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Guide to Backlink Monitoring in WordPress

Backlinks are used by search engines to gauge the rank and importance of your site. The Google algorithm is set up in such a way that it sees every backlink as a recommendation of your site. Research carried out by Backlinko on over 1 million Google search results found out that backlinks affected search engines more than any other SEO ranking factor. However, like humans, Google bots believe that quality trumps quantity, so it only recognises and rewards backlinks from trusted domains. Bad backlinks do not help improve your ranking. If anything, they attract penalties for your website. Because of this, it is necessary that you monitor and analyse the backlinks leading to your website.

Why is it Important to Monitor Your Backlinks?

The quality and number of backlinks to your webpage serve as an indicator of its importance to search engines. Earning a new link is a sure signal that someone mentioned your website somewhere. Let’s look at the main reasons you should be monitoring your backlinks.

Disavowing Bad Links

Not all publicity is good publicity. In April 2012, Google introduced Penguin, an algorithm which fights link spam. It devalues and punishes low quality and spammy links. Therefore, if the sites that you are linked from are spammy websites with weak domains, it won’t be the big win you may think it is. Though you didn’t do anything yourself, you may still get hit with Google penalties which means a drop in your SERPs. Worst case scenario, your website may disappear entirely from Google’s search results pages. With WordPress backlinks, you can secure your business by detecting bad links before Google does. That way, you can disavow them before a penalty occurs.

Outranking Your Competition

If your direct competition is getting relevant links, then you should be too. It should be you getting the mentions, not them, right? You can monitor your competitors backlinks to judge how well your website is faring. If they are doing much better, you can contact the websites that linked them and ask if they can link to your instead.

Improving Organic SEO

Nothing rivals free, high-quality traffic from Google. Monitoring your backlinks means monitoring direct business opportunities. This is a pivotal tool in improving organic SEO for your site. Backlink monitoring helps you understand your SEO progress by letting you know about your traffic, backlink changes, and keyword rankings. This helps you know what you’re doing right, and helps you improve.

Identifying broken links

Even if you built links from quality, relevant sites, it is important to monitor them and check those sites regularly. Some websites might end up being taken offline. They may also end up becoming less reputable. Doing a regular check on those sites will help you identify links that have been removed or broken.

How to Monitor Your Backlinks in a WordPress Site

To be able to monitor your backlinks in WordPress, you need a WordPress plugin that lets you track your link building campaigns. You can do this manually, or have it automated and receive alerts when your site picks up new links. There are lots of free and paid backlink monitor plugins for WordPress. Some of them include: WP-BacklinksConsoletyBacklinks SaverGet Backlinks They work by scanning your domain name and producing a report of all (or at least the majority) of the websites linking to your site. Using their metrics and tools, they analyse each link in order to determine if their worth. Using information available from the trust flow metrics in their reports, you can then decide whether a link should be kept or removed.

Setting up the WordPress Backlink Plugin

For accurate and detailed information, it is important that you import the backlink data from the Google Search Console in order to supplement domains with single URLs. To do this, you must: Log into the Google Search Console homepage. Navigate to “Links to your page” in the left menu. Click the “more…” button under the “Who creates the most links?” section. Download the .csv file of your backlinks on “Download current links” to your hard-drive. Click the “Backlinks” menu item within the plugin interface. Click on the “Import backlinks” button in the upper right-hand corner, and select the previously downloaded .csv file. The individual backlinks from the table are then uploaded and inserted into your WordPress backlink monitoring plugin .

Analysing Backlinks

Most plugins offer several views for an uncomplicated and clear analysis of your WordPress website’s backlinks. They allow you to monitor the total number of referring backlinks, domains, IPs, and subnets. You also get to track the development of your backlinks in a clear graph, and identify new and lost backlinks. You can also drill down, and analyse backlinks by domain. This allows you to inspect the referring domains to your website in more detail. It provides additional information such as the domain strength, the number of backlinks per domain, the IP and more. You also have the option of analysing your WordPress backlinks by individual page, to find out which ones are doing well and which are poorly linked. You can use your plugin to analyse and monitor the strongest domains linking to your website. Some plugins even allow you to add spam links to your blacklist and to submit the Disavow list directly to Google. It is important that you occasionally review your plugin from time to time to ensure your backlink monitoring is at top performance. Here is a checklist to help you review your plugins.

How to Remove Bad Backlinks

After analysing your backlinks, you may find links that you don’t want for your website, and choose to get rid of them. Remember, these bad links impact your SEO negatively, and they have the potential to result in extremely harmful consequences. There are numerous ways to disable these links so they don’t hurt your Google ranking. You can: Find the contact details of the website owners and ask them to remove the link. If you ask politely, it can usually work. In some cases, you may find webmasters who ask you to pay for link removal or who don’t reply at all. In such cases, try other options. Disavow the links. If the webmasters are not responding or are trying to extort you before they take the links off, you should disavow the links. This is basically telling Google that you would prefer these links not be taken into account when assessing your site. Check which low-quality pages on your website are linked by bad backlinks, and get rid of them. This is not always the ideal solution as most pages will have value for your website. Also, it will bring up error 404/410 and too many 404s send a wrong message to Google. However, if you decide to take this route, you should still disavow those bad backlinks. Get rid of the entire domain and start over. This should only happen if you feel your site isn’t worth the time investment of cleaning up the bad backlinks. Or, if Google has penalised you for Penguin, Panda, and other updates, and you want to start afresh. It is quite a drastic step but ultimately effective. Backlinks are a valuable asset to your business.

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Written by Megan Sashyl

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