If you are new to SEO, you may not have heard of backlinks. Backlinking is an extremely important aspect of website building and including them will help to increase your website’s visibility and overall success. For everything you need to know about backlinks and how to check your backlink profile, you’ve come to the right place.
Table of Contents
What Are Backlinks?
Before we discuss how to check your backlinks, it’s important that we have a clear definition of what backlinks are. Backlinks are links from one website that link to a page on another website. Backlinks are also referred to as inbound links, incoming links, or one-way links. Google and other major search engines typically categorize websites with numerous backlinks of high value. As a result, pages with a high number of backlinks tend to be placed higher on search engine rankings and thus have more clicks.
Why Do Backlinks Matter?
Incorporating backlinks into your website-building strategy is incredibly important to your website’s success. This is because backlinks are essentially the number of “votes” you receive from other websites. These votes, which make up your backlink profile, prove to the search engine that your site has value and is being sought after, it’s credible and trustworthy, and deserves to be on search result pages. It’s basically a big sign to Google that your site is worth giving a visibility boost. The more votes your site has, the higher up in the search results your webpages will end up being. At the end of the day, this leads more people to discover your site.
What Makes a Good Backlink?
So, we know backlinks are an essential part of creating a credible and high-ranking website, but how exactly do you know that you have a good backlink? Well, for backlinking to actually help your site, there are some criteria that will need to meet.
First off, the backlink has to come from a site with good domain authority. What do we mean by this? Well, domain authority is when a site is labeled as trustworthy in the eyes of search engines. What makes a site trustworthy? It comes from a site that is reputable. For example, a backlink off of CNN.com will most likely be viewed as a lot more valuable and trustworthy than a backlink from someone’s personal blog. When Google recognizes that a site has authority, it will make sure to boost the site that is linked in the search results and help the site cultivate more organic traffic. It is not easy to get links from sites such as these. However, whenever the opportunity arises, it will be a great help to your site.
Another trait of a good backlink is a link that contains your desired target word in your anchor text. Anchor text is the visible text that is embedded in your link. Oftentimes, the term “click here” is used, but anchor text is a lot more valuable when it includes key target words. Although it can be beneficial to have backlinks of this caliber, make sure you don’t overdo it. Google has systems in place that prevent backlinks that have exact target words from gaining traction.
In fact, one of their main filters is called Google Penguin. This is an algorithm that filters out websites that contain a suspicious amount of backlinks where the exact match anchor text is used. Google noticed that certain sites were abusing backlink building and decided to set up Google Penguin as a means to combat the issue. So, be careful and make sure that your anchor text does not trigger the algorithm and ends up hurting you more than helping you.
Relation to Your Site
Thirdly, your backlink is valuable when the site that links to yours is related. Google looks for links from sites that have things in common and gives those links a boost. In other words, having a backlink from a site in a similar industry or a webpage pertaining to the same topic gives you a big advantage. For example, if you wrote an article about wedding planning, Google would put much more weight on backlinks from sites pertaining to wedding dresses, bridal showers, and bachelorette parties. If you wrote an article about fast fashion, Google would put weight on backlinks from sites that have to do with child labor, labor laws, and textile pollution. Essentially, backlinks with some sort of relation to your site or webpage are going to boost your site in search results tremendously.
It is important to be aware of the fact that Google pretty much ignores any link with the “no follow” tag attached to it. No follow links are usually blog comments, press releases, and paid advertisements. This means that no follow links do not count when it comes to search engine rankings. With that said, most links on the web are “do follow” links, so you usually do not have to worry about this.
First Time Linkage
When a website first links to you, the results can be phenomenal. However, the more times the same site links to your site, the less powerful the backlinks become. So, after the second, third, fourth, for even the 100th backlink, you’re not going to get the same boost as you did from the first backlink made from that site. It is much better for your website to receive 1000 backlinks from 1000 different sites, rather than the same amount or more backlinks from the same site. So, attaining backlinks from various different sites will end up being very helpful to you in the long run.
What is a Backlink Profile?
Now that we have a better understanding of what backlinks are and what sort of backlinks we should aim to have, let’s find out how we can check our backlinks by finding our backlink profile. You can find your backlink profile a number of different ways, as there are countless services available via the internet. However, there is one way that is pretty simple.
All you have to do is open up your search engine of choice. For example, let’s say you’re using Google. Now, in the search bar, you are going to want to write “link:”. After the semicolon, you would then write the name of your website. For example, if your website was CNN, you would type “link:CNN.com”. After you’ve typed this out, hit search. Once you’ve hit search, you will be able to see all of the backlinks that Google has on record. Although this method will give you a quick rundown of the number of backlinks your site currently has, you’re going to want to run a thorough backlink analysis in order to get the complete scope of how your site’s backlinks are fairing.
How to Run a Backlink Profile Analysis
Running a backlink profile analysis can be broken down into a few easy steps. The first step is determining which sites you would like to analyze. If you are looking to analyze your own site, make note of who your competitors are. After conducting some keyword research, type out your target keywords into the search bar and take notice of which sites are in the top ranks. This step is important because these are the sites that are successfully outranking you. Looking through their backlink profiles will help you to figure out how you can outrank them.
Next, you’re going to want to choose a backlink analyzing tool. There are a number of them out there but a few notable ones include BrightEdge Backlink Management, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz Open Site Explorer. These tools are all paid. However, they all come with access to a free trial, which gives you the opportunity to try all of them and then figure out which tool best suits your needs. Depending on which tools you decide to use, you will also be able to access a list of sites that are competing for the same organic keywords as you.
Once you have decided on which backlink tool you would like to use, type each domain into your tool of choice and start collecting the necessary information. When doing a backlink analysis, there is often a large amount of data to look through. So, it would be in your best interest to keep an organized record of the data so that you can use it to make smart decisions later on. You can easily use a Google Spreadsheet to keep your data neat and organized.
What to Look for in Your Backlink Profile Analysis
When conducting a backlink analysis, you should make note of the following metrics. The first of which is the total number of links and unique domains. Comparing this number to that of your competitors will give you an idea of whether you need to step up your backlink strategy. Next, you’re going to want to look out for referring domains. Knowing what your referring domains are will give you a better sense of which of your backlinks is the most valuable. Lastly, you are going to want to make note of your top pages. These are simply which pages on your site have the most links pointing to them.
- What are backlinks?
- Does Google care about backlinks?
- How do I check my backlink profile?
- What is domain authority?
- Why do backlinks matter?