Backlink Checking: What is that?
Backlink checking is the art and science of investigating links to a given website by other websites. It is an integral part of an SEO strategy evaluation, and one of the most critical parts of overall website evaluation. It is a useful exercise to a website owner as well as a prospective website investor.
So why evaluate backlinks? Why backlinks in particular?
Well, without backlinks most websites are lone resources that sit in isolation. Without them, websites would have to rely on visitors coming by direct typing of domain name in the browser, and perhaps by email referrals. Traffic flow would be minimal and, as such, the ranking in search engines like Google will drop.
While this may seem somewhat non-critical, the determination affirms or negates the viability of a website as a business. Why? In the end, not only do websites need visitors, they need converting visitors; i.e people trying to solve problems. The visitors consume the information hosted, and some of them are ready to spend for it. A website should, in the end, be a business that delivers “profit” whether monetary or otherwise.
Website evaluation begins with domain name evaluation. To insure that the domain name is good and would rank easily, it is necessary to first do a backlink check. Even if the website is using a brand new domain name, chances are that someone may have used and dropped it in the past. If it has been used in the past, the preferred state would be that it was not abused in any way. In fact, it is better that a domain name is brand new than that it was abused in the past.
The best outcome would be that the domain was used in the past for good, garnered huge amounts of clean and relevant backlinks, and still has visitors going to it. Such ready made traffic can significantly reduce the pains of a new website and cut down the time it would take to rank in search engines. One can have the best website designed, but without relevant traffic, the website becomes irrelevant.
Reasons backlink checking is important in domain evaluation
Although the amount of backlinks may have been known, things can change very quickly in the Internet.
- Broken links: The link tester would evaluate the current status of existing links. The exercise may discover broken links, in which case the link is corrected.
- Loading Speed: The Link Checker also provides other information such as if the link to a slow loading site can irritate visitors. Users lack the patience to wait for a slow page in a time of blistering speed Internet.
- Link health: Keeping track of the linked to websites would make it possible to know when they have either been de-indexed or expired. Expired domains, when linked to, can either lead to 404 error page or parked sites. Either scenario can irritate users and may reduce the site’s search engine rankings. A good link checker can facilitate this link tracking process.
- Changed Content: It may also be found through the link checker’s report that the content in the linked site has changed and that the updated material is no longer relevant to the linking website.
Link checking alone solves nothing tangible except it is backed by a link correcting utility. The link corrector saves time and money. Manual verification and correction can take days of intense work due to the number of links involved. Link corrector software avoids this hassle and, with it, saves the money.
Like any other evaluation, the decisions made will be based solely on the link tester’s report and will increase the quality of the feed to the concerned site.
Accessing competitors’ activities
The Link Checker is also good for accessing competitors’ activities and their links. If a website is linked to another in a similar industry, it would make sense to know which websites the competitors are linking to, particularly if the competitors rank higher. Obtaining the same backlinks may improve the site’s ranking as well.
Why would one website link to another?
Relationships between websites are supposed to be complementary, mutually beneficial, or synergistic. What one website hosts may be of benefit to another website. The referring website gets the information, while the reference website gets the visitor traffic.
The links are supposed to happen naturally without other motives. A website that has many sites linking to it holds useful information, and as such the search engines give it more “authority” and rank it higher. Search engines use them to judge the credibility of a website.
Backlinks are a form of endorsements by one website of another website to the search engines. It is like a vote of confidence on the integrity of the linked-to website. Google puts a lot of emphasis on them as a measure of trust and authority. The quality and quantity of backlinks is a primary factor that determines positions in search engines.
A lot of the backlink checking/correcting utilities online are free. Google console and webmaster tools is the leading free utility. There are other free services including Bing webmaster tools.
Some of the other free utilities are listed below:
Coder Duck is an online backlink checker that helps to identify not only which sites link to a page, but also provides data for SEO analysis such as the title of the linked page, the anchor text of the link, and whether the link is dofollow or nofollow, etc.
The website is also populated by many different types of SEO tools, ranging from onsite analysis to offsite analysis tools.
Webconfs offers a collection of free SEO tools online. Two of them are designed for backlink search. The first tool is called Backlink Anchor Text Analyzer.
It shows which pages are linked to a particular area and with which anchor texts. If there are several links on a page, it displays all the anchor texts used on each page.
With the tools named above, one would be able to do a backlink checking as part of domain evaluation, on the cheap, even if not entirely free. But if one is really serious about maintaining a credible presence online, then, paying for a powerful link checker is a good deal.
Anything that boosts search engine rankings for a web based business is a good business strategy.