Video Blog: How To Conduct A Link Audit Part 3
Hello and welcome to the third part in our video series about conducting a link audit. In the last part we talked about pulling the data now we’re going to move on to talk about how we actually analyse the data. So once you’ve got your spreadsheet containing all your links, the first thing you will want to do is look at your link metrics. So these are things like domain authority, page authority for using MOZ, sitation flow, trust flow using majestic SEO and also Googles’ page rank. Now don’t put too much trust in these factors they’re not the be all and end all take them with a pinch of salt, particularly if your using page rank, its notoriously unreliable. It doesn’t get updated for every 6 to 9 months so if your using page rank it could be quite out of date.
Quite often what we’ve seen is a site that still might be showing page rank of 5 or 6 but has actually been discovered as being part of a link network for example, Googles’ de-indexed it, it carries no weight what so ever but the tool bar is still showing 5, 6 or 7 etc so just be careful if your using page rank.
Next thing to look at is the anchor text, have you got a lot of brand anchor text. What a natural back-link profile will contain is probably around 50 to 60% of your links will contain your company name, your website name, the URL. That’s what the guys at Google will be looking at when they are analysing your back links if your up for a penalty. If you’ve got a lot of keyword heavy anchor text or equally if your competitors have then thats something that should be avoided, if your competitors are doing it, its not a practice that you particularly want to copy. However some keyword anchor text is useful for SEO.
Then you should look at the source URL that your links are coming from. One thing to look out for particularly if youre cleansing a back link profile, is if the links have got DIR in them. That usually means its an SEO directory, most of these sites no longer carry any value what so ever, so those are the kind of links you can get rid of.
The other thing to look out for is the actual URL structure of the pages that are linking to you so if you see a lot of sites that have got a similar URL structure it might be an indication of a link network. So just be weary of sites that have got a similar link structure and if you notice it its worth doing a little more digging if the sites are connected in some way. If they are they those are obviously one of the really bad links you want to get rid of.
The other thing to have a look at is if the links no followed, if it is then its not particularly worth worrying about, equally if its got no follow tag on it, it wont be giving you much benefit either. So if you see no follow links don’t spend too much time taking a look at them.
The other thing to look at is the link placement, so if you’ve got links in the footer of a website, particularly if its a site wide footer, if that link is keyword optimised, then your going to have a hell of a lot of links coming from one particular site all pointing to your site with the same anchor text, that’s a practice that is now going to cause you problems. So that’s one of the first things to look at when your analysing a back link profile particularly if you’ve got a penalty.
Final thing to do is actually to look at the site. So open up the sites that are linking to you and make a visual judgement of them. Do you like the look of the site, is it the kind of site you would go for if you were building new links, is it the kind of site you’d use?
Another thing to look at onsite is their social profiles. Have they got followers on twitter, have they got interactions on Facebook, also have they got a contact us page? If its an active site that’s got regular updates, regular activity on social, then its probably the kind of site that’s quite good to have a link from. If however it looks like there has been no activity for several years, then that’s probably the kind of site you want to be avoiding.
The very last thing to look at if your analysing back links, subsequently to a penalty, is are the sites connected? So we mentioned this earlier in regards to the source URL, this is one of the things Google has really cracked down on quite recently is blog networks, link networks, connected sites that are all linking to one particular domain. We’ve even seen problems in the past with sites that are using their own microsite network to link to their main domain. So if you notice a lot of your links coming from connected sites, this is something you should take a look at as soon as possible, get those links removed even if the sites are owned by yourself and you think they’re clean.
So that wraps up analysing the data, in the next part we’ll look at what to do once you’ve analysed the data, how to go about removing links and how to put together a strategy moving forward.