Posted by Vikram Rathod
March 26, 2014
The foundation of any link building project is a thorough backlink analysis, as it reveals a number of areas where the data could be used. This post assumes that you already know how to conduct a backlink analysis. The focus of this post is to discuss the various ways in which the analysis could be used to further the link building campaign and how to ensure that you get the desired results with your link building efforts.
The first place to start with will always be competitor analysis that includes checking out all the backlinks of your competitors. This data provides valuable insights of the competitiveness in your niche. The information that you get includes:
• Ranking opportunities through specific keywords
• Avg. no. of links from unique domain for each of the competitor
• Link building strategies of your top competitors
• Types of sites that are linking to the competitor
• The various types of content used by them
• The successful pages on your competitor’s website.
This will give insights on what the competition scenario in you niche is like, thus helping you in determining the scope and the size of your link building project.
You could also use the similar strategies to apply them to your own link building campaign.
Once you know the popular sites that are linking to your competitor, chances are that you will get a link from the same place too.
The things that are learnt from the competitor analysis and the insights will give a solid starting point for the link building project.
This is another great way to make the best use of the backlink analysis data. It goes hand-in-hand with the above mentioned competitor analysis because some of the best link prospecting opportunities are obtained from the competitive analysis data.
In order to understand the online fraternity of your industry, it is vital to know from where your competitors generally acquire links as this data will help in future link prospecting endeavor.
However, the task shouldn’t be stopped here and one should go deeply into the search. If there is a high quality link prospect that you have found take out some time to see where they are sending outbound links, as they are likely to be sites that are relevant to your niche.
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.
Link Reclamation/404 pages
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.