The best defense is a good offense.
But really, you should have both—especially when it comes to your SEO strategy.
A good backlink checker tool does a lot more than just help you keep your eye on the ball (your backlinks).
Yes, you can use it to actively improve your site rankings by finding new link building opportunities.
That’s an offensive SEO strategy.
But you can also use a backlink checker tool to fight off spam and protect your site.
That’s your defense covered too.
So, are you ready to find out how?
I’ll show you six steps you can take for your SEO strategy (both offensive and defensive) by using my backlink checker tool of choice, Monitor Backlinks.
Why You Need to Attack and Defend in SEO
But first, why do you need both offensive and defensive SEO, anyway?
Well, it’s simple.
While an offensive SEO strategy—such as creating content and acquiring new high-quality backlinks—seems like an obvious step to take, the results you achieve can all come crashing down in the blink of an eye if you’re not defending your site against spam at the same time.
You can have tons of high-quality, relevant backlinks—but spam and toxic links will still hold you back. Even worse, Google is likely to penalize you for them.
So you should always be simultaneously building links and fighting off spam for a holistic approach to ranking higher with backlinks.
As you increase the number of high-quality backlinks to your website, you must uncover and remove the toxic links too. Like Yin and Yang, they’re opposing forces that are complementary.
Yes, it’s a slow process—but it’s remarkably rewarding. Eventually, you’ll attain your SERP visibility goal, and the whole effort will be worth it!
And the best part is, Monitor Backlinks simplifies a lot of the process for you.
If you’re not a current user, you can sign up for a free trial here to follow along with the six methods I’m about to cover.
The Best Backlink Checker Tool: 6 Ways to Use Monitor Backlinks for Offensive and Defensive SEO
Let’s start with a few ways you can use Monitor Backlinks to unearth link gems that move the needle on your site and improve your SEO.
Although most websites give out backlinks, very few of these are high-quality link gems. We can break down the properties of high-quality links into:
- Authority: The linking domain must have sufficient referring domains and rank well on the SERPs in your target market.
- Relevance: Not only should the website’s niche be relevant to your site, but it must also link to relevant content.
- Uniqueness: Rather than link to all your competitors, it links to informational sources.
- Traffic: The site has an active readership and significant social media exposure.
1. Identify Top Sites in Your Niche
The key word to remember here is “authority.” Aside from the SEO advantage it offers, getting links from top sites in your niche increases your site’s traffic.
But you already knew that.
Here’s something you probably didn’t know though:
Getting backlinks from authority sites is not as far-fetched as you might think.
Start by creating a list of these top sites. You can approach this in two ways:
A. Your Existing Backlink Profile
Once you’ve added your domain to Monitor Backlinks, you can pull up your backlink profile to find a list of all the sites currently linking to you.
Just click on “Your Links” in the left navigation menu.
Now, to find authoritative websites linking to you, prioritize your backlinks by “Domain Authority.” Click on it to sort your backlinks from highest to lowest Domain Authority.
You’ll quickly spot the highest authority sites that link to yours.
To find the most relevant ones that are also in your niche, look at the “Trust Flow” column to get an idea of what the linking site is about.
Of course, you should also visit the site in question to analyze it properly for relevance.
B. Google Search
To find more top sites in your niche, you can also search for a keyword that’s related to your site in Google Search.
Whoever ranks on the first page for the keyword could be regarded as a top competitor.
For example, searching for a phrase like “joint pain” will show results from big names like Healthline, WebMD and Mayo Clinic on the first page.
You can also check out the second and third pages of the SERPs to get a more detailed list. Keep in mind that those sites aren’t too far off ranking on Page 1, so they’re worth keeping an eye on too.
2. Uncover Your Competitors’ Backlinks
Next, profile the competitor sites you found in Monitor Backlinks.
This backlink checker tool has a “Competitor Links” feature where you can track your competitors’ backlinks along with your own. This is where you can get inspiration for new link building opportunities and copy what your competitors did right.
Add your competitors’ domains, and then you’ll be able to pull up a page showing details of each competitor’s backlinks. It shows much of the same information as your own backlink profile.
Screen and select the best, most authoritative links based on the following criteria:
- Followed Links: The “Status” column shows whether the link is followed (indicated with a green “F”) or nofollowed (shown by an orange “NF”). Followed links give more SEO value to your site.
- High Trust Flow: Refers to the trustworthiness of a website, scored out of 100. In this case, a higher score is better.
- High Citation Flow: A metric that denotes influence, also scored out of 100. Again, the higher the better.
- Low Spam Score: This is self-explanatory. A page with no spam is best, one with a low amount of spam is okay, etc. You want sites with lower scores here.
After selecting the top links, investigate how your competitor got those backlinks. Was it a guest post? A resource page?
Then, use that information to build or improve your own link building strategy.
It’s also worth noting that Monitor Backlinks sends regular email notifications of your competitors’ new links along with your own. As a result, you’ll always be up to date with what they’re doing, even without logging in to the tool to check.
3. Discover New Backlink Opportunities
Besides mirroring your competitors’ backlink strategies, there are other opportunities out there you can pursue to earn more links.
Here’s how Monitor Backlinks can help:
Find and Fix Broken Links
A broken link occurs when the link that points to a page on your site has been moved, altered or deleted. It’s best to fix these as quickly as possible so that you continue to get the value from the backlink.
How can you find broken links on your website, you ask?
We’ve discussed the broken backlinks strategy in detail elsewhere on this blog. But here’s a quick highlight:
In your backlink profile in Monitor Backlinks, click on the Filter icon in the top-right corner of the page.
Select the “Status” filter, and select all the error values to filter the backlink report.
You’ll see the various broken links. You should investigate these individually, and contact the webmaster of the linking site if there’s an error or issue with the backlink that needs to be resolved on their end.
Target Resource Pages
Another backlink opportunity to consider is the resource page. These are webpages that link to a selection of academic, local or industry resources that could be helpful to their audience. The resources they link to can be in any format, including articles, infographics, videos and slides.
We’ve covered this link building strategy in detail elsewhere too. Ultimately, you want to be the best resource on a topic, so that authoritative resource pages will be happy to link to you.
The Monitor Backlinks’ backlink checker tool comes in handy for finding resource pages in your niche, and verifying the quality of those resource pages.
Go to the “Competitor Links” section again, and pull up one of your biggest competitors’ backlink profiles.
Sort the list by “External Links” to see pages with lots of external links at the top.
Pages with a lot of external links are more likely to be resource pages, because that’s simply the nature of what they are—they link out to lots of other resources.
Note that you have no guarantee of finding a resource page from your competitors, but it’s worth a try with your biggest competitors at least.
When you see a potential resource page backlink, you’ll also want to check for its Trust Flow and Citation Flow, and if it’s a followed link. All these metrics are available on the competitor dashboard.
Use Your Trust Equity
Rather than spending time and resources looking for new sites to link to, why not consider the ones that have linked to you in the past?
Take advantage of the trust you’ve already earned and try to get more links from sites you’ve gotten backlinks from before.
By looking at your backlink profile in Monitor Backlinks, you can easily identify every site that links to you.
Click on the URLs in the “Linking Page” column to visit the pages that link to you.
4. Identify Toxic or Unhealthy Backlinks
Here’s the thing:
It’s not enough to merely monitor the backlinks to your site and look for new link building opportunities.
No matter how great your SERP ranking is, toxic links can quickly destroy it. Even worse, they can bring the wrath of Google upon you and ultimately reduce your organic visitors.
So, you need to proactively defend your site as well by finding and getting rid of toxic links.
Monitor Backlinks makes it easy to spot toxic, spammy, unhealthy and just plain bad backlinks to your site before they attract unwanted attention from Google.
Take a look at your backlink profile and you’ll see that a warning triangle appears in the far-left column for some of the links.
The icon shows up when a linking domain triggers any of these signals:
- High Spam Score: Indicates the website’s likelihood of being penalized for spam.
- Low Domain Authority: Predicts the rank worthiness of a website based on their backlink profile.
- Unindexed webpage: Indicates websites that aren’t indexed by Google.
- Low Trust Flow: Besides the backlink profile itself, Trust Flow is also determined by the quality of traffic that flows through the backlinks.
- High External Links: Indicates that a web directory is low quality. In other cases, it could also be caused by sitewide footer links or spam comments.
- Unnatural Anchor Texts: Disturbs the balance of anchor text diversity in your backlink profile.
Click on any warning icon to see more information about it, including which of the signals outlined above triggered it.
Now, if you have a lot of backlinks (which can be the case for many older domains), you might be discouraged by the idea of combing through your entire list of backlinks to find the toxic and spammy ones.
Well, that’s where the filters in Monitor Backlinks come in handy again.
This time, choose the “Warnings” filter to expand and see the options.
You can either select the warnings you want to filter for from the sub-menu, or click on the “All Warnings” icon to see a full list of bad links that are potentially harmful to your site.
From the list, you should then conduct a manual review of each linking page to confirm that it’s toxic.
I know you might be wondering, “why the extra rigor?”
You see, backlinks can trigger warnings, yet still have SEO value. By conducting a manual review, you can separate the wheat from the chaff.
What you’re looking for here are sites that offer no value with their content, or are just downright spammy.
When you’ve identified them, the next step is to get rid of them, quick smart! Luckily, Monitor Backlinks can help with that too.
5. Disavow Bad Backlinks
If you’ve found toxic backlinks pointing to your site, it’s time to drop them.
The first course of action is to contact the linking domain’s owner to reach a productive resolution. For example, if the issue is unnatural anchor text, you should politely request that they bring the anchor text ratio down.
However, you won’t always get a reply, or a willingness to meet your request.
If that’s the case, Monitor Backlinks offers a quick and easy way to disavow toxic links so that they don’t harm your site. You can disavow both individual URLs and entire domains.
While on the “Your Links” page, hover over the links you want to disavow and click on the cog icon that appears on the far left.
Select “Disavow,” and then either “Disavow URL” or “Disavow Domain.”
The backlink will turn red, indicating that it’s been added to your disavow list.
You can reverse the process any time by clicking on the cog icon again and selecting “Remove from disavowed list.”
When you’ve done that for all the bad links you want to disavow, go to “Disavow Tool” in the main navigation menu to export your disavow file.
It will download straight to your computer in the correct format, ready to be uploaded to Google.
6. Keep an Eye on Your Anchor Texts
Finally, Monitor Backlinks is also great for conducting regular anchor text ratio checks.
This is a good defensive strategy to ensure you don’t attract a Google penalty due to too many unnatural or spammy anchor texts.
You can find the anchor texts used on your links from the “Your Links” page.
The “Anchor & Backlink” column tells you the anchor text of each backlink, as well as where on your site it points to.
So what’s the golden figure for anchor text ratios?
A SEMrush study on ranking factors showed that keywords should appear in anchor texts only 3% of the time.
To calculate this for your own backlink profile, divide the number of backlinks with keyword-containing anchor text by the total number of backlinks.
Then, multiply the answer by 100 to convert it to a percentage.
The Backlink Checker Tool Wrap-up
What do you want from a backlink checker tool?
Ultimately, you want to increase your site’s organic traffic. And a boost in traffic usually follows increased backlinks and improved link quality because your site gets more search visibility.
To achieve that, you need to be deliberate, and cover all your bases with an approach that’s both offensive and defensive.
You need to utilize high-quality links while getting rid of toxic ones. Think of it like removing bad eggs from a shelf to fill it with fresh ones.
Makes sense, right?
And that’s where a backlink checker tool like Monitor Backlinks comes in to help you do the heavy lifting.
Grab your free trial today so you can boldly go forth and say:
“Out with the bad links and in with the good!”