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What is a Backlink Audit?

What is a Backlink Audit? – How To Do a Backlink Audit a Complete 2023 Guide

They are not very familiar with link building and have done little research on it.
But this is something I see almost every day. I visit many websites with unhealthy or dangerous links.

This is an important reason why you need to test the link profile regularly. But there is another important reason we do this beyond danger. There is a chance!

If you take a close look at your website’s backlinks, you’ll quickly understand the power of a good link profile. You will see places where you can find the most valuable links that will improve your site’s performance and ranking!

What is a Backlink Audit?

Backlink testing analyzes the quality, quantity, and relevancy of links pointing to your website.
Comprehensive link testing can provide you with a gold mine of information that can have a huge impact on your SEO and backlink strategy.

So you can build better links and beat your competitors by highlighting them in search results.

In this article, we’ll use a simple backlink testing process that you can replicate on your site.

Note: We will use Semrush’s backlink audit, backlink analysis, and link building tool during this process. SEMrush Tools has the largest backlink database on the market.

5 Simple Steps to Do a Backlink Audit

1. Compare your Backlink Profile to the Competition

This step is mandatory. A comparison with your competitors can provide you with a lot of valuable information and answer important questions such as:

  • Do you have more backlinks and referring domains than your competitors?
  • How does your link acquisition rate compare to your competition?
  • What is your Authority Score? How does it compare to your competition?

All of this is important.

Because when your backlink profile is strong, you end up high in search results. This can lead to more traffic to your website.

To start analyzing, visit the Backlink Analytics tool. Enter your domain name and click “Analyze”. Then, on the “Overview” tab, enter some of your competitor’s domains and click “Compare”.
You get lots of data points to see if you’re going in the right direction with your link-building strategy.

What You Should Analyze

Summary on the Summary tab:

Backlinks, Referring Domains, and Referring IP: Measure how big your backlink track is compared to the competition. In general, the higher the numbers, the stronger your backlink profile.
Relevant Score: Determining the quality of your website. Quality is measured on a scale from 1 to 100. The higher the number, the better the quality of the domain.
You get lots of data points to see if you’re going in the right direction with your link-building strategy.

Recommendation domains: Notice that your recommendation domains are constantly growing. Or is the growth of the domains you are targeting stagnating? And see how your growth compares to your competition.
For example, if you find that your link growth is stagnant and your competitors have more backlinks than you, start link building.

2. Find and Test every Byou have

Now that you know how your backlink profile compares to the competition, it’s time to dig deeper and analyze each link individually.


Some backlinks are more profitable than others. And if you have a lot of low-quality backlinks, they will not affect the success of your website.

Or worse, you can trigger a manual action penalty from Google (meaning some or all of your pages won’t show up in search results). Especially if your site was involved in spam links (links intended to improve organic ranking).

You can use Semrush’s backlink audit tool to analyze your backlinks.

First, start the project, configure the tool, and click on “Start backlink audit”.

What You Should Analyze

  • On the Overview tab you will find the following:
    Overall Toxicity Score: To see if you have a high score, which means you have too many low-quality links pointing to your site
  • Analyzed Backlinks: Notice that the number is higher than expected, which may indicate a negative SEO attack. In most cases, you don’t have to do anything. Google is very good at ignoring SEO attacks related to bad links.
  • Referring domains: To see how many domains are linking to your website. Multiple links from a domain do not have a significant impact on the ranking. The key is to build links to as many unique and relevant domains as possible.

Important metrics in the “Overview” tab in the backlink audit tool
The Overview tab gives you a very general view. To go deeper, you need to go to the “Audit” tab.

There you will see all the backlinks pointing to your website.

The Inspect tab shows backlinks pointing to your website
From here see:

  • URLs: To see if they are from legitimate websites
  • Anchor Text: To see if the anchor text is compatible with the linked page. High-quality backlinks tend to have anchor text that is appropriate to the content of the linked page, while low-quality backlinks tend to have anchor text that is unnatural or spammy (i.e. somewhat random).
  • Authority Score (AS) of a linking website: A measure of the reputability of a linking website, which affects your search ranking. A higher AS means a more positive influence on the ratings. A drop in AS means a less positive impact on ratings.
  • Toxicity Score (TS) of a link: a measure of how harmful a link can be. The toxicity score ranges from 0 to 100. The lower the TS, the higher the connection quality. The higher the TS, the lower the connection quality. You can click on the TS Score to see why Semrush considers a particular link low or bad.

3. Decide whether Broken Links Should be Discarded or Removed

The next step is to decide whether to discard or remove broken backlinks.

Google says the following about it:

  • If you have a significant number of low-quality links built using tactics that go against Google’s policies
  • If you received a manual action penalty from Google
  • If you intentionally violate Google’s guidelines and build a flow of links in a way that violates Google’s guidelines, you’re risking everything in terms of SEO.

You will receive an alert in Google Search Console with information about the manual action penalty.

You can review these penalties by going to “Security and Manual Actions” and “Manual Actions” in Google Search Console.

If your site has no penalties, you’ll see a green tick.
You can deal with manual action penalties in two ways:

  • Remove: Access linking websites and ask them to remove links
  • Disavow: Disable links using Google’s disavow tool
    First, go to the websites and see if you can remove the links.

For this purpose, you can use the backlink audit tool.

like this:

  •  Go to the Inspect tab of the tool and filter for links with a Toxic Score of 60 or more. These are likely bad links of low quality.
  • Check the boxes on the left. Then click the “Remove” button, select “Domain” or “URL” and submit it to your “Remove” list.

4. Restore your Lost Backlinks

This step is all about making sure you find any links that you missed.

Building backlinks takes time and effort. So it’s worth getting them back if you lose them later.

This happens for several reasons:

  • The author has removed your link from this content
  • The link page will be redirected to another page
  • The author has replaced your link
  • Accidentally removed the link page

First, prepare the tool. Next, go to the “Prospects” tab and click on “Lost Backlinks”.
You see links that you already have.

Open any link from here. You can see information about why your link disappeared.

For example, if a 404 error is returned, it may be because the page has been removed.

You can then contact the site owner and ask them to restore the site.

A simple email like this can do the trick:

Hello [name],

I just came across your _____ page and realized it’s broken.

Did you do this on purpose or was it accidentally deleted?

In any case, a broken page on your website is not good for UX or SEO.

So I would recommend returning the page.

5. Find new Ways to Build Valuable Links

Backlink testing is about more than just analyzing your backlink profile and finding your broken links. It can also help you spot new opportunities to build quality links.

There are essentially two options for this:

  • Learn what types of content attract the most backlinks to your website. This allows you to duplicate the same types of content to keep attracting links.
  • Find out about your competitors’ link-building strategies and replicate the same strategy for your website.
    So you can do both.

To see what types of content are attracting links to your site, go to the Linked Pages tab in your site’s backlink analysis tool.
Look at the domains that are frequently linked to. Or the types of websites that link to them most often.

For example, if you see a competitor getting links from popular media sources like BBC, TechCrunch, etc., it probably means they are looking into digital PR.

Build Quality Backlink Audit at Scale

If your backlink testing reveals that you don’t have the quality links to remain competitive in your market, building more of those links should be your priority.

The tool automatically scans the web for appropriate link-building sites. Even better, you can communicate with site owners through the tool itself. Then go to the “Prospects” tab. Here you can see websites that you can reach for backlinks.

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