When it comes to search engine optimisation, we find we ourselves doing so many different audits when we are running our SEO projects. Auditing a website and it’s SEO components is an important part of the process. It helps us to identify the beneficial elements the website has and also the issues that could be holding the website back. Keywords and backlinks are different components but can be related. Anchor text is part of a backlink and the anchor text can contain your keyword.

Here are just some of the audits we perform:

  • Competitor strength audit
  • Technical audit
  • Backlink audit
  • On-page optimisation audit
  • Content audit

The audit we will focus on today will be the backlink audit.

By now you should have a good idea of what backlinks are. Just to refresh your memory, backlinks are typically other webpages that link back to pages on your domain. Internal links do play a part, especially when we are talking about anchor text.

Auditing your backlinks is really an important step when you take on a new SEO project. A backlink audit is best done in conjunction with a competitor strength audit. This is because you want to understand the quantity, relevance, power and trust of your competitor’s backlinks so you know what you’ll need to do in order to compete.

Too many poor-quality backlinks or too many de-indexed backlinks is going to cause your website problems as far as its visibility in Google is concerned.

In order to do these audits you really need to have access to a tool such as ahrefs.com. These guys offer a 7-day free trial that will be more than enough time to carry out this audit. When you put your domain in this tool and look at the backlinks section some issues will be clear immediately. Poor looking links may have foreign text such as Russian or Chinese. Sometimes you may see adult links or links that are pure spam mentioning specific clothing or footwear brands.

If you do have any of those harmful links it would be wise to assess your current situation. How old is your domain, are you getting any relevant visitor traffic to it and how many quality backlinks do you have? If the site is not that old, gets no traffic and doesn’t have many backlinks, it may be a good idea to start with a new clean domain.

It is possible to request that Google ignore these poor links but we can never be 100% sure what Google will do in this regard.

Compare the number of referring domains your competition have. When you are comparing make sure you compare like for like. When you search for your desired keyword compare homepage rankings if you are looking to rank the homepage of your website. Again if you are planning on increasing the visibility for an inner page, ensure you are comparing a competitor who has an inner page.

When analysing the inner pages of competitors it is still a good idea to understand the backlinks that are going the homepage as this will affect the power and trust going to the entire website.

Look at your backlinks acquired over time and compare that to your competition. Also, look at the countries that your backlinks are coming from and how that compares to the others.

Lastly, look in the anchor text section. If there is going to be any spammy links, the anchor text area will give you the best clue.