How to Conduct a Backlink Analysis

by    Buy Backlinks   Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

In this lecture we are going to discuss “How to Conduct a Backlink Analysis.”

Being able to perform a thorough backlink analysis is a fundamental element to any link building campaign and can help develop your fundamental knowledge of links, link building strategies, and link quality.

What are the elements of a thorough backlinks analysis:

1. Total number of links
2. Number of unique domains
3. Linking domains vs total links
4. Anchor text usage and variance
5 Fresh and incoming links
6. Page performance
7. Link quality

The Importance of Link Portfolios

A link portfolio or profile is a fancy way of saying all the sites currently linking to your site.
And, since we understand Google’s algorithmic reliance on links, we know that a website’s ability to rank in Google is largely dependent on the websites linking to it.

There are a variety of tools to help you along this path:

• Majestic SEO
• Open Site Explorer from Moz
• Raven Tools
• Ahrefs
• SEO SpyGlass
• and Cognitive SEO

Currently I use MajesticSEO, so the walkthrough will be based largely on the use of this tool.

Getting Started

To start, you simply go to your chosen tool’s website and plug in the target website’s URL.
First piece of data you should look at is the site’s total number of links.

Understanding total link count is a good start to understanding how competitive a website is currently. But it’s easy to spam a high link count with tactics such as sitewide links, article directories, and blog comments.

The next step, which helps understand link quality, is to check the number of linking domains as well.

Unique Domains

Unique domains are typically a better metric than link count, since multiple links from the same domain are typically considered to have a drop off value and can even be a red flag to Google that something is wrong.

Linking Domains vs. Total Links

Linking domains versus total links is done by simply comparing the two numbers we’ve taken a look at so far. The goal should be to have as even a ratio as possible when comparing unique domains versus total links, although obviously there will always be considerably more total links than linking domains.

Anchor Text Usage and Variance

Majestic provides you with a list of anchor text complete with linking domains, total links, along with trust metrics. There are two things you should be looking for when you’re examining anchor text — usage and variance.

First, you can tell based upon links which keywords have been optimized and potentially over optimized.

Fresh Incoming Links

Once again there are tabs within Majestic that will show you fresh or recently discovered links:
Just click on the tab labeled “new.”

Fresh link data is important for several reasons — you can see recent links built which can let you decipher current/recent strategies, if suspicious link building activities are underway, and generally notice any unaccounted for large spikes in link velocity.

Page Performance

Here is where we look into the breakdown of links per page, and see which pages currently have the most links.

This is extremely important in understanding current site performance, especially for various resource pages. This can help guide discussion about underperforming pages, pages that are currently doing well and where the focus of a link building campaign should or shouldn’t be.

I’ve also found it to be an absolutely great metric to break down competitor wins — you can see what resources they’ve created that have resulted in high link counts, and use that to brainstorm resource creations of your own.

Link Quality

This is the time I spend manually clicking around, exploring links, and simply checking everything out.

Here’s what I generally look at when checking out link quality:

• Relevance — including the site, page, and link.
• Domain authority and Page Rank of the site
• Placement of the link.
• Anchor text.
• Believability of the link — does it make sense?

Taking this All to Excel

All of this data from each tab can be exported into excel as CSVs for further examination. It’s a must if you’re going to be doing a comparison of multiple sites, or wish to do a competitive analysis with your site and a competitor.


For basic analysis, you should be looking at:

1. Total number of links
2. Number of unique domains
3. Linking domains vs total links
4. Anchor text usage and variance
5. Fresh and incoming links
6. Page performance
7. Link quality

There are so many possible opportunities for insight within a backlink analysis. Here is a short list of some of the things you can learn:

• Competitor’s link building strategies
• Competitor’s top performing resources
• Underutilized link opportunities with your own site
• Viable link strategies within your industry
• Over-optimized anchor text
• And links that need to be removed