When optimizing your website’s SEO, conducting a comprehensive Link Profile Audit: 28 Things to Check is crucial for maintaining a healthy backlink profile. To successfully audit your backlink profile, this guide provides essential tips on link velocity, contextual links, reciprocal links, and more.
Throughout the article, we will delve into topics such as link velocity, contextual links, reciprocal links, and the age and quality of backlinks. Additionally, we’ll explore potential red flags that may lead to Google penalties due to an unnatural influx of links or low-quality linking domains. By understanding these critical components in your Link Profile Audit: 28 Things to Check process, you can ensure that your website maintains high-quality links while avoiding toxic backlinks that could harm its search engine rankings. So let’s dive right in and optimize your site’s link profile today!
#1. Link Velocity
Link velocity is the rate at which links are acquired and lost over time. It is crucial to monitor link velocity to ensure that your website is not acquiring too many or too few links too quickly, as this can be a sign of unnatural link-building practices. Positive link velocity indicates more links are being acquired than lost, while negative link velocity indicates the opposite.
2. Positive Link Velocity
A positive link velocity signifies an increase in the number of backlinks pointing to your site over time, which can improve your search engine rankings and online visibility. Content promotion, guest blogging on appropriate websites, and building relationships with industry influencers are all tactics that can be used to increase the number of backlinks pointing to your website over time.
3. Negative Link Velocity
Negative link velocity occurs when you lose more backlinks than you gain over some time. This could happen for several reasons, like outdated content losing relevance or websites linking to yours getting shut down or penalized by search engines for poor-quality content or spammy tactics.
4. Contextual Links
Contextual links are an important part of any link profile audit, as they can help ensure that the website receives natural and authoritative backlinks. Links within a web page’s content, rather than in the sidebar or footer, are known as contextual links and tend to be seen by search engines as more valuable due to their relevance between two pages. Search engines often see these links as more valuable, indicating relevance between two pages. When assessing a website’s link profile, it is important to look for contextual links from high-quality websites and ensure they are not overly keyword-focused.
5. Sponsored Links or Other Words Around the Link
When analyzing your site’s contextual links, pay close attention to any instances where words like “sponsored” or “advertisement” surround the link. This can indicate that the linked content may not provide genuine value to users and could potentially harm your site’s reputation with search engines like Google. To maintain a healthy link profile, focus on acquiring natural contextual links from reputable sources without disclaimers.
6. Links from Hub Pages
‘Hub’ pages refer to authoritative resources within specific niches that curate and compile information about various topics related to their niche expertise area – think Wikipedia-like sites but focused on one subject matter only. Acquiring backlinks from these hub pages can significantly boost your website’s credibility in the eyes of search engines since these hubs typically have high domain authority (DA) scores due to their wealth of relevant information being shared consistently over time. Identify potential hub pages within your industry using tools like Ahrefs, and reach out with compelling reasons why linking back would benefit both parties involved.
7. Links from Authority Sites
Links from authority sites are a crucial component of any successful link-building strategy. Authority sites typically have high domain authority (DA) scores and provide valuable, trustworthy content to their audience. Acquiring backlinks from these websites can significantly improve your site’s overall ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). To identify potential authority sites within your niche, use tools like Moz Link Explorer.
8. Natural Link Profile
A natural link profile consists of diverse links acquired organically over time without resorting to manipulative tactics such as buying or exchanging links with other websites solely to boost rankings artificially. A healthy mix includes:
Maintaining a natural link profile helps you avoid penalties and ensures long-term success in terms of improved visibility on SERPs.
9. Reciprocal Links
Reciprocal links occur when two websites agree to link to each other’s content to boost their rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs). While reciprocal linking can be beneficial if done correctly, it can also lead to penalties if abused or used excessively. When assessing a website’s link profile, it is important to look for any signs of reciprocal linking and ensure that such links are relevant and from high-quality websites.
10. User-Generated Content Links
User-created material (UGC) denotes any kind of content generated by users, rather than the site proprietor or administrator. UGC links can include forum posts, blog comments, social media shares, and more. These links can provide valuable traffic and engagement but may pose risks if not properly monitored for spammy or low-quality contributions. To maintain a healthy link profile, regularly review your user-generated content sources and take appropriate action against spammy behavior.
11. Excessive Blog Comments
While engaging with your audience through blog comments is an excellent way to build relationships and encourage discussion around your content, excessive comment-based backlinks may raise red flags with search engines like Google as they could be perceived as manipulative tactics aimed at artificially inflating your site’s ranking on SERPs. Ensure that you have a moderation system for managing incoming comments on your blog so that only genuine interactions contribute towards building a strong link profile.
12. Links from 301 Redirects
A 301 redirect informs search engines that a page has permanently moved from one URL location to another. While 301 redirects are a legitimate and useful tool for maintaining website structure, they can also be abused to manipulate link equity. When auditing your site’s link profile, it is essential to identify any links from 301 redirects and ensure they are used appropriately.
13. Internal Link Anchor Text
Internal links connect different pages within the same domain, helping users navigate your content while providing search engines with valuable information about the relationships between pages on your site. The anchor text used in internal links should accurately describe the linked content and not overuse target keywords, as this may appear manipulative to search engines. To optimize your internal linking strategy, follow best practices such as using descriptive anchor texts and avoiding excessive keyword stuffing when creating internal links.
Reciprocal links are a common source of link spam and should be carefully monitored. Moving on, it is important to evaluate the age and quality of backlinks when auditing your link profile.
14. Backlink Age and Quality
The age and quality of backlinks play an important role in determining how much value search engines place on them when ranking websites in SERPs. Backlinks from reliable, authoritative websites are typically considered more valuable than those of a lower caliber coming from less dependable sources; furthermore, older links tend to be seen as more advantageous than newer ones. When assessing a websiteâ€™s link profile, it is important to look for any signs of low-quality or spammy backlinks and take steps to remove them if necessary.
15. Backlink Age
Search engines typically view aged connections as more worthwhile since they signify that the associated material has withstood time and remains pertinent in the present. To assess the age distribution of your website’s backlinks, you can use tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush. These tools provide insights into the age of your existing links to determine whether your link profile includes a healthy mix of old and new links.
16. Number of Outbound Links on the Page
The number of outbound links on a page to your site also impacts its overall quality score with search engines. Pages with too many outbound links may be considered “spammy” or less valuable by Google, potentially diluting their impact on rankings. To check this metric for individual pages linking to your site, consider using browser extensions such as NoFollow Simple Chrome Extension.
17. Site-wide Links
Site-wide links are those that appear on every page of a website, typically in the footer or sidebar. While these links can be valuable for user navigation and overall site structure, they may not carry as much weight with search engines compared to contextual links within the content. When auditing your link profile, make sure to take note of any site-wide backlinks and assess their relevance and quality.
18. Excessive Focus of Link Anchor Text on Any One Keyword
An over-optimized anchor text distribution can raise red flags with search engines, potentially leading to penalties or lower rankings. Maintaining a balanced mix of branded, keyword-rich, and generic anchor text is essential for avoiding search engine penalties or lower rankings. To analyze your anchor text distribution, you can use tools like Majestic, which provides detailed reports on your website’s backlink profile.
19. Too Much Link Velocity, Too Little Link Velocity
Link velocity is the rate at which a website acquires links. Too much link velocity can harm your site’s performance in the SERPs, as it could appear unnatural and manipulative to search engines. On the other hand, too little link velocity can also adversely affect your rankings if you’re unable to keep up with competitors who are actively building their backlink profiles.
20. Too Many Links Coming From One Domain Too Fast
When assessing link velocity, it’s important to consider how much of your overall link profile comprises newly-acquired links. If this number approaches 50 percent or more, you may want to slow down your acquisition rate so that it appears more natural and less spammy in Google’s eyes. Additionally, if you notice that most of these new links come from one domain (or even one IP address), this should raise red flags since it looks like someone is trying to manipulate search engine results through excessive linking from a single source.
21. Excessive Forum Profile Links
Another factor when considering link velocity is whether or not any forum profile links are present in your backlink portfolio – these tend to be low quality and often get flagged by Google for manipulation attempts. Due diligence must be taken when acquiring them.
22. Links From Real Sites vs. Splogs
It’s also important to differentiate between real sites vs. splogs (spam blogs) when evaluating new links. However, both types will add value regarding SEO metrics such as PageRank and Domain Authority. Only genuine websites will provide long-term benefits for organic visibility.
23. Unnatural Influx of Links
Having an influx of unnatural links pointing toward a website can lead directly to a penalty from Google – something no web admin wants! This means being mindful of where new incoming links originate from.
24. Guest Posts
Nowadays, guest posts are often viewed negatively due to their susceptibility to manipulation and similarity to article marketing when improperly executed. However, if done correctly, guest posts can be highly advantageous, particularly when they contribute unique content of substantial value. It’s important to note that relying solely on guest posts for building your link profile can lead to negative outcomes.
25. Google Penalty
Using Barracuda’s Panguin tool can help you identify whether you have a penalty or which one you have. It includes a program that overlays your Google Analytics data with dates and information about specific penalties – not just Penguin but Panda and many other algorithmic and manual actions that Google has levied. It can help you diagnose your problem much easier.
26. Link Profile With a High Percentage of Low-Quality Links
A link profile with a high percentage of low-quality links can harm your website’s SEO. Low-quality links come from spammy websites, directories, and other irrelevant sites. These types of links can have a negative impact on your rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs). Many links from low-quality sites – such as those frequently used by spammers – are known as the following:
27. Linking Domain Relevancy
Link Relevancy is an important factor when it comes to link building. Links should come from relevant websites related to your website’s topic or niche. If you have too many low-quality links coming from unrelated sites, this could negatively affect your ranking in SERPs.
28. ‘Poison’ Anchor Text
Having high levels of this spammy type of “anchor” (the clickable part of a link) can negatively affect your rankings and can be considered “spammy.”This is a common black hat tactic where competitors will link with spammy keywords to their competitors, which will cause their search rankings to drop.
A successful link profile audit requires a comprehensive review of the 28 items listed. It’s important to remember that not all links are created equal, and some can damage your website’s rankings. By monitoring positive and negative link velocity, contextual links, sponsored words around links, backlink age, and quality, as well as other factors related to your site’s link profile audit, you can ensure that it remains in good standing with search engines like Google.
Let OptiLocal help you maximize your local marketing success with our comprehensive link profile audit. Our team of experts can provide tailored solutions to ensure that all 28 items on the checklist are checked off and optimized for maximum visibility.