes backlinks, onsite pages, websites, blogs, and keywords. These all are critical maintenance metrics in an ever-evolving, algorithm-driven digital world.
One of the most crucial aspects of optimal SEO performance is maintaining high-quality external backlinks, which helps maximize authority.
In this post, we will discuss how a backlink audit comes into play in maintaining optimal backlink performance, what you can find in a backlink audit report, and what you can do with these audit findings to improve your overall SEO performance.
Why do you need Backlink Audits?
There are thousands of spammy websites out there. And it’s not uncommon for these spammy sites to find and link back to your website.
Because Google determines your rank only after it has evaluated all the domains that link to your website, it’s crucial to monitor and assess the types of sources linking to your website and whether or not these are coming from reputable sites.
Are you aware of link schemes? Today it is a well-known fact that Google cracks down hard on these as they’re a poor user experience for anyone involved.
Google’s guidelines describe link schemes as “any link that tries to manipulate PageRank or a website’s ranking in Google search results can be considered an element of a link scheme and a breach of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This involves any behavior that manipulates links coming to your website or outgoing links from your website.”
Therefore, if you have any spammy, unnatural, or just low-quality links on your website, you could risk a penalty from Google. So, if you want to keep your backlink profile clean, you’ll need to perform regular backlink audits.
What can you find in the backlink audit reports?
A backlink audit process typically aims to analyze all links pointing to your website. However, this can be a rigorous process to do all on your own, and therefore, a top backlink audit tool can be of great help. Here is what a backlink audit tool can help you uncover:
- The number of backlinks you have and your website’s link building efforts so far;
- The overall quality of all your external links. You can do so by analyzing the overall health of your domains’ backlink profile with domain rating profile, URL rating distribution, relevance, and most frequently occurring anchor texts;
- The sections of the website that attract the most links. Such evaluation will help you track the most under-linked pages for you to focus on going forward;
- Potential threats. You can find all the paid links, spammy links, irrelevant or bad quality links, and any other unhealthy references of your domain online;
- Recommendations. Top backlink audit tools provide you with recommendations to add high-quality backlinks and flag irrelevant backlinks to enable you to improve your backlink profile;
- Competitive insights. You can quickly know where you stand against competitors on the number of backlinks, number of referring domains, domain rating, and links to domain ratio;
- And finally, the ability to remove or disavow links that have become harmful.
Here, the last point is particularly critical. Google varies its standpoint on various types of links regularly. As a result, a backlink that drives authority to the website can unexpectedly lose its potency. The search engine can even consider it spam. If your website has multiple of those, it will drop your rankings or can even apply a penalty.
How can you use a backlink audit to improve your overall SEO efforts?
The backlink audit findings can help improve the quality, relevancy, and accuracy of your backlinks and can positively impact your SEO rankings, search traffic, and brand reputation.
Boost your SEO Rankings
Backlinks are not just “good,” “neutral,” or “bad” for your organic rankings. But for today’s modern search crawlers, the context of backlinks has a more subtle impact on when you rank.
Let’s look at an example here: in 2010, Adobe Acrobat Reader notably ranked 1 for the term “click here.”
This happened because multiple pages were linked to their PDF reader with the anchor text “click here.”
Webmasters and SEO experts then used this example as proof that anchor texts played an influential ranking factor. However, some still claim that anchor text has been reduced as a factor because they believe this is no longer the case.
Even though it can also be because search engines simply have a list of anchor text “stop words” that they use to stop unnecessary manipulation.
Still, the context in which a link appears on a third-party site straightaway impacts what Google thinks is the essential topics discussed on the “target” page.
Improve the performance of your Search Traffic
The findings in backlink audit data are not just about increasing the quantity but also the quality of the traffic incoming to your website.
By giving laser-sharp focus to the context in your backlink profile, you can boost a search engine’s trust when they have a positive match for a search query. This also implies that you will not come up on non-relevant searches.
It is essential to understand this because less traffic is not always a bad thing, but only non-converting traffic is something you should be worried about.
Improve your Brand Reputation
Backlink audits are not all about gaining traffic. It is also about gaining reputation and authority. The links you keep on your website say a lot about you.
Understanding where your backlinks are coming from and figuring out the irrelevant or spammy neighborhoods will help you mitigate the risk of any fallout for your brand.
Even more important is to understand where on the reputed sites people are saying something detrimental about you.
There are high chances that these people can be competitors, unhappy customers, or even ex-employees whose bio links to your website to reduce authority!
As we round off this blog post, it’s worth restating that backlinks are among the most critical SEO ranking factors. Therefore, make sure that you audit your backlinks regularly.
However, it is also important to remember that SEO best practices constantly evolve, and your backlink audit strategy must adapt with time. The more you audit your backlinks, the more understanding you’ll gain on the type of links you want – and the type of links you would want to let go.
Keep in mind that a few top tools can be of great help. As the world of SEO evolves, always keep an eye out for new strategies, information, or tools that will make your backlink audit easier and more successful.
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