After you have been busy creating backlinks you want to take the time to check that they are actually in place and are helping you improve your search engine rankings. Checking backlinks is a complex subject and this post will attempt to cover the basics of the most relevant things you need to know.
By checking the number and quality of your backlinks you will be able to determine several things.
- Total number of links
- Number of unique domains
- Linking domains vs. total links
- Anchor text usage
- Inbound links
- Page performance
You will need to use a tool to check your backlinks and there are many available online today. One that I use is opensiteexplorer.org. Just find one that you like and are comfortable with using and then stick to it so you get the same results each time.
Some of the information that is returned is pretty self explanatory such as the number of links to your site. Checking the number of linking domains returns a smaller number than the total number of links. As it is possible to have a good number of links from one domain and your goal should be to have a number of links from as many different sources as possible.
With Anchor text you want to ensure that you are targeting different keywords and terms. A good mixture looks more natural and allows you to rank for variances of each of your man keywords.
For inbound links your goal should be to have a good number of fresh links coming in on a regular basis. Be sure that you don’t go overboard and have hundreds or thousands of new links appearing each day. This will through up a red flag to the search engines for sure.
Page performance will indicate which pages have the highest number of links associated with them. This is usually the home page but you should try to have all your pages showing links.
Link quality is huge and is the one area that is worth spending a good amount of time on. You always want to have solid links from quality sources. A quality link will have the following qualities:
- From a high quality domain
- Come from a relevant site or page
- Natural looking link
- Varied anchor text
It is fairly easy to spot links that have been put in place just to increase your link numbers. These will be from sites that are not relevant and have appeared in high numbers over a very short period of time.
Link building does take time and there is no point in rushing this important job. Instead learn how to build natural links that appear on a regular basis and in a natural number. By checking your links you can identify problem links which need to be removed and you can see if your anchor text is varied enough or not. You can also discover untapped traffic sources that could benefit you.