Experts say that backlinks are the backbone of your SEO strategy, but do you have quality ones on your site? Here's how you should perform backlink research.

How to Conduct Backlink Research: A Guide for Beginners

Did you know that the first result on Google search results pages has 3.8 times more backlinks than the results in positions 2-10? Everyone in marketing knows you need to please Google to increase your traffic. So if Google says quality backlinks are important, then backlinks are important.

Backlinks are links to your site from external websites. Google treats backlinks as a “vote of confidence” from one website to another. The more quality backlinks you have, the more Google will trust your authority and rank your site higher.

Performing backlink research is the only way to analyze the amount and quality of your backlinks. Not sure how to do that? Read on for an easy guide that will show you!

Find Out Who Your Competitors Are

When conducting backlink research, you shouldn’t only focus on your own site. You also need to conduct competitor backlink research.

Only then will you know if the number and quality of your backlinks are enough to beat them. This article explains more about why websites have different backlink goals.

Type in a few of your top keywords into Google search in incognito mode. If the same websites keep popping up next to yours in these searches, those are your competitors. Choose no more than three to five websites.

Choose a Backlink Research Tool

There are tons of free and paid backlink research tools available. Here are some of your options:

  • Google Search Console
  • Ahrefs
  • SEMrush
  • Open Site Explorer
  • Backlink Watch
  • Rank Signals
  • Open Link Profiler

Google Search Console is a free tool, but you can only see insights on your own website and not your competitors. Also, keep in mind that some of the paid tools often have free trials. These tools not only help you score quality backlinks but also find out toxic backlinks. If you’re wondering what is toxic backlinks, these links come from spammy and suspicious websites with low DA which contain irrelevant content and violate Google’s guidelines. Thus, investing in these backlinks tools is a must for businesses.

Try out a few so you can compare results. If two tools have similar results but a third has stark differences, the first two are more likely to be accurate.

Metrics to Measure and Analyze

Backlink research can offer an overwhelming amount of information. But some of the insights are more useful to you than others.

First, type in your web address and look at the total number of backlinks and unique referring domains. Do the same for the web addresses of your competitors and make a note. This will give you a general idea of how you stack up next to them.

You should also make a note of the referring domains that give you the most backlinks. High-quality backlinks are essential, yes, but you also want to get quality backlinks from a variety of sources. You’ll know not to seek more backlinks from these domains in the future.

Next, type in some of your web pages that get the most traffic. Note how many backlinks they have and from where and do the same for your competitors. Consider why people felt compelled to link to these specific pages and see if you can replicate the success.

Backlink Research Is Vital to Your SEO Strategy

Backlink research is not the most exciting task but it’s one of the most essential to your SEO strategy. Knowing this data will improve your backlink growth strategy and you’re more likely to see great results.

Want to brush up on other digital marketing tools to grow your business? Browse our marketing section for tons more useful tips and tricks!


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