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Backlink Analysis – How To Analyze Links Like a Pro


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We all know just how important backlinks are for boosting your brand’s online presence and staying ahead of the competition. But do you know about the benefits of performing a backlink analysis?

Backlink analysis is one of the most important strategies for honing and improving your entire link building strategy and outreach campaigns. It’s a great way to gain valuable insights into where your link building is working and what you might need to change.

In this article, we will discover everything you need to know about a backlink analysis: what is it, why is it so important, how can you conduct one, and what you should do once you have received the results of your analysis. Let’s take a look.

What is Backlink Analysis?

In a nutshell, a backlink analysis is a comprehensive audit of your website’s entire backlink profile and portfolio. To run a backlink analysis, you can use a backlink analysis tool designed specifically for this purpose.

Or you have the option of hiring a professional SEO expert team to conduct a thorough backlink analysis of your site.

Backlink audit

You can also consult with competitors’ backlink portfolios to get a sense of where your site lies among the competition, and what sort of context you fall under.

Check backlinks on competitors’ websites to provide motivation for where you need to improve, and reveals where your website is actually exceeding the average. 

Either way, a backlink tool will reveal information about every single link that leads back to your website.

Backlink tool preview

This will generate insights about which pages are the most popular and linkable on your site, where your site has room to improve, and which inbound links you will want to remove from your profile altogether. 

Understanding your current backlink portfolio is an essential step towards honing your backlink strategies towards landing high authority backlinks.

Backlink analysis reveals not only the number of backlinks you already have but also shows the future link building opportunities for you to capitalize on. 

If you choose not to conduct a backlink analysis, then you will be shaping your entire content strategy without the necessary context and relevant information.

This can seriously harm your attempts to boost your SEO presence and search engine results page (SERP) rankings. A thorough backlink analysis provides a guiding outline for you to follow as you craft your link building strategies for the future.

What’s the Point of Analyzing Backlinks?

As we mentioned above, knowing how to analyze backlinks essential component of creating a digital outreach or SEO strategy. 

The insights provided by it show you what steps to take next, from how to improve the quality of your portfolio of backlinks to where you might have unexpected link building opportunities that you would not otherwise be aware of. 

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the specific reasons you should use a backlink authority checker on your site.

Find Toxic Backlinks

Toxic backlinks are spammy, overly promotional, and generally low-quality backlinks that connect your site to disreputable sources, such as link farms, private blog networks (PBNs), or other low-quality sites. 

Being associated with these sites can actually harm your website’s reputation and online presence- or worse.

Toxic links

If Google analytics tools identify toxic backlinks among your portfolio, your site could potentially be blacklisted and removed from valuable relevant Google results page rankings. 

Unlike high-quality inbound links that were acquired legitimately through white label link building methods, toxic backlinks are usually gained through risky black hat link building- whether intentionally or not. 

Conducting a backlink analysis can quickly reveal any toxic backlinks in your backlink portfolio so that you can remove these from your site. 

Discover Your Site’s Authority

In order to gain a high domain authority ( DA), you will need to have a robust and diverse portfolio of high authority backlinks.

DR score

Completing a backlink analysis will reveal deeper insights into your site’s authority in different areas, and show you where you have room for improvement. 

Learning to analyze the backlinks that refer back to your site is key to learning more about your site’s authority.

When you can understand how valuable a particular backlink from a referring domains is for your site, then you can glean a deeper understanding of the level of your site’s authority. 

Find Your Competitors’ Backlinks 

During a backlink analysis, you’ll want to conduct an in-depth examination and comparison of your competitors’ backlink portfolios.

That way, you can understand where there are differences between your competitors’ link building campaigns and your own strategies.

Is your strategy more effective or less effective than your competitors? How can you learn from their mistakes or successes?

Competitor backlinks

For example, if your competitor’s backlink portfolio exhibits more frequent instances of high-quality links from highly reputable digital media outlets and yours does not, then it’s likely they’re running a digital PR link building campaign to gain more reputable media referral sites as backlink domains.

You can learn from this, and create a copycat campaign of your own. 

In addition, you can use backlink analysis for keyword research page-level competitors or domain-level competitors.

At the page-to-page level, you can identify pages that present content or specific formatting styles that are doing well on your competitors’ sites.

If your site is lacking that type of content or those formatting choices, you can adopt them for your own content development strategy going forward. 

Detect Lost Backlinks

With a backlink authority checker, you can check backlinks for lost backlinks and track where and when they were removed. In some cases, backlinks that were previously active now exhibit a “404 Page Not Found” disclaimer.

These broken links may refer to articles that were moved to a new location on the same site, or the link address may have changed during a site upgrade. 

In other instances, site editors may have deleted your backlinks either intentionally or inadvertently.

Detect lost backlinks

Backlink analysis tools provide a comprehensive map that allows you to trace the history of your backlinks, so you can easily determine which links have been lost and need to be replaced, restored, or renewed. 

Oftentimes a simple outreach email to a site editor can result in your lost backlinks being replaced within the context of the original article.

But if you never analyze backlinks, you will never know which links have been lost or broken, and thus you won’t know what to do.

Find Pages That Need More Backlinks

One key feature of a backlink analysis is to identify room for improvement and point you toward specific improvements you can make within your site.

Page that needs more backlinks

A backlink analysis not only displays the quantity of backlinks you have, but also provides invaluable insight into which pages are thriving, why that might be the case, and which pages are lacking in backlinks. 

Thorough backlink analysis can reveal particular improvements you can make to boost the number of backlinks for specific pages, such as updating the content, adding more relevant keywords for Google optimization, or changing the format or title of the content. 

As you analyze pages that could benefit from more backlinks, you can also learn which types of link building outreach tools will be most relevant for building up more high-quality links to these specific pages.

And based on the content on display in these pages, you can shift your link building outreach strategy to better connect with the right site editors and content creators. 

It is important to conduct campaigns that have you doing outreach to relevant sites so you do not waste your time pursuing backlinks that will not actually add much value to your overall site authority and SEO rankings.

Instead, focus your energy on highly reputable sites that offer content that is truly relevant to your page. 

When You Should Analyze Your Backlinks

A backlink analysis should become a regular part of your brand’s digital maintenance. 

The more consistent you are with your backlink analyses, the more you will be able to keep up with the changing picture of how your brand’s website is performing. 

To this aim, you should conduct a routine backlink analysis once a month, although of course, it won’t hurt if you can do it more frequently.

Analyzing backlinks

Every backlink analysis provides deeper insight into your current SEO status, ranking, and campaign progress, which can help guide your decision-making and planning processes going forward. 

Conducting a regularly scheduled monthly backlink analysis will allow you to track your campaign progress and the ongoing status of your site in real time.

It’s the key to building your evolving link building campaign strategies. In addition to your routine monthly backlink analysis, you should also analyze backlinks during times of transition. 

It is important if you want to stay on top of the changes that are taking place and continuously implement the best link building strategies. So let’s take a look at the best times to perform analyses. 

During Massive Traffic Fluctuations

If your site suddenly has a huge dip in SEO rankings or, conversely, if your site sees a sudden spike in the number of backlinks referring to your page, then it is a good time to conduct a backlink analysis. 

These massive traffic fluctuations, whether low dips or high spikes, can indicate that something unusual is going on. It may be a sign that you are receiving a high quantity of toxic backlinks.

A lot of bad links on your page can negatively impact SEO rankings. So conducting a backlink analysis during times of unexpected flux is a good way to assess the situation or potentially capitalize on positive backlinks. 

If indeed you are receiving a lot of bad links, you can disavow them so that you do not receive penalties from Google analytics tools for having spammy links.

Instead, you can generate easy natural link placement through effective guest post outreach campaigns and white hat link building methods

After Receiving a Google Penalty

If even unbeknownst to you, your site has a lot of toxic, spammy backlinks, it’s possible that the Google analytics tools will recognize these low-quality links and decide that your site is in violation of the Google SEO guidelines.

If this is the case, you may receive a penalty on your link profile that can lower your SERP rankings and SEO reputation.

Hopefully, that’s not the case. But if it does happen to your site, then it’s an important time to conduct a thorough backlink analysis. During your analysis, you can root out any toxic links and remove them from your portfolio by disavowing them via Google disavow tool.

This should help you get back into the good books when it comes to Google assessments. 

You can find out if your website was hit by Google penalty inside Google search console like shown here:

Google Manual Penalty

Before You Buy A New Website

Before you embark on the adventure of buying and building up a brand new website, it’s a good idea to complete a backlink analysis that can provide a comprehensive picture of the site’s health and status right from the get-go.

Monitored domains

Just as you would take a used car to the mechanic for a quality assessment before deciding whether or not to purchase it, performing a backlink analysis provides you with all the background information about whether the new site will be a good investment for you or not. 

Likewise, performing a backlink analysis on a potential purchase or newly acquired site is also a good idea as it can reveal bad links and, of course, a good track back link here and there.

If you have the know-how, looking at a backlink analysis can provide insight into how you can make that site more valuable over time. 

Best Backlink Analysis Tools

Manually combing through every single backlink associated with your site would be a deeply tedious and time-consuming process.

Fortunately, there are plenty of digital tools available to help conduct the process and even learn how to analyze backlinks on your own later on. 

In addition to showing you an overview and revealing insights into your backlink profile, many backlink analysis tools offer other SEO metrics about your site.

Important metrics like domain authority (DA) and domain ranking (DR)  provide a helpful overview of your site’s authority and offer a key reference point for link building campaigns. 

They take all the data from your backlink analysis and compress it into an individual score out of 100.

This shows you, your competitors, and other sites out there where you fall in the general scheme of things when it comes to DA. Plus, it provides a helpful metric for Google to analyze and compare. 

Without a doubt, these SEO metrics are a valuable way to shape your content going forward. So let’s take a look at some of the industry leaders providing backlink analysis tools and ways to find backlinks of competitors (and copy them, too). 

1. Ahrefs


One of the leading choices among SEO experts, digital marketers, and IT experts, Ahrefs provides enhanced tools for monitoring all of your backlinks and SEO keywords.

The platform includes helpful comparative charts and competitor backlink analysis, marking any changes and improvements as their campaigns evolve. 

Ahrefs is a top choice among industry experts for the professional level quality it provides in its data analysis, as it always presents the most up-to-date accurate data in real time. 

In addition to the quantity and location of backlinks in your portfolio, Ahrefs can also reveal which of your website pages are generating the most backlinks and from where helping you to build a bigger picture of how and where your site is most attractive and linkable. 

Plus, Ahrefs assesses your overall domain authority, compressing all of that information into one useful, easily readable metric: the domain rating, or DR, a score on a scale of 1 to 100. 

Additionally, all these checks can also be conducted on your competitors’ websites as well. This gives you insight into where your competition’s quality backlinks are coming from, what type of backlinks are in question, and other general metrics.

All this information can help you in your backlinking campaigns.

2. Semrush


Discovering new link building opportunities is easy with the SemRush backlink gap tool. This digital tool lets you assess your backlink portfolio to determine where there are likely candidates and opportunities for expanding your link building campaigns. 

The backlink gap tool reveals where you are in relation to the competition when it comes to your backlink portfolio.

With it, you can analyze areas where you may need to improve to keep up with competitors, which isn’t something offered by most competitor backlink analysis tools. 

SemRush backlinks SEO tools offer easy navigational charts and multiple views of your data so you can quickly read and comprehend what you are looking at.

On top of that, you can sort through data by different key search terms and data types, such as the anchor text, the date of publication, or the type of backlink.

This allows you to smoothly navigate across the backlink map within the SemRush platform, delving deeper into your website’s strengths and weaknesses to find out where and how you can improve. 

It is also worth mentioning SEMrush also has a backlink toxicity score which measures your backlink profile toxicity from 0 to 100 with 100 being very toxic. This tool allows us to easily export toxic backlinks for evaluation and disavowal.

The SemRush SEO tools provide a helpful guiding to show you where your next steps should be in terms of a comprehensive link building strategy and content creation plan. 

3. Moz


Offering a mix of SEO and backlink analysis tools, Moz provides a Link Explorer tool that is highly user-friendly and can reveal high-quality insights into the backlink profile strengths and weaknesses of any website across the internet. 

Moz uses all of the information in a backlink analysis to generate a search engine ranking score called Domain Authority (DA). The DA ranking predicts how likely it will be for a particular website to rank in SERPs.

Then, Moz calculates grades you between 1 and 100. Higher scores on the DA ranking scale indicate a higher likelihood of landing in a favorable position in SERPs. 

In addition, Moz SEO backlink analysis SEO tools seamlessly integrate with Google Analytics, so website builders can choose to receive automated notifications when they have received new backlinks- or when backlinks go missing or disappear. 

SEOs and business owners alike also appreciate the Moz Link Explorer. It offers valuable and detail-oriented data for website builders seeking to improve their backlink profile and SEO status.

Information such as anchor text viability, individual page authority, domain authority, and backlink spam scores can reveal where site editors will want to clean up their page by removing or disavowing toxic links.

As the cherry on top, this type of in-depth analysis will provide directions for new link building connections.

4. Google Search Console

Google Search Console

While the backlink analysis tools listed above charge a fee to use, you can use the Google Search Console. This free backlink analysis tool provides effective methods for conducting a deep backlink analysis and general website audit.

It can allow site editors to track their website’s progress in Google’s SERPs and is the perfect choice for beginners who decided to embark on a search for backlink tips and improvements. 

The platform includes helpful information about how Google rates and identifies credibility or poor quality among websites. This makes it easy to shape your individual pages towards Google-approved formats and quality rankings. 

To set up a Google Search Console account, you can simply authenticate that you are your website’s legitimate owner. Once that is done, you can access the free backlink analysis tool. 

On your Google Search Console backlink report, you will be able to browse through every external link that refers back to your website, as well as the referring domains, and the type of backlink and anchor text used. 

Once you begin to read through your backlink portfolio, you also can analyze these backlinks based on specific criteria.

Google’s free backlink checker offers a number of metrics you can use to sort through your links, such as top linking pages, distribution of anchor text, the total number of linking domains, the top-rated linking domains, and the total overall quantity of backlinks.

You can also sort through which countries are linking to your site. 

All of these helpful search parameters can allow you to easily navigate your backlink portfolio so that you can determine any possible issues that need to be resolved, such as spammy low-quality links, or an overabundance of backlinks from one individual domain, which Google regards as suspicious in free backlink checker from Google.

What To Do Once You Complete Your Backlink Analysis?

After you complete your backlink analysis, you will have a deeper understanding of the overall SEO rating and strengths and weaknesses of your website and backlink portfolio. 

Using the data you have received from your backlink analysis, you can start to make necessary adjustments to improve your page, such as removing and disavowing spammy, low-quality, or toxic links.

Reach out to site editors where you have broken or missing links to get them reinstated, replaced or simply create a 301 redirects from your old non-existing pages to new, relevant ones.

Then, use the analytical insights generated by comparing your page to other competitors’ profiles to boost the content and find new growth strategies on your own site. 


Backlink analysis is essential for learning about your site’s status and how you compare to the competition. 

Performing regular checkups is a good way to track the progress of link building campaigns. You can analyze and monitor your site’s backlink portfolio on an ongoing basis to understand where and how your site can do better when it comes to link building. 

With the help of a proper backlink tool, you will be able to craft more effective link building campaigns to help strengthen the overall metrics of your site and boost your SEO and SERP rankings. 

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Sia Mohajer

Get acquainted with Sia Mohajer, the brain behind some of BlueTree's most successful link-building campaigns. Read, learn, and grow.

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