If you are into SEO, you would be aware of the fact that Google uses more than 200 factors to rank a site. We know the nitty-gritty of some of the factors, others are ambiguous while a handful are not known at all.
Nevertheless, all experts agree that backlinks are one of the most critical factors in the ranking of any site. For example, Backlinko found out after analysis of more than 11.8 million Google search results.
What this means is that you not only need to get quality backlinks to stand any chance of breaking into the top ten (i.e., the first page of Google) of the search results but also need to get rid of spam links that are linking to your site. Otherwise, be prepared to get a backlink penalty from Google and risk the chance of getting your entire site (or some particular pages) vanished from Google search results (or SERPS).
We know that you are scratching your head on what exactly is a quality backlink, and how you can avoid the penalty from Google to ensure you remain on the first page of SERPS.
Well, you need not worry as the Wave Digital, a growth digital marketing agency, has created a comprehensive guide of all these seemingly confusing terms. We will also explain how to conduct a link penalty analysis to avoid the strike from Google so that you can continue enjoying the perks of being on the first page of the search engine.
What are backlinks?
Before we dig deeper into what exactly is a backlink penalty, let’s develop a clear understanding of a backlink.
A backlink is a link that you get to your article or a page on your website from another website. If you are getting a link from a credible source, i.e. high authority website, that signals to search engines about your high-quality content. Also, a quality backlink brings in more traffic.
All this helps you to rank higher in the search results.
That is why we said in the beginning that the higher quality backlinks you get, the higher the chances of ranking in the top ten.
What is a link penalty?
It is a penalty by Google as a result of low quality, spam and irrelevant links. As a result of this penalty, you begin to lose traffic, and your entire site or a specific page might get deindexed or removed from Google results.
Many people, when they start a website, are in a hurry to rank their webpage or article. To do so, they purchase links in bulk, compromising on the quality. This is a clear violation of Google Webmaster guidelines.
The algorithms of Google are much more advanced than what they were just a couple of years ago. In 2014, Google released a Penguin update. This update was specifically aimed at those sites which were using spam links to rank.
Therefore, quality matters more than quantity. It is better to have a handful of backlinks from high authority sites than dozens from low authority sites.
Backlink Audit, the only way to protect yourself from backlink penalty
Now you know the importance of quality link building for SEO. You are also fully aware of why it is necessary to have quality links instead of trying to reach out to every other site to provide you with a link. However, a few important questions remain unanswered.
What if our website has already been hit by a penalty? Is it possible to recover?
Is there anyway we can ensure that the links we have are as per the guidelines of Google?
Fortunately, the answer is yes.
Backlink audit or link penalty analysis is the answer to all your woes. It will help you avoid the backlink penalty and put you on track for a higher ranking on Google.
As the name suggests, a backlink audit is the analysis of all links pointing to your site so that you can figure out which one is spammy and need to be removed.
How to perform a backlink audit?
Considering its importance, link penalty analysis or, in other words, backlink audit might seem a daunting task. However, it isn’t difficult, and we mean that.
In this section, we will explain the steps required to perform a backlink audit.
Step 1: Find out all your backlinks
It is necessary to ensure that all backlinks are included in your audit. There are many tools-both paid and free- you can use for this purpose. Google Search Console (GSC) is quite helpful in this regard.
Since you are most probably already using GSC for monitoring the traffic of your site, you can use it for finding out your backlinks as well. It will be much easier than using a separate tool.
Step 2: Evaluate the link and perform link penalty analysis
After you have collected all the backlinks, the next step is to analyze them deeply to figure out if there are any spam links or not.
Now, as you can imagine, this can turn out to be a hectic task if you have hundreds of links to analyze. The best way forward is to use backlink analysis tools.
These tools are designed to rate your links on various factors, including, but not limited to, domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA). The tools also offer link penalty service and inform you of any links that have received a penalty in the past. There are many such tools available in the market, and you can use any one which seems the best.
Step 3: Make a plan to get rid of the spam link
The first two steps are those which many people perform i.e., they will find all the links and conduct link penalty analysis but are clueless on what to do next. All your efforts will go to waste if you don’t have a plan on getting rid of low-quality links.
Therefore, the next step is to disavow the spam links. Also, if during your audit, you come across any dead backlinks, you should work on replacing them. This active link building is necessary to get traffic to your page and break into the top ten of the search results.
If you are still confused about the link building part and fear that you might do it the wrong way, Wave Digital is here to help.
We have years of experience in link building, which entails formulating a winning strategy and outreaching. Additionally, our premium websites database will ensure that you get quality links, which will help prevent the backlink penalty and bring in the required traffic to get your site ranked.
Contact us today for a free consultation about how we can build your brand and boost your business exposure.