In June we published two pieces on How to conduct a complete SEO audit. They can be found here: How to Perform Your First SEO Audit: Content Overview and here: How to Perform Your First SEO Audit: Indexing Overview on Positionly’s blog. But we’ve got more to say; so we’re finishing what we started by bringing to you the third, but an equally significant part, that covers backlink profile auditing.
Your website’s position in the search, its authority, and the general site’s quality is mainly affected by the website’s backlink profile. To arrange rankings, search engines use links, which in turn act as votes and endorsement for a website.
The more trusted domains in your backlink profile, the higher your website ranks and the stronger it becomes.
What is more, domain diversity and quality backlinks have a much stronger impact on your ranking in Google’s algorithm than any other SEO ranking factor today.
Because of this, it is essential to audit your backlinks profile and then come up with a clever link building strategy.
The first thing you should do is check how many root domains link to your site.
*Let’s clarify shortly what root domains are — These are unique domains at the highest hierarchical level.
A good definition has been provided by Majestic:
The root domain is the overarching structure which contains the subdomains and every URL. If you want the data for an entire site, sticking with the root domain will likely be the easiest way to access this data. An example of a root domain would be example.com
The total number of links to your website can be checked in your Google Search Console dashboard. You just need to go into the Search Traffic section and click Links to your site, which is the second tab. There you will be provided with the total number of links. Below you can also see: Who linked the most.
When you click on < more > you will see the complete list of root domains that link to your website along with the individual links number.
However, the numbers won’t mean much if you don’t know how to evaluate them.
Luckily, Positionly Pro can display all your backlinks filtered by separated domains, along with their follow type (do follow or no follow), quality level and anchor text, as well as tell you whether they are still active or not.
Filtering your links by their root domains along with other quality indicators will give you a clear overview of the health of your backlink profile.
Remember, the more authoritative (root) domains link to your resources, the stronger your link profile will be. Domain diversity is one of the most influential factors in Google’s algorithm today.
If you want to grow your backlinks profile, you should discover what domains have the strongest authority. These are domains like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, Wikipedia, the Huffington Post etc. Check the list of the world’s most trustworthy sites according to Majestic: Authority Domains vs. Authority Links.
What is the right proportion of dofollow to nofollow backlinks?
The difference between do follow and no follow backlinks lies in the fact that do follow links let the SEO juice flow, while no follow links are blocked from letting SEO juice flow; they aren’t beneficial to you regarding SEO.
Do follow links obtained from authority domains make your site stronger and improve your site’s ability to rank higher. High-quality, do follow links boost your quality metrics, like domain authority and page authority.
This is why you should aim to have as many do follow links as possible.
But of course, some no follow backlinks are needed to make your profile look natural. If you weren’t to have any no follow links, Search Engines might get suspicious. :D
Are there various anchor texts?
This is how the anchor text looks in the website’s source code:
For example: <a href=”http://positionly.com”>SEO Software</a>
As a user, you only see the HTML version of a page, where clickable SEO Software is visible.
As you obtain backlinks, you will see that there are a few types of anchor texts:
- Zero anchors — Read this / Click here / Here. Zero anchors don’t provide any added value.
- URLs: http://positionly.com
- Exact match anchor texts like US SEO Software that include the core keyword and localization factor.
- Partial match anchor texts — core keyword SEO Software without any geo-localization.
- Hybrid anchor texts — these are the anchors that include related, branded and non-branded words.
Anchor text counts as a relevancy factor among the others SEO elements such as title tag and meta description. Moreover, paragraph surrounding a particular anchor should be topically related and optimally keywords-rich.
Anchors need to be relevant to the topic of a page but also varied. The most recommended are partial-match and hybrid anchor texts.
During the linking audit you will need to review anchor names that your partners and other external resources give you. This can be done with Positionly. Our software presents the anchor text within the inbound links report.
Once you check your anchors you can decide what needs to be changed and send a kind request to these websites.
The important lesson that you should learn about anchor text during the SEO linking audit is that the single anchor, especially the exact match, shouldn’t be overused because it may seem unnatural and get flagged. Make sure that your anchors are diversified and point, not only to your home page but to various inner pages.
What is the authority of linking websites
The authority of your overall domain is measured by the domain authority metric, while the authority of an individual page is reflected by page authority.
They are both grounded on the 100-points scale, where 0 indicates the super weak and 100 points out the maximum authority.
When a page is linked to from a number of expert pages, it is considered an authority on the topic, the page authority score increases, and this makes it rank higher.
A good authority score begins at 40; when the score surpasses 70, then your website is seriously powerful.
When your website’s authority begins to grow, you will notice an increase in your rankings, too. And growing your authority metrics demands a link building strategy that brings high-quality backlinks from various, but strong domains.
Trust Rate matters a lot
Trust rate is an important indicator that reflects your website’s quality. This one (as the name suggests) focuses on the trustworthiness. Trust rate is grounded on the quality of your backlinks, more than domain authority is. Brian Dean from Backlinko came to the deduction that Trust Flow closely correlates to higher rankings.
Trust Flow passes through URLs. According to Majestic, the circle of trust is built by the linking of strong, acknowledged and trustworthy websites to other strong, acknowledged, and trustworthy websites. With a continuation of this cycle, the network is built.
How to build up Google’s trust?
- Spread the link love by linking to .edu and .gov sites and other authority websites.
- Improve the user experience of pages on your website that indicate a poor user interaction. Factors that would result in a poor user interaction include a high bounce rate and a low time on site. Find a way to glue your visitors to your content.
- Build your brand signals.
- Come up with a detailed About Us page
- Keep your social media profiles active
- More can be found here http://backlinko.com/google-trustrank
Are linking websites topically related to your business?
It’s important for your links profile to be built up of high quality, topically related backlinks.
Relevant backlinks signalize to your visitors, as well as search engines, that you’re an expert in your niche.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that you should discard a backlink from a well-known website that is unrelated to your business.
Just keep in mind that links from your niche are even better and they gather some extra SEO points.
Social media mentions
Having a social media presence is a factor which greatly contributes to your website’s success. That’s why your website’s first audit should definitely include it. And while the web becomes more and more social, the importance of your site’s social engagement grows.
First of all, you should make sure that your website’s social sharing works without a flaw, and all the primary channels (that fit your target audience) are well-integrated, so your site’s visitors can easily post their favorite pieces of content on their profiles.
Then, you can evaluate your social engagement, so the number of shares, likes, comments across all the social media channels, using the Buzzsumo plugin.
What is more, it’s also vital to check if your content is being shared by influencers in your niche and other reputable identities.
Competitive link analysis
Lastly, don’t forget to compare yourself to your competitors and see how you stack up against them. You can accomplish this using Positionly. Discover more about this topic by reading: What Can You Learn from Your Competition?
Many experts consider backlinks to be the strongest ranking factor, and they are apparently right. For instance, Ahrefs:
Here at Ahrefs we believe that link building is, and will continue to be, one of the key elements of modern SEO. source [little blue book by Ahrefs]
At Positionly, we believe that the complete SEO strategy demands that on-page SEO goes with off-page SEO hand in hand. You can expect the best results when a holistic SEO approach is implemented. Also, remember that SEO auditing of your website is a task that should be conducted regularly to keep all things in control.
That’s all for today! Let us know how the three parts of our SEO audit helped you. Were they eye-opening and useful to you? Feel free to tell us in the comments below.
Originally published at Positionly Blog.