“Nothing for me to worry about,” you say. “I’ve avoided black-hat tactics, so I’m in the clear.”
Not so fast. Your site can still be penalized for inbound links that you know nothing about. How do you determine if you’re in jeopardy of a “manual action”? And how do you properly react before your site is adversely affected? Start with a link audit.
What is a link audit?
A link audit is simply the collection and analysis of all the links that point to your site. Be aware, however, that while simple in concept, this process can be very involved. If you’re inexperienced here, it would prove valuable to consult an expert.
Use an automated tool to collect your inbound links. Here is a list of several research tools that will help you collect and analyze your links (keep in mind, not all tools will report the same kind or same volume of links):
Once you have the list of links pointing to your site, take the time to carefully evaluate them. Consider using the following evaluation criteria:
Finding Unnatural Links
The main purpose of your audit is to identify unnatural links. Here are some of the types of links to look out for:
On the bright side, as part of your audit, you’ll also see some positives, like:
Once you’ve done your audit, what can you do to remove unnatural links?
Keep in mind, this type of work is typically done by an SEO expert. Gaining links takes skill and persistence, but getting rid of links can be even more difficult. It’s a shame that the hard work you put in developing content and following SEO best practices can be diminished by links that you might not have even pursued! Don’t get caught off guard; get started with a link audit.