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Backlink Audits: A Step-by-Step Guide to Evaluating Your Website’s Link Profile

Backlink Audits

Table of Contents

What are backlinks?

What are types of backlinks?

What type of backlinks should be avoided?

How do I find bad backlinks?

What is a backlink Audit and how do you conduct it?

How do backlink checker tools help improve your backlink profile?

How to deal with bad backlinks?


What are backlinks?

Backlinks are also commonly known as inbound links or one-way links. These links are clickable and allow users to jump from one website to another. Backlinks have a huge impact on the credibility and ranking of a website. It is important to be aware of different types of backlinks to understand their impact on search engine optimization.

What are the different types of backlinks?

Here are some common types of backlinks used in SEO:

Organic backlinks

Organic links add to the credibility of your site

Organic backlinks are types of backlinks that come from websites that are not paid to link your website. Such links were placed naturally by a real human on a website. Such a person may be someone who thinks your content is of good quality and that it adds value to their website. Organic links add to the credibility of your site. The best way to get natural and organic backlinks to your website is to create valuable content that other website creators would like to link to.

Guest post links

Guest posts are focused on building relationships with other website owners

Guest posts are focused on building relationships with other website owners. In order to get guest post links, you need to reach out to other website owners relevant to your industry who might be interested in your content. Links from guest posts are usually an important part of any link-building strategy. These links are not just beneficial for SEO but also help to generate referral traffic by being placed on other websites relevant to your industry. You can easily find guest post links in the bio section of a page. However, they also sometimes appear in the pillar content. Here are the steps you need to follow to write and contribute guest posts.

  • Find the potential websites that are interested in you as a contributor.
  • Conduct detailed research on guest post topics.
  • Create catchy and compelling outreach emails.
  • Write the guest post or the article.

It is usually a complex and lengthy process, but it will help you get results as long as you create quality content and follow the right strategy.

Press release links

Press release links are for promotion

As the name suggests, these links are included in press releases issued to the media for announcing news, events, product launches, or any other information about the organization. Press release links are used for promotion, but they are not so popular for link building nowadays as they are classified as unnatural links by Google.

Backlinks from forums and Q&A websites

Backlinks from forums and Q&A websites

These backlinks are added to forums and Q&A websites like Quora, Reddit, and niche platforms. These are the links to your site placed within forums and Q&A websites and usually have a mixed impact on your website’s SEO depending on their quality and adherence to the best practices.

PBN backlinks

PBN (Private Blog Network) backlinks

PBN (Private Blog Network) backlinks are links built from a network of interlinked websites, often owned by a single pillar page. These backlinks are not as popular nowadays as they used to be earlier. The main goal of using a PBN is to provide complete control to increase the website’s authority.

Image links

link an Image on Your Website

SEO professionals also use links inside images. It means attaching one or several links to an image that can lead the reader to your blog post, article, product, or website. Such images can be in the form of clickable banners in the sidebar, in the header, or in the middle of the page. They can also be placed somewhere in the body text.

Dofollow links

dofollow links

A dofollow link, or followed link, is just a regular link that is referred to in the context of the no-follow value of the link. It is the default behaviour of a link, and it does not require any specification. SEO professionally typically focuses on dofollow links, as they bring quick results in terms of rankings. However, it is not a good idea to have a backlink profile solely made up of dofollow links, as it can be perceived as link spam by Google.

No-follow links

no-follow links

No-follow backlinks are links with an HTML tag of rel=”no follow,” which indicates search engines not to follow the link or pass any link juice to the website.

Google introduced the No Follow tag in 2005 to combat spam and prevent manipulation. It indicates that search engines should ignore that link. As these links do not pass PageRank, they are not likely to impact search engine rankings.

Sponsored links

Sponsored links: how does online advertising work

The rel= “sponsored” attribute is used for paid links, indicating that the link is a paid placement. Google recommends using this attribute to specify the links that were purchased for promotional purposes so as not to consider them spam or to get your site penalized.

Free links

Free links are the links you get at no cost

Free links are the links you get at no cost. Organic links are considered free links, as you pay nothing to get them.

Paid links

Paying for backlinks is considered as a paid links

Building links is a tedious and time-consuming task. You need to be patient to get results. It is the reason many SEO specialists may get tempted to buy backlinks by paying money to acquire them. Paying for backlinks is considered a violation of Google’s guidelines, as it is perceived as a way to manipulate search engine rankings. Paid links may boost search engine rankings, but they may also get your website into trouble and lead to Google penalties.

Links received in exchange for a service

Links received in exchange for a service

Sometimes companies set up a mutually beneficial agreement for exchanging links on their websites. It is also sometimes regarded as reciprocal linking. These links are usually set up through link-building outreach or with partner websites that you are already in touch with.

Free-tool backlinks

Free-tool backlinks

One of the most effective ways to get backlinks is by providing valuable free tools. These tools are a great way to gain attention as well as backlinks, and they have a positive impact on SEO in the long term. It can be a simple tool, such as a cost tool or a free SEO app. For generating backlinks, market the tool on a site with a similar readership as your website.

Comment backlinks

Comment backlinks

When you comment on a blog article, you are usually permitted to provide a link back to the website along with the comment. Spammers also often use this technique to establish bad links. However, if people have genuine comments on quality content, sharing links on such pages can help boost traffic to your site and raise brand awareness.

Backlinks from webinars

Backlinks from webinars

Webinars provide useful information for sites to link to. Websites often post webinars on their pages to link to your company and mention what your company does. These backlinks can be earned using the same strategies as those used for blog promotion.

Google emphasizes the number of quality backlinks and not just any backlink for securing high ranking on search engine results. Backlinks are also crucial for getting organic traffic from Google. Thus, it is essential to put your best foot forward to earn high quality backlinks for your website. Read here more about The Art of Sustainable Link Building: How to Build High-Quality Links that Last

Types of bad links that should be avoided

Do you ever wonder why your website is not ranking despite having good-quality content? It may be because of the presence of bad-quality links. Links are crucial for an SEO strategy, and this makes many people tempted to resort to manipulative tactics to get links. However, it does more harm than good for your website, and you can even get it penalized or blacklisted. If you want to avoid getting penalized by a site, it is important to become familiar with various types of bad links considered spam.

Bad links are the links that violate Google’s spam policies, and if they are intended to manipulate rankings in Google search results, they may be considered link spam.

1. Paid Links

Search engines evaluate your site for ranking based on the natural and organic links it has earned. Buying and selling links can have a negative impact on a website’s search rankings.

2. Backlinks in press releases

Creating press release links only to fetch backlinks is not considered worthy of SEO. Traditionally, press links attained from press releases were considered one of the most effective ways to strengthen your backlink profile, but not anymore. It is often considered spam practice, and website visitors don’t like to get spammed by such backlinks.

3. Low-quality directory links

If you set up profiles in directories that aren’t trusted, it will harm your SEO as well as brand images.

4. Domains with a High Spam Score

A spam score is a rating system that indicates the possibility of a subdomain being spam on a website. A single spam link may not harm your site, but when there are constant and numerous spam backlinks, they can be detrimental to your website as well as your overall ranking on Google.

What is a backlink Audit and how do you conduct it?

A backlink audit is the process of evaluating the quality, quantity, and relevance of all the links pointing to your website. A comprehensive backlink audit can provide you with a gold mine of information to create a solid SEO strategy.

It can be challenging and time-consuming to manually find all the bad links. Fortunately, there are a host of free and paid tools that can make it easy and quick to find all the bad links on your site.

ESL Ranks Pro is one such valuable SEO tool for checking the backlink profile of any website thoroughly. It can be used to build strong links, avoid spam links, and look at your competitor’s backlink profile.

All you need to do is enter the domain of your choice and press enter, and you will get a wealth of detailed information about the backlink profile of a website and its extensive list of links.

It can be a great tool to monitor your backlink profile and get notified about any poor-quality link to your site, so you can take immediate action. It also provides you with an understanding of the potential link-building opportunities.

When you use the full potential of a backlink checker, it can provide great insights on your link-building strategy, so you can improve or enhance it as needed.

How do backlink checker tools help improve your backlink profile?

A backlink checker tool helps you identify and address any spammy link that might harm the credibility of your website. It also provides actionable data to help you make informed decisions and develop a robust backlink strategy.

Audit your backlink profile

A backlink checker tool can scan and analyse various aspects of a backlink profile, providing insights into the quality, quantity, and relevance of the backlinks. Here is what you need to consider when auditing your backlink profile:

  • Examine the diversity of the backlink sources on your website and make sure that it is a healthy mix of different domains and pages.
  • Check the relevance of your backlinks by ensuring such links are relevant to your website, niche, topic, or audience.
  • Check the authority of the links and make sure they are from websites that have high domain authority, and trust scores.
  • Examine the anchor text of your backlinks to ensure they are natural and descriptive.

Analyse competitor backlinks

A backlink checker allows you to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. You can analyse your competitor’s backlink profile, learn from their strengths, and take advantage of the mistakes they made in their backlink strategy. This tool allows you to identify which sites are linking back to your competitors. If these sites are linking to your competitors, they might be willing to visit your website as well, provided you offer value to them. It also allows you to look for high-authority websites that are relevant to your niche.

Identifying link-building opportunities

You need to identify the websites that are linking to your competitor’s site but not yours. Once you have identified such sites, the next step is to create valuable content to persuade your competitors to link to them. Another way to find link-building opportunities is to look for relevant blogs or platforms in your industry. One should look for guest blogging opportunities or request guests to contribute valuable content that includes a link back to your website.

Improving SEO performance

A backlink check tool can help you improve your SEO performance. It also helps to analyse the quality and quantity of the backlinks pointing to a website.

ESL Ranks Pro backlink checker is a cutting-edge backlink checker tool that makes it easy to identify and monitor backlinks and can also help you with the following:

  • Identify the total number of backlinks pointing to your website.
  • Find the domain authority of the linking site.
  • Analyse the anchor text used in your backlinks.
  • Identify any toxic or spammy backlinks that may harm your website’s SEO efforts.

By using ESL Ranks Pro, you can gain valuable insights about your website’s backlink profile, allowing you to make informed decisions and take necessary actions to improve your SEO strategy.

How to deal with bad backlinks?

Tools like ESL Ranks Pro can be useful in identifying bad links or toxic links, so you can take appropriate action to get rid of them. ESL Ranks Pro flags all the bad backlinks and shows domain authority, which is a useful metric when a link is teetering between “spammy” and “likely harmless.”.

Request removal from website

Once all the toxic links are identified, the next step is to get a low-quality backlink removed by asking nicely to the webmaster to remove it, whose chances are very low.

A downloadable CSV file will make it easy for you to sort the data to find which websites to contact first and ask them to remove the bad links pointing to your site.

Create and submit a disavow file to Google

It is highly unlikely to get a link removed by the webmaster, so the next step is to turn to Google’s ‘Disavow Links’ tool to deal with your link spam problem. A disavow file is a request to Google to ignore those links to your domain. If the disavow is successfully implemented, it will be counted against you or in favour of you for determining the ranking of your page in search results. Here are the steps for creating and submitting a disavow request to Google.

  • Go to the Google Disavow Tool.
  • Determine the links need to be disowned.
  • Create a list of links to disavow. Make sure to separate them by URL and/or by domain.
  • Choose a file to upload and upload it as a.txt file to the Google Disavow Tool.
  • If you have multiple accounts, make sure to choose your account properly.
  • Within a day or two, Google will no longer take listed domains into account for ascertaining your page’s ranking.

Disavow bad links with ESL Ranks Pro

The above process is simple except for the part about identifying the toxic backlinks. Google will only provide you with a list of domains and how many times they link to your site in its external link report. There will be no such information in this report that will tell you whether or not the link is worth keeping.

The only way to know it is to check each domain individually. This method is not feasible, as even a small website will accumulate thousands of backlinks. That is where the ESL Ranks Pro Backlink Checker Tool comes to rescue you.

You can use ESL Pro’s Backlink Checker tool to get a list of all of the potentially toxic backlinks. It also provides you with reports on new links over regular periods of time, so you can quickly spot and remove backlinks that look particularly bad. It allows you to easily get a list of bad backlinks and export them to the disavow list. This allows you to choose whether to blacklist specific URLs or the entire domain before uploading it to Google’s Disavow Tool.

Now that you know what backlinks are, what kind of backlinks should be avoided, and how to use Google’s Disavow Tool, it’s important to monitor your backlink profile and only disavow links that should be removed. With this guide, you are on your way to strengthening your backlink profile and increasing your chances of securing higher rankings on search results.


Backlinks indicate the credibility of a website to the search engines and are an important ranking factor to secure top ranking in Google search results. There are many different types of backlinks, including earned, created, and natural backlinks. As backlinks play an important role in the ranking and credibility of a website, it is important to constantly monitor and audit the backlinks of a site, identify links from spammy or low-quality sites, and disown them to protect your ranking and reputation. Backlink checker tools like ESL Ranks Pro make the whole process of checking a backlink profile easier and quicker, saving you time and effort while providing valuable insights to make a solid backlink strategy to boost your ranking and revenues.

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