The ability to thoroughly analyse a backlink profile is important in any SEO campaign, as the health and strength of a backlink profile can drastically affect your website’s performance.
Grasping the fundamentals of link building is a non-negotiable and we are going to shed some light on what to look for in a healthy backlink profile
We will run through the following components that make up a strong backlink profile
- Total number of links
- Number of unique referring domains
- The number of referring domains vs total links
- Link velocity
- Anchor text and its importance
- Link Quality
Why are link profiles Important?
Backlinks is one of the few things that is confirmed by Google to affect the rankings of websites, and so having a healthy link profile can affect the performance of an SEO campaign and beyond. Having said this, not all links are created equal, and some shift the needle more than most
There are many tools that can display the backlink profile of a site, the following is a small list that can help in deducing the strength of a backlink profile
SEO Review Tools (Free!)
It is important to note that all these tools will perform the task well, and choosing which one works for you is a matter of preference. Using a couple of the tools in conjunction is more than viable, more information allows for more rounded decision making!
1. Total Number of Links
This metric needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, obviously if more sites are pointing to yours it can be a great sign of credibility and authority, but we must not forget about the existence of spam links and the likes.
The total number of links is a great comparative metric. You can use it to gauge how many links are required to rank among similar sites by comparing the total number of links your close competitors have.
The following metric is an extension to this and should be used in conjunction.
2. Total unique referring domains
Unique referring domains is generally a better indicator of backlink profile strength, as multiple links from a single domain are generally considered to be less valuable than a couple links from a high quality page.
There are many factors that allow us to distinguish between good and bad quality domains and pages, such as their own backlink profiles, relevancy to the linked page and much more.
As a general rule, we should prioritise quality over quantity when it comes to referring domains.
3. Anchor text
Anchor text is the clickable link text or label that is prevalent in most content nowadays on the internet. Search engines want to see anchor text that displays relevance and diversity in the choice of anchor text.
Check out some examples of different anchor text in our link quality guide
4. Referring domains vs. total links
The ratio of total referring domains to total links is a great way to get an overview of the level of spam that could be prevalent in a backlink profile. Having hundreds or even thousands of links per domain can be a serious red flag and signal the existence of an unnatural link profile.
The ideal position is to have a relatively even ratio, it is also understood that there will always be more links than domains. Link-farms and certain site-wide links widely inflate this, and should be dealt with seriously.
Here we can see a pretty even ratio of backlinks to referring domains, signaling to us that the level of spam links here is quite low, it is always worth a deep dive just in case!
5. Link Velocity
Link velocity essentially is how many backlinks your domain or page has acquired over a time period. A high link velocity doesn’t automatically mean that you are going to rank higher. The relevance of the links is more important than how fast you achieve them.
This being said, acquiring links too quickly or not consistently acquiring links (Ie gaining 500 links in one day and then none for the rest of the month) signals to search engines that the acquisition of said links could be unnatural, and portray the use of black-hat methods or an underhanded link-building scheme. This is will have an adverse effect on your rankings
There is no optimal velocity, it is more important to focus on a natural progression or consistent backlink acquisition of relevant links.
6. Link quality
Using the metrics above means little if the actual links are garbage. It is important to take the time and review the links manually.
There are many factors that go towards determining whether a link is good or toxic such as:
- Domain Authority
- Link placement
- Anchor text
- Backlink profile
We go over this in much more detail in our link quality Guide!
Maintaining a healthy backlink profile is no easy task, especially for older sites, so we suggest keeping a close eye on it from the beginning.
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