Amidst all those people raving about the importance of link building in SEO, what if someone stands up and says: Backlinks can harm your site? You will wait for a while, think about the efforts you have made until now on SEO link building, and right now, you might be considering yourself as boo-boo the fool.
So who is right? One who claims that link building in SEO is like a lifeline? Or the one showcasing backlinks as the bad boy of the SEO world? The truth is that both of them are right. Now you might be thinking, how is it possible? Well, it all depends on the link-building service you are sticking to.
There are good and bad links, and both have their share of positive and negative impacts on your website. That’s why it is important to keep checking backlinks of a website, an essential part of your monthly SEO goals. But before knowing what bad links can do for your site, let’s find out what the ‘good’ part of link building is?
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks are simply links from other websites to your website. Search engines like Google use backlinks as a ranking signal because when one website links to another, it’s effectively vouching for the quality of the second website.
Of course, not all backlinks are created equal. A link from a high-authority website will carry more weight than a link from a low authority website. Likewise, a link from a relevant website (i.e., one in the same niche as your own) will carry more weight than a link from an unrelated website.
How to check backlinks of a website? How to check my competitors’ backlinks? How to check if a backlink is indexed? How to check backlinks using google search? Continue scrolling and you will have all the answers.
What Are Good Backlinks?
When it comes to link building, there are good backlinks, and there are bad backlinks. Good backlinks come from websites relevant to your industry or niche, have high domain authority, and generate considerable traffic.
If you’re serious about SEO, you must focus on building good backlinks. However, even if you’re focused on building good backlinks, there’s no guarantee that all the links you build will be good. That’s why it’s important to perform checking backlinks of a website regularly.
Here are the parameters of what constitutes a good backlink.
Good Backlinks Are From Authoritative Sites
One of the most important parameters of a good backlink is that it comes from an authoritative site. An authoritative site is a well-established website with a lot of traffic. Getting a backlink from an authoritative site will be much more valuable than a backlink from a less popular site.
You can use Moz’s Open Site Explorer to check how authoritative a site is. Just enter the URL of the site into the tool, and it will show you the domain authority and page authority of the site. A domain authority between 40 and 50 is considered good, while a page authority between 20 and 30 is considered good.
Good Backlinks Use Specific Anchor Texts With Your Target Keyword
When you’re building backlinks, you should always use specific anchor texts. An anchor text is a word or phrase that links to your website. For example, if you’re trying to rank for the keyword “best digital marketing agency,” you should use that keyword as your anchor text when building backlinks.
If you’re using generic anchor texts such as “click here” or “this site,” it will be much harder for you to rank for your target keyword. To check the anchor texts of the backlinks pointing to your website, you can use Moz’s Link Explorer tool.
Just enter your URL into the tool, and it will show you all the backlinks pointing to your website along with the anchor texts being used. You should know this for checking backlinks of a website.
Good Backlinks Come From Relevant Websites
Another important parameter of a good backlink is that it comes from a relevant website. A relevant website is related to your industry or niche. For example, if you have a website about digital marketing, then a backlink from a website about SEO would be considered relevant.
To find relevant websites, you can use Google’s search operators. Just enter your target keyword and the word “resources” into Google, showing you a list of relevant websites.
Good Backlinks Are Dofollow Links
A dofollow link is a link that passes link equity (or link juice) to your website. Link equity is the ranking power that a website has. To check if a backlink is a dofollow or nofollow link, you can use the MozBar extension for Google Chrome. Install the extension and then go to the website you want to check.
The MozBar will show you if the links on the site are dofollow or nofollow. How to check backlinks in google analytics? Keep on reading.
Good Backlinks Have A High PageRank
Another important parameter of a good backlink is its high PageRank. PageRank is a metric that Google co-founder Larry Page invented. It’s a number between 0 and 10 that indicates the quality of a website.
The higher the PageRank of a website, the better.
To check the PageRank of a website, you can use the Google Toolbar. Install the toolbar and then go to the website you want to check. The PageRank of the site will be displayed on the toolbar. Keep in mind that Google stopped updating the PageRank metric in 2016, so it’s not as accurate as it used to be.
Still not convinced with checking backlinks of a website? Keep on reading.
Good Backlinks Have A Low Alexa Rank
Alexa rank is a metric that measures the popularity of a website. The lower the Alexa rank of a website, the better. To check the Alexa rank of a website, you can use the Alexa Toolbar. Install the toolbar and then go to the website you want to check. The Alexa rank of the site will be displayed on the toolbar.
Why Do You Need Good Backlinks?
The simple answer to this question is: Because it helps in SEO. It is one of the most relevant SEO best practices that SEOs are holding on to. It is no longer a secret that Google link building helps you rank your site higher. Many industry studies have proved it.
That’s not what the industry’s biggies are saying only. Google itself confirmed in 2016 that it considers links among the top three ranking factors. So if you have been spending on link-building strategy, pat yourself.
You were not wrong. The idea is that Google considers backlinks coming to your site as a vote. More quality votes you get, the higher your authority rockets in Google’s eyes. But wait! Before patting yourself, you need to consider what kind of links you have built?
Were they worth considering for Google, or were they lame efforts to fill your link-building box in the monthly SEO planner? If you don’t know the answer to this question, here I have made things easier for you. Continue reading about checking backlinks of a website.
What Are Bad Links?
Now that’s a very interesting question because its interpretation might make you laugh. Bad backlinks are like the bad boys of the street. They don’t belong to good localities. They are jaywalkers roaming around aimlessly, without any targeted purpose. They have a sneaky history and rule violation background.
Here are the parameters of what constitutes a bad link.
Bad links Are From Spammy Sites
The first and foremost rule is that if the site is spammy, the link from that site to yours will be considered a bad link. A spammy site has low-quality content with many outgoing links to other sites.
Spammers generally use these sites to increase the number of backlinks for their main website to improve their search engine ranking.
Bad links Have Irrelevant Anchor Text
A link with anchor text that is irrelevant to your website or business is considered a bad link. For example, if you are a travel website and someone links to your site with the anchor text “cheap shoes”, it would be considered a bad link.
The anchor text is not relevant to your business and is probably used by the linking site to manipulate search engine rankings. You must be aware of this while checking backlinks of a website.
Bad links Are from Link Farms
A link farm is a website created solely to provide links to other websites. These links are generally low-quality and are not relevant to the linked website. Link farms are bad because they provide no value to the linked website and are only created for search engine manipulation.
Bad links Are Reciprocal Links
Reciprocal links are when two websites agree to link to each other. It was a common practice a few years ago, but it is now considered a bad link. It is because reciprocal links do not provide any value to the linked website and are only used for search engine manipulation.
Bad links Are From Sites That Have Been Penalized
If a website has been penalized by Google, any links from that site to your website will be considered bad. The linking site violates Google’s guidelines and is used to manipulate search engine rankings.
Bad links Are From Directory Sites
Many directory sites on the internet allow you to submit your website for inclusion in their directory. These links are generally low-quality and are not relevant to your website. They are also not very valuable in terms of search engine ranking. You should consider this while checking backlinks of a website.
Bad links Are From Forum Sites
Many forum sites on the internet allow users to post links in their signatures. These links are generally low-quality and are not relevant to your website. They are also not very valuable in terms of search engine ranking.
Bad links Are From Free Hosting Sites
Many free hosting sites allow users to host their websites for free. These websites generally have low-quality content and a lot of outgoing links to other sites. These links are not valuable in terms of search engine ranking.
Bad links Are From Social Bookmarking Sites
Many social bookmarking sites on the internet allow users to submit their website for inclusion in their directory. These links are generally low-quality and are not relevant to your website. They are also not very valuable in terms of search engine ranking.
Bad links Are From Comment Sections
Many websites have a comment section where users can leave a comment with a link to their website. These links are generally low-quality and are not relevant to your website. They are also not very valuable in terms of search engine ranking.
Bad links Are From Free Blog Sites
Many free blog sites on the internet allow users to create a blog for free. These blogs generally have low-quality content and a lot of outgoing links to other sites. These links are not valuable in terms of search engine ranking. Keep this in mind before checking backlinks of a website.
Bad links Are Automatically Generated
Links that are automatically generated by the software are generally low-quality and are not relevant to your website. They are also not very valuable in terms of search engine ranking.
Bad links Are From Sites That Are Under Construction
Links from sites that are under construction are generally low-quality and are not relevant to your website. They are also not very valuable in terms of search engine ranking.
Bad links Are From Sites That Have Duplicate Content
Links from sites with duplicate content are generally low-quality and irrelevant to your website. They are also not very valuable in terms of search engine ranking.
Bad links Come From Paid Links
Paid links are generally low-quality and are not relevant to your website. They are also not very valuable in terms of search engine ranking.
Bad links Are Sometimes Hidden
Links hidden in a website’s code are generally low-quality and not relevant to your website. They are also not very valuable in terms of search engine ranking.
In other words, bad links have everything that is enough to label them as ‘bad.’ These bad links were not considered bad boys until Google rolled out Penguin Algorithm in 2012. Before that, SEOs used to have heydays. They could do anything, everything, to get a link.
Link spamming, link buying, and PBNs were common practices, and they all worked. But not anymore.
What Does Google Say About Checking Backlinks Of A
So any link that can manipulate search results, violate quality guidelines, and ditch the system is bad.
Google has further elaborated it as:
- Buying or selling links
- Link exchange for the sake of link building alone
- Excessive keyword-richguest posting
- Automatically generated backlinks
- Forcefully demanding a link in exchange for a favour
If you or your link-building service provider has been involved in any one of the activities, you have been doing bad SEO linking. In other words, if you buy links by paying for linking sites, it is not a good idea. However, they are good to go if you buy outreach links from a blogger outreach agency.
So if you have been involved in any of the above-mentioned fishy practices, you should work on removing the marks of your bad practices. It is time to start checking backlinks of a website and save it from falling into the shallow ditch of Google penalty and devaluing.
How Do Bad Links Affect Your SEO Efforts?
Just like Google considers good links as a vote of confidence, bad links are like a vote of demotion against your site. Whenever any link points to your site that doesn’t qualify the quality guidelines, Google’s Penguin reports to the system. And you can expect the results!
John Muller, Google’s Webmaster trend analyst, has said in one of its Google+ hangout videos that it is better to lay off link building altogether. A webmaster asked him: “Is link building in any way good?”
And he replied to: “…avoid it altogether.” Now, this sounds quite scary.
But he further elaborated that focusing ‘only on link building’ can be problematic. In other words, getting backlinks for the sake of getting links is the main issue. You should naturally earn a link, not deliberately build them in different sneaky ways. But this was not the case before.
No matter where they were fetched, more links were considered the best practices. The idea of directory submission, online commenting, poor article forums, and building private networking sites became common among SEOs. This was checking backlinks of a website in the past.
Times Have Changed
But things have changed, and all links fetched through sneaky activities are considered bad. In this case, we hope you don’t expect the system to be lenient with you because it can result in two things – bad one:
- Either your website will lose its ranking.
- Or the worst, it will vanish from the search results.
And that can be the worst nightmare for any business to see itself getting wiped out from the search results. So, backlink monitoring should be the routine part of your monthly SEO tasks. Google doesn’t always take manual action against bad links, but it doesn’t consider them as well for ranking your site.
It just ignores them. That’s it.
It is also not a good sign. If Google ignores your links, all your link-building efforts are wasted. So before bad links get on to the nerves of your complete SEO link-building strategies, you should keep checking a website’s backlinks. Generate backlinks but only by following the proper link-building methods.
If you get bad links, this is not the end of your online world. Here are some ways that can wipe your bad link-building past and give you a clean slate where you can work to rebuild authority in Google’s eye without any burden of shady history. Let us further discuss checking backlinks of a website.
How To Find And Remove Bad Links?
You can find bad backlinks through one of these criteria:
- If they are coming from an unauthoritative site
- If they look spammy
- If they have overly-optimized anchor text
- If they are gained through manipulative techniques
- If they are placed within duplicate content
- If they are not from a niche-relevant site
- If they don’t look editorially placed
- If they are not from the targeted region
If your link is doing any one of these, it is time that you start working to remove them. But the problem is that you are not the one who has built links most of the time. There can be two possibilities. Firstly, you have hired a cheap SEO company involved in shady link-building practices.
Secondly, a dirty inner secret of the SEO world is that your competitors can also build bad links for your site so that they can dethrone your site from the number one position. Whichever situation has hurt your backlink profile, it is time that you should clean your website from toxic links.
Follow these steps to complete the process of checking backlinks of a website in a thorough manner.
Analyze Your Backlink Profile At A Glance
Whether you want a quick overview of your backlink profile or detailed insights into your link-building efforts, you need to know where your links are coming from. A good backlink analysis tool will show you all the information you need to know about your inbound links in one place.
Some of the things you should look for in a backlink analysis tool include:
- The ability to see new and lost links
- Detailed information on each link, including anchor text, target URL, and more
- The ability to filter and group links by various criteria
- A link disavow feature to help you remove bad links
When looking for a backlink analysis tool, it is important to find one that meets all of the criteria above. If you want to get started, we recommend using Monitor Backlinks. It is a great option because it provides detailed information on each link, allows you to filter and group links, and even has a disavow feature to help remove bad links.
Find Out Bad Links
Let us consider the second step in checking backlinks of a website. The good thing is that you don’t have to spend days finding your bad links. Many backlink checkers in the market can tell you
- From where your link is coming
- Is your link good or bad
- check the number of backlinks to a website
- history check of backlinks to a website
Some of the best backlink checkers in the market include:
You place your URL in the search bar and let the backlink checker do its work. It gives you a clear picture of whether your website is drowning in the dirty puddle of bad backlinks or has a clean backlink profile.
Once you find the culprits, the next step is to report them.
Contact The Web Owner
I wish that as there are free backlink checkers, there could also be backlink removal tools (hey, is anyone listening to this idea? work on it, bro!). But you can judge by my sad tone that there isn’t. Often, you have to do this tedious job manually.
It starts with contacting the webmaster who has your link because you can’t do it without the permission of the web owner. Please find out how you can contact the webmaster and convince them to remove your link. Here is an email template that might help you move the needle while checking backlinks of a website:
Hi [webmaster’s name],
I am [your name], the webmaster of [add URL].
I’ve found that you are linking to my site, and I appreciate that you found my website worth linking to.
However, I’ve noticed that the backlink to my site on your post [title of the post] with the web address [add URL] is hurting my website.
Some of the reasons for this negative impact are:
So I will be very thankful if you remove this link [add text with the link] and let me know whenever it’s done.
I appreciate your understanding.
Well, there isn’t any surety that:
- Your email will get read
- The webmaster will do the courtesy
You can pump in some hope with these tips and tricks:
- Present yourself as a real deal. Send the email from the same domain as your website.
- Make things easier for the webmaster. Tell him the exact location of the link.
- Sound polite; don’t sound as if you are ordering.
- Give them enough convincing reasons to remove your link.
But even after all these efforts, you can’t be sure that the webmaster will remove your link. So it would help if you always kept a second plan in your pocket. Let us move to the next stage in checking backlinks of a website.
Disavow Unremoved Links
If you have tried every possible method but cannot get rid of the backlink, you are left with the final option: Disavow your link. It should be the last option you use to remove your link because it can also become harmful to your website. That’s what Google is saying:
But if you think you do not have any other option other than using this feature because
- You have many spammy backlinks pointing to your site.
- You think that these links can end you up with a manual action.
Then go for this option.
First, make a text file of all the links you want to disavow. Second, upload this compiled list.
Here is how you can do it:
Make sure you add all links you want to disavow and no links you don’t want to disavow. Careful attention to both these things is essential to get the desired result and avoid any harm.
Get Alerts When New Bad links Show Up: Schedule Automated Scanning & Set Alerts
After cleaning bad links, you want to ensure they don’t reappear. Maintaining a clean backlink profile is an ongoing effort. You need to keep track of your links and ensure that any new links are from high-quality sources.
There are a few ways to do this while checking backlinks of a website:
- Use a monitoring tool like Monitor Backlinks to automatically scan for new backlinks and get alerted when any new bad links appear.
- Check your backlinks regularly using a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs.
- Set up Google Search Console alerts to notify you whenever your site gets a new backlink.
By taking these steps, you can ensure that your backlink profile stays clean and that you avoid any penalties from Google.
Focus On Your Future SEO Linking
Your things don’t end after removing bad links. Now it is time to build good links. Make sure this time you look out for natural link-building ways that bring value rather than linking builds just for getting a link. The most important things to consider for getting a link are that it should be from:
- High authority site
- Niche-relevant site
- A site with good traffic flow.
Building Good Quality Links
The next step is to focus on building quality backlinks that will help you improve your search engine rankings.
Here are some of the best ways to build quality backlinks:
- Create Link-Worthy Content
- Optimize Your Website for Users & Search Engines
- Promote Your Website
- Guest posting
- Broken link building
- Resource page link building
- Skyscraper technique
- Local citations
- Data and research
After completing all these steps, your backlink profile will be clean, and you will no longer have to worry about bad links hurting your SEO. You must have found a convincing answer: how do I check backlinks to my site?
How Can Checking Backlinks Of A Website Save You From Google Penalties?
Bad backlinks can result in Google penalties. When a website is penalized by Google, it is because they have built bad backlinks. If you routinely check your backlinks and remove the bad ones, you will be less likely to get penalized.
Not only that but if you get penalized, checking your backlinks will be one of the first steps you need to take to eliminate the penalty. By identifying the bad links and disputing them, you can start the process of getting your penalty removed.
Checking backlinks of a website can keep you out of trouble and is something you should do regularly. By keeping an eye on who is linking to your site, you can ensure that the links come from high-quality sources that are helping to improve your site’s ranking.
If you see a lot of low-quality or spammy links, you can take action to remove them, so they don’t hurt your site. In general, checking backlinks is good web hygiene and can help you avoid many potential problems.
If you are wondering how to check backlinks for a site and you are looking for the best agency, Globex Outreach is here to help you. Our professional services will take your website to a different league altogether.
Cheers! Have any stories of good or bad experiences? Please share with us and inspire others.