How to manage and monitor your backlinks
Why Is Link Profile Management Important?
There is nothing more permanent than change. The phrase couldn’t be more relevant for SEO and link-building in particular. Suppose you have managed to build strong, natural backlinks to your site. Should you stop working in this direction and focus on other tasks? Surely, no!
Your competitors never sleep: there are dozens of websites that are examining their opponents and building links daily. If you stop managing your links, competitors can easily take your place on Google’s SERPs. To help you with link profile management, we have gathered all the basics in this article, from what to track to which tools to use.
Why Should You Manage Your Backlinks Yourself?
A backlink, at its essence, is a tool that tells Google: “Other niche players recognize my content as interesting and useful.” This way, the search engine understands that you are a reputable source of information and allows you to rank up in an organic search.
If you have poor backlinks, Google loses trust in you and, consequently, drops your position in its SERPs. If the credibility vanishes completely, you may lose organic traffic entirely.
Understanding the importance of backlinks for your ranking leads us to the conclusion that you can’t rely on tools to manage such an important aspect of your SEO strategy. It doesn’t mean that you can’t use them, though: monitoring algorithms speed up backlinks management and allow you to get insights easier.
Fundamental Guidelines for Backlink Management
If you have never monitored your backlinks profile, you might struggle to understand where to start and what to do. These six tips will help you to make an effective backlinks management plan:
Treat each page as a separate project that you have to build backlinks for. Although your whole site falls into a single niche, each page is unique: it features narrow keywords, and consequently, has its own competitors.
Analyzing the whole site, in general, isn’t bad. But failure to devote enough attention to every page may cost you a lot: you may lose ranking for particular keywords. That’s why you need to develop and track backlinks for every single page.
Never Stop Branding
You can’t be on good terms with Google if your SEO isn’t brand-oriented. You may have an endless list of backlinks of high quality, and it wouldn’t be enough to become an established brand in Google’s eyes.
One branded backlink is too few, so is three or five. About half of the backlinks you build per month should go to your homepage. Eight out of ten links should be brand-specific. The anchor can be anything, from your brand or website name to a full URL.
Work Out a Link Building Schedule
Suppose you want to add a backlink; when will you do it: today, tomorrow, or after one month? If you don’t have a link-building schedule, you risk constantly postponing backlinks and eventually forgetting about them. As a result, your dream to rank high on Google’s SERP vanishes.
To avoid such a scenario, make a schedule. However, keep in mind to make it look natural. Google won’t like it if you add one backlink every five days. That’s why you need to make it look spontaneous.
Control General Link Recency
Even if you have tons of backlinks – natural and high-quality – you should still ensure a consistent flow of quality links – usually more than a single backlink. Why so? Because Google assesses such factor as link regency that defines the number of link built recently.
This has a direct impact on ranking. If you have many fresh backlinks, the search engine considers your website more relevant compared to those who don’t or, let’s say, have only one recent backlink.
Automate Your Backlink Management
Automation allows you to boost productivity with little effort. You can quickly get a glance at how your particular backlink works or all of them together. Besides, they usually offer analytics that helps to get meaningful insights and optimize your link-building strategy.
Track Progress and Log Your Efforts
No plan is efficient if you don’t monitor the progress. The same goes for backlinks. You should record your activity and analyze the result. Having a report is vital, as a backlink takes several days (sometimes even weeks) to get indexed. When the time comes, you may already forget what you did.
Tracking your progress will help to curb backlinks management and make a more prudent decision further on. A data-driven approach to backlink management allows you to spot weaknesses easily and craft your unique plan for success.
What Do You Need to Track?
Once you prepare a spreadsheet and tools to monitor your backlinks, you need to know what exactly to track. Here is a brief check-list:
Obviously, you need to start with the backlinks themselves. Every link that is already indexed should be under your close supervision and monitoring. This includes all sources like guest posts, PBNs, comments, and all the others. You can exclude only social signals.
When tracking, answer the following questions:
When was the link placed?
Is it recent or not? If it’s an old one, when exactly was it placed, and how has it performed? You can also assess the performance of the recent links. Later, it will help you to measure your link regency.
What is the referring domain?
Is the domain authoritative? Is it relevant to my niche? Do the domain and backlink seem relevant to my niche? If the answer is no, consider removing the link (if you have too many not natural links).
What is the target URL?
Analyze whether it fits your service and area. If it seems irrelevant, learn from the mistake and use the knowledge in the future.
What is the anchor text used?
Is it branded or not? Is the anchor suspiciously optimized? These factors affect the quality of your backlinks and, therefore, your reputation in terms of Google.
Dofollow or Nofollow?
Nofollow links should be removed, as they impact your site negatively. Don’t forget to check whether the link is broken or not to avoid negative consequences.
Is the link indexed?
You don’t have any profit from links that aren’t indexed. That’s why you need to track when they complete this stage and start showing results.
Anchor Text Distribution
This is among the key factors to analyze when you manage your backlinks. Don’t focus on an anchor text distribution for a single backlink but rather monitor the overall state. Check how it measures up to the niche-specific target anchor text. By the way, you can automate this.
Every single backlink affects your ranking. That’s why you need to closely check how adding new ones affects your rank - whether it goes up or drops. It will help to identify right and wrong steps and optimize your backlinks building.
Social Media Pages Tracking
Your social media profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn aren’t less important on the world wide web. First of all, you need to track whether they are indexed or not. Secondly, you need to keep checking the backlinks, if you have some there as well. They affect your reputation and must be curbed.
Track the Live Status
When managing backlinks, check how they are performing on a daily basis. It will help you to keep your hand on an SEO pulse and quickly optimize the link-building strategy.
Tools to Keep Track of Your Backlinks
If you have one website with one backlink, it will still be hard for you to get a deep understanding of its performance - let alone when there are dozens for numerous pages. These tools may come in handy and help you to optimize your backlink management.
- Ahrefs – Allows you to check the domain and page-level metrics regardless of the target. Have one of the biggest backlink databases, so you can count on an in-depth analysis of your competitors.
- Majestic – Allows you to check the top links from your highest-performing competitors, which can help you to reveal the secret of success. Moreover, you can discover link opportunities with the help of intelligent tools.
- Moz – Offers 40+ trillion links and offers numerous tools like Link Explorer. Also, it shows such metrics as page and domain authority, Spam Score.
- Google Keyword Planner – Provides tools to discover relevant keywords that can be used as anchors and improve your link-building.
- Google Disavow Tool – Gives you the power to disavow a backlink if you can’t get rid of it any other way. However, be careful and better delegate the job to a webmaster.
- Screaming Frog – Helps you optimize your website based on a site audit: it provides a report of the health of your web resource.
As you can see, backlinks management isn’t rocket science. With the right tools and a clear plan, you can successfully keep track of your activity, analyze it and optimize.