Do a Backlink Audit (5 Easy Steps)

A backlink audit is the method of analyzing the standard, amount, and relevance of hyperlinks pointing to your web site.

an infographic showing a website and multiple backlink pages pointing at the main one

A complete hyperlink audit may give you a gold mine of knowledge that may tremendously affect your search engine marketing and backlink technique.

So you possibly can construct higher hyperlinks and beat your rivals by outranking them in search outcomes.

On this article, we’ll run by way of a easy backlink audit course of you possibly can replicate in your personal website.

Be aware: We’ll be utilizing Semrush’s Backlink Audit, Backlink Analytics, and Hyperlink Constructing Instrument for this whole course of. Semrush instruments have the most important backlink database available on the market.

Let’s get began.

This step is a should. Evaluating your self to your rivals may give you lots of beneficial insights and reply necessary questions like:

  • Do you’ve gotten extra backlinks and referring domains than your rivals?
  • What does your hyperlink acquisition charge appear to be in comparison with your rivals?
  • What’s your Authority Rating? How does it examine to your competitors?

All of this issues.

As a result of the stronger your backlink profile is, the higher you’ll find yourself rating in search outcomes. Which may translate to extra site visitors to your website.

To begin your evaluation, go to the Backlink Analytics software. Enter your area identify and click on “Analyze.”

enter your domain to Backlink Analytics tool

Then, within the “Overview” tab, enter a few of your rivals’ domains and click on “Examine.”

compare your website with competitors in “Overview” tab

You’ll discover a number of information factors to see whether or not you’re trending in the correct route along with your hyperlink constructing technique.

What You Ought to Analyze

Within the “Overview” tab, evaluate the:

  • Backlinks, Referring Domains, and Referring IPs: To estimate how massive your backlink footprint is in comparison with the competitors. Typically, the upper the numbers, the stronger your backlink profile is.
  • Authority Rating: To find out the standard of your web site. This high quality is measured on a scale from 1 to 100. The upper the quantity, the higher high quality the area is.
a table in the “Overview” tab with columns showing backlinks, referring domains, referring IPs and authority scores
  • Hyperlink Attributes: To determine linking patterns and see what quantity of your hyperlinks are “observe” and nofollow. “Observe” hyperlinks affect your rankings as a result of they switch hyperlink fairness, however nofollow hyperlinks don’t. So, you wish to prioritize constructing “observe” hyperlinks.
"Link Attributes" page shows a graph comparing link attributes
  • Referring Domains: To search out out whether or not your referring domains are rising persistently. Or whether or not your referring domains development is stagnant. And see how your development compares to your competitors.
"Referring Domains" page shows a graph comparing referring domains over time

The evaluation above ought to reveal strengths you possibly can capitalize on and weaknesses you’ll wish to overcome.

For instance, if you happen to discover your hyperlink development is stagnant and your rivals have extra backlinks than you, then begin constructing hyperlinks.

Learn our full information on hyperlink constructing methods to learn the way.

Now that you understand how your backlink profile stacks up towards your competitors, it’s time to dig deeper and analyze every hyperlink individually.

Why?

Some backlinks are extra helpful than others. And if in case you have lots of low-quality backlinks, they’re not going to maneuver the needle in your website.

Or worse, they might set off a guide motion penalty from Google (that means some or your whole pages gained’t seem in search outcomes). Particularly in case your website was concerned in any link spam (hyperlinks supposed to control natural rankings).

You should use Semrush’s Backlink Audit software to investigate your backlinks. 

First, begin a undertaking, configure the software, and click on “Begin Backlink Audit.” 

As soon as the audit is full, you’ll see an in depth report. Like this:

"Overview" tab in Backlink Audit tool

What You Ought to Analyze

Within the “Overview” tab, take a look at the:

  • General Toxicity Rating: To see whether or not you’ve gotten a excessive rating, that means there are too many low-quality hyperlinks pointing to your web site
  • Analyzed Backlinks: To search out out whether or not the quantity is greater than what you anticipated it to be, which may point out a damaging search engine marketing assault. Normally, you need not do something. Google is fairly good at ignoring link-related damaging search engine marketing assaults.
  • Referring Domains: To see what number of domains hyperlink to your website. A number of hyperlinks coming from a single area gained’t have a lot affect from a rating standpoint. The secret is to construct hyperlinks from as many distinctive and related domains as potential.
important metrics in the "Overview" tab in Backlink Audit tool

The “Overview” tab provides you a really high-level view. To delve deeper, you could go to the “Audit” tab.

There, you’ll see all of the backlinks pointing to your website.

“Audit” tab shows backlinks pointing to your site

From right here, take a look at:

  • The URLs: To see whether or not they come from official web sites 
  • Anchor textual content: To see whether or not the anchor textual content is related to the linked web page. Excessive-quality backlinks are inclined to have anchor textual content that’s related to the linked web page’s content material, whereas low-quality backlinks are inclined to have unnatural or spammy anchor textual content (i.e., one thing random).
  • Authority Rating (AS) of the linking area: To gauge the reputability of the linking area, which impacts your search rankings. A better AS means a extra optimistic affect on rankings. A decrease AS means a much less optimistic affect on rankings.
  • Toxicity Rating (TS) of the linking web page: To measure how doubtlessly dangerous the linking web page could possibly be. The Toxicity Rating ranges from 0 to 100. The decrease the TS, the upper the hyperlink’s high quality. The upper the TS, the decrease the hyperlink’s high quality. You possibly can click on on the TS rating to see why Semrush considers a selected hyperlink as low-quality or dangerous. 

The subsequent step is deciding whether or not to disavow or take away any dangerous backlinks.

Google says to do that:

  • If in case you have a major variety of low-quality hyperlinks constructed utilizing techniques which are towards Google’s guidelines
  • In case you’ve acquired a guide motion penalty from Google

In case you’ve intentionally violated Google’s tips and constructed an inflow of hyperlinks in ways in which violate Google’s tips, you danger every thing by way of search engine marketing.

You’ll obtain an alert in Google Search Console notifying you of a guide motion penalty.

You possibly can examine for these penalties by going to “Safety & Guide Actions,” after which “Guide actions” in Google Search Console. 

In case your web site hasn’t been issued any penalties, you may see a inexperienced examine mark.

Like this:

Green checkmark with "No issues detected" text

You possibly can take care of guide motion penalties in one among two methods: 

  • Take away: Reaching out to linking web sites and asking them to delete hyperlinks
  • Disavow: Disavowing hyperlinks utilizing Google’s Disavow tool

First, attain out to web sites and see if you may get these hyperlinks eliminated.

You should use Semrush’s Backlink Audit software for this goal.

Right here’s how:

1. Go to the “Audit” tab of the software and filter for hyperlinks which have a Toxicity Rating of 60 or extra. These are doubtless going to be low-quality, dangerous hyperlinks. 

2. Test the packing containers on the left-hand facet. Then, click on the “Take away” button, choose “Area” or “URL,” and ship them to your “Take away” record.

where to send links to "Remove list" in Backlink Audit tool

 3. Navigate to the “Take away” tab and join your electronic mail

connect your email in the “Remove” tab

4. Click on the “Ship” button subsequent to one of many hyperlinks

“Send” button highlighted in the top right corner

5. Write an electronic mail requesting hyperlink elimination. The recipient’s electronic mail tackle will populate robotically. If it doesn’t, you possibly can add it manually by discovering it on their web site.

example of an email requesting link removal

6. Click on “Ship and proceed to subsequent.”

“Send and proceed to next” button highlighted

You’ll have the ability to preserve monitor of your requests in Semrush and in your personal mailbox.

If the web site house owners don’t take away the hyperlinks to your website, disavowing is your remaining choice. 

To do that, click on the “Disavow” button to ship your dangerous hyperlinks to the “Disavow” record. 

“Disavow” button highlighted in the top right corner

Subsequent, go to the “Disavow” tab, export its contents in a .txt file, after which add it to the Google disavow tool.

upload links to the Google disavow tool

To study extra in regards to the disavow process, take a look at our detailed information on disavowing backlinks.

Be aware: Be extraordinarily cautious when disavowing hyperlinks. Disavowing backlinks when it’s pointless can severely hurt your rankings. 

This step is about ensuring you get well any hyperlinks you used to have that you just misplaced.

Constructing backlinks takes effort and time. So, it pays to reclaim them while you lose them over time.

This occurs for a lot of totally different causes:

  • The creator eliminated your hyperlink from the content material
  • The linking web page has been redirected to a different web page
  • The creator changed your hyperlink with one thing else
  • The linking web page by chance received deleted 

Use Semrush’s Hyperlink Constructing software to get well your hard-earned hyperlinks. 

First, configure the software. After that, go to the “Prospects” tab and click on on “Misplaced Backlinks.” 

“Lost Backlinks” metric shows 2376 lost backlinks in Link Building tool

You’ll see hyperlinks that you just used to have.

From right here, open every hyperlink individually. You’ll have the ability to see details about why your hyperlink disappeared.

For instance, if it’s returning a 404 error, it could possibly be as a result of the web page was deleted. 

Then, you might attain out to the web site proprietor and ask them to reinstate the web page.

A easy electronic mail like this might do the trick:

Hey [Name],

Simply got here throughout your ____ web page and located it’s damaged.

Did you do that on goal or was it deleted by chance?

In any case, having a damaged web page in your web site is just not good for UX or search engine marketing. 

So, I might advocate reinstating the web page.

No strain if you happen to don’t wish to achieve this, although. 🙂 It’s all as much as you. I simply thought it could be useful to succeed in out and allow you to know.

Thanks,

[Your Name]

A backlink audit is extra than simply analyzing your backlink profile and reclaiming your misplaced hyperlinks. It might additionally enable you to spot new alternatives to construct high-quality hyperlinks. 

There are two principal methods to do that:

  1. Finding out what content material varieties entice essentially the most backlinks to your website. So you possibly can double down on producing the identical forms of content material to proceed attracting hyperlinks.
  2. Researching your rivals’ hyperlink constructing methods and replicating the identical technique in your website.

Right here’s how you are able to do each.

To take a look at what content material varieties entice hyperlinks to your website, go to the “Listed Pages” tab in Backlink Analytics software in your web site.

You’ll see your most linked-to content material.

“Indexed Pages” tab in Backlink Analytics tool

In case you see that listicle-style posts are the highest hyperlink earners, create extra listicle posts.

In case you see how-to guides attracting hyperlinks, create extra how-to posts.

Now, let’s go over how one can analysis your rivals’ backlinks to develop new hyperlink constructing methods.

Open Semrush’s Backlink Analytics software, enter a competitor’s area, after which click on “Analyze.” 

enter a competitor’s domain in Backlink Analytics tool

Then, go to the “Referring Domains” tab. 

You’ll see all of the web sites which are linking to that competitor. Like this:

“Referring Domains” tab in Backlink Analytics tool

Have a look at the domains that steadily hyperlink to them. Or forms of web sites that hyperlink to them essentially the most.

For instance, if you happen to see your competitor is getting hyperlinks from in style media shops like BBC, TechCrunch, and so on., this most likely means they’re placing efforts into digital PR.

You would do the identical in your personal website. And earn hyperlinks that manner.

Learn our information to digital PR to learn the way. 

In case your backlink audit reveals that you just lack sufficient high-quality hyperlinks to stay aggressive in your market, constructing extra of those hyperlinks must be your precedence.

You should use Semrush’s Hyperlink Constructing Instrument for this.

The software robotically scans the net for related web sites you possibly can construct hyperlinks from. Even higher, you possibly can contact the web site house owners from the software itself.

To get began, arrange a undertaking within the software.

After that, navigate to the “Prospects” tab. Right here, you’ll see web sites you possibly can attain out to for backlinks.

“Prospects” tab in Link Building Tool

Manually evaluate every prospect and click on “To In Progress” to ship the promising ones to the “In Progress” tab. 

“To In Progress” button highlighted

On the “In Progress” tab, click on on the “Contact” button subsequent to one of many web sites you wish to contact.

“Contact” button highlighted

From right here, you possibly can craft and ship your outreach electronic mail.

an example of an outreach email

And be sure you observe hyperlink constructing outreach greatest practices and provides web site house owners a powerful motive to hyperlink to your website.