What is a Backlink Analysis? The Easy 4-Step System

In the quest for better Google search rankings, backlinks are key. Getting links from high-authority publications quickly boosts your domain authority, increases SEO, and can get you a huge spike in website traffic. 

The question is, where do you start with link building? And how do you effectively measure progress and set goals? 

The best link-building campaigns begin with a comprehensive backlink analysis. We regularly conduct these for our clients and will show you the easy process of conducting your own in this post. 

What is Backlink Analysis?

Backlink analysis is a detailed review of a website’s backlinks. Analyzing backlinks allows you to identify issues that could be affecting your site’s SEO, help you understand your domain authority (DA), and highlight opportunities for getting more links. 

You’ll also get insights into your competitors’ strategies and find gaps in content you could take advantage of in your content marketing strategy. 

Why is Backlink Analysis Important?

A comprehensive backlink audit is essential for competitor research and building your own SEO strategy. 

Firstly, you’ll get a perspective on how useful online users find your content. By discovering which pages get the post links, you can build on that success and create more engaging content that users want to see. 

Secondly, you can analyze your top competitors to see how many backlinks you need to get a higher domain authority. Your goal is to surpass them so you rank higher in Google searches, and knowing how many links you’re looking to beat is a good start. 

How to Perform Backlink Audit in 4 Steps

Conducting a backlink analysis is easy with the right tools. Here’s the quick four-step process we use before creating a backlink strategy with our clients. 

  1. Decide on the competitor websites you want to analyze

As well as analyzing your website, you should narrow down 3-5 competitors to do some snooping. You’ve probably already got direct competitors in mind, but if not, a quick Google search using your main keywords should bring up some prospects. 

If you want to take it a step further, do a keyword analysis to see exactly which sites are outranking you for your top keywords. 

  1. Choose your backlink checker tool

Plenty of backlink checker tools are on the market, but we love Ahrefs and SEMRush. Both platforms have comprehensive tools for keyword research, backlink building, competitor analysis, and more. 

But if you want a cheaper option, LinkMiner has a 10-day free trial and costs just $26 a month after that. It’s not as fully featured as the others, but it’s a good place to get started with a backlink audit on a budget. 

  1. Collect the essential data

Whichever tool you go for, you’ll start with tons of raw data from a quick URL search. Here are the link-building metrics you should focus on:

  • Total number of backlinks: if this number is low for your site and high for a competitor, it’s probably why you’re not ranking in SERPs. 
  • Number of referring domains: No matter how many links you get from one website, it will only count as one referring domain. You’re aiming for as many high-authority referring domains as possible. 
  • Top linked pages: this shows the web pages getting the most links, which is great for competitor analysis and your own marketing strategy. 

With these metrics, you should be able to gauge where your website falls compared to competitors. You want as many high-authority backlinks from as many high-quality sources as possible. 

Use the top linked pages to determine what kind of content you can create to help you hit those first two goals. 

  1. Find pages that could benefit from backlinks

If you’re planning a link-building campaign, your backlink checking can also identify which pages would most benefit from backlinks. 

Choosing the right pages will significantly boost your campaign’s impact, so make sure you find high-value pages that are most likely to generate revenue for your business. 

If you make your pages valuable enough, you’ll begin to naturally acquire links through link earning

Service & Product Pages

For product-based businesses, this could be a product category page or a specific product page. For service-based businesses, it’s more likely going to be your main service page. 

Generating backlinks to these pages means they are more likely to rank in searches, which means more client inquiries and sales. 

Blog Pages

If you’re trying to outperform your competitors for specific keywords, you’ll probably have more success building a link campaign around a blog post optimized for that keyword or phrase. 

These are easier to get backlinks to since they can be filled with valuable, interesting information. Use your competitor analysis to see which topics would be easiest to outrank and build link-worthy content for your campaign. 

When Should You Perform a Backlink Check?

At Linkifi, we always perform a backlink analysis before we get started creating a link-building campaign for our clients. But there are a few different instances when you should conduct one of your own. 

Before link building

Whether you’re working with a digital PR company or DIYing your link campaign, start with a backlink audit of your website and key competitors. 

This will show you where to focus your efforts and realistic goals you can set to measure your results.

To measure the impact of ongoing campaigns

If you’re currently working on a content marketing or link-building campaign, conduct regular link audits to measure your success. Are your efforts resulting in more backlinks? Has your domain authority increased?

If you’re not seeing results, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and tweak your campaign plan. 

After a ranking decrease

Quality backlinks will boost your SEO, but bad links will also drag it down. If you notice your metrics start taking a downward turn, conduct a backlink analysis to see if you’ve started getting links from low-quality websites. 

When you receive a manual penalty

If you notice a manual penalty on your Google Search Console, this means a human reviewer has flagged your website for breaking Google’s guidelines. If the flag relates to your link profile, backlink checking can help you identify and fix the issue to get the penalty removed. 

Ready To Start Outranking Your Competitors?

Conducting a comprehensive backlink analysis is the first step of a successful link-building campaign. By figuring out how you rank compared to competitors, you can build a marketing strategy that establishes you as the leader in your industry. 

If you want help getting high-quality backlinks that help boost your SEO and domain authority, Linkifi can help. We create powerful digital PR campaigns that get our clients featured in top publications in a range of industries. Contact us today to learn more. 


What are the three types of backlinks?

The three types of links are backlinks, no-follow links, and unlinked mentions. Backlinks provide link juice and influence your SEO and domain authority. No-follow links are links back to your website that don’t affect your search rankings (these are usually used for sponsored posts or ads). Unlinked mentions are any instances where your brand is mentioned online without a link back to your website – this is an easy opportunity to gain a backlink by reaching out to the website. 

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