Are backlinks still important in 2017? The answer to that is a resounding yes. Although the Penguin 4.0 update made building backlinks more difficult, the practice remains one of the most effective ways to rank higher than your competitors and drive more targeted traffic to your website.
While auditing your backlinks may sound tedious, it pays to know how your link profile is doing. Here is why you should consider doing a backlink audit, and some helpful tips to make the task easier:
Why You Should Audit Backlinks
Just as high-quality backlinks can help boost your store’s online visibility, low-quality links can put your online store at risk for not ranking in Google’s search results. By cleaning up your backlink profile, you can avoid the pitfalls of negative SEO and optimize your eCommerce store, instead.
There used to be a time when Google simply ignored bad links. Now, they can sink your search rankings if you don’t clean them up. If your site has low-quality links, it stands little chance of outranking your top competitors.
To snag the top spots in search rankings, you need to audit your backlinks, find the bad links that are bringing your website down, and remove or disavow bad links.
The best way to avoid getting dinged with a Google penalty is to avoid it altogether. Performing regular backlink audits will help you stay ahead of the game and keep from losing massive amounts of traffic due to a Google penalty.
If you have been dinged with a penalty by Penguin, then it is essential that you clean up your backlinks; otherwise, your rankings will drop significantly. You can diagnose the cause of the penalty by using Website Penalty Indicator.
Loss of Traffic and Sales
You will know if you have been hit by a Google penalty when you open up Google Analytics and discover a huge loss of traffic. It’s something that none of us want to see, but traffic will come back as long as you take care of bad links quickly.
Just keep in mind, for every day that passes where your online store isn’t ranking in search results, that is a significant loss of traffic which could have converted into sales.
Backlink Auditing—Tools and Tips
Cleaning up your backlink profile isn’t as difficult as some make it out to be. In 2017, we have plenty of digital marketing tools that can make the most tedious of tasks faster and easier.
Here are some smart tips to keep in mind as you perform your backlink audit:
Conduct a Backlink Audit Before You Need It
Cleaning up your backlinks is similar to cleaning your house. Instead of letting things get out of hand and creating a headache for you to fix, do some general maintenance regularly. If you know that you have some spammy backlinks that are asking to be penalized, now is the best time to take care of them.
Use SEOMoz to Check Backlinks
SEOMoz is a web-based application that offers marketers a variety of excellent tools, one of which is their backlink checker. This can speed up your audit by identifying potentially damaging links. Additionally, it can help you not only analyze your own backlinks but your competition’s links as well.
If you can make use of their other exceptional tools, SEOMoz can be worth the price. If you don’t want to pay for SEOMoz, consider signing up for a 30-day free trial of Monitor Backlinks. Monitor Backlinks is another great backlink analysis tool that can quickly identify bad links and speed up your audit.
Be Patient with Link Removal
Once you have identified bad links, the real work begins when you attempt to remove them. It is not an easy task, and it typically involves asking the website owner to take down the backlinks. Emailing each website owner and requesting that they remove backlinks is time-consuming and a frustrating part of the link audit process, but it needs to be done.
Make an Honest Attempt at Removing Links
If a webmaster won’t remove your link, and you have made your best attempt to remove bad links, there is one final method that you can use. Google has a disavow tool that is meant to be utilized as a last resort, and they will disavow bad links as long as you demonstrate that you have made an effort to remove the bad link.