Backlinks

How to Check Backlinks on Google Search: A Comprehensive Guide

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SEO efforts are all about building backlinks. They are one of the top ranking factors and help you rank higher in search engines like Google. In this guide, we’ll explore how to check for backlinks and analyze and monitor the backlink profile.

 Insights From The Article

• Backlinks, essential for SEO, signify trust and authority to Google, improving search positioning and driving referral traffic.

Quality over quantity is crucial; analyzing a backlink portfolio helps identify high-value links, track competitors, and prevent negative SEO attacks.

• Tools like Google Search Console, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, Majestic, and Ubersuggest help in monitoring backlinks, ensuring a healthy and effective link building strategy.

How do Backlinks Help in Link Building?

Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are links originating from external websites that link to your website. Search engine crawlers use these links to assess the significance and relevance of web pages. 

The greater the number of authoritative websites linking to your site, the better it is for your backlink portfolio. That’s why Google considers this as a key factor in determining the relevance of search results, ultimately enhancing the user experience.

Getting backlinks can get you referral traffic, improve search rankings, and establish you as an authority in your field. 

Do All Website Backlinks Count?

No. Because not all backlinks hold the same weight. Quality is always better than quantity. Some can be spammy, while others can be from high-authority sites.

Types of valuable backlinks

Types of valuable backlinks.

Some can be no-follows, while others are do-follows. Hence, it’s important to regularly monitor your backlink portfolio and analyze the quality and relevance of your backlinks to maintain relevance in the eyes of Google.

The Importance of Backlink Analysis

A backlink audit is a blueprint of your SEO efforts. It gives you insights into your backlink portfolio and your competitors, tells you where your competitor is getting backlinks from, and helps you find gaps to fill. 

One of the main reasons to do a backlink audit is to find room for improvement and get ideas from your competitors’ backlink portfolios. 

Benefits of backlink audit. 

Benefits of backlink audit.

Additionally, analyzing your competitors’ profile can help you understand the quality of their referring domains, nofollow and dofollow ratio, anchor text placement, and more.

Analyzing Your Backlink Profile for SEO

Backlink portfolios help you build backlinks to organically rank well in Google SERPs. You can analyze what worked in the past to repeat the process and gain more backlinks.

For example, if you notice many of your backlinks are directing to case studies you’ve produced, it suggests that case studies are highly regarded and sought-after content within your industry.

Hence, you can focus on generating more case studies to capitalize on their effectiveness.

Any SEO expert should regularly engage in backlink auditing, as it is one of the most impactful methods for enhancing organic search traffic.

Backlink Checker Tools

There are many tools to help you analyze your backlink portfolio.

Google Search Console (GSC)

Google Search Console is the best place to start since it’s a free tool. Once you make an account, you’re good to go. 

GSC enables you to monitor and maintain your website’s visibility in search results. It allows you to see whether Google can effectively crawl your site, understand your website’s content, and appropriately rank your pages in Google search results. 

You can also use Google Search Console to find and resolve indexing issues that may hinder other sites from discovering and linking to your page.

However, you won’t be able to see the anchor texts or properties of a link, such as dofollow or nofollow. 

To be able to see your top linking sites:

  1. Go to Search Console.
  2. Choose your property > Links > External Links.
  3. Select Top Linking Sites.

The report provides insight into the top websites that are linking to your site.

For each of these sites, you’ll find details on the number of linking pages and target pages. ‘Linking Pages’ indicates how many of their pages are linking back to yours, while ‘Target Pages’ shows the number of web pages they are linking to.

You can also click on each separate web page to find the links it has and how many times each link appears.

To filter out the top linked pages,

  1. Go to Search Console
  2. Select your property
  3. Links > External Links
  4. Go to Top Linked Pages

As seen in the image above, inbound links show you pages that have the highest number of backlinks. 

If you want to know which pages are getting the most links from different websites, try sorting by ‘Linking Sites’.

These links come from various unique websites. Plus, just like before, when you click on a web page, you’ll be able to see the top sites linking to it and the number of backlinks each site has.

If you want to go over these later, you can download it.

However, I found some limitations in the quality of data I got from GSC. For example, they only display the top 1000 pages linking to you, no more. So, if you have a page that’s older or has too many backlinks, you may need another tool for analysis.

Note: ‘Top’ in ‘top linking sites’ metrics refers to the number of times a site links to you, not the quality of the site. 

SEMrush

SEMrush’s backlink analytics tool allows you to analyze backlinks. Its massive database is constantly updated and provides solid accuracy. 

Within seconds, you can analyze multiple competitor websites simultaneously and check who is linking to them. 

Go to SEMrush, and in the dashboard, under ‘Link Building,’ click on ‘Backlink Analytics.” Add a domain name of your choice, and then click on ‘Analyze.’

First, you’ll see all the links related to that area. If you want to examine each link more closely, go to the ‘Backlinks’ section for more details.

Here, you can examine the particular backlinks. It shows its quality on a scale of 0 to 100. Plus, you can see the anchor text used for the links. 

This backlinks report helps you analyze the relevance and frequency of links and understand if they’re dofollow or nofollow links. As we all know, different links have different values. 

For example, if you’re in the health and fitness industry, links from trustworthy sites like WebMD, Healthline, or Men’s Health hold more value than links from unrelated sites. 

It’s important to track the quality and relevance of the linking domains because Google considers these metrics while evaluating your backlinks. 

You can arrange these links based on authority score, link status, and what type of link they are (dofollow or nofollow).

You can also filter out links based on the metrics you want to evaluate, such as the type of link, placement, language, etc.

The ‘Indexed Pages’ tab lets you see which page of yours is most linked to.

Analyzing these pages can show you what type of content gets the most links on your site. It can also give you insights on how to improve your own content to get more links in the future.

Ahrefs Site Explorer

Ahrefs has the largest index of live backlinks. This tool tells you about the number of backlinks and referring domains for any site. 

Go to Site Explorer, type in the website, subfolder, or webpage you want to explore, and then choose ‘Overview’ mode.

Then, go to ‘Site Explorer’ and select ‘Referring Domains’.

Like GSC, Ahrefs provides information on the referring domains and a number of links. However, Ahrefs also provides information on Domain Rating (shown as DR), nofollow and do follow links, and estimated organic traffic for each referring domain. 

Visit the ‘Backlinks Report’ to obtain an extensive report on all the backlinks. Go to ‘Site Explorer,’ then select ‘Backlinks.’

The best part about this tool is that it allows you to monitor your backlink portfolio.

With Ahrefs, you can track how your backlinks change over time, tracking both increases and decreases, along with monitoring the organic traffic to each page.

Ahrefs also provides insights into which pages are most successful by highlighting their most linked-to pages.

Moz Link Explorer

Moz Link Explorer gives you important insights to help you create stronger backlinks for your business. Go to Moz and Navigate to the ‘Link Explorer’.

Type in a website in the search bar to get details about the links pointing to that site. You’ll find information on incoming links, anchor text, the authority of the linking page, and its spam score.

Another advantage of backlink auditing is being able to examine your competitor’s link profile.

Tip: To reduce domain name errors while analyzing your competitors’ profiles, I suggest using copy-and-paste instead of manually typing. 

After entering a competitor domain, go to the inbound links tab to find the sources of the links and their value.

Adjust the settings as follows: Link type—Follow, Links Status—Active. This way, you’ll see all the outside links boosting your competitor’s site’s link value.

In Link Explorer, you can usually save reports as .csv files. Save these results and do the same for your competitors’ reports.

Majestic

Majestic is one of the oldest tools for checking backlinks online.

On their homepage, enter the domain name in the search box and start exploring.

This tool has a huge database of backlinks, giving you lots of details like external backlinks, referring IPs, referring subnets, referring domains, backlink history, and more.

It also provides detailed metrics, such as Trust Flow and Citation Flow, which help evaluate the quality and quantity of a website’s backlinks respectively.

Majestic’s focus on data accuracy and depth makes it a valuable tool for understanding and improving a website’s backlink profile.

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is a free backlink checker tool crafted by marketing expert Neil Patel. He designed it to help businesses identify their own and their competitors’ link sources. 

If you are looking for an effective tool without breaking the bank, Ubersuggest is a great choice for your business.

This tool provides loads of useful information, such as Domain score, Page score, Total number of backlinks to a page, Total number of Nofollow links, Referring domains, Anchor text, and Link type. 

Ubersuggest also lets you perform a competitive analysis. This analysis helps you discover new backlinks, identify who’s linking to your competitors but not to you, and new link building opportunities.

How To Monitor Your Backlinks

Google keeps updating its rules to catch websites that use sneaky, or spammy link building practices. Keeping an eye on your site’s backlinks is the top way to prevent  Negative SEO.

Negative SEO

Negative SEO is the practice of using unethical or black-hat techniques to harm a competitor’s website’s Google rankings.

Negative SEO

Negative SEO.

This can include tactics such as building low-quality or spammy backlinks to the competitor’s site, hacking their website, or spreading false information about them online.

The goal of negative SEO is to decrease the targeted site’s visibility in SERPs, ultimately harming its online reputation and traffic.

Penguin, a Google anti-spam algorithm, targets websites using manipulative link-building tactics and penalizes them by lowering their search engine rankings. This can take months of damage control to recover from. 

So, how do we keep a track of this negative SEO?

Prevention of Negative SEO

Prevention of Negative SEO.

The simplest way is to analyze the ‘First Seen’ date of a backlink. Check the recent list of links to see if there’s a sudden surge in links happening unusually fast.

If you notice any strange patterns where lots of links appear on the same date, it could mean that there’s an unusually high number of new links pointing to your site. This might be a sign of a Negative SEO attack.

Preventing Negative SEO

Conducting an ongoing inspection of your backlink profile can help maintain its quality. Here are some ways to do so.

  • Audit Your Profile: You can use any one of the tools mentioned above to find backlinks and inspect their quality using SEO metrics. Review the natural growth of your backlink profile to examine how backlinks are doing over time.
  • Compare dofollow and nofollow links: If you have too few or many nofollow links, it’s concerning.If you lack nofollow links, it may indicate unnatural link building. On the other hand, if you have excessive nofollow links, it’s time to strategize for more dofollow links.

    Backlink evaluation flowchart

    Backlink evaluation flowchart. 

  • Disavow unnatural links: If you’ve found unnatural links pointing to your site, your first step is to try removing them from the linking site. This is safest because disavowing links can harm your site if not done correctly.If removal isn’t possible, you should disavow the website URL of unnatural links to protect your site’s authority and ranking. Remember, only disavow if you have a large number of spammy or low-quality links (15-20%) and if these links have caused penalties.

Final Thoughts

Backlinks, or inbound links from external sites, signal to Google the relevance and importance of your web pages. However, not all backlinks are created equal. 

Analyzing your backlink profile provides valuable insights into your SEO efforts, helps identify areas for improvement, and offers ideas based on competitors’ strategies. 

Monitoring your backlinks helps protect your site from negative SEO tactics, which can harm your search engine rankings and online reputation. 

Gaby Alexander

Gaby Alexander

Gaby is a search marketing enthusiast with a passion for helping agencies improve their ROI through effective link-building strategies. With expertise in Google Campaign Manager, HubSpot Inbound Marketing, and SEMrush, Gaby provides valuable insights and guidance to optimize search marketing campaigns.

Gaby Alexander

Gaby Alexander

Gaby is a search marketing enthusiast with a passion for helping agencies improve their ROI through effective link-building strategies. With expertise in Google Campaign Manager, HubSpot Inbound Marketing, and SEMrush, Gaby provides valuable insights and guidance to optimize search marketing campaigns.

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