Benefits of Running a Link Audit

Written by Nick Stamoulis

internet 3d conceptEvery site owner should run a link audit on their site at least once a year. When conducting a full link audit, it’s important to visit each and every link in your link portfolio no matter how many links there may be! For some site owners, this may mean you have thousands of links to check out. Instead of losing a week’s worth of time, visit a set amount of links each day and complete the link audit over time.

No matter how you decide to conduct your link audit, it’s imperative that you do so. Here are some of the benefits you’ll get from your efforts:

Identify any harmful links.

Website owners should try to minimize the amount of “bad” inbound links their site has (pornography sites, gambling sites, link farms, etc) in order to help maintain the integrity of their link portfolio. Many of these “bad” links are going to try to hide themselves and you may not be able to find them without running a full link audit on your site and visiting each and every link.

Here’s what Google has to say about poor quality links and what they call “link schemes”:

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.

Categorize inbound links and pinpoint holes in link portfolio.

By running a link audit on your site you’ll be able to get a very clear outline of your link portfolio. What link building activities are missing from your strategy? Which ones are you relying too heavily on? Remember, the search engines like to see a diverse approach to link building and the more unique sources of links your site has the stronger your SEO campaign will be. Having too many links coming from one source (i.e blog comments) puts your site in a vulnerable position. If that source of links was to vanish overnight or the search engines decided that tactic was black hat, where would that leave you and your link building?

See what link building activities have been successful.

Hopefully you have been keeping some kind of monthly link building report that tracks your link building activities. When you compare those reports against your link audit you’ll be able to pinpoint what links have gone live and which ones have not. This will help you better focus your link building activities on the ones that are most likely to produce value for your SEO campaign. For instance, if you’ve been commenting on a particular blog every month but not a single comment has gone through, it might be time to look for a new place to comment and not waste your time.

Uncover new link building opportunities.

Good and Bad LinksSite owners should also consider running link audits on their competitors. This will not only give you a better idea of how well your site measures up against the competition, it will also help you uncover new link building activities. What industry associations are they a part of that you can join? What forums and messages boards are they active on? What blogs are they writing guest posts for? You can dig through their activities to find new places to build inbound links to your own site and level the playing field.

It’s important to run a link audit at least once a year. However, if you can manage to do it more frequently than that, you’ll be better off. The reason for this is if there are any problems that surface, you really don’t want to wait a full year before you take care of it. If any problems do surface, you’ll want to react to them quickly so that you don’t get a penalty. If you de receive a penalty from Google, you’ll want to notice it right when it happens so that you can correct. You don’t want to wait! We check links on a regular basis for all of our full service SEO clients.

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