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Google looks at the quality and quantity of backlinks while ranking websites.
This makes link-building an inevitable part of any off-page SEO strategy.
If you want to revise your link-building strategy, you need to know where you stand.
And backlink analysis is the way to do that.
Not only that, but it can also help you outrank your SEO competitors.
In this guide, we’ll tell you:
Backlinks are links from one page of a website to another one on a different website.
Google and other search engines look at these backlinks while ranking web pages. Typically, a higher number of backlinks translate to higher search rankings.
Let’s look at an example.
Let’s say you’ve written an in-depth blog post around “link-building analysis”.
While researching for a similar topic, another blogger finds your post helpful.
They link your webpage within their blog post as a reference.
The link pointing to your website is a backlink that can improve your organic rankings.
In order to avoid that, you need to analyze your site’s backlinks on a regular basis.
Think of it this way.
You go to your doctor whenever you notice something is not right with your health.
But, you might also go to your doctor once in a while to make sure everything is working the way it should.
Backlink analysis is the SEO version of that.
Maybe you feel your site should be ranking higher?
Or, perhaps you were expecting better results from your recent off-page efforts?
Backlink analysis also tells you how your website’s performance is in comparison with your competitors’.
Done right, it can give you a sneak peek into your competitors’ strategies, allowing you to implement what actually works.
That way, you can keep identifying new growth opportunities for your site.
Let’s dive into the link-building analysis process now.
Obviously, you’d need to analyze your own website’s backlinks to identify loopholes and growth opportunities.
But, competitor backlinks analysis can help you gain first-page Google rankings more quickly.
Before you design a backlinking strategy for your site, create a list of your competitors.
You might already have a few websites in mind, but if you don’t, look for ones that are selling the same products as you.
Or, websites that are currently ranking on the first page of Google for your target keywords.
It’s a good idea to let a good auditing tool do the task for you.
Now, there’s no shortage of SEO tools out there. For backlinks analysis, most tools have a dedicated feature.
We’ll talk about a few best backlink checker tools in a bit.
After you pick a backlink analysis tool, start analyzing the websites.
The cool thing is most tools are super easy to use.
So, all you’d need to do is copy and paste a website’s link and hit enter.
Industry-leading SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush provide a pretty in-depth overview of your site.
What you want to do is find the information you’re looking for.
For now, we need to analyze backlinks.
Here are the metrics you want to focus on:
Generally speaking, more backlinks mean higher search engine rankings.
So, if your website isn’t ranking on the first page, it could be because there are not enough backlinks to push it upwards.
The referring domains metric tells you how many domains or websites are hyperlinking to your website.
Higher referring domains typically mean higher authority and rankings.
Top linked pages are web pages that get the most number of backlinks from other sites.
They tell you which type of content is more appropriate for backlinking.
After finding these metrics, compare your site with competitors and see where you lack.
One of the first things you need to look at while analyzing your site’s backlinks is anchor texts.
An anchor text is a word or phrase that hyperlinks your web page.
It can help you identify backlinks that are potentially hurting your site’s rankings.
One way to filter out those backlinks is by checking the anchor text report in the tool of your choice.
See if the anchor text of a backlink is relevant to your content.
When an anchor looks like junk or spam, it most likely is.
Next, create a separate list of those.
Now, you want those spammy backlinks delinked from your site.
One strategy is to reach out to the webmaster and ask them to remove that backlink.
But, that’s a long shot.
A more practical option would be to ask Google to ignore or remove those backlinks.
We call it “Disavowing” certain types of backlinks.
All you’d have to do is upload the list of those particular web pages or domains on Google Search Console.
Here are the guidelines from Google:
Remember, your goal here is to remove only the spammy or unwanted backlinks.
Moving on, spammy backlinks come in a variety of forms.
Some are even created to hurt your SEO rankings on purpose.
How do you identify those?
Check the ccTLD distribution of your backlinks.
The country code top-level domain of a web page refers to the last portion of a URL.
It tells you the country of origin.
But, not all backlinks coming from a country-specific domain are spammy.
Just the ones that don’t make sense.
For instance, if a good chunk of your target audience is from Haiti, you might see a lot of .ht backlinks, which is fine.
It’s the unfamiliar TLDs that are a red flag.
Next, you want to check your broken or lost links.
These are the URLs that no more link to your site for whatever reason. If you don’t do anything about these links, you’d be missing out big time.
For one, they could help you rank higher for your target queries.
Plus, ignoring them could make crawling your website difficult for Google.
Here’s how you can fix the broken or lost links issue:
Now that you know where your site stands, it’s time to analyze your competitors.
Competitor research can help you achieve your SEO goals quickly.
By analyzing their backlinking strategy, you get to know what’s working for them.
See what your SEO competitors are doing and try to replicate their link-building strategies.
The cooler thing is that it’s pretty easy, too, thanks to powerful All-in-one SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush.
All you need to do is enter your competitor’s domain, hit enter, and go to the backlinks report.
Go through the backlinks. You want to filter out the ones that are high-quality and won’t hurt your SEO.
As you might already know, the higher the DA (Domain authority) of a website, the more link juice it contains.
So, filter out the ones that have a high DA (more than 40).
It’s a metric designed by Moz, so you’d have to use their free DA checker.
In case you’re using Ahrefs, it metric would be DR (Domain Rating).
Next, you want to make sure that the sites are actually indexed by Google.
Use the following search string:
Any site that’s not indexed could be an expired domain or hit by a Google penalty. Avoid links from such domains.
Look at the following criteria while analyzing a competing domain:
There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to the do-follow/no-follow ratio.
Just make sure to keep a nice balance.
Also, avoid using anchor texts that exactly match your target keyword.
Mix it with other anchor text types like branded and partial match.
By doing that, you should be able to find the best backlinks of your top competitors.
Next, use different link-building strategies to replicate competitors’ backlink profiles.
Also, if you’re analyzing multiple domains, there’s a good chance that a few backlinks will repeat.
So, when you create the final list, make sure to remove the duplicates.
Now that you know how to analyze backlinks, let’s talk about the best backlink analyzers.
There is no shortage of backlink checker tools.
The features, prices, and more importantly, the results can vary depending on the tool.
Ideally, you want to use multiple of them to double-check your results before executing an SEO strategy.
But, they can be pricey.
So, do your homework and pick the one that you can rely on.
Here are a few options.
Google Search Console is a great place to get started for free.
It gives you a list of websites linking to your site.
Just go to “Links” after logging in and going to your property.
However, it doesn’t let you analyze your competition.
Ahrefs is one of the most reliable and trusted tools in the SEO community.
It’s so powerful that anyone with zero SEO experience can use it for backlinks analysis.
All you have to do is put your competitor’s domain in the search box, hit enter, and go to the “Backlinks” report.
The only caveat is that it’s pretty expensive, especially for someone who’s just starting.
On the basic package, you’ll have to pay a $99 retainer every month.
SEMrush is another popular SEO tool with a powerful backlink checker.
The online tool lets you compare your results with 3 competitors at a time.
Although it’s a paid tool, everyone gets 10 free searches.
So, you can check out its potential before buying a subscription.
These were 3 of the best backlink analyzers out there.
Use Google Search Console to track your site’s backlinks for free.
If you want an all-in-one SEO solution, Ahrefs or SEMrush are two of the best options.
It’s time to replicate your competitor’s backlink profile.
To build a particular backlink, use the same technique as your competitor.
For instance, if it’s a guest post, reach out to the referring domain and ask the webmaster for a guest post opportunity.
If it’s a Quora link, log into your Quora account, answer a few relevant questions, and leave your link there.
Whatever strategy you use, one thing remains constant: The value you provide with your content upfront.
You don’t want to appear as a spammer, so your first goal should be to help people with high-quality content.
By now, you should know how to analyze backlinks.
But, managing your SEO can be overwhelming, especially when you have multiple sites and/or have a tight schedule.
The cool thing is you can always get someone experienced to do it for you. By doing that, you’re essentially keeping your focus on work that requires your attention.
But, where to hire backlink analysis experts without breaking the bank?
Legiit hosts great talent when it comes to SEO, so you can outsource your tasks without thinking twice.
Let’s make finding the right talent easier for you; here’s a great option:
The service offers everything you need to find link-building opportunities, including:
The best thing is you get all that for a mere $15.
Once you have a list of backlinks, you can outsource the link-building part to a different freelancer.
Here’s a great option:
The service offers 100 manual backlinks from a variety of platforms for a measly $20.
And the process they use is fully Google-compliant.
Backlink analysis is a crucial part of any SEO strategy.
It helps you understand your SEO competitors on a deeper level and get ahead of them easily.
But, although it’s a fairly straightforward process, it does require continuous maintenance.
If you want to use SEO freelancers to do everything for you, Legiit is a great place to get started.