Building up an intricate web of links is the nirvana for any digital marketer, especially an SEO professional and there comes the importance of link auditing! However, difficult as it is to procure quality links to integrate into your web, it is even more complicated to ensure that you audit them correctly. Wrong audits, or even misguided audits, will result in unwanted links cluttering your backyard. Before you know it, there will be some spam links coming in and finally flooding the show. It will invite penalties from Google and scorn from your potential customers. With the right link audit, you can bid goodbye to both of these problems.
There is a catch here. There are a number of free tools available online that will help you in auditing links. I’m not a big fan of these free tools and prefer to audit my own links with the help of Microsoft Excel and Google Spreadsheets. It ensures that I sift through the linking data myself and learn how things are working for the website. I’m basing these tips on the basis of manually auditing links and not through the use of free tools. You can use spreadsheets of both Excel and Google for this purpose.
Link Auditing Tip #1: Segregate Domains and Subdomains
To audit links, you need to accumulate all the data first. Download all the links you have spread out over innumerable sources! The tough part is to manually evaluate if you need all of these links at all. You will want to check at least one link from every domain. Even then, you find that many of these domains have uncountable number of links leading to them. To check just one link per domain, you have to extract the domain or the subdomain from every single URL. The data, when segregated, looks easier to evaluate and audit.
Link Auditing Tip #2: The Process of Review
I have found that there is little sense in checking through every link of a domain, like I mentioned above. However, this process of reviewing is not cent percent accurate. While a single link can paint a picture of what the corresponding domain holds for you in terms of link value, it can also be slightly misleading. Often, you may find that a good link and a bad one coexist in a single domain. With just a cursory glance at the link or the domain, you may not always find it out and remove it. The manual process of review has little scope to identify them individually. If you are careful about picking out those links, you need other internal checks, like using Scrapebox, to weed them out. Otherwise, this manual check of one link is enough to measure the health of a domain.
Link Auding Tip #3: Finding a Method in Madness
The time is now ripe to tell you how you can find a pattern in all the hundreds of links that you have downloaded. Usually, spammy links do have a pattern that makes them identifiable. With these URLs having a common factor, you can use that common factor in the spreadsheets to pick out every spam link bearing that pattern. For example, you may find, on a cursory glance, that more than one unnatural links have the words “example” in them. Find out all the links that have the word “example” and you have a pattern of spam links. Other examples of such patterns include: spam links may come in from a common free subdomain like blogspot or weebly; these spam links may have a common keyword functioning as an anchor text.
Link auditing Tip #4: Check and Update Disavow File
All these spam and unnatural links that you have picked up should be clubbed under a file head for disavowed links (Link Disavow). You can check these links against new links that you download in the future. Once you have disavowed some links, do not spend time reassessing them. Instead, carry out the process of updating your link profile and adding more disavowed links to the current crop. Maintain separate sheets to keep adding to the list of spam links.
The Final Word
With more sophisticated links and upgraded algorithms of search engines making work tough for link building, you need to keep your own house in order. Other than the tips I shared, you can come up with your own list that are unique to your business or online marketing methods. Do share them here!