Backlinks play a major role in increasing a website’s rank in search engines. Popular search portals such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing use these inbound links as references to determine a site’s relevance, credibility, and authority in a certain keyword category.
In essence, if you want to increase your website’s search engine rankings, then it’s important to earn (or build) backlinks from other relevant, credible, and authoritative domains. Likewise, getting links from random, irrelevant websites won’t have as strong or positive impact.
There are certain criteria in which linking sites should meet to best ensure any backlinks stemming from those sites are good for SEO. Below we delve into some of that criteria that helps SEO’s define a solid backlinks portfolio and how to properly audit a site’s backlink portfolio for SEO.
Determining a Backlink Source’s Quality
Before getting a link from a certain website, you have to make sure that it is relevant to your site’s content and, has authority and social credibility. So, how do you know if it meets these criteria? It can be done by inspecting the links pointing to it.
A Quick Note on Anchor Texts
In case you haven’t heard of them, anchor texts are hyperlinked text pointing to a web page or site. Now, even though most SEO proponents don’t tell anyone to worry about anchor texts nowadays, having a relevant anchor texts used on links pointing to your website may help you get a better rank for certain keywords, especially long tail ones.
Let’s say you want to rank for the keyword phrase “how to buy abc-efg products”. You need to have your backlinks use the same phrase. But be careful not to overdo this or search engines may treat it as spam, which may take toll on your rankings. And while you’re at it, use a wide variety of anchor text pointing to your web pages.
Inspecting a Site’s Backlink Portfolio
You can either audit a site’s backlink profile using the free method or the paid method. Let’s get started with the free method first. You will first need to see all the links pointing to the site you want to get a backlink from using Google’s search tool.
To use the tool, simply go to Google’s home page and use this format “link:domain/site name”. Once you pressed Enter, you will see all the links pointing to the site. Visit at least the first 20 of those links and check if each of those sites’ content (title, body, and anchor text) is related to both your content and your chosen backlink source’s.
Now, this SEO site auditing method has limitations. It doesn’t help determine authority, and social credibility which brings us to another method.
Moving on to the paid method, you will need to use one of a backlink inspection tool called, Moz Open Site Explorer. Unlike the first method, this one is easy to do. All you have to do is type the URL of the site on the box and press enter. The tool will be the one to analyze things such as domain authority, number of links, number of fresh backlinks, and even social popularity. Even though you can use the tool without spending anything, you will need to pay for a subscription fee to get access to all of its features.
While conducting a backlink audit can help you decide whether a site is relevant or not, it can also provide other information such as competitor’s backlink sources, linking faults of your site, linking strategies used by top SEO players and many more.