How to Track Backlinks

Learning how to track backlinks helps you understand the quality of your backlink profile and how it compares against competitors. Then you can work on a strategy to improve your backlink profile, so you can climb to the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). 

The act of tracking backlinks is simple since software automates the process, and we’ll reveal our top pick for the job. We’ll also share the key metrics you must interpret to assess backlink data. This will help you make sense of how to improve your backlink campaign in a systematic manner. 

Building backlinks is an essential aspect of SEO and according to 94% of marketers it will still play a big role in five years time. Hence, it’s a marketing strategy that has an element of future-proofing, making it a good investment of your resources. 

For example, in Hike SEO, you can see all of the backlinks that you've acquired in the past, and can see the domain authority score (out of 10) to see how valuable they are:

What is Tracking Backlinks?

Backlink tracking refers to the process of monitoring and analyzing inbound links pointing to a website. This is important for SEO and helps build a competitive backlink profile.

Here are the main factors that go into tracking backlinks:

  • Discovery: This involves using tools and software to discover new backlinks that point to your website. Once links are discovered, they need to be categorized and organized for analysis.

  • Analysis: The next step is analysis, which involves evaluating the source quality, anchor text, and link placement. Also, you’ll need to assess if a link is follow vs nofollow. Each of these plays a factor in determining the link’s effect on SEO.
  • Monitoring: Tracking backlinks involves constant monitoring to track when backlinks change. For example, you may lose a handful of high-quality links, which can significantly impact your backlink profile. Furthermore, you’ll need to track competitor backlinks to identify new opportunities and strategies.

The Benefits of Tracking Backlinks

Tracking backlinks is one of the core pillars of on-site SEO that you can’t overlook. It helps uncover the strengths and weaknesses of your backlink profile and where you can make improvements. In this section, we’ll share the top reasons why any webmaster working on their website SEO must track backlinks.

Identify and Assess Link Quality

Monitoring your website backlinks allows you to assess the overall quality of your backlink campaign. Hence, you can track which strategies are working and the ones that need refinement. 

For example, you may find links from high-authority domains that provide excellent link juice to your website. You can then evaluate what worked in generating those links and potentially get more of the same. 

Understand Your Link Profile

Tracking backlinks allows you to create a bird’s eye view of your link profile. This includes an overview of the anchor text variety, which is important for creating a natural link profile. Ideally, you’ll want to implement an anchor text strategy that incorporates a large number of keywords that are relevant to your webpage. 

This signals to search engines that your webpage is relevant for the target keywords, and its rankings in the SERPs will increase. 

Detect Negative SEO Attacks

It’s essential to detect SEO attacks from bad actors that want to sabotage your website. Their goal is to bombard your website with low-quality links to harm your SERP rankings. These attacks can potentially undo all of the hard work of improving your SEO. 

However, by tracking your backlinks, you can potentially mitigate some of the negative effects. You’ll need to create a list of the spammy links that you feel are part of the attack. Then use the Google Search Console to disavow the spam links. This tells Google to not count those links when evaluating your backlink profile. 

How to Track Backlinks

Now that you understand the importance of tracking backlinks, let’s explore some effective strategies for tracking them. You can use free tools like the Google Search Console, which does a decent job of giving you an overall picture. 

However, if you want added features like a backlink score, then consider checking out the backlink tracking tool at Hike SEO. This allows you to see the quality of a backlink at a glance, which saves time if you have a long list of links to monitor. 

We’ll also provide a report on your competitor backlinks. After all, your SERP placement depends on beating competitors. Hence, monitoring their backlinks gives you a goal that you need to beat to improve your search result rankings.

How to Audit a Website Backlink Profile

You’ll need to understand how to audit a website backlink profile so you can interpret the data. Therefore, you can create a plan of action to make improvements and outrank your competitors. 

Here are the top factors to consider when evaluating your backlink profile:

  • Total number of backlinks: As a rule of thumb, more links are better. After all, on average, the number one spot in the SERPs has 3.8x more backlinks compared to the 2-10 spots. But don’t forget about quality over quantity. That’s because a small handful of relevant links from high-authority domains can be better than a large number of low-quality links. 
  • Anchor text diversity: A variety of anchor text contributes to a diverse and natural-looking backlink profile. Furthermore, improving link diversity reduces the chances of receiving a penalty for artificially building links to your website. 
  • Number of referring domains: A higher number of referring domains makes your link profile look more natural. Therefore, you should aim to increase this number by uncovering new link-building opportunities. 
  • Referring domain authority scores: You’ll need to evaluate the domain authority score of the website sending you links. Ideally, you’ll have a link profile made up of many high-authority score domains with high relevance. 
  • Link velocity: Part of tracking backlinks is measuring the growth rate of link acquisition. It’s important for the link velocity to look natural and gradual. That’s because sudden spikes in your link count can raise the suspicions of search engines. This can lead to some links not counting toward your link profile.
  • Link location: Links toward the top of the webpage are viewed as more valuable than ones further down the page.
  • Toxicity score: This refers to the website with low-quality scores that count as spam links.
  • Follow vs nofollow links: Follow links can pass link juice to your website. In comparison, nofollow links don’t count toward improving your link profile. 
  • Best Practices for Tracking Backlinks

    Following the best practices for tracking backlinks boosts your chances of reaching the top spots in the SERPs for your target keywords. It’s likely your competition uses these best practices, so implement them too and avoid getting left behind. 

    Research Competitor Backlink Strategies

    You can reverse engineer the backlink profile of your competitors to speed up your link acquisition. That’s because you can see the specific web pages where it’s possible to get a link placement. 

    Start by researching the top 10 competitors and aim to replicate their best links. Implementing the best backlinks of several competitors can give you an edge in the race for the number one spot in the SERPs. 

    Create Performance Goals

    Having goals will help you have a sense of direction for the backlink-building campaign. For example, you can aim to have 10 new links per week from a high-authority domain. This ensures you have good backlink velocity and constantly improves your backlink SEO strategy

    Monitor Backlink Growth Rate

    It’s a good idea to monitor your backlink growth rate to ensure it looks natural. Furthermore, a slowdown in your growth rate may indicate there’s a problem. You could have many broken links from a specific website that you need to fix. 

    This means you’ll need to reach out to other webmasters and give them the heads up about broken links. Being proactive about repairing broken links is part of ensuring your growth rate doesn’t drop. 

    Analyze Backlink Data

    Periodically take time out of your data to analyze the data from tracking links. This allows you to find new link-building opportunities. That’s because you can see the location of new links and work on getting more from the same domain. 

    You can use the backlink score here at Hike SEO to figure out your best links and start replicating those for the best results. It’s one of the SEO reporting tools that add value to your website marketing efforts. 


    What is the best tool to track backlinks?

    Hike SEO is the best tool to track backlinks because we provide a complete list of links and those of competitors. Also, you’ll receive a backlink score for each one to help you spot the best ones at a glance. 

    How do you measure backlink success?

    You can measure backlink success by taking into account the website domain authority, relevance, age, and anchor text. Also, your overall backlink success depends on link diversity since you’ll want backlinks from many different websites and a variety of anchor text. 

    Can more backlinks help grow your business website?

    Yes, more backlinks can help your business website grow, but you should focus on quality over quantity. That’s because a few high-quality links can outperform an avalanche of low-quality ones. Also, it’s possible that low-quality links get labeled as spam and don’t contribute to your SEO efforts. 

    How many backlinks do you need to rank?

    The number of backlinks you need to rank depends on the backlink profile of your competitors. Hence, it’s important to conduct competitor backlink research before you finalize goals for your own backlink strategy. 

    What backlinks should you avoid?

    You need to avoid backlinks from spammy websites, link mills, and unrelated websites. Furthermore, you may get low value from PR websites or discussion websites like forums. Instead, concentrate your efforts on industry-related high-quality domains for the best results. 

    Hike SEO

    Now that you understand how to track backlinks, you can begin evaluating your own backlink profile. It’s the first step toward assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your backlink profile and how you can make improvements. 

    We understand that it can be overwhelming to choose the right software for tracking backlinks. However, you can save time and take advantage of Hike SEO today. Among our many SEO tools, we provide a Backlink Analysis tool that tracks incoming links, including new additions and the ones you lose.