An often-ignored aspect of search engine optimization (SEO) is backlink management.
Backlinks are incredibly important for your website’s ranking and success.
Good backlinks increase your website’s credibility, while poor ones can harm your efforts to rank well and attract a relevant audience.
This guide will provide all the information you need to manage backlinks to your website and its content effectively.
No matter what kind of website or business you’re running, using the right tools and following the best practices will enable you to secure quality backlinks and monitor them regularly.
What Are Backlinks?
A backlink is an inbound link from another website or media. For example, if a website links an article published on a blog, that link is a backlink for that article.
Backlinks may originate from another website or social media platform like Facebook or X.
In terms of SEO, backlinks come under off-page SEO.
Types of Backlinks
There are different types of backlinks:
- Self-Created Backlinks
These are backlinks you create yourself, for example, on your social media accounts or in comments on posts. Such links are easy to create but can jeopardize ranking if overdone.
- Natural or Editorial Backlinks
These are backlinks you have gained naturally because of the quality or relevance of your content.
These are the most powerful and beneficial backlinks, as these help to reinforce the authority of your website.
- Manual and Guest Post Backlinks
These are backlinks created strategically through partnerships with other website owners. They may link your content on their website to drive traffic from their website to yours.
Similarly, guest post backlinks originate from guest posts created on authoritative forums.
You contribute quality content to the guest post website, and they allow backlinks to your website so the audience can obtain more information.
- Social Media Backlinks
These are backlinks from social media posts, wherein someone links your pages to their post.
Why Backlink Management Is So Important
To ensure your website is doing well, you need active backlink profile management. Here’s why:
Back in the day, off-page SEO included adding more and more backlinks to your website. But today, that can backfire.
Search engines like Google don’t just rely on the quantity but also the quality of backlinks to a webpage.
So, if you have quality websites with links to your content, your chances of ranking higher for relevant keywords are pretty good.
Good backlinks add authority and credibility to your website, so it’s vital to ensure that relevant and authoritative websites are in your backlinks.
Avoiding Negative SEO and Penalties
Just as good backlinks can improve your ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs), bad backlinks can hamper it.
To ensure that you’re not a target of harmful SEO practices by competitors or other malicious parties, you need to monitor backlinks and remove poor ones actively.
The last thing you want is backlinks from spammy websites.
Similarly, you don’t want to be penalized by Google, which can result in blacklisting and removal from its index.
Detecting Broken Links
Actively monitoring and analyzing backlinks can help you find any broken links that result in error pages.
You can work to fix those broken links and ensure that the link leads to your web pages.
With relevant backlinks, you get referral traffic emerging from sources other than SERPs.
It’s a reliable way to increase traffic to your website and gain a new audience that’s interested in your content and services.
Best Tools for Backlink Management
As you can imagine, searching, monitoring, and analyzing backlinks is a laborious task that can become time-consuming and virtually impossible if you have thousands of links.
The good news is that there are tools that can make backlink management effortless.
With just a few clicks, you can find everything you need about your website’s backlinks and take steps to fix issues or improve link building.
1. Google Search Console
If you’re looking for a free way to find and manage backlinks to your website, Google Search Console is the answer.
It’s a free tool from Google that helps you measure your website’s traffic and performance.
You can easily set up your website in this free tool and verify it. Once you’re all set up, you’ll have a number of tools at your disposal.
You can find external links (backlinks) in the ‘Links’ section on the console.
Here, you can find which websites have the most backlinks to yours. You can also find helpful information such as total backlinks, number of domains, and even the top linking countries.
While limited in metrics, this tool can be a good start to identify problematic backlinks.
As a comprehensive SEO tool, Ahrefs also provides a backlink management feature.
It automates operations like analyzing backlink profiles and detecting broken or lost links.
You can also learn how your web pages perform and identify potential link-building opportunities.
The tool has an easy-to-use interface for professionals such as marketers and website managers.
Combined with its other features, it can be an all-inclusive solution for improving the search engine ranking of your website.
Another popular SEO tool is Semrush, known for its user-friendly features and vast knowledge base.
Digital marketers love it, and for good reason. It not only lets you improve your backlink profile but also keeps tabs on your competitor’s profiles.
This can come in handy for identifying websites you can build links with to outrank competitors.
With metrics like toxicity score, authority score, and referring domains, you can analyze the backlink profile of any website.
While not a backlink analysis tool, Yaccs can be useful for managing broken backlinks, especially those that are your own.
It’s an SEO website builder tool that creates static webpages instantly using Artificial Intelligence (AI).
If you detect a broken backlink page, you can instantly whip up a web page for that link and have it hosted on the cloud. You can also use expired domains for them.
5. Monitor Backlinks
As you can guess by the name, Monitor Backlinks is a dedicated tool for backlink management that presents all the information on your profile in a user-friendly manner.
The dashboard lets you track backlinks and see many important metrics to decide which links to retain.
It can also be useful for manual link-building with other websites and influencers.
More importantly, the tool makes it easier to disavow bad backlinks.
Practical Tips for Managing Backlinks
Investing in tools to manage backlinks to your website is highly recommended. However, you have to adopt best practices to ensure those tools are actually helpful.
Here are some valuable tips to make backlink management easy and effective:
1. Monitor and Retrieve Lost Links
Good backlinks are worth every effort. So, you don’t want to lose such links.
If the webmaster removes it or the page sends out the link itself goes bad (404 error), you’ve lost a potentially valuable backlink.
You can easily detect broken or lost links through free and paid tools.
Once you’ve detected a lost link, contact its webmaster to restore it. Keep track of the progress and ensure that the link is restored timely.
2. Keep Tabs on Spam Score of Backlinks
‘Not everything that shines is gold’ applies to backlinks as well. Don’t just assume the backlink is quality for its face value; do your homework!
One way to ensure you’re only getting high-quality backlinks is to check for spam scores.
Some SEO tools provide this metric for links, so it’s super easy and quick. The spam score can also tell you if the website is reputable.
Again, it’s critical that you avoid any spammy websites backlinking to yours. You don’t want to be in Google’s bad book.
3. Analyze Competitor Backlinks and Their Scores
You don’t just want to rank high on SERPs but also outrank your competitors.
So, you need to keep upping your SEO game. That requires some snooping around, including for competitor backlinks.
Tools like Ahrefs offer this feature, where you can search, analyze, and track competitor backlinks.
It’s an effective way to find more opportunities for creating backlinks.
If you missed out on a valuable source redirecting to your website, you can discover it through competitor backlink research.
4. Set Up Alerts for Lost or Broken Backlinks
Looking for lost or broken links manually is a tedious task, so why not automate it?
Opt for a tool that allows you to set up alerts for when a backlink stops working or is lost.
This way, you’ll be immediately informed, and you can take the necessary measures to claim it back.
Similarly, you can set alerts for when you get a new backlink for your webpages. That’s also pretty useful, so you can disavow any poor or spammy links immediately.
5. Track Traffic and Performance Changes from Backlinks
Backlinks are weapons in your SEO arsenal. The ultimate goal is to improve traffic via high rankings and referrals.
So, it’s only logical to monitor for traffic changes after getting backlinks and also see how much of your total traffic is coming from referrals.
You can use Google Analytics to track your website’s traffic and see its origin.
If a source is bringing sizeable traffic to your website, you know where to get more backlinks from.
Similarly, if a partner website brings no traffic, you may consider losing it.
6. Dofollow and Noflow Ratios
There are two types of links, defined by the attribute in their HTML code: dofollow and nofollow.
Nofollow attribute signals search engines that you don’t pass authority to the linked website. On the other hand, dofollow or follow tags tell that you’re vouching for the website.
As such, nofollow links are not that important, but you should still be on the lookout for any spammy links with this attribute.
Follow links are more important as they’re vouching for your website. Now, if a poor-quality website is vouching for you, it’s not necessarily a good thing.
Another important aspect is the ratio between the two. While there’s no set ratio, if you have a lot more dofollows than nofollows, Google may see it as suspicious.
It’s recommended to periodically tabulate nofollow and dofollow links to see the ratio. If the ratio is way off, you should disavow or remove links to bring it to a healthy balance.
7. Disavow Irrelevant Backlinks
You don’t need unnecessary and irrelevant backlinks that don’t do much for your website.
Your target is to attain and retain quality backlinks. So, disavow any such links, especially from poor-quality websites.
Use Google’s disavow links tool to disavow all irrelevant and low-quality backlinks.
Here’s how you can do that:
- Create a list of the URLs you want to disavow and add them to a .txt file (one URL per line).
- Head to the Google disavow links tool.
- Upload the list and select the property you want to disavow the links from.
8. Look for Trust Flow and Citation Flow Metrics of Backlinks
Two metrics to look out for are trust flow and citation flow. The former measures the trustworthiness of the link, while the latter measures the citations.
Ideally, you want backlinks with high trust and citation flow numbers. This indicates that the linking website is of high authority and brings in a lot of traffic.
Getting such backlinks will eventually improve your website’s trust flow and citation floor, making it a trustworthy website in the eyes of Google and other search engines.
Take Backlinking to the Next Level!
Backlink management is crucial for off-page SEO and the overall authority and performance of your website.
Poor backlinks can result in a lower ranking on SERPs and impact your website’s reputation.
As so many websites may create links to your pages, it’s important to stay on top of it.
By using the right tools to track and manage backlinks, you can ensure only high-quality websites refer to the content and pages of your website.
Besides working on your link-building strategy to attain newer links, keep track of existing ones.
Also, keep an eye out for competitors and their backlinks to discover new opportunities and see how their traffic is impacted by such links.