If you fear your website has been penalized or maybe you are losing your rankings and couldn’t figure out the reason, it is strongly suggested to perform a backlink audit.
The data obtained from a backlink analysis gives you a chance to look at the links and the strategies that you had employed earlier while building links.
One advantage of using the backlink analysis data is to ensure that over-optimization is avoided that includes keyword and also that of a particular strategy. Over-optimization of a single strategy or keyword will put your website on Google’s radar that could result into penalization. By filtering your own backlink profile you could get a clear idea of which strategies are you inclined towards too much and tweak accordingly.
This data is also helpful in looking at any bad links that you would possibly want to disavow or remove permanently. Almost all the websites with old SEO work would have some links or the other that is worth removing. Thus, a back link analysis is helpful in finding such toxic links and helps you in keeping a neat and clean backlink profile.
Finally, the data acquired from a backlink analysis could be used to help in the reclamation of links. This step is vital for those sites that have been redesigned or some of the pages were removed.
The place to start this process is Google Webmaster Tools in order to identify the links to 404 pages, although it is quite possible to do this if the backlink analysis is done using Open Site Explorer. After the list is compiled, one could begin conducting a back link analysis on each URL to discover those links that are pointing to removed pages or dead pages on the website.
After all the links pointing to 404 pages have been identified, there are two options available for link reclamation:
The first option is the use of a 301 redirect and the link will be redirected to the new page. Although some of the benefits of link equity may get lost in this process, it is the easiest out of the two options as you do not have to contact the webmaster/owner of any site. It should be kept in mind that the new page on which the link is being redirected is similar to the old one and is relevant to the link.
The second options would be to get in touch with the webmaster of the site that is linking to you and request them to update the link with the one that points to the new page. This could be more difficult as you need to trace down the webmaster and obtain the contact details. Moreover, there are chances that the webmaster decides to remove the link.
There are a number of ways in which the backlink analysis could be used in your link building campaign.
• Competitive Analysis: Get a clear picture of the competitive neighborhood of your niche
• Link Prospecting: Get potential link prospects via an effective backlink analysis
• Backlink Audit: Effectively utilize backlink data to audit your current backlink profile and remove the harmful links and avoid penalties due to over-optimization.
• Link Reclamation/404 pages: Find links that are pointing to 404 pages and reclaim the link juice by utilizing 301 redirect or getting in touch with webmasters.
It could be quite a time-consuming task when conducting backlink analysis, but all the insights that they provide do make them worthy. Just like any diet is incomplete without carbohydrates, a thorough backlink analysis is essential for all link building campaigns.