Backlink analysis serves to advise a company about its presence online and the ease of which potential customers can locate them when doing a search in Google. In a study done by Moz covering 15,000 keywords, more than 99.2% of results on the first page had at least one external link. For a company just getting into the realm of backlink analysis it can be a pretty daunting exercise. There is a lot of information to cover and knowing just the right things to look at will help a company utilize its backlink profile to drive more traffic and convert more customers. Here’s a simple guide to doing much-needed backlink analysis.
STEP 1: Locate a Tool to Use
There are lots of different sites that offer tools for developing a backlink profile. Among the most popular are Ahrefs, Majestic and Moz, but there are other options out there that can offer you the same insights, potentially. From previous research, Ahrefs, Moz and Majestic usually come out on top because they provide the most thorough profile of a site using its backlinks, with Ahrefs leading the pack there because of its extensive backlink database. Regardless of which option you choose to go with, these tools can offer you a great amount of insight when it comes to the links coming into your site. Once you’ve chosen a tool that you find easy to use, we can more on to the next step.
STEP 2: Choose Key performance Indicators (KPI’s) that Best Benefit your Final Goal
This is the most crucial step in saving time when it comes to backlink analysis. The reason why is because of the sheer amount of metrics that a company can start looking at and the depth to which these metrics can be explored. Harvard Business Review notes that, “A clear objective is essential to business success…”. Build a plan and stick to it. Without doing that, you risk getting sucked into a black hole of SEO metrics. At the start of your metrics search you first need to log the most important metrics that will affect your site like:
1) Unique Domains: This is an important statistic to determine your authority on a subject. It shows how competitive your site is in comparison to other similar sites. A wider range of domains means that your site is considered linkable to other sites – a sign of your site’s importance. Having one link from a hundred domains is far better than having a thousand links from a single domain.
2) Total overall Number of Links: In isolation the analysis of this particular statistic is completely useless. However, when used in conjunction with the previously mentioned Unique Domains count, you can get a general feeling for how competitive your site is through the comparison of the amount of links with the amount of unique domains those links come from.
3) Anchor Text and Alt Text: Ensuring that the anchor text on your site isn’t oversaturated is important. Utilizing keywords that are already dominated by other companies can lead to much less customer clicks than if you focused on a keyword that was more competitive in its scope. According to GotchSEO, prior to the Penguin 2.0 update, Google’s understanding of a site came heavily from the anchor text. After Penguin 2.0 however, the focus for anchor text was shifted to brand recognition, so these should be what your anchor text relates to for the most part.
4) Link Quality: Just having a decent amount of links isn’t enough to determine how competitive your site is. It’s where those links originate that provides a much better overall feel for the site’s authority. Having links incoming from sites that themselves are questionable means that you end up having a much poorer profile strength than another company that focuses on getting itself linked to from a high-authority location.
5) Fresh Incoming Links: This metric hearkens back to your link-building strategy and how effective it is. It’s expected that a general increase over time of incoming links is expected, especially in response to a viable link-building strategy. However, if there’s a noticeable spike in the amount of incoming links, that could suggest some link building coming from your competitors. Competitors can serve to benefit your link-building strategy if you’re smart about it. Their incoming links are just as easily visible as yours, meaning that by inspecting those you can find opportunities to increase your own link building outreach.
Drawing Conclusions from the Numbers
How you use the statistics these tools provide you is critical in figuring out how effective your site is in its outreach and how well-respected it is in your corner of the Internet. With a little insight into the business of link profile analysis, you can easily figure out where your strengths and weaknesses lie in marketing your site through SEO.