Backlinks are the most important currency in link building. And to keep your backlink profile clean, you must know a few things (at least) about backlink management. Don’t worry, because I’ve got it all for you. We’ll discuss important techniques, tools, and a couple of tips to manage your external links.
Before, it was just about the number of backlinks. If you have more links than your competitor, your page will appear first before them. Search engines have become smarter and refuse to be manipulated by digital marketers. That’s why it’s necessary to examine the link quality of any incoming links.
But why do you need to check it from time to time? Why do you need to manage your backlinks? Can the quality of the link change?
Regardless, for those interested in building links for local SEO, you should check out our ‘Link Building for Local SEO‘ article.
Why Manage Your Backlink Profile?
Well, yes. High-quality backlinks can be good and relevant for your site today but can go sour after a few weeks. If you have backlinks of poor quality, it can affect your search engine rankings. Remember that your off-page SEO is as important as your on-page SEO.
You need to manage your backlink profile to:
- Get rid of bad links on your site
- Avoid Google penalties
- Avoid being removed from an index due to a broken backlink
- Achieve a good backlink profile
You need to manage your backlink profile to make sure that you’re getting external links from relevant content. If your linked pages come from spammy sites and sketchy domains, Google might see this as manipulating the search algorithm. Your site can get penalties if you build low-quality links.
Google and other search engines look for the quality of the links to rank your page. The quality of your links remains one of the important ranking factors for search engines. If you manage your backlink profile regularly, you can look for bad links that can pose harm to your website’s SEO success.
Managing a whole backlink profile with thousands of links is tedious. The goal is to retain organic links and remove harmful links from your site. This requires you to do some data analysis for every backlink that you have.
Useful Tips and Techniques for Backlink Management
For SEO strategists, here’s a list of techniques to manage your backlinks. Along with these techniques are useful tips to help make the task easier for you. These techniques will help you manage your backlinks more efficiently.
1. Optimize Your Link Building Campaigns
First on the list is to optimize your link building campaigns. This technique takes precedence over everything else because it makes a good link profile. If you have a good link building campaign, you won’t have to stress out in removing harmful backlinks on your site.
LinkDoctor™ recommends using white hat link building strategies to make sure you’re getting relevant backlinks. This is the right way to build links and it will also minimize the risk from Google penalties. Our blogger outreach services employ white hat link building strategies for our outreach campaigns.
For backlink management to work, you must build backlinks the proper way. Making sure that new links on your site are relevant and valuable will lessen the need to manage backlinks.
However, there’s nothing you can do if a website closes down or the webmaster removed your link. You can still lose these links that you already have. Treat this technique as a preemptive strategy for your link profile.
Also read: How to get High PR Backlinks
Always check the link profile of your referring domains. You can’t control the quality of all your inbound links. If you find potentially malicious websites pointing back to your site, disavow these links (more on this later). What you can control is the quality of the links on your campaigns.
Target your campaigns towards legitimate websites with good link profiles. Check the Domain Ranking (DR) and Domain Authority (DA) of your prospect website first before asking for a backlink. This makes sure that the quality of the links you’re getting is good.
2. Check the Spam Score of Your Backlinks
Consider checking if your backlinks are spammy. You can measure this by checking the Spam Score of a backlink. It’s a metric developed by Moz to check how spammy your links are based on Google web crawlers. Spam Score can also be a measure of how trustworthy a website is.
To manage your backlinks, you should avoid backlinks coming from spammy sites. Here are some qualities of a spammy link:
- Comes from low authority sites
- Unusually high spike in traffic coming from countries outside your target audience
- Accepts low-quality guest posts for links
- Spammy comments on blog posts
- Large site with few links
- Low link diversity
To identify the spam score of your backlinks, you can use Moz Link Explorer Tool and check the Spam Score on the toolbar on the left side of the screen.
Here’s an example of the data given by the tool. This is the Moz score of the spammy website.
Spam score isn’t that problematic if you only have a few. But if you accumulate backlinks with high spam scores, your score might be affected as well. This can affect your website’s SEO performance and drive organic traffic away.
A spam score of 1-30% is considered a low spam score. Try to maintain your backlinks around this range to avoid getting your page flagged by Google.
However, a high spam score does not necessarily mean that the site is spammy. It’s a measure of a variety of signals that tells if a website can be penalized or not. Thus, if you see a backlink with a high spam score, it’s a cause for an investigation. Check the content and its relevance to your content before disavowing the backlink.
3. Monitor and Claim Lost Backlinks
Backlinks can be lost in a couple of ways. It can be because a referring page became a 404 page or the backlink has been removed by the webmaster. One thing is for sure though: there won’t be any warning when you’re about to lose a backlink.
It’s necessary to monitor backlinks and see if your links are still active. If you notice a broken link on your site, consider claiming the lost backlink. You can follow these steps for broken link building:
- Check for broken links on your site. You can use the Broken Link Checker tool for free and find the location of the lost link in your HTML.
- Contact the webmaster and notify them that there’s a broken page on their site. If your link has been replaced, you can ask and persuade them to retain your link.
- After you re-establish the lost backlink, check the response of the referring page if it’s working.
Also read: Web 2.0 Backlinks
When monitoring your backlinks, check for the link velocity of your pages. It’s a measure of how fast (or slow) a page gains backlinks. The link velocity of your page can be a determining factor if your page will rank or not.
If you’re building links too fast, to the point that it’s unusual, Google can see this as a negative signal. Google bots will check your site if you’re manipulating their search algorithm because of the sudden influx of backlinks. However, if you’re building too slow, competitors will bypass you in site rankings.
4. Set Alerts for Lost or Broken Backlinks
There are SEO tools that allow you to set alerts and notifications when your website loses a backlink. You can track backlinks and make a list of lost backlinks that you want to reclaim. By setting alerts, you can act quickly on removed backlinks before your competitors claim them.
For example, Monitor Backlinks Tool can send you alerts when you gain a new backlink or lose one. These tools give a real-time update on your backlinks so you can monitor them regularly. By continuously monitoring your links, you can maintain your link profile to where you want it to be.
Set alerts for both lost and gained backlinks. A lost backlink (or a new one) from a high authority domain can make or break your SERP ranking.
5. Set Google Alerts to Monitor Competitor’s Backlinks
Tracking your competitor’s backlinks can give you a lot of insight into how to manage your backlinks. Google Alerts will notify you of any updates regarding new opportunities for link building. It can show you brand mentions of your competitors and compare them to your brand mentions.
You can set up this tool to monitor backlinks of competitors by following the steps below:
- Go to google.com/alerts and type the keywords you want to track.
- Select the “Show Options” below the search bar where you can modify the alerts you’re going to get.
- You can change how often you’re getting alerts from Google and from what source are you getting alerts. You can get alerts from brand mentions on a blog post, news article, or other web materials.
- Choose the language and region of the content.
- Select a delivery email address where you will receive the notifications.
Knowing the techniques employed by your direct competitors to gain backlinks is crucial in optimizing your link building strategies. Monitoring how your competitors move will give you new ideas and opportunities to have a good backlink profile.
You can also set alerts for negative keywords that link to your site. These negative keywords can affect your SEO and search visibility. If you’re doing e-commerce link building, these negative keywords can make your product appear on irrelevant searches and can ultimately cost you money.
In backlink management, you only want to rank for relevant keywords. These negative keywords can drag your ranking because of a lack of relevance to your content. By doing thorough keyword research, you can filter necessary and unnecessary keywords on your content.
6. Track Trust Flow and Citation Flow of Backlinks
Trust Flow and Citation Flow are metrics provided by MajesticSEO. These metrics measure if a website is trustworthy in the eyes of Google and its users. Trust Flow measures the link popularity and reputation while Citation Flow measures high-quality citations and influence of the link.
Generally, higher scores on these two metrics indicate that the backlinks you have are trustworthy. This will also increase the Trust Flow of your website if you link to other sites that have a high rating.
MajesticSEO also has a Majestic Topic filter that shows you the relevance of the topics of your backlinks. This software has topic tags that sort backlinks according to the content. If you’re in the SEO industry and you found backlinks with health-related topics, you should investigate the relevance of these backlinks to your website.
7. Check Dofollow vs. Nofollow Ratio
There are two types of backlinks that are pointing back to your domain. These are Dofollow and Nofollow links. These are tags that signal Google whether to pass link equity or not. And the ratio between the two can affect how Google sees your link building strategy.
Since links with a rel=”nofollow” tag do not pass link juice, you don’t have to stress too much on your nofollow links. You have to monitor dofollow backlinks more because they can affect your SEO efforts. Having dofollow links from low-quality websites can also affect your website’s performance in SERP.
The ratio between dofollow and nofollow is not definite. You can have more nofollow tags than dofollow or vice versa. However, if the ratio between the dofollow vs. nofollow link is around 9:1, then Google might see this as an absurd linking pattern.
When managing your backlinks, take some time to check the ratio of your dofollow links from your nofollows. Having too many dofollow links can cause you some trouble with Google while having too many nofollow links won’t get you any link juice from your backlinks.
The key is to maintain the balance between your dofollow and nofollow links. Some might say 70% dofollow and 30% nofollow is the best one, but it is borderline dangerous. The best thing to do is to gain dofollow backlinks from relevant pages and nofollow links from publicity websites.
As long as you’re getting new links from relevant pages, it’s a win for your website. However, watch out for dofollow links from poor-quality websites as these can cause headaches rather than more search visibility.
8. Measure the Impact of Backlinks on Search Engines
The difference in the quality of your current backlinks can affect your visibility on search engines. Some tools can quantify the impact of a backlink on your website. You can use these tools to see which backlinks are performing and which are dragging you down.
You can calculate the Link Quality Score by combining 4 different factors.
- Domain Authority (best score of 4)
- Relevance (best score of 3)
- Site Quality (best score of 2)
- Engagement (best score of 1)
A DA of 70 and above will get you a Link Quality Score of 4. You’ll get a score of 3 for DA 50-69. If your backlink has DA 30-49, you can give it a score of 2. And if it’s below 29, give it a score of 1.
This score will also quantify the relevance of your backlink to your page. If you’re an SEO reseller, a good chunk of your backlinks should come from SEO websites for them to have a relevance score of 3. If your links come from an unrelated niche, you’re likely to get a lower score.
Site quality, however, is a bit tricky to quantify. The important thing is the quality of the backlink’s content. If a referring domain produces high-quality content, you can give it a confident score of 2.
Engagement is straightforward and easier to measure. All you have to do is to check if your backlinks have enough engagements on different social media platforms.
The quality of the backlink has been a heavy factor that Google considers. You can use this information to assess your strategies and set clear goals for more targeted link building. If you want to make your backlink profile better, remove backlinks with a link quality score lower than 4.
9. Disavow Unnecessary Backlinks and Retain High-Quality Backlinks
The last thing to do is to disavow unnecessary backlinks and retain your current backlinks. Backlinks that pose potential harm to your website should be removed.
To disavow links from your site:
- Go to Google disavow links tool.
- Specify what links you want to disavow. Create a list (one URL or domain per line) and save it in .txt format.
- Upload the list on the tool and select which property you want to disavow the links from.
- Check if the links have been disavowed.
Before uploading the list of the links to disavow, double-check it first. Once a link has been disavowed, you lose that link. Make sure you’ve only listed the suspicious links on your site.
The list should also be complete when you upload it on the tool. If you want to add new URLs to disavow, you’ll have to reupload the whole list again.
10. Check the Referral Traffic You’re Getting From Your Backlinks
Backlinks also give you referral traffic. This traffic comes from the referring domain that’s looking for relevant sites and came across your anchor text. Referral traffic is also a good measure of whether to remove or retain a backlink.
You need to keep the backlink if:
- If it brings a high volume of referral traffic
- If it has a huge fan-base that can be your audience
You can remove the backlink if:
- If it doesn’t bring any referral traffic to your site
- Spammy websites that have a spammy audience-base
- If the domain has very low traffic and irrelevant
Backlinks are like votes of confidence towards a website. The more links you have, the more referral traffic you will get. However, referral traffic is only possible if the referring domains have a good traffic flow.
You can regulate your links depending on the referral traffic they bring to your site. Make sure that your backlinks translate to referral traffic to get more exposure for your brand.
Necessary Tools for Backlink Management
As one of the most regarded tools for link building, Ahrefs takes the top spot on our list. It’s a very powerful link building tool where you can monitor backlinks and where they come from. You can also check the link profile of your backlinks using the Site Explorer tool.
In Ahrefs, you’ll be able to see how you lost a backlink (404 error, redirect, etc.) in the Lost Backlink option. And because of its high-speed web crawlers, you can monitor your backlinks more proactively. You can avoid penalties and disavow links before they can damage your domain.
2. SE Ranking
What I like about SE Ranking is how detailed it is when it comes to monitoring your backlinks. You can see a detailed overview of your backlinks from the dashboard of the tool. This way, you can monitor your links in real-time.
You can also see parameters and other SEO metrics from trusted SEO tools like Moz Domain Authority and Ahrefs Domain Ranking. It also shows the anchor text used per backlink so you can also track the keywords you’re ranking.
3. Sitechecker Tool
Sitechecker Tool is a huge help for digital marketers who want to track their website’s performance. It comes with a set of tools that are necessary for link building. With the details that it offers, you can optimize your SEO campaign and reveal what anchor texts lead to backlinks.
BuzzSumo is a great tool to track your backlinks, as well as your competitor’s. Track mentions, industry updates, and backlink updates using this monitoring tool. You can also set alerts to keep you updated even when you’re offline.
5. Monitor Backlinks
Monitor Backlinks has been a popular tool since its release because it can track your link profile and disavow low-quality links. The tool also shows you the important metrics you need to track when monitoring your backlinks. It shows relevant data to analyze your backlinks in a user-friendly UI.
What are some important tools for measuring backlinks?
Why should you monitor your backlinks?
How do you measure the impact of backlinks on search engines?
Track Your Backlinks Regularly
It’s important to monitor backlinks regularly. It keeps your link profile safe from getting penalized by Google. Doing it regularly will allow you to do necessary actions for links that pose threat to your website. If you’re interested in seeing what kind of backlinks your competitor is getting, be sure to check out our article ‘How to find competitor backlinks‘
By following our tips and techniques, you can monitor your backlinks more efficiently and track the important metrics you need to reach a decision. Using the tools above will make backlink management easier. Start tracking your backlinks now to see if you need to disavow some of them!