How to audit your site’s backlink profile SEO 2022
The SEO industry is divided on whether disavowing links is still a crucial component of SEO.
Some argue that Google just does not count damaging connections. Others claim that Google still use the disavow as a technique of “policing” spam links. Others argue that removing poisonous connections is critical to your site’s health and growth.
I prefer to err on the side of caution and disavow toxic links.
Perhaps, for the time being, Google simply ignores bad backlinks. What if, in the future, Google decides to pay heed to these? Because Google is continually changing, how can we be certain that harmful connections will not result in manual actions or algorithmic downgrades?
In this post, we’ll walk through a step-by-step procedure for auditing your backlink profile and keeping an updated disavow on file with Google Search Console.
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Build your list of backlinks
It is critical to employ as many sources as possible while compiling your initial disavow list. Backlinks are often downloaded through Google Search Console, Ahrefs, and LinkResearchTools. All of these links are then uploaded to Semrush’s Backlink Audit tool.
Once your audit runs, you’ll get an Overall Toxicity Score and other important data:
Categorize your links
When you choose the Audit tab, you will get a list of all of your backlinks. Semrush will display the Anchor Text, Authority Score, and Toxicity Score for each.
Ideally, you should go over each of your connections and categorize them as follows:
- Whitelist: Safe, healthy links that should be kept as part of your link profile
- Remove Links that should be removed. You have to do this by contacting the site owners and requesting for them to remove your links.
- Disavow: These links should be disavowed from your backlink profile.
Semrush will remember this audit and urge you to categorize new links as they are discovered, making it simple and methodical to keep your backlink profile clear of harmful connections.
Identify link patterns
Toxic Markers can be found in the audit report. A list of patterns that may be used to filter your backlinks will appear:
Using these indicators, you may examine your backlink profile in terms of trends rather than looking at each backlink individually.
When you evaluate a link on its own, it may appear healthy, but when you utilize the Toxic Markers, you may find that it is part of a link network, that you have many links from the same C class, or that many of them use the same Google Analytics or Google Adsense code.
Start by clicking on each of the sections for toxic markers.
Then, go over the links and identify them as whitelist, delete, or disavow.
After you’ve gone through each pattern, go through the remaining links and utilize the hazardous score and other link data to decide whether to whitelist, delete, or disavow the links.
To make conclusions while examining your backlinks, you must consider the complete context of your backlink profile. You should also audit your rivals’ backlinks, especially those that are doing well, to obtain a sense of the backlink ratios that are working in your market.
Here are some statistics to consider and remember when determining how to categorize links:
Top referring domain categories
The type of internal connections is significant depending on your business. Are the majority of your links coming from:
- Related, topical websites?
- Directories or unrelated websites?
Examine the percentages. Compare those percentages to your rivals’ and use them to assist you determine which links to keep or disavow.
Referring domains by authority score
Examine the percentages. Compare those percentages to your rivals’ and use them to assist you to determine which links to keep or disavow.
Is it normal for sites to only receive links from relevant, authoritative websites? Consider how many people have little web pages that only their immediate circle visits.
Link patterns show that sites will have a mix of high, medium, and low-quality links. Your objective should be to create links from each of these tiers, similar to a link pyramid.
In the “natural condition” of the web, there will be a number of low-quality connections that either lack authority or are hazardous. You should preserve some of them, particularly ones that do not fit into any other patterns.
Backlinks by anchor type and anchor text
What percentage of your backlinks are branded? How many of your links include keywords as anchor text? Keep an eye on this since it will show trends.
If your percentage of money anchors is significant, your rankings may be suppressed owing to algorithmic Penguin filtering. Disavow some of the links with money anchors while examining your backlinks to reduce their percentages.
Examine the precise anchor text to discover those that are overused or appear odd.
Semrush will allow you to click on the links for each of the charts above while understanding the context of the filter, allowing you to quickly go through and disavow connections that correspond to a particularly clear pattern.
You can see if there is a big amount of following vs. Nofollow links or links from User Generated Content by looking at Link Attributes (UGC). A large number of Nofollow links are to be expected. However, if you have a high number of Follow, Sponsored, or UGC connections, you may choose to disavow some of them.
Review your disavow list
After you’ve finished your audit, go to the disavow page to go through all of the URLs you put to this list:
Use a metrics tool to acquire more information on each of these URLs before filing your disavow to Google.
You may discover that some of the connections with a hazardous flag have decent metrics and would be okay to preserve. Scrubbing all of your links one last time will ensure that you are not disavowing links that might help your site rank higher.
Review the Authority Score, amount of keywords ranking, and organic traffic to determine if the link should remain in the disavow file or be deleted.
Once completed, export your disavow file.
Google disavow file
Once you’ve created your disavow file in.txt format, you can upload it to the Google Disavow Tool.
Monitor your link profile
A new backlink audit should be performed at least periodically to ensure that your backlink profile is in good shape. If you use the same Semrush project, it will keep all of the data and merely add new unlabeled or uncategorized links.
Monitoring your backlink profile might mean the difference between booming traffic and ranking suppression.
Even though Google states that a negative SEO attack is not conceivable, there have been enough complaints to show that it is possible for your site to be negatively damaged.