Aside from driving referral traffic, quality backlinks that point towards your website have a trackable effect on your PageRanks. We’ve collected our five best tips for assessing your backlinks to ensure they are having a positive effect on your website.

Referring Domains and Backlink Volume

The first thing to look at is the number of referring domains your backlinks are from and the total number of backlinks you have.

Variation is key here and ideally you want a wide range of domains with a few links on each, rather than a small number of domains with a lot of links on each. Too much of the latter (high volume of links : few domains) can be seen as similar to spam tactics by search engines. Whereas more diversity (low volume of links : many domains) is rewarded by search engines as the varied network of links suggests natural growth and a variety of votes of confidence from other sites.

Referring Domains and Authority

The second factor to consider in relation to your referring domains is their authority.

If a search engine sees a site as spam, any backlinks present are judged as poorer quality than those on trusted sites. Having backlinks which sit on spam sites with poor domain authority can negatively impact your own domain’s authority by association, and consequently lower your PageRanks. Assessing the Trust Flow and Citation Flow of the referring domain is useful for deciding whether it has value to you as a backlink. A backlink on a trusted site is positive for your site’s own Trust Flow and Citation Flow.

You can read more about Trust Flow and Citation Flow and how to analyse their values here.

Referring Domains and Relevance

In regards to referring domains, the last thing to consider is their relevance.

There’s little point in having backlinks on websites that are irrelevant to your own site. Not only will they be of little use in driving traffic, but search engines will judge the backlinks to be lesser in quality because the websites it connects are unrelated. So looking how topically relevant referring domains are can give you an indicator of their value to your backlink profile. 

This relevancy needs to be reasonably specific, there’s no point having a backlink to your website selling phones, on a blog about dishwashers just because they’re both under the banner of technology.

Anchor Text and Backlink destinations

Our fourth tip is to look at the quality of the anchor text, this is the text on the referring domain which is hyperlinked to your own site.

Assessing the anchor text on a linguistic level is useful because search engines look for unnatural phrasing which could be spam. If your anchor text has been made to fit a sentence in an unnatural way, it also makes users less likely to click on the link. So, making sure your anchor text is consistent with the style of the text it sits within will help improve the quality of your backlink.

Additionally, the anchor text’s relevance to the destination of your backlink should also be considered. As spam sites sometimes use irrelevant ‘clickbait’ anchor text to gain traffic, search engines will also look at the link between your anchor text and your website page the backlink leads to. Not only will relevant anchor text improve your backlink’s quality in the eyes of search engines, it will also reduce the bounce rate of your referral traffic.

Referral Traffic

Even if referral traffic isn’t the goal of your backlink, looking at the rate of referral traffic can give you an indication of a backlink’s value to your site.

If a backlink is producing a high volume of traffic it is worth looking at the anchor text and referring domain to analyse what’s working about that backlink specifically. High volumes of referral traffic can positively impact your domain’s authority and consequently PageRank. 

Equally, if a backlink is producing little or no traffic it is worth investigating the referring domain and the anchor text. If a link is producing little traffic and you find it to be of poor quality or a site with a low Trust Flow, it is better to remove it than keep it as its existence will not benefit your backlink profile.

Audit regularly

Auditing your backlink profile regularly is essential for maintaining it. 

Even if you have checked a referring domain before, if a domain’s Trust Flow and Citation Flow have changed, so will the value of any backlinks present there. Maintaining a healthy backlink profile relies on frequent monitoring to ensure backlinks are diverse, relevant, and of a high quality. 

Quality backlinks will always be more useful to your search engine optimization than merely a high volume of backlinks.

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