Are you wondering why your website has not been receiving much traffic lately? Did you know that toxic backlinks could be the culprit that’s making you look bad in Google’s eyes? Maybe it is time you audited your backlinks in order to root out these potentially dangerous backlinks, find the best referring domains and improve the backlink profile of your website. This will be a guide to help you learn what backlinks are and how Semrush’s backlink audit toolkit will help you separate the good links from the bad. 

What are backlinks in SEO | Joon K Lee

Backlinks are links on other websites that take a visitor to a page on your website. They are also called ‘dofollow links’ or ‘inbound links’ since they bring traffic to your website. Unlike internal links that help a user navigate the pages of one website, backlinks are external links that connect pages across different domains. 

Backlinks exist for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons are to provide more context to a reader, to support a claim made in the website copy, as a citation, or as a recommendation. If a backlink points to your domain, it is a sign that the content on your website is valuable. Since the dofollow backlinks received by your site act as a vote of confidence, they can boost your ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Good Backlinks vs Bad Backlinks in SEO | Joon K Lee

A backlink audit of your website is how you analyze its backlink profile, which will provide you with a great overview of the quality of links pointing to it. This directly informs your link building strategy, so you know what sort of backlinks you need more of. A link profile audit allows you to separate the spammy backlinks from the good ones. Separating them is important to the health of your website for two reasons. 

Boost Traffic to Your Site

Not all the links to your site will be valuable. Backlinks from trustworthy and high-authority sites are the type of referral traffic you want to be driven to your domain. The use of relevant topics, well-written anchor text, and the popularity of these referring domains are also great indicators of good backlinks. A well-known brand or organization will have high domain authority, and a backlink from such sites, combined with a relevant topic, will bring a lot of traffic to your site. 

Avoid Getting Penalized By Google

Unfortunately, this is the internet, and you could find plenty of low-authority referring domains with links to your site. These spammy backlinks may not even be relevant to the topics on your page, contain too many pop-ups, or may even contain explicit content. Such links could be produced by link farms and contain too many keywords stuffed into the content. 

While good backlinks boost your search engine rankings, bad backlinks will get you penalized by Google. As a result, you will lose website traffic and rank lower in search results. This would be bad enough, but getting these penalties removed can be a long and difficult process. Therefore, it is best to avoid such issues by removing such unwanted backlinks. This is why a link profile audit of your website is so important. 

Discover Backlinks Faster Than Ever With Semrush | Joon K Lee

A site’s backlinks can be evaluated in two ways. You could do this manually by yourself using the Google Search Console. To do this, you can log in to your Google account, open the search console, and enter the Links section. Now you can visit each referring domain and make your own assessment of whether they are spammy links or valuable high-authority ones. 

This manual process can be time-consuming, and you’ll be entirely reliant on your ability to spot potentially unwanted sites. If you’re not an expert on the subject, and you don’t want to go through this tedious process using the Google Search Console, you could use a service like Semrush for a complete link audit of all your backlinks.

Semrush is an all-in-one SEO suite and provides many different features and functions like SEO competitive analysis for improving the online visibility of your website. One of its key features is a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) toolkit. If you purchase this toolkit, you can access the Semrush Backlink Audit feature by heading over to the Link Building section.  

Dashboard View of Your Backlink Profile in Semrush | Joon K Lee

Here, you can enter the domain you wish to perform a backlink audit on as a new project. Now you can click on this project to get an overview of your website. You can see the overall toxicity score for your backlink profile, which is color-coded to show non-toxic backlinks in green, potentially toxic ones in orange, and definitely toxic ones in red. 

The site will also show an ‘Authority Score’ to indicate how influential and attractive your site is for SEO. You will also see statistics like the number of active backlinks that are currently pointing to your website and the number of referring domains from which they’re coming. Moving down, you’ll be able to get a timeline view and various breakdowns of the backlink data. 

The referring domains widget indicates the industry or niche that shows interest in your website, and referring domains by authority shows the quality of the domains linking to your website. The high authority linking domains are where you should focus your outreach efforts to build partnerships. The backlink audit dashboard will also bring to your attention what you need to review in order to improve your backlink profile. 

Perform a Backlink Audit with Semrush | Joon K Lee

By switching over to the audit tab, you can get a more in-depth look at each backlink. You can see what the source is (the linking page), which page on your website is the target, the anchor text that is used, an authority score for the source, and a toxicity score. 

Problematic anchor text is highlighted by Semrush and categorized by cause. Keep in mind that search engines like Google will penalize you if there’s a lot of ‘Money’ or ‘Compound’ type anchor text. The toxicity score indicates, on a scale of 1-100, how good or bad the backlinks are. The higher the score of a backlink, the more toxic it is for your website. The fewer toxic links pointing at your website, the better its ranking will be. 

With the many filters provided by Semrush, you can organize all this backlink data from the audit by toxicity, authority, and link attributes. Toxic markers will sort the toxic links in terms of malicious pages, spam, manipulative links, community warnings, and much more. This makes it easy for you to prioritize the toxic links you need to review first. To learn what all the toxic markers are, read What do all of the Toxic Markers in Backlink Audit mean?

Discover Backlinks Faster Than Ever With Semrush | Joon K Lee
Remove Harmful Backlinks Using Semrush | Joon K Lee

After reviewing toxic and potentially bad links, you can choose how you want to handle them to lower the overall toxicity of your link profile. Your first option is to add them to the Remove List. With the source information for backlinks, you can now reach out to the respective owners of these linking domains and request that they remove these bad links. 

You even have the option of setting up an email campaign that reaches out to these owners, although keep in mind that they may not respond to your attempts. You can even edit these email templates on Semrush, and you can even observe if your emails were read by the recipient. 

Disavow Toxic Links With Semrush | Joon K Lee

If the website owner of a spammy backlink does not respond to you and voluntarily removes the link, you can add this to the Disavow List. What this allows you to do is collect the toxic links into a TXT or CSV file, which can be uploaded to the Google Disavow Tool. Google will then check if these links violate their quality guidelines and warn the site owners to remove them if necessary. 

Track New, Lost, or Broken Backlinks in Semrush | Joon K Lee

By entering the Lost and Found tab of your Semrush interface, you can see what backlinks have been added, broken, or lost on a timeline view. Broken backlinks are the ones that return error codes, and there may be lost backlinks you wish to retain due to their high authority. This enables you to reach out to website owners for non-toxic links you wish to get back as part of your link building strategy. 

Target Pages and Google Integration

Target Pages and Google Integration in Semrush | Joon K Lee

You can view which of your web pages are performing well by clicking on Target Pages. These are the landing pages that attract the most referring domains and backlinks. You also have the option of integrating Semrush with the Google Search Console and Google Analytics to gain even more useful insights by analyzing referral traffic to your website. 

After these good backlinks and domains are identified, you can use Semrush Link Building Tools for the next step in your link building strategy. These tools will allow you to create a link building campaign where you can reach out to referring domains that could be potential partners or even customers and work with them to earn healthy backlinks. For more on link building, read Competitor Backlink Analysis and Link Building With Semrush.

Semrush Backlink Audit | Joon K Lee

Backlink audit tools are absolutely necessary for you to analyze the quality of backlinks and their effect on the backlink profile of your domain. Such an analysis allows you to separate good backlinks from toxic ones and remove them if necessary to lower your toxicity score. The Semrush Backlink Audit also enables you to find the best referring domains that have a positive impact on your backlink profile, allowing you to launch a link building campaign. To learn more about the Semrush backlinks report and other tools, visit Semrush Backlink Analysis Tools.

Discover Backlinks Faster Than Ever With Semrush | Joon K Lee

How do I find my backlinks in Semrush?

You can find your website’s backlinks using Semrush by performing at backlink audit. Head over to the right-side navigation menu in Semrush and click on Backlink Audit. From there, add in your domain and run an audit. By using Semrush’s Backlink Audit Tool, you can check if you have any toxic backlinks and remove them to make sure you are not penalized by Google.

What is a backlink audit?

A backlink audit is an important part of any SEO strategy. It involves assessing the quality of the backlinks pointing to your website, and identifying any that may be harmful. This process can help to improve your website’s link profile and overall visibility in search engines.

There are a number of factors to consider when conducting a backlink audit. The most important is the quality of the backlinks. Links from high-quality websites carry more weight than those from low-quality sites. You should also assess the anchor text of each backlink, as well as the context in which it appears. If you identify any backlinks that are harmful, you can use a variety of techniques to remove them. These include contacting the site owner, submitting a disavow file to Google, or using redirects.

By conducting a backlink audit on a regular basis, you can help to ensure that your website has a healthy link profile and is able to achieve its SEO goals.

What is a toxic backlink?

A toxic backlink is a link to your website that comes from an untrustworthy or low-quality source. These links can damage your website’s reputation and cause it to rank lower in search engine results. toxic backlinks can come from spammy websites, adult websites, or sites that contain malware. They can also come from sources that have been penalized by Google for engaging in black hat SEO practices. If you suspect that you have toxic backlinks pointing to your website, you should take action to remove them. This can be done by using the Google Disavow Tool or by contacting the webmaster of the site linking to you and asking them to remove the link. Toxic backlinks can be damaging to your website, so it’s important to take steps to remove them as soon as possible.