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Mastering Backlink Monitoring: A Strategic Guide for SEO Success

Feb 20, 2024

Written by Casey Bjorkdahl

Profile Picture Casey Bjorkdahl of

Casey Bjorkdahl is one of the pioneering thought leaders in the SEO community. In 2010, Casey co-founded Vazoola after working for a Digital Marketing Agency for five years in New York City. Vazoola is now one of the fastest growing and most widely recognized SEO marketing firms in the country.

Mastering Backlink Monitoring: A Strategic Guide for SEO Success

Backlinks are a cornerstone in any successful SEO strategy.

Backlinko study found pages with more backlinks rank higher than pages with fewer backlinks. In fact, the top result in Google boasts an average of 3.8 times more backlinks than positions 2-10.

Here at Vazoola, we understand the complex nature of backlinks and their significant impact on your website's search engine ranking.

We're commonly asked how many links do you need to rank with Google? But, monitoring backlinks is about more than counting numbers. It's a strategic approach to understand and enhance your website's online authority and visibility.

More backlinks equal higher page ranks

Key Takeaways:

  • Effective backlink monitoring is crucial for understanding and enhancing your website's online authority and visibility.

  • Monitoring backlinks helps identify new links, assess link quality, and find broken backlinks.

  • Key aspects to monitor when monitoring backlinks include the presence of spammy backlinks, the impact of backlinks on keyword rankings, and the authority of the referring domain.

  • Effective backlink monitoring involves tasks like evaluating key links, identifying high-performing pages, comparing your link profiles with competitors' backlinks, and utilizing specialized backlink monitoring tools.

  • A variety of essential tools like Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, and SE Ranking offer unique features for comprehensive backlink analysis.

Table of Contents


Why Should You Monitor Backlinks?

Why should you monitor backlinks

Monitoring backlinks is crucial for maintaining and improving your website's SEO performance. It provides insights into your site's link profile, helping you make informed decisions that boost your online presence.

Backlink monitoring also alerts website owners of changes to Google's algorithm that might negatively impact their backlink profiles and search rankings.

Google regularly updates its algorithm, so what SEO tactics that worked last month, won't necessarily be as successful this month. In fact, there were 10 confirmed Google updates in 2022 alone.

There are all sorts of reasons to keep a close eye on your backlinks, but be sure to consider the following:

  • Identify new backlinks: Keeping track of new backlinks is essential. It helps you understand what content is resonating with your audience and influencers in your industry. Recognizing these patterns can guide your future content and SEO strategies.

  • Understand link quality: Not all backlinks are created equal. We recommend evaluating the quality of each link. High-quality backlinks from reputable sites significantly boost your SEO, while low-quality links can harm your site's ranking.

  • Evaluate links over time: The value of all your backlinks can change. Monitoring how backlinks evolve over time is vital. It helps you identify trends and understand the long-term impact your backlinks have on your SEO.

  • Recognize backlink removal: Sometimes backlinks are removed, which can affect your site's authority. We suggests regularly checking for lost backlinks to understand their impact on your site's performance.

  • Determine if linking page is indexed by Google: It's important to ensure that the linking website is indexed by Google, and that you in turn benefit from indexed backlinks. Unindexed linking pages may not contribute to your SEO efforts.

  • Identify broken backlinks: Broken backlinks can be missed opportunities. Make sure you identify and fix them to maximize the potential of all links pointing to your site. Keep in mind 67% of domains evaluated by Ahrefs in the past 10 years now have at least one toxic backlink.


What to Watch for When Monitoring Backlinks

watch for these elements when monitoring backlinks

Monitoring backlinks is a critical aspect of SEO management. We emphasize the importance of not only tracking the number of backlinks but also scrutinizing specific characteristics that determine their value and impact.

By monitoring these aspects of your backlinks, you can develop a more effective and targeted link building strategy. A comprehensive approach promises every aspect of your backlink profile works to enhance your site's search engine performance.

Pro Tips:

schedule for backlink audits

Implement a regular schedule for backlink audits. By setting a consistent timeline, such as monthly or quarterly reviews, you can better conduct a website audit, tracking changes and trends in your backlink profile. Such regularity helps in quickly identifying and addressing any issues before they significantly impact your SEO.

Spammy Links

Spammy links are a major concern in any backlink profile. These bad backlinks, often from low-quality or irrelevant websites, can significantly harm your site's credibility and search engine rankings.

Search engines like Google frequently penalize sites with spammy backlinks, which are considered attempts to manipulate rankings.

It's vital to regularly audit your backlink profile and use tools to identify and disavow harmful link spam, thus safeguarding the integrity and health of your site's SEO.

A history of spam

Keyword Rankings

Backlinks are a powerful factor in determining your website's keyword rankings.

Each backlink serves as a vote of confidence. It tells search engines the value and relevance of your content for specific keywords. Be sure you're keyword tracking and backlinks monitoring when auditing your link profile.

To focus on the ideal target keywords is paramount to keyword rankings. After all, 94.74% of the 4 billion keywords evaluated by Ahrefs received 10 or fewer monthly searches. Keyword research can help ensure your part of the 5% who succeed.

When you track keyword rankings, be sure you closely monitor the impact of backlinks so you can identify which links are most effective.

That keyword research insight then can allow you to refine your content and SEO strategies. You'll be able to focus on creating content that attracts high-quality backlinks and improves your rankings for targeted keywords.

choose the right keywords to attract more backlinks

Dofollow Nofollow Tags

Understanding the distinction between nofollow and dofollow links is crucial in backlink analysis.

Dofollow links contribute to "link juice," and they're more beneficial for SEO. Meanwhile, nofollow links have lesser impact on rankings.

Don't make the mistake, however, of believing nofollow links hold no value. While that may have been true at one time, Google has updated its algorithms so that nofollow links carry some level of link equity.

When uSERP surveyed 800 digital marketers, 54% of the SEOs said that nofollow links are valuable for their backlink profiles.

However, a balanced and natural backlink profile includes a mix of both types. Regularly monitoring these tags helps maintain an organic link profile and avoid search engine penalties for unnatural link patterns.

nofollow links hold value

Anchor Texts

Link anchor text is another vital component of your link profile to monitor. It provides search engines with context about the content of the linked page.

A diverse and relevant anchor text profile can enhance your site's relevance for specific keywords. However, it's important to avoid over-optimization of anchor text, since search engines can perceive that as manipulative.

Striving for a natural distribution of anchor text in your backlinks is key to maintaining a healthy SEO profile.

anchor text optimization dos and donts

Referring Domains Authority

The authority of the referring domain is a crucial indicator of a backlink's value. All your links from high-authority domains can significantly enhance your SEO efforts.

Regularly assessing the authority of your backlink sources is important to prioritize high-quality link-building opportunities.

Tracking changes in the authority of these domains likewise can provide insights into the evolving value of your backlinks. That knowledge can help you adapt your strategies for maximum SEO impact.

In fact, in a uSERP survey, 65% of marketers said they measure link quality by looking at domain authority. Meanwhile, 48% of marketers say they use domain rating, and 36% consider individual page authority.

how do SEO professionals evaluate backlink quality

Geographic Relevance

Referring domains' geographical locations can significantly influence your performance in regional and local search results.

Monitoring the geographic relevance of your website backlinks is particularly important for businesses targeting specific local markets or global regions. Consider 98% of consumers employed the internet to find information about local businesses in 2022, according to BrightLocals' 2023 Consumer Review Survey.

For example, backlinks from websites in a particular country can boost your site's visibility in that country's search results. Understanding and optimizing the geographical distribution of your backlinks therefore is a strategic component in your overall SEO and link building strategy.

build links with geographic relevance

Link Velocity

How fast your website gains or loses backlinks, known as link velocity, might be an indicator of your site's popularity and the effectiveness of your link-building strategies.

Rapid increases in backlinks can signal successful content marketing or public relations campaigns, while sudden drops might indicate either new or lost links, or penalties.

Be aware, however, that if you quickly acquire new backlinks, search engines potentially could interpret that success as a negative SEO strategy. Google could possibly penalize or derank your website.

Does link velocity actually impact SEO? While the answer remains up for debate, a 2003 Google patent suggests the rate at which a website builds links might impact its search ranking.

It's important to ensure that any significant changes in link velocity align with your SEO activities and are not the result of unnatural link-building practices.

does link velocity impact search rankings?

Backlink Diversity

A diverse backlink profile, including links from a variety of website types, is essential for your link building campaign strategy, as well as your site's credibility and authority.

A mix of backlinks from blogs, news sites, directories, and other sources can signal to search engines that your content is valuable and trustworthy.

At Vazoola, we've observed that a diverse link profile can lead to stronger SEO results. It's important to aim for a natural-looking backlink profile with a healthy mix of link types. That balance can help avoid penalties and improve your site's overall search engine performance.

Pro Tips:

backlink scoring system

Develop a custom scoring system for evaluating backlinks based on your specific SEO goals and industry standards. This personalized approach allows for more nuanced analysis and decision-making regarding your backlink strategy.



How to Monitor Backlinks

how to monitor backlinks

How do I monitor backlinks? Its a common question and a is a critical element of a comprehensive SEO strategy. At Vazoola, we stress the importance of not only tracking backlinks but also comprehending their impact on your website's performance.

Effective backlink monitoring involves a series of strategic steps aimed at maximizing your site's online presence. By adopting a meticulous approach, you can ensure your backlinks enhance your website's authority and search engine rankings.

Regularly reviewing your backlink profile helps identify trends, understand the effectiveness of your content, and make informed decisions to improve your SEO strategy.

Pro Tips:

integrate backlink data

Integrate all your backlink data with other SEO metrics such as organic traffic and page performance. A holistic view provides deeper insights into how your backlinks are influencing overall website performance.

Evaluate Key Links

Evaluating key links is yet another crucial part of backlink monitoring.

The process involves a detailed examination of the most links significantly contributing to your website's traffic and search engine rankings. Remember, an Ahrefs study of 920 million web pages found that as traffic increased, so did the number of referring domains.

What does this mean? Once you start building key links, you'll initiate a trend in which you draw more traffic. Then, as you draw more traffic, you attract more backlinks, and so on.

Focusing on links from high-authority sites and those highly relevant to your industry is recommended to catalyze this coveted cycle.

Our experience has shown that prioritizing key links can lead to substantial improvements in your site's SEO performance. Regular evaluation of these links ensures that you are capitalizing on the most beneficial backlinks, and it allows for timely adjustments in your link-building strategies.

Identify High-performing Linked Pages

Identifying high-performing pages on your website is a vital step in backlink monitoring.

High-performing pages are those that attract the most backlinks and, consequently, drive significant traffic. Understanding what pages are performing well provides insights into the type of content that resonates with your audience and other websites.

Knowledge of high-performing pages allows you to replicate successful strategies in other areas of your site. Analyzing these pages can also help refine your content creation and marketing strategies, while further enhancing their performance and attract even more quality backlinks.

Compare to Competitor Backlink Profiles

Comparing your backlink profile to competitors' links offers valuable insights into your website's industry standing.

This comparison helps identify gaps in your backlink strategy and opportunities to target similar high-quality backlinks.

Understanding competitors' backlink profiles can reveal new avenues for your link-building efforts. The approach not only helps benchmark your performance but also identify emerging trends and successful strategies in your industry. You then can adapt these to your advantage.

Employ Backlink Monitoring Tools

Utilizing the best backlink monitoring tools is crucial for efficiently tracking and analyzing your backlinks.

Monitoring tools offer comprehensive insights into the number, quality, and types of backlinks your site is receiving. They also assist in identifying potentially harmful links that need to be addressed.

At Vazoola, we've found employing the right tools can significantly streamline the backlink monitoring process, allowing for more effective management of your site's SEO. These tools can automate many aspects of backlink analysis, saving time and providing more accurate data to inform your SEO decisions.

Pro Tips:

leverage social media

Leverage social media listening tools in conjunction with backlink monitoring tools. They can help you discover unlinked brand mentions, potential opportunities for converting into valuable backlinks.



10 Popular Backlink Monitoring SEO Tools

popular tools for monitoring backlinks

The ability to monitor backlinks effectively is a key ingredient in a website's search engine success.

A variety of tools, each with unique capabilities, are available to assist in this critical task. Some of the backlink tools offer automated insights, while others might allow users to monitor backlinks manually.

At Vazoola, we've explored valuable resources and identified some of the top SEO tools for backlink monitoring, offering a blend of insights and practical functionality.

1. Google Search Console

Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console is a fundamental weapon in the SEO arsenal.

Google Search Console is more than a rank tracker. It offers direct insights from Google, including comprehensive data on the total number of backlinks and the specific websites linking to your site.

This popular SEO tool is invaluable for identifying trends in your backlink profile and spotting any potential issues flagged by Google. For example, a sudden drop in the number of backlinks reported by the Google Search Console could indicate new and lost links or penalties, prompting immediate action.

2. Moz Link Explorer

Moz's suite of SEO tools, particularly its Link Explorer, provides detailed information about backlinks, including important metrics like domain authority and anchor text.

With a user-friendly interface and the ability to track your link profile over time, Moz remains a favorite among SEO professionals. In fact, Moz's domain authority metric is widely used as a benchmark to assess the quality of backlinks, helping users prioritize high-value link-building opportunities.

3. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is renowned for its extensive backlink database, allowing users to view the backlinks of any website. This feature is particularly useful for gaining insights into competitors' backlink strategies.

The Ahrefs platform offers a free version that lets users monitor 10 backlinks and 2 domains per request.

Ahrefs also offers valuable metrics like domain rating and URL rating, crucial for assessing the quality of backlinks. By analyzing competitors' backlinks with Ahrefs, businesses can uncover new link-building opportunities that might have been overlooked.

4. Majestic

Majestic specializes in link intelligence and offers unique metrics like Trust Flow and Citation Flow. These metrics help users understand the trustworthiness and influence of linking domains.

Majestic's detailed backlink data makes it a powerful tool for deep SEO analysis. A high Trust Flow score from Majestic, for example, can indicate that a website's backlinks are from reputable and authoritative sources, beneficial for SEO.

5. Linkio

Linkio focuses on anchor text optimization, a crucial aspect of backlink strategy. It assists in planning and tracking your anchor text strategy, ensuring that your backlink profile appears natural and effective for SEO purposes.

The tool is particularly useful for those looking to optimize their anchor text distribution. For instance, Linkio can help identify over-optimized anchor text, which might be a red flag for search engines, and suggest more natural variations.

6. Linkody

Linkody is known for its straightforward interface and focus on backlink tracking. It offers features like link location, link status, a spam score checker, and the option to disavow spammy links.

Linkody is ideal for businesses and SEO professionals who need a simple yet effective tool for monitoring their backlinks. A practical application of Linkody, for example, is its ability to alert users when they gain or lose a backlink. Then they can quickly respond to changes in their backlink profiles.

7. SE Ranking

SE Ranking offers a comprehensive backlink analysis tool that includes monitoring, checking backlink status, and evaluating the quality of each link.

The platform is particularly useful for tracking your backlink profile's growth and identifying both new and lost backlinks. For instance, SE Ranking's backlink checker can reveal how a website's backlink profile evolves over time, providing insights into the effectiveness of link-building campaigns.

8. Open Link Profiler

Open Link Profiler is a versatile tool that offers a detailed analysis of a site's backlinks. It provides information on the age of backlinks, the linking domains, and the anchor texts used.

This backlink tool is particularly useful for identifying older, established backlinks that contribute to a site's long-term SEO strength. The free version lets users export up to 100 backlinks in .csv format.

Thus, Open Link Profiler can help a website owner understand the longevity and stability of their backlink profiles, crucial for maintaining search engine rankings.

9. Semrush

Semrush is a comprehensive digital marketing tool that includes powerful backlink monitoring capabilities.
It allows users to track the backlink profiles of their own and their competitors' websites, offering insights into link-building strategies and opportunities.

Semrush's backlink audit feature even can help identify toxic links that might harm a site's SEO, enabling proactive management of the backlink profile.

10. Vazoola's Free Backlink Checker

free backlink checker

Vazoola's Free Backlink Checker is designed to provide quick and accurate insights into a website's backlink profile. It's an excellent tool for businesses and individuals looking to get a snapshot of their backlink health without the need for extensive analysis.

Just enter the website you want to audit, as well as your contact information, and your backlink data will be sent directly to you.

This tool is particularly useful for those who are new to SEO or have limited resources, as it offers a straightforward way to monitor backlinks free and understand their impact on SEO.

Pro Tips:

multiple backlink monitoring tools

Experiment with combining data from multiple backlink monitoring tools to gain a more comprehensive view. Different tools offer unique insights, and cross-referencing data can lead to more informed decisions.



Maximizing SEO Success: The Power of Backlink Monitoring

Backlink monitoring is an indispensable part of any successful SEO strategy.

By staying vigilant and proactive when monitoring existing backlinks, you can ensure that your website not only maintains its current SEO standing but also continues to grow and outperform in the ever-competitive online world.

Are you ready to start monitoring backlinks? Get started by conducting a thorough audit of your current backlink profile, identify areas for improvement, and begin implementing the backlink monitor strategies we've discussed in this comprehensive guide.

Be sure to regularly monitor your backlinks using our recommended tools and adjust your strategies based on the insights you gain.

Pro Tips:

SEO trends and backlinks

Stay current with the latest SEO trends and algorithm updates. Understanding how these changes affect backlink valuation can help you adapt strategies that maintain and improve your search engine rankings.

Related Posts

How Long Does It Take to See Results from Link Building?

Internal Linking: The Secret Weapon for SEO

Outbound Links and Their Impact on SEO

How to Use Linkable Assets for Link Building

What Is Contextual Link Building for SEO?

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