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A Quick Guide to Website Backlink Analysis

How you handle backlink analysis can have a profound impact on your overall SEO strategy. So you really want to make sure that you’re up to the task.

In this post, we’ll show you the basics of backlink analysis and how it can your current ranking for the better. You’ll also discover the tools of the trade so you start your journey right away.

This article is ideal for anyone who would like to transition to an SEO role or for small business owners who would like to learn more about online marketing concepts.

Ready? Let’s begin.

What Is Backlink Analysis?

Backlinks are external links that point back to your domain. Say there are bloggers that found your article useful. And so they cited you in their posts and inserted hyperlinks that direct their users to your site. That’s a backlink.

website backlink analysis - ahrefs blog post

Highlighted in yellow is an example of a backlink to W3C by Ahrefs

As SEOs, you want to earn as many high-quality backlinks to your site.

Why?

Because backlinks build up a major part of your link profile. And Google (and other search engines) use this profile to help your site rank higher in search result pages.

With that said, how do you evaluate your backlinks? How can you tell which ones are good and which ones run the risk of penalty from Google?

You guessed it: backlink analysis.

Analyzing your backlinks lets you know where the problems are and what you can do to address them. It ensures that your link profile stays true to its purpose.

How Do I See Backlinks Pointing to My Website?

Looking for backlinks for one page is hard enough. But imagine having tens or hundreds of pages. Where do you even begin, right?

The best place to start would be on Small SEO Tool’s Backlink Checker.

website backlink analysis - backlinks checker

This free-to-use online tool can scan domains to see if they contain backlinks to your site. You can scan for all links pointing to your entire domain or specify a page.

Backlink Checker is user-friendly, making it the ideal solution for those who are new to SEO. Simply enter your site or page URL, select whether to find backlinks for the entire domain or only for the URL you entered, then click Get Backlinks.

website backlink analysis - backlinks checker results

Once the tool finishes its analysis, you’ll find basic information about the page’s performance including how many backlinks the page or domain has and the domain rating.

Just below that, you’ll see what domains link back to you, the anchor text used, their SEMrush Domain Rating, and the type of link (do-follow or no-follow).

website backlink analysis - backlinks checker linking domains

Here’s a breakdown of what every column means:

  • URL — This is the page where you’ll find the backlink. By default, you can only see one referring page per domain.
  • Anchor — This is the text used when linking to your domain. In general, you want anchor texts that describe to users what they’ll find when they click on the link.
  • SEMrush Domain Rating — SEMrush is an all-in-one SEO tool that created its own metrics to determine site quality. Backlink Checker shows this score to users to gauge if the referring domain is any good. We’ll talk more about SEMrush later on.
  • Link Type — There are two types of backlinks: do-follow and no-follow. Do-follow links pass on link equity to pages while no-follow backlinks don’t. In simpler terms, you won’t reap any benefit from no-follow links as far as link equity goes.
  • SEMrush URL Rating — Clicking on “Check” shows you more details about the referring domain. However, you’ll need a SEMrush account to access the information.

Backlink Checker does a fine job, especially for beginners. But experts might find this tool to be insufficient. They’ll need more metrics to effectively determine what steps they need to take.

If you feel like you need more powerful tools for backlink analysis, we have you covered.

Backlink Analysis Tools to Use

You’ll be happy to know that there’s no shortage of backlink analysis tools out in the market. But finding the right tool will take time.

Not only do you have to consider its ease of use, but you also have to take into account the tool’s price and if it fits your budget.

Data reliability is also a factor since these tools would impact your strategy moving forward.

Our recommendations below are backlink analysis tools that online marketers love and use. Many people swear by these products. That’s why we believe these tools are the ones you should check out first before moving on to other options.

Here’s a list of the most dependable backlink analysis tools today.

SEMrush

website backlink analysis - semrush

I’ve been very vocal about my love for SEMrush. It’s one of the tools that I can’t do without as an SEO.

As an all-in-one online marketing solution, SEMrush covers keyword research, link building, and yes, backlink analysis.

It even has features that let you track your pages’ positions in the results pages.

But the feature that you’re looking for is SEMrush’s Backlink Analytics Tool. Here, you can see who links back to you and how many backlinks you’re gaining over time.

website backlink analysis - semrush pricing

SEMrush plans also start at $99 per month.

Ahrefs

website backlink analysis - ahrefs

The nice thing about Ahrefs is that it does more than backlink research. You can also use it to research content topics, competitor research, and niche monitoring.

It can provide you with details like domain ranking and the keywords your pages or domain ranks for. And just like Backlink Checker, you’ll get a list of domains that link back to you.

But Ahrefs is not cheap. The Lite Plan is $99 for a single user. And the price goes up from there.

website backlink analysis - ahrefs pricing

However, if you just want to check it out, Ahrefs does offer a 7-day trial for $7.

Monitor Backlinks

website backlink analysis - monitor backlinks

As the name implies, Monitor Backlinks is hyper-focused on backlinks monitoring. Depending on how you look at it, this could either be a good thing or a bad thing. That’s because you won’t be getting SEO features that people come to expect from online marketing SaaS solutions.

But if all you’re concerned with are backlinks, then you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for.

The tool uses information from Moz and Majestic SEO (two premium SEO tools) to grade your backlinks. Monitor Backlinks then marks which links are bad for your domain. But unlike some tools, you can disavow backlinks directly from Monitor Backlinks.

website backlink analysis - monitor backlinks pricing

Another advantage of using a service with limited features is the price. If you only have to monitor one domain, you only have to pay $25 a month. Monitor Backlinks offers a free trial.

Linkody

website backlink analysis - linkody

Linkody specializes in tracking link building campaigns. It automates the process of reporting backlinks. So once you set it up, you can focus on other matters.

Like Monitor Backlinks, you don’t get other SEO features. Instead, you get features that improve your overall experience.

Are you worried about losing links? Linkody informs you whenever domains remove backlinks to your site so you can take appropriate actions (like getting in touch with the blogger who removed the link).

website backlink analysis - linkody pricing

Linkody is one of the most affordable tools in this list. Plans start at $14 per month for two domains. There is a 30-day free trial if you just want to check it out.

Moz Pro

website backlink analysis - moz

Like SEMrush and Ahrefs, Moz Pro gives you all the features you need to optimize your website. This includes Link Explorer, a monitoring tool that lets you understand your link profile a little bit better.

You can then use this information to assess your backlinks and compare it to your competitors.

Moz is highly reputable and needs no introduction to SEO professionals. It also has a community of SEO professionals that are ready to help if you have questions.

website backlink analysis - moz pricing

Moz Pro is $99 a month. But if you sign up for their annual membership, you only pay $79/month.

Now That You Have Your Backlink Data, What’s Next?

You’ve carefully considered all options and went with one of the backlink analysis tools above. Great. Now what?

The goal of collecting backlink data is to create a plan and set things in motion.

Below is a list of steps you should take after collecting backlink information.

Determine Good Backlinks

Depending on the source, the backlinks you get could either be good or bad. Good backlinks are ones that come from trusted sources. These have high domain authority and associated with experts in their field.

Bad backlinks, on the other hand, links fro unrelated sites in terms of niche. Sites that are suspect are not good sources of links and you should do your best to associate with them in any way.

Take this website backlink analysis of Time.com. As you can see, it got a wave of backlinks from a site with a domain rating of 92.

website backlink analysis - time backlinks

But looking at the site in question, it appears to be a spammy site that’s promoting music for views. There’s no real reason why it would link to a news site since they don’t cover the same niche.

website backlink analysis - imaginaire

This is an example of a bad backlink. Here’s how you evaluate good backlinks.

  • Linking Page Relevance — How is the linking page’s content relevant to yours? Are they too aggressive with their page monetization? Is the site trying to help its readers or is it optimizing their pages solely for the sake of site traffic? Are these referring sites part of a blog network? These are some of the questions that you want to ask yourself when evaluating a page for relevance.
  • Linking Page Authority — Is the author of the article that linked back to you a trusted source? Is the referring site known in the community?
  • Anchor Text Variety — Anchor texts should be natural and within context. If the referring site linked back to you using a keyword like “towel” when you’re in the donut business, that doesn’t make sense now, would it? If the anchor text looks unnatural, Google will take action. And unfortunately, the penalties might affect you down the line.

Check the Volume of Backlinks (Total and by Referring Domain)

Your numbers will tell you a number of things. Referring domains, for starters, gives you an idea of how many domains link back to you. It also tells you if you need to expand your link profile.

If you’re only getting few backlinks, you may need to create the type of content that’s similar to your top competitors.

Identify Top Pages

The total number of backlinks your content gets will clue you in on your top-performing pages. You can use the same strategy to figure out what your competition’s top pages are as well.

If you find out the type of pages your competitors use to get high-quality backlinks, you can take action. For example, you can use the same topic in your next post so you too can get backlinks from high-authority sites.

Conclusion

Backlink analysis is a necessary strategy to improve your performance in search engines. And with the right tool, it’s not even that difficult. Pay close attention to your backlinks and monitor your competitor’s as well to gain the upper hand.

 

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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