A backlink audit is a thorough examination of a website’s backlinks. These are links to the website from other websites or sources. A backlink audit helps you understand where these links are coming from, whether they are good quality, and how they are impacting your website ranking. Typically, you will need an SEO tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to carry out a full backlink audit.
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Inbound marketers know just how important SEO is for lead generation. Without good SERP rankings, content cannot perform as intended. That’s why choosing the right keywords, and content optimization, are critical tools for any SEO marketer.
However, a well-rounded SEO strategy is about more than just the content itself. It’s critical that your website provides the best possible foundation for your content and keyword performance. This form of SEO is called technical SEO.
Technical SEO consists of elements like optimized meta descriptions, site load speed, website structure and crawlability, and more. While each of these can impact your search engine ranking, backlinks are widely considered to be one of the most important elements of technical SEO.
A backlink is any website that links to your website and your content. Other websites might refer to your website as a resource, or some specific valuable insight that you provide. These backlinks tell Google that you’re providing valuable information, and thereby the search engine ranks your website higher in the search results by allocating a higher “authority score”.
So, how do you find your backlinks? And, how do you know whether they’re helping or hindering your SERP performance? A backlink audit can provide you with the information you need to benefit from high-authority backlinks.
What is a Backlink Audit?
A backlink audit essentially does what it says on the tin. You analyze your backlinks to find which links are performing for you, and which ones are negatively impacting your ability to rank. The higher your authority score, the better your content and website perform.
Backlinks are critical to increasing your authority score. However, not all backlinks are made the same. Google will rank your backlinks according to the value that they also offer. Ideally, you want to gather backlinks from websites with high authority for the maximum impact on your own authority.
Use a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to look through your backlinks list. You should be able to see which websites are linking to you, and which page on those websites, and find the quality of each link.
If you’re website or content isn’t performing as it should, or you’ve noticed a drop in search traffic, your backlink audit might provide the answer.
Understanding Your Backlinks
Regardless of the tool you use to conduct your backlink audit, there will be some key terms that you need to know in order to understand each backlink and its impact on your website.
Just as it sounds, a quality backlink is a backlink that is impacting your website’s ranking positively. These will typically be from high authority websites that indicate that your content or website is a valuable resource within your industry. These can be difficult to obtain, but have a considerable impact, compared to several poor backlinks.
A toxic backlink is the opposite of a quality backlink. Unfortunately, most websites tend to gather these from spam sites over time. The older your website, the more toxic backlinks you’re likely to have. Toxic backlinks are backlinks from websites with poor authority scores, or are spam websites that link to your website with no purpose.
Google analyzes every website to assign an authority score, and can understand the purpose (or lack thereof) of websites like these. Thankfully, this means that toxic or spammy backlinks have a lesser impact on your authority score.
SEO tools do provide you with the option to remove backlinks from your list. This is called “disavowing backlinks”. There are varied opinions on whether you should disavow toxic or spammy backlinks. It might seem that removing the negative links makes sense, but mass disavowing can also have a negative impact on your SEO.
However, it is a useful tool to remove backlinks that aren’t relevant or are simply incorrect. Just bear in mind that it’s important to use this tool sparingly.
How to Improve Your Backlinks
So, you’ve taken a look at your backlinks and conducted a full audit. Typically, without an active effort or existing authority within the industry, most websites have an average authority score and backlink profile. What do you do next?
Increasing your backlinks and improving your authority score is a challenge. Typically, you need to work collaboratively with others in your industry in order to benefit. However, there are a few ways that you can provide valuable insights, and start to generate quality backlinks over time.
Any content writer knows just how useful statistics can be. Where you need to make a key point, statistics are critical to back up your content. Content writers often spend a lot of time looking for the right statistics.
Consider carrying out your own surveys and research, and using this data within your content. What statistics would you benefit from? Chances are, other writers would find them useful too. Over time, this should start to generate new backlinks to your survey findings.
Broken and Out of Date Links
Tools like Ahrefs allow you to analyze any website and find its broken links. Broken links negatively impact a website’s SEO, as it affects your customer’s experience.
Offer valuable content or links that the website could use to replace broken links. You’re doing them a favor by identifying their broken links and improving their SEO, while gaining a backlink. This will take some time and some manual outreach, but could pay dividends with the right website.
Press releases are a great way to quickly gain a backlink. Most PR websites will include a link to your website or content as part of the PR package.
If you’re looking for a way to quickly build up a backlink profile, and budget isn’t necessarily a problem, PR sites could be the answer you’re looking for.
Outside of statistics, writing and producing ultimate guides can be a great way to start generating new backlinks. This stems from the basic rules of content and inbound marketing – provide value.
Sites like HubSpot and SEMrush have nailed this strategy. For many marketing-based terms and strategies, their ultimate guides rank right at the top. As a result, more and more websites link to them when they need a website with authority to back up their points.
Often, the best results are achieved through building organic working relationships. While manual outreach can be time-consuming, it can pay off to build genuine connections with others in your industry.
Consider offering a collaboration on backlinks, and ensuring the person at the end of the email or outreach campaign benefits from the connection, too. The more connections you have in the industry, the better you can work together to improve your performance.
At Nituno, we understand the importance of inbound marketing and SEO. We also understand that these strategies can take time and resources. We work with B2B tech companies to build a holistic marketing strategy that builds a solid foundation, alongside quick results. Get in touch with us to discuss the best approach for your business.