You can’t create a solid link building strategy if you don’t monitor backlinks. That goes for both your own and your competitors’ links, as their backlink profiles can help you gain useful insights, too – such as where to build your links next.
This guide will help you understand what you need to monitor and how. Keep reading and become a link-monitoring pro in under 10 minutes.
An obvious reason why you should monitor backlinks is to know when someone links to your site. This can be especially useful if you’re paying for links and want to check if and when you actually received them.
But even if you aren’t paying for backlinks, it’s still useful to know when someone links to you in case you want to thank them or check what they’re saying about you.
Additionally, link monitoring also has three less obvious benefits. It will help you:
Let’s discuss these benefits in more depth.
Spammy backlinks, also called toxic links, are links that are low in quality, irrelevant to your site, and/or come from untrusted sources such as link farms, directories, and otherwise spammy websites.
Google can penalize sites with spammy backlinks, as they violate the search engine’s quality guidelines. That’s why SEO experts recommend regularly checking your backlink profile for toxic links and disavowing them asap.
Now for the full disclosure: there’s an ongoing debate about whether spammy backlinks negatively impact SEO. Google has come out multiple times saying there’s “no such thing as toxic links,” and that they don’t penalize sites that have them.
On the other hand, many companies conducted their own studies and unequivocally showed that toxic links do indeed hurt search engine optimization (SEO). For example, SEMRush’s analysis shows that Google penalizes unnatural inbound links, especially:
So, what’s the real truth? Does Google penalize sites with spammy links?
The most likely scenario is that Google doesn’t penalize sites with a limited number of spammy backlinks but does take action against sites with heaps of such backlinks. That’s why it’s recommended you continuously check your backlink profile and prevent a buildup of toxic links.
There are many reasons why you could lose backlinks over time. Some of the most common reasons are as follows:
The faster you realize you’ve lost backlinks, the faster you can recover them. Monitoring your website backlinks can help you with this and, consequently, help you reduce the number of backlinks you lose without noticing.
When trying to “steal” your competitors’ backlinks, you won’t be monitoring your own but rather your competitors’ backlink profiles. This is often called competitor analysis and can be the backbone of your next link building campaign.
Competitor analysis helps you identify sites that are highly likely to link to you as they’ve already shown interest in your niche by linking to your competitors. This means that analyzing your competitors can help you identify easy link building opportunities.
The key here is to regularly monitor your competitors’ backlinks, so you can identify their new links as soon as they’re created. We’ll discuss which tools you can use for this purpose in a minute.
You always want to monitor two things: the number and quality of backlinks.
The former is straightforward. You generally want to have as many backlinks as possible. If you notice your numbers are dropping, you should work on recovering lost backlinks or building new ones.
The latter, however, is slightly more complicated. Sure; you always want to shoot for the highest-quality backlinks, as the quality directly impacts your keyword rankings. But how do you assess link quality?
To do so, we propose analyzing these three link aspects:
The highest-quality links would, then, be tagged as dofollow, have descriptive anchors, and come from domains with high authority. If the majority of your links meet at least some of these requirements, you have a high-quality backlink profile. On the other hand, if most of your links don’t fulfill these criteria, create a strategy that will let you build higher-quality links.
You can monitor backlinks using all-in-one SEO tools, like Moz, or more specialized backlink monitoring tools called backlink checkers. We’ll suggest the best tools from both categories below.
Google Search Console is often the most accurate source of information about your site. Besides other relevant insights, it can give you a solid overview of your internal and external links. Plus, unlike other backlink tools on this list, it’s free.
To find information about your backlinks within Console, click “Links” in the right-hand menu:
This will open a new page with link-related information about your site:
You can see other data, like the total number of external links or the number of pages targeted by external websites, by selecting one of these lists. Console also lets you disavow spammy backlinks if you go to this page.
Linkody is a specialized backlink tool packed with useful link-related features. Let’s review them by quickly glancing at the main menu.
We’ll only describe the most important pages here:
Moz is a comprehensive all-in-one SEO tool with a multitude of useful link monitoring features, which may justify its pricing starting at $99/month. We’ll only review a few below.
Serpstat is a robust SEO software suite with powerful features for many visibility-boosting tasks, such as keyword research, PPC research, and link monitoring.
MonitorBacklinks is a specialized link building tool with a number of useful link monitoring features.
Don’t forget the most important aspect of every link building strategy: actually building your links.
If doing so yourself is too challenging or time-consuming, you may be interested in working with our link building agency. Set up a meeting to browse through our list of partner sites before deciding if you want to work with us, or order your first batch of links now.
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