Link building is just a popularity contest.
Remember back in high school, when the cool kids complimented your clothes or said hi?
There was nothing more reaffirming and elating. Their words resonated more because they were looked up to and respected.
And their commendation had a ripple effect on how other people looked at you.
It’s exactly the same when you’re building links to your site.
You want to generate backlinks from authoritative sites that draw lots of traffic.
Getting a link from a respected, high-traffic site is like getting a compliment from a popular kid. It bears more weight, and boosts your own authority.
Therefore, to increase your visibility on organic search, the idea is to get links from the best sites possible.
To make sure you’re always doing that, you can use your backlink graph.
What is a backlink graph?
Backlink graph is synonymous with backlink profile. It’s the collection of all the backlinks your site has.
However, instead of just listing all your backlinks, the graph breaks down all the sites that link to yours into different metrics. The data summarizes the quality of each linking site, and you can use that information to find your most authoritative links.
The higher the score of the site in these metrics, the higher the authority of the site is. Therefore, you can use your backlink graph to identify the high-quality links that you need to take care of, and the toxic links that you need to get rid of.
How to Win the SEO Popularity Contest with Your Backlink Graph
Monitor Backlinks gives you an engaging and easy-to-understand backlink graph that’s automatically populated with all your site’s backlinks.
Just click on the “Link Analysis” tab to see your backlinks displayed in a variety of graphs:
Looking at your backlink graph, you’ll get an overview of your link building campaign thus far. Even if you don’t have a formal link building strategy in place, the backlink graph will give you ideas on how to build one for your site to maximize your search ranking.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that each graph is color-coded to show you the ratio of follow links (yellow) to no-follow links (black) for each section.
If you want your link building efforts to count, you should have more follow links than no-follow links.
Follow links pass link juice to yours, while no-follow links don’t. No-follow links are still valuable, but you’ll see more of an impact from follow links overall—so that’s where you should focus most of your link building resources and time.
From the “Reports” section, you can also download the .csv file of each backlink graph for a closer look.
Understanding the link graphs
TLD or Top Level Domain refers to the domain extension, such as .com, .org, .net, etc.
To give your link building strategy a boost, you can target backlinks from .edu and .gov domains. As educational and government-operated sites, they immediately exhibit authority and quality that no other domain has.
Tip: If you’re implementing local SEO, then links from TLDs for your country are ideal. For example, if you want to rank in Google UK, then links from .uk domains are preferable.
IP Location distribution
This measure shows you the IP addresses of the sites with a link to yours.
Getting links from a specific IP address will help increase your ranking for that particular region. For example, if you have the majority of backlinks from US-based websites, then you can expect higher rankings from Google US over Google UK.
Tip: Again, refer to the data here if you’re conscious of ranking for local keywords. Use the data found here and under the TLD distribution to make sure that your local SEO strategy is working the way it’s supposed to.
Top anchor text
When building links, it’s ideal to diversify the anchor texts that you use to link to your money pages.
Back in the day, exact-match anchor texts produced the best results if you wanted to rank higher for your target keyword on search engines. However, search algorithms got smarter at recognizing natural phrases and now partial match, LSI keywords and synonyms all help to boost your ranking, too.
Tip: Using this graph to show you the different anchor texts used to link to your site, you can identify the kinds of anchor texts you’re lacking and need to focus on with your next link building campaign. Again, the more diverse your anchor texts are, the better!
Followed vs. not-followed
As much as possible, you’ll want to aim for more follow backlinks than no-follow backlinks.
While no-follow links diversify your link profile, there can be other reasons why a link is no-follow.
It’s possible that search crawlers can no longer find the page, or that the backlink no longer exists on that page. Server issues can also affect the status of backlinks. Monitor Backlinks takes all these factors and shows them to you in the graph so you can make sure all your no-follow links are worthwhile.
Tip: To make the most of no-follow links, focus on using them to funnel traffic to your site. For example, use action words in the anchor text like “click here” or “visit this site” to encourage more click-throughs.
Top linked pages
In this graph, you’ll see which pages on your site have the most backlinks. This shows you what content is performing the best.
If a page has lots of backlinks, that’s also a good indication that it’s generating lots of organic traffic.
Tip: Make sure your top linked pages provide a great user experience and are regularly updated to provide the latest information. You can also use these pages to link to other internal pages, to let the link juice flow to the rest of your site.
The Majestic graph breaks down your linking sites in relation to their Flow Metrics, Trust and Citation Flow.
Trust Flow indicates the quality of the site based on the quality of its link profile, and Citation Flow indicates the quality of a site based on its outbound links. Both scored out of 100, you’d ideally want to see the majority of your links on the upper end of the scale.
Tip: Flow Metrics help identify the site by analyzing its linking activity and neighborhood, which can be more reliable than other metrics like Domain Authority. Aim for linking sites with Flow Metrics of 30+.
Similar to the Majestic backlink graph, the Moz graph shows you the authority of your linking sites based on Moz’s propriety algorithms, MozRank, Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA).
MozRank computes the link equity of a page, similar to Google’s PageRank. The more backlinks generated from authoritative sites, the higher the MozRank will be.
DA is an aggregate score that predicts how well a domain will rank on organic search, while PA predicts how well a specific page will rank.
Tip: DA is a good index for figuring out your most valuable backlinks because it’s an aggregate score of a site’s overall quality. However, it should be looked at together with other factors like Majestic’s Flow Metrics.
How to use your backlink graph
The link graphs give you the full low-down on how your backlinks are structured and broken down.
Here are some ways to strengthen your link profile based on the data in the graphs:
Make sure your good links are indexed by Google
Make sure that Google can find your high-quality backlinks, so that you can reap the rewards.
The simplest way to find out if a link is indexed is to search for the title of the page that the backlink is on, using specific search operators.
If you can’t find the page, it’s possible that the page is still fairly new and simply hasn’t been indexed yet. It usually takes at least two weeks for search spiders to index pages.
Disavow toxic links
Look carefully at your backlinks from sites with low Flow Metrics and Moz scores. These sites are either very new and are still building authority, or they’re spammy.
If it’s the latter, it’s best if you cut your losses and disavow them before they do further damage to your search rankings.
You can do this directly from your backlink profile in Monitor Backlinks, under the “Your Links” tab. Just select the spammy links for disavowal and click on the “Disavow” button. You’ll be given the option to disavow either the URL or the entire domain.
Under the “Disavow Tool” tab, you can either manually enter the disavow rules or you can upload a disavow file in the Google Search Console format.
Building links from the most authoritative, popular sites is always the priority.
Use your backlink graph to identify your most valuable links and where they’re coming from.
It’ll help you stay in the cool crowd’s good graces and win more popular votes.
Getting the thumbs up from these sites will ultimately help you generate more traffic and engagement to your site!