What to Look for When Auditing Your Link Profile

Auditing Your Link Profile

Written by Jeremy Earle, JD

March 4, 2022

Here’s how to keep your link profile healthy and prevent poor backlinks from becoming bad enough to hurt you by doing regular link profile audits. An assessment of your link profile is essential to any SEO campaign. It is important to conduct regular link profile audits to discover and delete poor connections before they negatively affect your site’s rating. The use of proactive measures is always preferable to corrective ones. According to the most recent Google adjustments, even sites that haven’t been building links for the previous five years are being penalized (at least). Consistent link profile auditing is essential for maintaining a good link profile and preventing poor connections from becoming problematic in the future. Link remediation is a term that some in the industry use to describe this process. Consider it risk management, or rather, risk minimization.

In the meanwhile, what exactly is bad SEO?

Competition may seek to artificially increase its link profile by building poor backlinks from a competitor’s website. Consequently, your site will be penalized by Google’s algorithm since it will be seen as if you are actively developing such connections. I’ve seen a few effective negative SEO link assaults, so I know they exist. While everything was going smoothly on these websites, a considerable surge in bogus incoming links began to wreak havoc. This is why regular link profile audits are so important in keeping a healthy link profile and ensuring that your poor backlinks don’t grow so terrible that they might hurt you. The apps we’ll need to conduct a link profile audit are listed below. Examples of Useful Software Since the more data sources you have available, the better your link risk management activities will be if you employ a variety of programmes. I will use at least five references if you have them available. In addition to these five sources, you may always utilize other ones:
  • Google’s search engine optimization (SEO) tool
  • SEMrush
  • Majestic
  • Ahrefs
  • Tools by Raven
  • Browser-based tool for linking to other websites
  • Link Cleanse
With ChristophCemper’s Link Detox software, you don’t have to worry about compiling, saving, organizing, or processing your link profile data one iota more. These tools will be a goldmine of information that we can utilize to improve our link profile auditing efforts in the future. The first step is to gather all of our connection data. Data sources are the first place to start. As a starting point, you’ll want to determine the top three sources of connections you have. SEMrush and Majestic are two useful places to start looking for information. After that, you may run Link Detox on all of the reports you’ve collected. Keep in mind to download and import the disavow file. As a result, Link Detox will not include any of your previously disavowed links in its assessment. Aside from dedupes, Link Detox will automatically remove any duplications, so you don’t have to worry about it yourself. Once you’ve completed Link Detox, you can begin teaching the tool’s AI to learn about your link profile. When it comes to Link Detox, it’s also a good idea to check out the sites to see whether they’ve been categorized as spam or not. You may teach the programme to include or remove links when it reprocesses your report by utilizing this upvoting/downvoting method. If requested, you should additionally categorize your link anchor text. Link Detox audit reports will be more precise due to this procedure. The more you use the tool and teach its AI, the better it will be to detect good and poor connections in your link profile. There are several things to keep an eye out for when troubleshooting your link profile. Although they are just my thoughts and may not apply to your site, it has been my experience that these elements may have a favourable or bad influence on your link profile, depending on how they’re applied. As is customary, anything utilized in excess will be seen as spam. The First Thing to Do

1. Positive Link Speed

This refers to the rate at which your link profile is growing. Google may consider a link profile that grows too quickly to be a link manipulation method.

2. The Velocity of Negative Links

The removal of too many connections at once.

3. Contextually relevant links

Within the page’s context, hyperlinks are relevant to the topic. You get extra points if the material you’re using sounds natural and has some substance rather than spammy. This time, though, you should be on the lookout for excessive use of contextual linking since this might be abused.

4. Sponsored Links and Other Terms Surrounding a Link

Links that are sponsored or paid for.

5. From the “hub” pages

These are the most authoritative sites on the subject.

6. Links from high-ranking websites.

Large authority sites in a certain field generally provide these kinds of connections. Being linked to high-authority sites is beneficial, and it shouldn’t be considered bad.

7. Links with a Natural Profile

Link anchor text is distributed more naturally in a natural link profile, which means that no one anchor text type dominates the link profile in any major way. In other words, rather than a single individual repeatedly connecting to the site, it seems that many people from a variety of niches (or within the same niche) did so.

8. Reciprocal Links

In their Google Webmaster Guidelines, cross-linking, a form of linking strategy that Google forbids, is essentially “link to me and I will link to you.”

9. The use of links to user-generated content

They are links that show up in the comment section of blogs.

10. Inappropriate comments on a blog

Scrape Box, a well-known black hat malware, is notorious for its blog commenting capabilities, and hence excessive blog commenting might be perceived as originating from Scrape Box.

11. Links originating from 301 Permanently Moved URLs

Links from 301 redirects should not harm your site in and of itself. Having too many redirects, on the other hand:
  • Your website will be slowed down.
  • Your result in a lack of available bandwidth (it may not be an issue if you can afford significant amounts of traffic hitting your 301 redirects).
  • Crawling becomes more difficult if these concerns are not effectively addressed.
  • They may grow to the point that managing them becomes a difficulty.

12. Anchor text for internal links

Spam is any overuse of a single form of internal link anchor text and should be avoided at all costs. Using the same “Georgia widgets” link several times is a bad idea. Instead, you should include various anchor texts in your link profile. Diversify it as much as possible to make it look more organic rather than staged.

13. Age of Backlinks

According to a Google patent, backlink age is an important ranking component.

14. The total number of links pointing away from the page

One school of thought holds that pages with an excessive number of outbound connections perform much worse than pages with an appropriate number of outbound links. This is known as the link density hypothesis. Although this was formerly true, it is no longer so. Although Matt Cutts, a former Google employee, has claimed that they no longer require a maximum of 100 links on a page if the connections are too spammy.

15. Site-wide links

In his video How Does Google Consider Site-Wide Backlinks, Cutts discussed this topic. Although he verified that they compress the links into a single link, he also said that if the connections are very spammy, a human webspam analyst might consider other measures.

16. Link Anchor Text that focuses too much on one keyword

Having a link profile where no more than 20% of your links originate from one sort of site, one form of spam, or centred on one single term is often permitted. The more options you have, the better off you will be.

17. Too much or too little link velocity is a common problem.

Getting many links in a short time might hurt how well your site performs in search engine results pages (SERPs). This is particularly true if it forms a significant element of your link profile (approaching 50 per cent or much more). Having a low link velocity isn’t usually a bad thing. An issue with link velocity arises when one source produces too many links at too high a rate to be of any use to the rest of your link profile.

18. An inappropriately large number of links coming from a single domain (Part of Link Velocity, But an Investigative Factor)

As a result, Google may note that this domain may be assisting the target site’s link building efforts. When it comes to link building, overdoing it may be called spam if it’s done too often and too quickly; thus, the aim here is to keep things in proportion.

19. Excessive links to one’s forum profile

These connections might lead to the black hat side using a tool like XRumer or Scrape Box to modify hyperlinks. It’s easy to create and edit forum profiles using these tools.

20. Splogs vs. Real Sites: Which Should You Trust?

Nowadays, a splog, or spam blog, is easily recognizable. Blogs produced as part of a larger network may all have similar designs and include comparable material. If the splog network is well-developed, they may even take care of producing high-quality material themselves. However, the majority of the variables in these splog networks will be the same and can be readily identified.

21. Guest Posts

Many people don’t like guest articles these days since they’re so easy to manipulate and may go the same way as article marketing. It’s possible that, if done right, they may be beneficial, particularly if they provide unique and valuable material. When guest articles are the only thing you’re doing to improve your link profile, it may quickly go from good to poor.

22. Inexplicable Flow of Links

The subject of connection velocity has already been addressed and discussed in another part of this paper.

23. The penalty imposed by Google

Use Barracuda’s Penguin tool to detect not only whether you have a penalty but what kind of punishment you have as well. To help you better understand how Google penalizes your site, it offers a tool that overlays Google Analytics statistics with information on individual penalties, including not just Penguin but Panda and many other algorithmic and manual measures that have been taken. It will make it easy for you to figure out what is wrong. It’s a good idea to check Google Search Console and Google Analytics to see if there’s any evidence to back up your claim before taking any more action. There is a good chance that your site has been impacted by a substantial update before the penalty.

24. A high percentage of low-quality links in your link profile

Low-quality sites, such as spammers’, are notorious for the following types of links:
  • Gambling
  • Porn
  • Viagra
  • Links in blog comments that are much too many
  • Scam sites that post a lot of the same stuff again and over
  • Networks of blogs
  • Sites for Article Promotion
In Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, spam is particularly mentioned as the following types of content:
  • Articles containing links with relevant anchor text.
  • Press releases posted on other websites only to generate a backlink
  • Linking to low-quality directories or social bookmarking sites is a waste of time and resources.
  • Links from PPC advertising campaigns that send PageRank to the buyer of the ad.

25. Using Domain Relevancy as a Link

It is widely accepted that relevant connections from sites in the same or comparable niches are more potent than links from non-related sources. Verify that the domain itself is relevant and isn’t causing serious spam concerns throughout your link profile checks. Disavow if you can’t get in touch with the webmaster and want to remove the link from their page.

26. Anchor Text: “Poison”

Your site might be labelled spam if you have a large number of anchors with this kind of anchor text (essentially anything from well-known spam niches like gambling or viagra). This is a common negative SEO tactic in which one rival uses spammy anchor text to sabotage the rankings of another competition. Despite Google’s insistence that bad SEO seldom has any negative consequences. Look for situations where large quantities of poisonous anchor text have been used. If you notice and remove the links, they are unlikely to harm your website. Contact a member of the Google Webspam team (e.g. John Mueller or Gary Illyes) and ask them to look into it if you don’t and discover that you have been a victim.

The Disavow File Must Be Put Together Now!

Using Google’s Disavow Tool, submit your disavow file after going through your whole link profile and disavowing all of the problematic links you’ve found.

The First Thing to Do

27. Your Disavow Files

Make sure there are no mistakes in your disavow file. Before you submit your work, excessive www and other formatting errors may pop up. If you want to be on the safe side, make a text file out of your disavow file and submit it.

28. Schema.org’s Microformats

Using Schema.org has turned into something of a cult following. Despite the difficulty in proving its efficiency, some SEO experts feel that pages containing these microformats may rank higher than those without them. Even if it doesn’t assist ranks in the Google Carousel or featured snippet results for distinct niches, there is no denying that it offers support for the featured snippets of Google. Next, you’ll be able to figure out where to continue from here by identifying Schema.org microformats. Schema.org optimization may be benchmarked to see where improvements can be made and where new prospects for growth exist. Schema.org microformat code may be detected on-site using Screaming Frog.

How to Do It

Custom Filters may help you find sites that employ Schema.org code. Then choose Configuration > Custom > Search from inside Screaming Frog. Using the Custom Filter Configuration, type in the following code: itemtype=http://schema.org Check to see whether it’s coded in a way that requires you to use: itemtype=” http://schema.org” Schema.org coding may be found in any primary parent code items; however, this won’t identify any individual code items. Unique Schema markup might be used to specify a certain kind. Any code that had the Schema value of “name” would have to be found using itemprop= “name” as an example. It all depends on your niche and the Schema you’re trying to find. You may get a complete list of all Schema formats on Schema, the open-source organization’s website.

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