Backlinks have been a key ranking factor for search engine results pages (SERPs) for many years. As bots crawl the net, it certainly helps when there are a good number of links between your site and other quality sites, indicating that you are considered a reliable and trustworthy source. It is a crucial part of how search engines like Google are able to evaluate the authority of your website and its content. These links are often referred to as votes of confidence in what your site has to offer.
What Is a Backlink Profile?
A backlink profile refers to the range of links that point to your site from other sites. It details not just the number of links, but also the type of links, domain quality, relevance, and anchor text used. A strong backlink profile helps boost referral traffic and ranking. Marketers can use tools like Google Search Console and Moz Link Explorer to help establish the backlink profiles of their sites.
Backlink analysis helps to determine which links to your website are helping to build rank. Note that not all links will add value. Researching what links come from top quality sites and delving into the content can help determine the kind of content your site is establishing authority over. This analysis can also help if your site has been penalised due to bad linking building schemes.
Link building must be carefully undertaken to avoid mistakes that can cause search engines to become suspicious and penalise your site in ranking. Analysis can help identify the offending low-quality links and have them disavowed. Here are some warning signs to look for when carrying out backlink analysis that may indicate that your profile requires extra attention to prevent it from damaging your ranking.
1. Links from Low-Quality Sites
To boost web ranking you need links to high-quality sites. If you have a good site, it is not unusual to find less relevant and lowly ranked sites trying to piggyback on your popularity to help their ranking. Given that over 252,000 new websites are created worldwide daily, it is to be expected that everyone is eager to try and climb up the rankings by taking advantage of the reputation of others.
Check on the domain authority of the site. Ideally, connections from authoritative sites like .edu, .gov and .org should be retained. Those from well-established and relevant blogs and media sites are also good. However, an unknown and new site is likely to be problematic, especially if their content is not relevant and of poor quality.
2. Location Discrepancies
Besides relevance on the subject matter of the content, you also need to look at where these links are originating from. If your content is tailored towards your particular region and would be unlikely to offer value to those in other countries, you need to be wary when you see a spike in overseas backlinks.
There are analysis tools that can indicate which countries these links come from based on their domains. Dig into where these links originate and if in another language, use features like Google Translate to ensure there is relevance.
3. Matching Anchor Text
During analysis, do pay attention to the anchor text portion of the report. If you find that there is a quick increase in the use of a particular set of words for anchor text, there may be cause for concern. It may indicate that your site is being linked to as part of a scheme, which will certainly affect your ranking. This often also means the links are coming from low-quality sites.
Naturally created backlinks tend to use more varied phrasing that relates to the content you have created. The use of the same exact words is a good indication that something is not right and you need to investigate. Think of it as how odd it would be to meet several unrelated people on the same day using the same unique phrase in conversation.
Note that any analysis you do should be comprehensive. Before you decide to disavow a link, ensure it conforms to what search engines like Google have defined as a link scheme. Disavow only when it is appropriate and make regular auditing of backlinks an integral part of your SEO strategy.