SEMrush Backlink Audit Tool

SEMrush Backlink Audit Tool

Hi guys, so a couple of weeks back I did the backlink audit tool, which was the 14th in the series of the SEMrush toolbox webinar. So, the backlink audit tool is a great tool within SEMrush. Where do you find the tool, first and foremost, you would go to the SEO toolkit, and if you go to link building, you will see the second one down is the backlink audit tool, and it will then pull up the projects that you’ve got set up.SEMrush

So, this project that I’ve got is my own website, which is, and I’ve already done the scan of the website, so just in terms of speed and stuff like that, and for demonstration reasons I’m going to show you the backlink audit tool with the data that’s already there.


Integration to get more Backlink data

Now, the first thing I want to talk about is up in the top right-hand corner here, are integrations. Now, in order to get the best value for money, you can integrate your Google search console, Google Analytics, and you can also integrate Majestic SEO to make sure that you’re analyzing as many backlinks as you possibly can, to make sure that your backlinks are where they should be.

So, the reasons that you would use the backlink audit tool would be potentially to check out what’s going on with your website, make sure that the links your getting are the right kind of links, there’s not anything toxic there or anything that’s going to damage your business. Now, if you’re going to run a backlink audit, you can run the audit, you can export the information as a pdf here. So, you simply click pdf and it will export everything there into a nice fancy pdf if you want to report to someone.

So, this is the overview, I’ll just talk you through what everything means. So, the overall toxic score, according to SEMrush, is medium for my website. So, I’ve got 995 referring domain names, they’ve analyzed 32,000 backlinks, some are new, some are broken, some are lost, these are all potential. For the lost ones, I could reach out again and potentially get those links back. The broken ones I could also get back, the new ones I can obviously keep on top of. So, that is what that means.

Basically, it gives you the anchor texts, the top anchors over here on the right-hand side, the top subpaths by toxic domain names, and it’s also got follow versus no follow, the percentage there as well. So these are, if you’re building links you’ll obviously want to look at the anchors, and everything else that’s going on there. So, it’s just a simple dashboard that shows you what’s going on with your website. The thing that’s going to flag up to anyone would be domains by toxic score.

So, according to this, I’ve got one toxic domain name, one toxic backlink going on. So, I want to see what the hell that is. So, it’s going to come up here showing me that this particular website links to my SEO consultancy page, the anchor text is SEO consultancy, and the toxic score is 62. Anything below … so 45 – 59 is potentially toxic, 60 – 100 is toxic, and anything below is seen as a good link.

Now, this particular link, I’m not sure where it came from, who put it there, or whatever it may be. It may have been someone talking about me on some post, or whatever it may be.

The fact that they’ve used the anchor text as SEO consultancy is most likely the reason that SEMrush is flagging that up as potentially toxic. I know that’s a good link because I’ve already checked it out and I’m not going to disavow it, but I could potentially delete.

So, if I click on the blue button I can remove it, or to the disavow file, and then I can submit my disavow if I would like to do that. But I’m quite happy with that one so-called toxic link, I’m not going to worry too much about it.

Finding Toxic Links

I have 101 potentially toxic links as well. What may this be? There’s probably a whole heap of garbage in here, with varying different toxic scores. Websites that I’ve never heard of, and there’s obviously some Chinese stuff going on here as well. So, potentially, there’s no anchor text, it’s got a toxic score of 55, I could keep it and it’s going to remove it to the white list, or I could click delete and move it to the disavow, and that will add that to my disavow file, which I’ll come to later on.

So, you can work your way through this list and basically scan your links and check out what you want to check out. Now, there are loads of different filters here, so you can group by domain, URL, there are some advanced filters here that you can have a look at, toxic markers, so it could be mirror pages, page comment spam, malicious page, all this kind of stuff. You can also filter it by follow and no follow, you can also filter it by toxic, potentially toxic, or non-toxic as well. So, you can have a look through all your links there and manage your toxic links to the best of your ability. So, that’s what the audit tab is all about.

Now, remove. So, anything I want to remove, I can add to remove a file. Now, basically adding them to remove the file, I can set up a campaign within SEMrush where I can reach out to that particular website owner and ask them to remove my link. They may or may not answer me.

In my opinion, I would just simply disavow it, but you can send up to 500 emails a day to people through SEMrush by adding stuff to your remove file here, and you can set up a campaign where ‘please remove links from your website’, this is all preset up in SEMrush for you, and you can basically try and scrape up their domain name, you can also send them a follow up message asking … There are templates here, but you can actually edit them and make them suit yourself.

So you can basically go in here, and it’s got the  standard thing asking for the link to be removed, and you click send, and it’ll send it through SEMrush for you, and it will mark it as your email was sent, whether it was delivered, whether it was read, and if you got a reply. So it’s quite a good thing to use as part of your workforce.

So, that’s what the remove tab does, and you can add the website here to work with SEMrush and do that and reach out and try and get links removed. Bit of a long winded way of going about removing links. It may work for some, it may not work for others. I know people that have reached out and never heard anything back. So, it’s entirely up to yourself what strategy you want to use going forward.

Disavowing Bad Links

The next tab is disavowing. Everything that I’ve added to the disavow file will appear here. Now, everything I’m going through in the audit tab, I can add to the disavow file. This is the disavow file. Now, I can use search for URL, and I can use some filters here, and stuff like that. Now, you’ll see that there’s already stuff I’ve disavowed previously, the top couple there I’ve not disavowed because I’ve not updated my disavow file for a few weeks. But this is the disavow file, you simply click ‘export to TXT’ and then you would go into your search console and upload that disavow file, and you’re basically saying to Google, these links don’t count, they’re not me, please don’t count them against me.

The next tab along is lost and found, and what you take from this is entirely up to yourself, but it will give you lost and found … new and lost domain names that are pointing to your website, and that’s something you can use to then reach out to people who have stopped linking to you. You’re not really going to do much with people who are linking to you, there’s not a problem there, but it just basically gives you lost and found and you can go through here and you can see when the link was first seen. You can see the toxic score, you can mark it as white list, you can add it to the disavow if you want to be super active on that type of thing. So, that’s what lost and found is, and about, it will basically tell you what the tool’s about and everything else that you need to do.

How often do you disavow?

Doing disavows on a regular basis is quite important. I know a lot of people will say they don’t do it, and there are mixed messages going about. Negative SEO is a very real thing, and keeping on top of any trash that’s pointing to your website is just good general housekeeping, and I think using this tool to audit your links and then creating a disavow file will stand you in good stead going forward.

So, I would always recommend that you do look at the backlink audit tool on SEMrush. A lot of people don’t use it, I don’t know why because it’s fairly accurate. Obviously, it will still flag up some links that SEMrush are saying are toxic that are not actually toxic, but I think it’s good for you to then go in and manually decide what’s toxic and what’s not, and make sure that you’re comfortable with the links that are pointing to your website.

So, that is how to use the backlink audit tool, and basically all of the features that are on there. You can go up to the top right-hand side and there’s a user manual and a product tour.

You can also send over some feedback if there’s something missing from the tool, and yeah, as I say, use this to report to clients, or whatever you may want to do as well. So, it is a great tool, whether you use it to report to clients, or whether you want to manage your workflow and keep on top of those toxic links that are going about. So, any other questions, you can send them to SEMrush, and I will speak to you next time.

You can see the full webinar with Kevin Indig Below:


seo profile image

Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 20 years.

  • social media icon
  • social media icon
  • social media icon

Online Courses