Backlink Analysis: How We Do It (+Tools & Best Practices)

Table of Contents

Helpful summary

Overview: We present an effective and straightforward method for backlink analysis at Embarque, focused on helping online startups boost their search rankings through strategic enhancement of backlink strategies.

Why you can trust us: We've helped clients like Flick achieve first-page search rankings by employing effective link-building strategies. This demonstrates that we’re well-versed in getting more people to notice your website.

Why this is important: Backlink analysis allows you to analyze competitor backlinks, understand the challenge in outranking them, identify low-quality links that could harm your search ranking, and refine an effective linkbuilding strategy.

Action points: We recommend conducting a thorough backlink analysis to identify both high-quality and harmful links, and then strategizing accordingly to optimize your website's search engine performance.

Further research: To complement this approach, further research into SEO trends and the latest tools for backlink analysis can be beneficial in staying ahead in the competitive digital landscape.

Need help in backlink analysis?

Backlinks are links from other websites that point back to your website

Think of them as a virtual pat on the back. It’s a way for other websites to show their appreciation for your hard work. We know what you’re thinking: “some chocolates would have been nice,” but trust us, backlinks are better!

Backlinks play a central role in how search engines determine your website’s authenticity

At Embarque, we specialize in providing online startups with comprehensive backlinking strategies. Our guidance has helped clients like Flick rank on the first page of search through effective linkbuilding, so you can trust us to provide expert analysis for your backlinking needs. 

Why listen to us about backlink analysis?

At Embarque, we help small businesses with the tricky task of understanding backlinks and their relation to improving their search engine ranking. 

By applying white hat link-building techniques and site auditing to identify high-priority pages, we successfully boosted our technical SaaS client’s monthly organic traffic by 60 times in just one year​​. As a result, their monthly organic website visitors increased from just 27 in January 2022 to an impressive 7,495 by February 2023—a 60-fold increase in just one year!

What is a backlink analysis?

Backlink analysis examines the quality and quantity of websites linking to your site or a specific piece of content. In this sense, backlink analysis is similar to acquiring social proof. So if you’re looking for ways to increase search visibility (and why wouldn’t you be), backlink analysis is here to help.

Utilizing backlink analysis evaluates your search engine performance and any potential issues you may be experiencing. So, if your website isn’t ranking, backlink analysis provides solutions to improve your search visibility.

Backlink analysis goes hand in hand with search engine optimization (SEO). The process directly contributes to effective link-building and digital popularity. Not only that, but you can also analyze your competitors so you can see how you measure up!

With research showing 67.5 percent of SEO professionals believe backlinks impact search engine rankings, you’ll need the insight from backlink analysis to ensure your strategies are putting you on the right track.

Why should you perform a backlink analysis?

There’s no better way for search engines to double-check your site's authority than looking at your website’s link profile. In relation to an SEO checklist, a backlink analysis should be your number one priority.

To clarify, a link profile is a collection of combined links pointing to a website. These links come from other websites, social media, and online directories.

By uncovering all the links that search engines consider, you’ll enjoy a better viewpoint on your site’s ability to rank. Typically when sites link to your content, they appreciate what you have to say (a virtual high-five). But unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Let’s delve into the benefits of conducting a backlink analysis:

Analyzing the backlinks of a top-ranking competitor reveals how difficult it will be to outrank them. By providing a peak behind the curtain of quality backlinks, you’ll have everything you need to replicate them.

Competitor backlinks analysis also helps identify any potential link-building opportunities you may be missing out on and your competitors’ link-building strategies. Here you’ll discover plenty of new game plans to implement.

Sometimes, links from poor authority sites or spam websites result in a penalty from search engines. It's in your best interest to track down these weak links; otherwise your rankings will drop.

Giving these sites the cold shoulder ensures your website looks gives you a higher TrustRank in the eyes of Google. Performing a backlink analysis finds the cracks in your backlinks profile.

Research shows that the first ranking page on Google has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than pages two to ten. So if you need any other reason to implement backlink analysis in your SEO strategy, the results speak for themselves!

Whereas once quantity was the champion of SEO, search engines today prefer quality. It makes sense to target authentic, relevant, and high-authority pages.

How to perform a backlink analysis

1. Identify your target website.

Before you do anything else, you must first determine which website you want to conduct a backlink analysis on. Normally, this will be either your website or a competitor’s. If your website hasn’t got many backlinks to its name, you’ll need to analyze your competitors first. 

As a SaaS company, your competitors are those that offer a similar service or product to yours. If you’re still unsure about your competition, type your top target keywords into a search engine and research the sites that rank for them. Tools such as SEMrush provide a list of competitors based on common keywords

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2. Select a backlink analysis tool

Now that you’ve selected the site you want to investigate, you’ll need an online tool to analyze its backlinks. And luckily for us, there are a wealth of tools available. Although you can conduct a manual backlink audit, backlink tools are more effective and improve SEO return on investment (ROI).

Some of the best backlink analysis tools on the market include Ahrefs, the previously mentioned SEMrush, and Moz. Let’s take a closer look at all three:

Ahrefs

Ahrefs administers impressive backlink monitoring features that view your competitor’s backlinks on one dashboard. It also offers backlink alerts to stay on top of competitors' new backlinks and actions.

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Its backlink analysis tool lets you view the number of lost domains each month for a site. If the lost domain is from your site, you can try to fix it or contact the website that provided the backlink. It can also be helpful for targeting domains your competitors lost, so it works both ways. It also shows extensive metrics about your links including domain rating and traffic.

SEMrush

With its easy-to-use interface, SEMrush offers more than 48 tools and reports. Incorporating a quality backlinks database of trillions, SEMrush boasts a thorough analysis of your backlinks and valuable competitor insight. 

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Its backlink analysis tool groups backlinks together, providing a unique overview that’s easy to interpret. SEMrush also offers comprehensive daily reports and reliable authority scores so you can have supreme confidence in the insights supplied.

Moz 

Using Moz’s backlink tool Link Explorer, Moz grants valuable insights into any link profile, including yours and your competitors. Link Explorer informs you how many links point to your website, with info including the anchors used and the authority of the domains.

Moz’s link comparison tool compares your website against competitors with a user-friendly chart boasting clear metrics. Select the two domains you want side-by-side, then contrast vital metrics such as domain authority, spam score, and total links. 

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is highly regarded for its comprehensive SEO capabilities, including backlink analysis. It provides a comprehensive view of your backlink profile, including the number of backlinks, referring domains, and a growth chart of backlinks over time. 

One standout feature is the Backlink Opportunity report, which allows you to analyze your competitors' backlink profiles. It provides detailed insights into domains and specific URLs linking to competitors' websites but not to yours, streamlining link-building efforts and improving search engine rankings. 

Ubersuggest also now delivers more data and less extraneous information for keyword queries. For example, a search for "dog food" provides details about the average backlinks (72) and domain score (82) of top-ranking results, helping you understand the competitive landscape and plan effective content strategies.

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All in One SEO (AIOSEO)

AIOSEO stands out as a comprehensive SEO tool, boasting a distinctive feature known as the Link Assistant. This feature employs intelligent automation to thoroughly examine your content, pinpoint relevant link opportunities, and effortlessly incorporate internal links. The result is an amplified SEO value for your content, coupled with significant time savings.

The Link Assistant's robust capabilities seamlessly integrate within WordPress, streamlining the link-building process. This integration simplifies the task of elevating your site's SEO, positioning AIOSEO as an excellent tool for backlink analysis. It offers a user-friendly approach to enhancing your website's visibility and climbing the ranks in search engine results.

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LinkMiner

LinkMiner provides essential backlink data such as Citation Flow, Trust Flow, Referring IPs, Referring Domains, Total Backlinks, Anchor Text, and Link Strength. These metrics offer valuable insights into the quality and impact of backlinks on your website's SEO. 

The tool also includes advanced filtering options to identify the most valuable backlinks, such as Dofollow vs. Nofollow Links, Link Strength, Number of External Links, and more. 

LinkMiner offers a live website preview for each link, allowing you to analyze anchor text and placement without opening multiple browser tabs. Additionally, it generates comprehensive reports for newly acquired and lost backlinks, making it easy to track changes in your link profile over time.

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Buzzsumo

BuzzSumo's backlink analysis tool not only identifies existing links to your site but also pinpoints potential areas for enhancement. It reveals the sites linking to your pages and those sharing them on Twitter, offering insights into the crucial role backlinks play in search engine rankings. BuzzSumo aids in understanding their impact on your site’s trustworthiness and authority.

Providing essential backlink metrics such as Citation Flow, Trust Flow, Referring IPs, Referring Domains, and Total Backlinks, BuzzSumo enables the evaluation of the quality and influence of backlinks directed towards your site.

BuzzSumo also facilitates the sorting and filtering of results for a detailed analysis of new backlinks. You can concentrate on specific link types, such as Dofollow vs Nofollow, and utilize social engagement sorting to pinpoint the most shared links. With a live website preview for each link, BuzzSumo allows for the analysis of anchor text and placement without the need to open multiple browser tabs.

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Google Search Console 

The Links report within Google Search Console offers valuable insights into your site’s backlinks, revealing crucial details such as external links (from other sites to yours), top linked pages (identifying pages with the most backlinks), and top linking sites (highlighting external sites linking to you the most). This data aids in comprehending your link profile and pinpointing areas for improvement.

Leveraging the Links report, you can confirm that your most linked pages align with your expectations. It ensures that authoritative and reputable sites are linking to your content, enhancing your site’s overall credibility.

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Google Search Console also provides timely alerts regarding both new backlinks and lost backlinks. This proactive monitoring enables you to track the health of your link profile, allowing swift responses to significant shifts.

Majestic SEO

Majestic SEO stands out as an exceptional backlink analysis tool for several reasons. Firstly, its Site Explorer Summary provides a high-level overview of a website’s link profile, including metrics like Trust Flow, Citation Flow, and Topical Trust Flow. These insights help you evaluate the quality and influence of backlinks pointing to your site. 

Additionally, the Topics Report is a unique feature that determines a website’s topic based on where it receives backlinks. Unlike other tools that rely solely on content, Majestic analyzes linking patterns to understand a site’s authority in specific niches. For example, if your site receives links from health and fitness websites, it confirms your expertise in that field. 

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SEO SpyGlass

SEO SpyGlass provides an exhaustive view of all backlinks directed towards any website, calculating the total number of backlinks and revealing the exact URL of each link. Given the significant impact of backlinks on search engine rankings, this feature is crucial for gaining insights into your site’s authority.

Gathering backlink data from two potent sources, SEO SpyGlass supports 296 international and local search engines, including Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and regional engines like Yandex and Baidu. Additionally, its in-house backlink database, updated daily and containing trillions of links, offers a comprehensive perspective on your site’s backlinks.

SEO SpyGlass also empowers users to scrutinize competitors’ link-building strategies, identifying optimal keywords and learning from their successes. Understanding competitors’ link profiles becomes a valuable resource for refining your own strategic approach.

Furthermore, identification of backlinks driving traffic to your site allows for focused attention on quality links, ultimately enhancing search rankings and user engagement.

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Linkody

Linkody is a highly esteemed tool dedicated to backlink management and analysis. Its distinguishing feature lies in real-time tracking of backlinks, verifying their indexing status, and displaying their Domain Authority (DA). One of Linkody's primary focuses is on link building and analytics.

The tool's standout attribute is the provision of email reports detailing recent changes in your backlink network, a unique feature not found in other tools. Additionally, Linkody boasts a user-friendly dashboard that offers an overview of all backlinks, with the ability to set up alerts for a broader understanding of upcoming links. 

Notably, the dashboard includes a column indicating whether a page is indexed in Google, thereby saving users valuable time spent on manual checks. Linkody also goes beyond its unique features by providing an automation feature that continuously retrieves data from various sources 24/7. This data is then presented in a consolidated view on the dashboard, making Linkody an efficient and trustworthy tool tailored for SEO specialists.

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3. Enter each domain and get a quick overview

Now that you have access to your domains and research tools, it’s time to start your analysis. Once you run your backlink checks, you’ll receive an incoming wave of data. It’s easy to view your site’s performance by looking at the following:

The essential metric of any backlink analysis is the total number of links pointing to your site. If the number is low, it will explain why your page isn’t ranking very well. Comparing this number to your competitor displays the level of authority you both retain.

Referral domains have at least one backlink to the analyzed website. So website “1” pointing to website “2” is considered as one referring domain. Sorting these referring domains by authority tells us how valuable these websites are to your ranking. 

Lastly, look at the pages on your site that receive the most backlinks. This introspection will give you an idea of the content you should be producing.

Remember to do the same with your competitors using the above step. This will provide you with an actionable SEO checklist. For instance, looking at your competitors' referring domains pinpoints link opportunities for you to capitalize on.

4. Analyze your metrics

Now the real fun starts. Analyzing backlinks helps discover new opportunities while weeding out potentially harmful links. 

For instance, an analysis may reveal websites in your industry linking to competitors, not you. Now you can either reach out to these sites or recreate the links yourself.

Over time your site will inevitably pick up some low-domain authority links. Too many of these can cause Google to penalize the website that they point to. Regularly analyzing your backlinks ensures you spot them before Google does

By surveying your anchor texts and hyperlinks, you can spot spam backlinks easily. It’s also worth remembering spam backlinks manipulate search engine rankings. So if a website has a high number of outbound links, it may be attempting to exploit the rankings.

Final thoughts

Many businesses underestimate the power of backlinks, but once they start running backlink analysis, it’s clear the huge impact they have on SEO strategy. Being able to sift through high-quality links, low-quality links, and the dreaded spam links puts you in good standing with Google.

If you want to continue growing your traffic and rankings, Embarques SEO copywriting services are only a click away.

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