While you can consistently build links pointing to your website, managing your backlinks is essential, mainly because neglecting deleted or broken links, nofollow attributes, or incorrect URLs can damage your SEO performance more.

Fortunately, you can fix this by proactively and regularly monitoring your links through a backlink management strategy. This way, you can audit your backlink profile and ensure it stays healthy throughout.

This article explains why you should manage your backlinks, what metrics to track, and the tools and techniques for doing so. Keep reading to learn more.

Why You Should Care About Backlinks Management?

We’ve established that high quality backlinks to your website are paramount to ranking higher among SERPs. However, only accumulating these links isn’t enough; you must maintain and actively pursue them to ensure you’re reaping the full benefits of having them.

This allows you to maintain safe and worthwhile backlinks while assessing incoming links. Using backlink analysis, you can check what your competitors are doing and create link building campaigns that strengthen your website’s reputation.

Here are some of the top reasons why you should manage your backlinks:

  • Identifying Link Quality: Building links is a numbers game to some extent, but the quality matters more than the quantity because poor quality links can negatively impact your rankings across search engines. Similarly, the anchor texts should be relevant to the content instead of misleading the readers with unrelated terms.
  • Fix Broken or Removed Links: Non-existing backlinks that users cannot access or find a 404 error lead to poor user experience and hinder your SEO because it sends a detrimental signal to Google about your site’s upkeep. Plus if the sites linking to you remove their link, you need to be aware of it, and understand why it’s happening, as that will impact your link profile.
  • Avoid Google Penalties: While Google rewards sites with a good backlink profile, it also penalizes sites with “trash links,” which damages your site’s rankings and authority among search engines. So, regular backlink management allows you to spot such potentially harmful links before the damage is done.

Key Metrics to Track in Your Link Profile

Before diving into the complexities of backlink management strategy, it’s essential to understand the SEO metrics that impact your backlink profile.

These are some of the tracking parameters for your backlinks:

  • Anchor Text: The text used to hyperlink your website content should be relevant to boost the value of that backlink and your website’s rankings for specific keywords.
  • Link Quality: High quality backlinks are crucial to boosting your website’s rankings. If you have many low-quality spammy websites backlinking to yours, Google may penalise you.
  • Nofollow/Dofollow Links: While nofollow links do not pass on any link equity, dofollow links do. That’s why it’s important to follow Google’s guidelines for dofollow backlinks to avoid being flagged.
  • Referring Domains: This includes details such as the DA or DR of those domains, content quality, and relevance of the website linking to your content to identify good and bad backlinks.
  • Backlink Discovery: Although it won’t tell you exactly when the link went live, it can roughly indicate when it started gathering attention from Google.

At TLG, the metrics are crucial in helping us understand your backlinks and what strategies we can implement to improve your overall link profile. 

Tips and Techniques For Effective Backlinks Management

You must develop a strategic monthly system to implement backlink management, and here are some tried-and-tested techniques that will teach you how to do so.

1. Optimise Link Building Campaigns

Building backlinks properly involves ensuring they’re relevant, contextual, and valuable to the reader, not random links just to manipulate rankings across search engines. Course correcting at the beginning will also lessen the chances of any backlink management stress later.

Whenever you get a link from these campaigns, remember to check the link profile of the referring domain. Since you can’t quality control all inbound links, this routine check will determine if malicious websites are pointing to your site.

You can also avoid this altogether by launching campaigns only on specific sites, and filtering out “link farms” at the prospecting level, or using specific link building metrics as a filter.

This gives you control over the quality of your backlinks.

Note on Link Velocity:Link velocity is the speed at which your page receives links, and it is a determining factor in whether or not a page will rank. If you’re building links unusually fast, Google will suspect black-hat tactics due to the influx. Similarly, a slow link velocity means your competitors will rank higher, so consider this when managing backlinks.

2. Monitor and Claim Lost Backlinks

Losing backlinks is common, especially if you don’t check up on them consistently. Whether it’s broken backlinks showing error 404 or a link removal by the webmaster, you will only get a warning about lost links if you’re monitoring them.

Use a tool to check for broken links, to determine which links are active. Once you identify these, you can reclaim them by reaching out. 

Ahrefs, for example, have this feature (but many other SEO tools will have a feature like this as well)

It’ll indicate the anchor text that was being used, so you can easily identify where the link originally was – which makes notifying the webmaster about it much more efficient. 

3. Fix Broken Backlinks

You can set up an alert using tools like Monitor Backlink, or Backlink Monitor from Inspyder; this way, you are aware of your lost links and can reclaim them before your competition gets to them, and you lose that valuable link equity. Similarly, these softwares will notify you when you gain a link.

These real-time updates make backlink management strategy easier and give you a comprehensive idea of where you’re losing links. After all, losing a backlink from a high-DA site can put a dent in your SERP ranking.

4. Check Spam Score of Backlinks

You must avoid backlinks that seem spammy. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy, thanks to Moz’s spam score metrics, part of their Link Explorer Tool. This tool determines a website’s spam score based on Google web crawlers, and this number plays a crucial role in measuring its trustworthiness.

Critical indicators of spammy links are low-authority backlinking sites, sudden spikes in traffic from different sources, low-quality guest posts, spam comments, and sites with extremely few links and low link diversity. While spam scores are manageable, accumulating too many spammy backlinks will negatively impact your SEO efforts.

1-30% is considered a low spam score, so maintain this range to prevent Google from flagging your website. Apart from identifying spammy sites, a spam score may signal whether a website could be at risk of penalty, so keep a watchful eye on this.

5. Check Dofollow vs Nofollow Ratio

Two link types point to your site: Nofollow and Dofollow links. The rel=”nofollow” and rel=”dofollow” tags show Google whether or not to pass link equity, and the ratio of these reflects your link building strategies.

As the name suggests, nofollow links do not pass any link juice to your website, which means you don’t really have to monitor them as much (unless in large volumes). Dofollow links, on the other hand, are what you need to monitor because they’re more damaging when they come from low-quality websites.

There is no definite “healthy” ratio for dofollow and nofollow links; you can have one more than the other. However, if there’s a drastic difference, Google may get suspicious because of the unusual linking pattern.

Ideally, you want to maintain the right balance between both. Experts recommend 70% dofollow and 30% nofollow, but there isn’t really any magic ratio.

6. Check Referral Traffic Coming From Backlinks

Since backlinks also bring in referral traffic, it’s worth looking out for. When the referring domain users look for relevant sites, they will come across your anchor text, which drives organic traffic back to your website.

Referral traffic shouldn’t be the overriding goal of link building – and to be honest, most of the links you get probably drive a lot of referral traffic, or the traffic ends up not being tracked. However, an increase in referral traffic over time when you’ve been doing it over the long term, is possible – but if the link building you’re doing is spammy, it’s likely going to yield very low or irrelevant traffic.

For example, here’s an example of a guest post we did for one client. Not a huge amount, but traffic nonetheless.

7. Set Google Alerts To Monitor Yours and Competitor Backlinks & Mentions

While you can check backlink profiles using a backlink analysis tool like Semrush or Ahrefs, its also worth monitoring for mentions. The reason is that SEO tools don’t always pick up everything, and you may find these mentions of your brand/competitor much quicker than if you were monitoring with a backlink tool.

Setting Google alerts will notify you whenever your competitors receive mentions, and may act as a good link building opportunity for your website.

Here’s how to monitor the mentions of your competitors in five simple steps:

  1. Open google.com/alerts and search the keywords you wish to track.
  2. Below the search bar, click on the “Show Options” section to modify the type of alerts you receive.
  3. Choose the specific metric you want to track. You can also select the sources from which to receive alerts and website mentions across other websites.
  4. Select the language and content region.
  5. Enter the email address to start receiving these alerts.

You can also set alerts for negative phrases – mentions of your brand and phrases like:

  • [brand] +hate
  • [brand]+scam
  • [brand]+not satisfied
  • [brand]+worst experience

This’ll help you from a reputation management point of view, to ask on negative press quickly.

8. Measure the Impact of Backlinks on Search Engine Visibility

Your website’s current backlinks will impact where it appears in the SERPs, so it’s important to know which ones benefit your site and which ones are dragging your metrics down, or just having no effect.

To do this, you can gauge your own “link quality score” of sorts, by combining the following factors:

  • Domain Authority: You have to take metrics like DA and DR with a pinch of salt. But you do want a mixture – Backlinks from sites with a DA 70 or above are required for helping push overall authority, the next bucket of DA 50 to 69 is a close second, but most will be in the area of DA 25 to 49. 
  • Site Quality: The referring websites must also produce high-quality, relevant content that adds value to readers. Link farms will tend to be riddled with poor quality content, or content only made for the purpose of inserting links.
  • Relevance: Niche relevance is key to giving your results an edge. For example, if you’re a food website, most of your links should come from other food sites, restaurants, food bloggers, etc. Tangential niches are fine, as long as its logical relevance. The further you deviate from niche and audience relevance, the lower the score.
  • Engagement: This may be harder to quantify exactly, but this refers to the amount of traffic or exposure your backlinks receive across social media, or the referring sites get from other sources. Genuine links on relevant, quality sites are more likely to have such traffic.

For example, here’s an article we did on SearchEngineLand, which picked up shares on Twitter and Pinterest as well. (as shown by Ahrefs)

Since Google heavily considers quality links, keep these metrics top of mind, when trying to enhance your backlink profile.

9. Trust Flow and Citation Flow of Backlinks

Trust and Citation flow are metrics (created by Majestic) to measure a website’s trustworthiness for Google and its users. Trust flow demonstrates the reputation and popularity of backlinks, while citation flow shows their influence and quality.

High scores for both these metrics are good indicators of reliable backlinks. If the websites linking to your content have high ratings, this will also increase your website’s trust flow.

Trust Ratio = Trust Flow / Citation Flow

In an ideal world, you’d want each backlink to have a TR of close to 1.0. This won’t always be possible, but when building links, you want to yield backlinks with an average trust ratio of at least 0.5. If not, it can mean something is off with the quality.

It can also be used to identify irrelevant backlinks using the Majestic Topical Trust Flow metric, which segregates backlinks based on different content topics.

Suppose a jewelry website has links from SEO websites, which would be completely irrelevant . Using this filter will help you investigate and ultimately remove such harmful links if it doesn’t look right.

How Can You Choose The Right Backlink Management Tool?

Since Google doesn’t automate backlink management, you must set up tools to save time while consistently running backlink audits to maintain a healthy backlink profile.

However, tracking all the metrics discussed above is not possible with just one tool because each of them offers unique features.

So, how do you choose? Let’s find out.

  • Understand Your Needs: Start by defining your objectives for backlink management. These may include tracking backlinks and building new links while monitoring how they impact your website’s backlink profile.
  • Evaluate Different Features: These software programs offer various features, such as link quality assessment, backlink analysis, link prospecting, competitor analysis, backlink monitoring, and reporting, so check which best suits your needs.
  • Determine Your Budget: Some tools like Google Search Console are free. However, complex tools such as Ahrefs and other link research tools have paid subscriptions, and if you have a budget of around $500 to $700, these are a good fit.
  • Read Reviews: Before purchasing any tools, check customer opinions to gauge their reliability and effectiveness. Reading their feedback will not only help you determine whether the tool suits your needs, but you can also compare them to determine which one is better.
  • Integrations: Integrating the software with other SEO tools, analytics platforms, or CMS proves quite beneficial for streamlining your workflow, so consider this feature to provide a comprehensive system for your SEO strategy.
  • Customer Support and Training: These tools can be challenging, especially if it’s your first use. Some offer training resources like webinars and tutorials, which are helpful for your team. Similarly, having reliable customer support can help clarify any doubts or issues you encounter.
  • User-Friendliness: How effectively and efficiently you can use the software determines how much time you save or waste on it. Choose an intuitive interface that is easy to navigate, especially if you need more technical knowledge.
  • Do A Trial Run: Once you’ve finalized the tools you need, most will have a trial period. Use this time to explore the tools and determine their features’ effectiveness for backlink management.

The Tools We Use For Backlink Management

Manually monitoring backlinks can be extremely time-consuming and tedious, especially when tracking them in large numbers. Plus, you must constantly check on your competitors and size backlinking opportunities as you find them.

To simplify this task, you can use various tools to assess valuable or harmful backlinks and their statuses.

Google Search Console

Google offers this free web service, comprising a collection of tools and reports designed to monitor and manage websites and their users. 

One of its main features is that it analyzes backlink profiles, tracks link progress, and creates reports, which is why it’s a standard tool for backlink management.

These are some of the features that are quite useful:

  • Manual Actions: If Google detects spammy links and its severe enough, you’ll receive a manual action (i.e. manual penalty). You can check if you’re hit by a penalty by going to your GSC account’s “Security & Manual Actions” page.
  • Backlink Audit and Analytics: You can integrate GSC with SEMrush using your Google account to audit your backlinks to get their Toxicity and Authority Score, which helps you find and disavow harmful links, when it is appropriate to do so. The backlink checker also allows you to evaluate and compare link profiles of your website and your competitors.
  • Anchor Text: Reviewing your backlinks also detects “bad” keywords used for hyperlinking. These are usually over-optimized anchor texts with brand names or promotional-sounding phrases.
  • Link Reports: View detailed internal and external link data to find top linking sites, pages, and anchor texts. You can also export this data to Excel or other similar software to interpret these insights and create effective backlink management strategies.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is one of the most powerful tools. It provides useful backlink insights and data that form the basis of many SEO practices. Ahrefs allows you to create an effective, data-driven link building strategy by analyzing backlinks from any website.

These are some key features and benefits of using Ahrefs for backlink management:

  • Compare Competitors: You get an overview of your competitors’ backlink profiles, allowing you to identify their strengths or weaknesses and giving you a competitive edge.
  • Link Building Prospects: Analyzing leading websites in your niche can help you find referring websites that can include your trustworthy backlinks to their site.
  • Comprehensive Analysis: From checking your site’s backlink profile to gauging the quantity and quality of your backlinks, Arefs offers a detailed analysis with data-driven insights.
  • Tracking Performance: Monitor gradual or sudden changes in your backlink profile with its performance tracking feature to know the impact of your links and how they affect your rankings.
  • Assessing Risks: You can identify spammy links from harmful sites that may negatively impact your SEO efforts. Ahrefs have a “best links” feature, which allows you to easily segregate links based on them falling below certain metric criteria.

Majestic

With the help of domain metrics and backlinks, Majestic offers in-depth analytical linking data for your website. 

Compared to most tools in the market, this one’s relatively all-inclusive and specifically designed with a link intelligence database that monitors user interaction and engagement.

Some of the notable features you can expect from Majestic are:

  • Backlink Checker: Used to detect the quality and issues of a website’s backlinks, allowing you to resolve any damage-causing links and enhance your SEO performance.
  • Search Explorer: You can add or remove keywords used for hyperlinking to improve rankings across search engines. Using a keyword and your site URL, you can identify the lowest to highest-ranking sites for that keyword in your niche.
  • Domain Comparison: You can compare your backlink management strategies with high- and low-ranking competitors. The data is provided in link flow metrics, a bar graph, and the backlink history of your site and the competitors.
  • Website Explorer: It allows you to search your website and track backlink data based on trust and citation flow, using quantity and quality to determine the credibility of your links.
  • Clique Hunter: This feature offers an overview of the referring sites your competitors get backlinks from; it tells you the source, and you can pursue these if they’re high-quality sites.

SEMrush

Like Ahrefs’s functionalities, SEMrush is an SEO tool that provides insights and reports on website backlinks by identifying quality and quantity, anchor text details, and referring IPs and domains. 

You can also view a website’s backlink history and track progress to improve rankings.

Some of the main features and benefits SEMrush offers include:

  • Backlink Analysis: Identify prospective link building opportunities by checking competitor backlinks and track your own performance.
  • Detailed Link Metrics: It offers reliable SEO-related website metrics, such as page and domain authority, spam scores, traffic, etc., so you can make wise decisions about specific backlink sources.
  • User-Friendly Interface: UI/UX design has a seamless, user-friendly interface that allows beginners and advanced users to navigate the tool’s features effortlessly.
  • Outreach Management: Use integrations for backlinks received through outreach campaigns to track communication, monitor backlinking websites, and automate email outreach processes.
  • Report Generation: Visualize your data using customizable features that help generate clear and organized reports to evaluate and compare the information.
  • Competitive Analysis: Replicate competitor websites’ success by finding their high-quality backlinks and creating strategies to gain similar authoritative links.
  • Updates and Monitoring: Monitor existing backlinks and receive regular updates about new links. You can also adjust your backlink strategies by receiving notifications about keyword rankings and industry-wide changes.

SE Ranking

SE Ranking is an all-in-one SEO tool with the additional feature of backlink monitoring, which allows you to create an effective backlink management strategy. 

You can upload your site’s links from the Google Search Console into this tool, and it will email you to notify you of any changes to your backlink profile.

These are some of their backlink-centric features:

  • Backlink Checker: Deep insights into a website’s backlink profile by analyzing linking pages, referring domains, and anchor texts to measure the value of each link and keep an eye on competitor backlinks.
  • Backlink Monitor: It’ll help you in identifying potentially harmful backlinks. Iit also automatically notifies you about a status change of backlinks, helps manage new or lost links, shows the backlink target ratio, and identifies dofollow/nofollow links pointing to your site.
  • Competitive Research: You can view and study competitor websites’ organic and paid traffic patterns, target search queries, PPC competition, and SERP newcomers, as well as compare keywords to improve your rankings.
  • Website Audit: This feature helps detect issues affecting your ranking and suggests fixes to optimize your website. It also generates audit reports, which you can use to compare what worked and did not work for your backlink management strategy.

Moz Link Explorer

You can use Moz Link Explorer to track your website’s growth and monitor backlinks. It can also provide details about other websites, including their authority and training potential. 

It is one of the most valuable SEO tools for your link building efforts and organic search engine rankings.

These are among the top features of Moz Link Explorer:

  • Explore Links: Research specific URLs and find data for the exact page, subdomain, or root domain. Note that this feature requires you to spend an “allowance” within the tool, and that limit is based on your subscription plan.
  • Link Metrics Overview: It analyzes pages to find essential metrics such as the DA, linking domains, ranking keywords, inbound links, etc. You can also check how the metrics change over time and create strategies based on these trends.
  • Discovered and Lost Links: Track current and new backlinks as they are found and added to the index. Identify linking domains without your live link to prevent accumulating too many lost or broken backlinks.
  • Download Data: After getting the Metrics Overview, you can download the acquired internal and external links data to start working on it through other platforms like Excel. You can export all link details, top pages, and linking domains.
  • Link Intersect: This is worth an honorary mention. This feature will allow you to analyze a set of competitors and determine the common backlinks. Not only the linking domain, but you’ll get a report with all the common URLs. Ahrefs have a version of this feature, but as far as we know, only Moz has the ability to extract a report of URLs where multiple competitors are on the same page.

Monitor Backlinks

This tool’s name explains exactly what it does: monitor and manage your backlinks efficiently. With its real-time backlink data, you can track its performance and assess its impact on your search engine rankings and optimization.

This is the list of features they offer:

  • In-Depth Analysis: Check the quality and quantity of your website backlinks to identify and disavow low-quality, spammy links that are detrimental to your search rankings.
  • Reporting Links: Get detailed reports using filters that include information related to statuses, top anchor texts, TLD, IP location, backlink distribution, and Majestic and Moz metrics.
  • Competitors Checks: Add the competitor you wish to analyze, and the tool will automatically indicate the links they receive every ten days. It will also email you if it detects new competitor backlinks.
  • Track Keywords: The built-in keyword rank tracker checks the top 150 rankings among search engines and shows the AdWords competition, average search volume, and CPCs. Keywords are checked weekly and are included in the SEO progress reports.

BacklinkManager

Despite being a relatively new backlink management tool, BacklinkManager.io offers a seamless automated link monitoring feature. 

You can also track collaborations with other sites and get reminders for link request follow-ups or fixes.

Some of its top features include:

  • Link Monitoring: Track all your links and link exchanges and get their status updates whenever there are changes in dofollow/nofollow tags or removed or broken links. You can also check your progress toward your goal to determine your link-building capacity.
  • Partnership Management: This tool offers shareable sheets to facilitate partnerships with link-building targets. You can send link requests to specific pages, get updates on ink exchanges, and keep a link quality and quantity score.
  • Reporting: Use charts and graphs to get detailed data about dofollow/nofollow links for each URL or domain and calculate the effectiveness of the links you’re building. You can also share these reports with partners or clients.

As a white-hat link-building agency, we use these tools to ensure we’re on the right track with the backlinks we build for our clients. Let us use our expertise to help you elevate your backlink profile.

Wrapping Up

Backlink management is a complex process, but you cannot ignore it because of its significant impact on your SEO practices and maintaining your rankings among search engines. That’s why managing and tracking them is crucial to ensure your backlink profile is pristine and stays away from Google’s penalties.

With our extensive guide, you can learn how to monitor your backlinks, the best practices, and the tools that can help make the entire process easier.

Understanding how backlinks work can be challenging, especially if you need to learn more about link building. If you want to receive healthy backlinks that boost your rankings, professionals like TLG can assist you with this journey. Let’s chat.