Making A Plan To Check Your Website Backlinks

Marc Hardgrove is the CEO of The HOTH, a white label SEO firm located in St Petersburg, FL. INC 5000 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020.

If you run a business with an online component, there’s never a bad time to check your backlinks. I like to kick off the new year with this task, but it’s not too late to do it now.

Think of backlinks as the fuel that drives your online ranking. They are one of the most powerful ways to boost your SEO. 

We all know what effect 2020 had on e-commerce. Online shopping had been steadily growing for years, but e-commerce sales in the United States increased more than 30% in the first few months of 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. That amounted to $211.5 billion in spending in the second quarter alone, and e-commerce now makes up 16% of all domestic sales. 

If you want your business to be competitive in this new environment — with good SEO to boost your position in the search rankings — an optimized website is crucial. So how do backlinks fit in?

Understanding The Power Of Backlinks

Backlinks are like an endorsement from another page that drives up your ranking, but the truth is that backlinks can be hard to get. In my experience, they take the most time and effort of all SEO strategies, but they often provide the biggest reward. 

You’ve earned a backlink when another website publishes content with a link back to your website. The more backlinks you earn, the better your search ranking will likely be because you’ll be considered a more trusted and successful business. 

Of course, not every backlink is the same. Your goal should be to get links from sites that are authoritative and that have high traffic. A backlink from CNN, for instance, will likely provide more value than one from a brand new blog managed by one writer in their spare time. Not that the blog backlink is bad; you just won’t be benefiting from the SEO power of a major news network. 

Having strong backlinks makes it easier for you to be discovered by search engines. They also can serve as a steady supply of referral traffic. 

The only caveat is that backlinks need to be checked on a regular basis, preferably every six months to a year. Websites are constantly changing, and you may lose a link if pages are edited or deleted. The same goes for your website because you may be providing links to someone else. 

How Can I Check Backlinks?

There are a number of digital tools that can help you keep track of backlinks. Most major SEO software — Semrush, Moz or Ahrefs — offers the tools you need to monitor backlinks. Navigating these programs can be challenging for people who don’t know much about SEO. 

One free and easy way to check your backlinks is through Google Search Console. Once you create an account and upload your site’s information, you can select “External Links” on the menu bar. It will show you the most linked pages on your site, what sites are giving you the most backlinks and what anchor text is being used. In case you didn’t know, anchor text is the word or phrase on a page that links to your page.

The information you receive from the Google Search Console is basic, but it’ll help get you started on tracking backlinks. At the very least, you can find out what page on your site is being linked to the most and then pitch it to other websites. While some backlinks are created organically, in most cases you’ll need to reach out to websites to get them. 

When seeking new backlink opportunities, try connecting with journalists, publishing informative guides, writing guest blog posts, creating shareable infographics or sending an email to a company you already have a relationship with to request a link. 

Set A Reminder To Check Your Backlinks 

Whether you want to schedule a calendar notification to check backlinks every Jan. 1 or look at them each quarter, be sure to organize an ongoing system for staying on top of these vital components of your SEO strategy. As the head of an SEO company, my recommendation to businesses is to either hire a full-time digital marketer to manage your online presence or connect with an agency. Earning and managing backlinks can be very time-consuming, but it’s important for keeping your business competitive in the increasingly digital landscape.

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