You’ll never really find the “right time” to perform a website link audit unless you make it a priority, because, let’s face it, you are busy and the squeaky wheel always gets the grease. Link auditing is important for maintaining the SEO health of your website and knowing how to perform a website link audit is very important.
Before we discuss how to perform the audit, let’s start with what a link audit is – simply put, it means to review all links on a website to make sure they are connecting to the appropriate location. There are several different types of website links you’ll need to audit.
You have links that YOU create on your or your client’s website that links to content within the website, this is an internal link. Sometimes a broken link will occur when you rename a page, blog post or delete an image even.
Known more often as backlinks, inbound links are links to your website from other websites. You are probably thinking, “Wow this is great, other websites promoting mine?” Well, don’t get too excited because backlinks can be dangerous when the website linked to yours is viewed poorly by Google. You don’t want your website to be associated with low-ranking websites.
These are links that you have within your website pages and posts that go out to third party content. Sometimes the third party website will change or remove the content piece you are linking to, which will cause you to have a bad outbound link. This makes for a poor user experience and, if you have too many of them, could reflect poorly on your website to Google.
1. Use the Right Tools
Link auditing tools are the best! They are easy to work with, all you have to do is visit one of the many auditing tools websites. Some work as simply as entering the web address. Others you will have to install on your computer. Either way, you will be provided with statistics related to your good and bad links quickly and easily.
Free Link Auditing Tools
2. Listen to Google
As you already know, Google and other search engines determine the visibility a website gets in search results based on the amount of errors on the website. Yes, it’s nearly impossible to have a perfect website all the time, so bad links and broken links are bound to happen because of the amount of movement on the Internet.
Make sure you have Google Webmaster Tools setup for your website and you are monitoring the account. Google will have alerts on the site when you have an issue that needs to be addressed. If you receive a penalty warning from Google, then THAT should be your wake-up and call-to-action to fix the problem that is harming your SERP visibility.
3. Don’t get “Trigger Happy”
In the link auditing process, you might receive a warning about some of the links. Don’t jump the gun and start disavowing links without doing some research of your own. You may need to contact the webmaster of the site linking to yours and request they make a change, remove or correct a link.
Remember, no matter how easy or cheap a tool is, it’s still just a tool and needs a human behind the tool to interrupt the results.
These are just a few quick tips to get you moving forward in the link auditing process. As you explore these tools and the information provided to you in Google’s Webmaster Tools, you’ll need to do some research. Link auditing, just like optimizing your content for search and local SEO is a process, be ready to research, learn and do your homework.
Have you performed a website link audit before? Share what you learned below.