By now, you’ve probably noticed that Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, isn’t as easy as slapping a few keywords on blogs or a landing page. While this strategy works in the long run, it’s not the only thing you can do and it certainly doesn’t deliver the quickest results. In fact, one of the most effective strategies that delivers near instantaneous results is building a strong backlink profile, and from that, performing a successful backlink audit.
Backlinks are links pointing from one website to another. Basically, if you are linking to another site, you’re giving them a backlink. If that website links to you, then you have backlink from them. The more good backlinks you have, the better your backlink profile. In the eyes of a search engine, a backlink is a website saying, “Hey look over here! Check THIS out!”
Backlinks are key criteria for your ranking, traffic, and discoverability. In basic terms, if Google sees you have 10,000 good websites linking to your webpage, then Google will know that page is valuable in the eyes of internet browsers. The more good backlinks your website has, the more likely it is to appear on the first page of Google.
We have an entire blog about backlinks, which you can read here.
A link audit analyzes a site’s current backlinks and evaluates how good they are. You can use this for your website’s personal gain — the better their backlink profile, the more good having a backlink on their website will do for you.
The purpose of a link audit is to reveal if there are any risky links you should know about before you get a backlink pointing to your website. A thorough audit will let you know how much good that will do for your website. A strong website with plenty of good backlinks, organic traffic and domain ratings will do you a lot of good, while a weaker site can hurt you.
Here’s how you should start.
As we mentioned above, there are three things you should look for on the surface level before diving deeper into an audit. The first thing you should do is find a website that compares metrics, like Ahrefs.
The first thing you should check is the website’s domain rating. This term is a proprietary Ahrefs’ metric. It shows the strength of a target website’s total backlink profile (in terms of its size and quality). Domain Rating, also known as DR, is scaled from 0-100, with the latter being the strongest. In other words, a website with a DR of 70 is theoretically better than one with 35.
We say theoretically because a high domain rating can be misleading. There’s a lot of uncertainty and mixed opinions in the SEO space on the topic of “bad links.” A domain rating isn’t calculated based on the worth of a backlink, so it’s up to you to figure out if they’re good or bad.
A bad backlink is essentially one that doesn’t fit the website’s brand. After all, you wouldn’t go advertising a dog food company on a site that sells windows, would you? If you notice that the website you’re trying to get a backlink from has a link profile that doesn’t match your brand, you may want to pass on it.
For example, a lot of businesses run their own blogs on separate low-ranking websites to have links pointing back to them, or they buy space on a website that is full of backlinks. These are risky for long-term growth.
You should also look at when they got their backlinks. If you notice a recent massive influx of backlinks or a drop-off, you should probably pass on this website for now. This can mean a lot of things, from them investing in building backlinks, to spamming the number they have, to the site being hit by the Google algorithm. For now, it’s too volatile to trust. You can revisit it in a few months to see if it’s leveled out.
If you notice your target site has a solid list of good backlinks, then that site should be significantly safer than those filled with bad backlinks.
Organic traffic is when people naturally find your website without the use of paid advertising. Think of it as you searching for “Dog Food” on Google and clicking on the first site that pops up that doesn’t have the word “Ad” next to it.
Before you decide to contact the website, make sure you look at how many viewers they naturally bring in. You’re going to want a site with high organic traffic, because that means the site is naturally popular. This way, you’re not relying on their ads to perform well; you automatically know that people are going to naturally find your link.
If that seems like a lot, don’t worry. We’re experts on backlinks, backlink audits, and are happy to lend you a hand. Partner with us and your SEO will be stronger and better than before, right down to your backlinks. So give us at Helix House a call. We’re here to help get you where you want to be.