How to Audit Your Website’s Backlinks
According to Google, the number and quality of backlinks pointing to your website is an important ranking metric. Backlinks can help or harm your SEO as well as ranking, and this is why it is important to know what these links are and whether they are the types of links you want. To get this information and to chart a way forward for what to do in case you have some bad backlinks, you need to do a backlink audit. In this article, we will look at the steps you need to follow to do a complete backlink audit.
Know Your Backlinks
The first thing you need to do is collect all the backlinks you have. It is impossible to do this manually as you cannot find every link pointing to your website. However, you can use tools like Ahrefs and Semrush.
All you need to do is enter your domain name, and they will find all your backlinks for you. These tools will collect information about your backlinks from different sources, and the number of backlinks collected will depend on the tools you use.
If you do not have the budget for these paid tools, you can also use Google Search Console to export all backlinks.
Analyse Each Link
Once you have the backlinks, it is time to start analysing them. The reason for doing this is to find out which backlinks to keep and which ones to purge. You need to start by checking if the backlinks are coming from websites with a bad reputation.
Some sites with bad backlinks include casino websites and adult content websites that might hurt your SEO. These as well as backlinks from spammy and low-quality sites need to be purged as soon as possible.
Lastly, you want to ensure that each backlink is using a relevant anchor. If not, you can remove it. You should not remove backlinks using the wrong anchors but coming from reputable and high-quality websites. Just ask the website owner to alter the anchor text so it is more suitable for your links.
Remember you can do this analysis using the Ahrefs or Semrush as mentioned above.
Remove or Disavow Harmful Links
Now that you know which links are harmful and that need to be removed, you can start disavowing them. Google says that they do not punish these websites, but do not let these bad backlinks affect your ranking.
To disavow links, you need to use the disavow tool provided alongside Google Search Console. You then prepare a .txt file with all the links you need to disavow, adding one per line, upload it using the disavow tool, then wait.
Build New, Valuable Links
Although Google will try to protect you from the effects of disavowed links, you may see some impact if some links were pivotal to your SEO. To mitigate against this, you should find new backlinking opportunities to replace the links you have lost.
A backlink audit can be quite involved, but you can use the steps outlined above to clean up your backlink profile and reap the benefits of not having bad or spammy backlinks pointing to your website.