5 Tips for Keeping Your Backlinks in Check
November 24, 2014 - SEO
If you’ve been working around SEO for any length of time, there’s a good chance you know the importance of a strong set of backlinks. A numerous set of links will shoot your website up in the rankings of Google’s search engine results page (SERP,) increasing traffic and revenue for your site. They’re a simple yet powerful way to increase your page’s profitability, and that’s why it’s so baffling that some webmasters seem to completely overlook their maintenance. It takes hard work to build up a legitimate set of backlinks, and retaining those links can often be just as important as getting them in the first place. If it’s been a while since you’ve checked your backlinks–or if you haven’t checked them at all, here are five tips you can set into motion that will make sure your work isn’t going to waste.
Tip One: Set Up Automated Alerts
There’s a chance you’ve been manually checking every site that hosts your backlinks, patiently checking every link to make sure it’s still live. Such work is profitable, diligent, and useful–and possibly a massive waste of time. Though it’s definitely important to make regular checks, if you find yourself checking more than 50 links a month, you’ve become incredibly inefficient.
Luckily, the solution is simple: Automated alerts. There are a number of great, affordable tools available that will give webmasters better control of their time. Two choices to consider are:
- Linkody, a dedicated backlink checker. This browser-based service charges a monthly fee to store links and domains and offers customizable email alerts, allowing you to select which specific errors you want notifications about. You’ll also get backlink analytics and much more.
- LinkAssistant, part of the SEO PowerSuite. This software carries a higher price tag than its browser-based counterparts, but also carries no monthly fee. This tool stores information about your backlinks and repeatedly checks to make sure their quality is up to your standards. It’ll also retrieve contact information for any webmaster who presents issues with your links, and it can even find brand new sites to potentially host your backlinks.
Tip Two: Stay Vigilant
Now that you’ve freed some time up from constantly checking your backlinks, you can focus attention on keeping those links. The data and alerts the above tools provide you are not to be ignored. When you lose a link, you need to find out exactly why it was lost, and if it’s possible to recover it. Because of the impersonal nature of some of your host sites, it can be easy to see reputable backlinks as fluctuating resources, coming and going as they please. It’s much healthier for you to view them as valuable, mutually beneficial partnerships, and treat them as such.
Additionally, you’ll need to use the tools to stay on top of the quality of your backlinks. If a link’s usage is against Google’s terms of service, it will eventually be removed and you could risk a dangerous penalty, so staying vigilant and making sure your backlinks aren’t being used in any underhanded ways is important.
Tip Three: Keep Up On Rebranding and Dead Links
Here’s where you start getting defensive. It took you time and effort to build the set of backlinks you have now, but keep in mind you’re not the only webmaster out there. Every reputable or valuable backlink you control could be the envy of countless others out there–and if you don’t maintain them, you could lose them to one of several methods. One of the most common of these is the “Moving Man” method, an effective strategy created by Brian Dean of backlinko.com. Here’s a quick summary:
- Search the web for companies in your industry that have either recently rebranded or are no longer hosting key pages.
- Use a web based tool like Majestic to search for outdated or dead backlinks that lead to the rebranded or absent page.
- Check to see if a page your site hosts would be suitable as a replacement for any of those backlinks.
- Contact the webmaster hosting the backlinks and notify them of the outdated or dead link, suggesting your page as a replacement.
This often results in the hosting webmaster replacing the useless link with your link (which, for them, is much easier than searching rebranded sites for the moved link or looking for an appropriate replacement.) This is a great method… unless the outdated or dead link belonged to you. This is why it’s incredibly important for you to keep on the defensive with any links you may have acquired. If your page rebrands or changes it’s url, contact your backlink hosts and inform them, giving them a redirect before someone else does. It’s also important to keep critical pages up, so backlinks have something to point to.
Tip Four: Know the Worth Of Your Backlinks
Backlinks raise your site’s position on Google’s SERP because Google believes that more backlinks increase the relevance of your site. However, this is largely untrue if a backlink is coming from a site that isn’t reputable. Unless your site concerns yourself with a related industry, sites like pornographic creators and hosts or gambling sites will most likely not increase your SERP position, and links other illegal sites may even damage it.
Tip Five: Keep Content Relevant
The best thing you can do overall to maintain quality backlinks is to keep producing quality content. Though your site may host a few good pages, the overall quality of your content needs to remain high to be of any value to Google’s users. As your quality slips, vigilant backlink hosts may notice and remove you. In the end, there’s no substitute or shortcut for solid content, and regular updates, relevant information, and a strong website will ensure users get the value they need out of your site. Without this content, all you’re doing is tricking them.