Things go in and out of style all the time.
Think about all the things that were popular over the past few decades.
Bell bottoms. Scrunchies. Glamour Shots. Waterbeds. You just don’t see those things anymore.
And—at least for the most part—that’s best for everyone.
Seriously, who thought waterbeds were a good idea?
But backlinks—backlinks are timeless.
Why You Should Always Check New Backlinks
For a while, SEO was all about cramming as many keywords into a single page as possible—but now we know that a smaller number of semantically-related keywords can have a stronger effect. (And has the bonus of actually being human-readable.)
Site owners also used to think that having unique pages for every keyword they were targeting would help them rank higher. But that just led to sites with hundreds of unnecessary pages that all contained the same information.
Microsites were popular for a while, too, and we saw sites splitting themselves up across keyword-focused domains. But that was just a pain for readers to deal with.
Search engine algorithms have changed hundreds of times over the past few years, and they’ve learned to discount sites that are using tactics that focus solely on SEO, and not on improving the reader experience.
Backlinks, however, are timeless.
Backlinks are one of the solid metrics that have lived on through countless algorithm updates.
High-quality links show search engines that other people value your content, and that searchers will, too.
Sure, some updates have cracked down on backlinks that are obtained in shady ways.
As long as you continue to gather quality backlinks—no spam, no paid-for backlinks, no sketchy directories, no forced exchanges of hundreds of links—you’re in the clear.
For this reason, keeping a close eye on your backlink profile is crucial. You may forget that you have to check new backlinks regularly, or skip this over in favor of other optimization tasks, but it really shouldn’t be overlooked.
Here’s what to do when you get new backlinks—and how to monitor backlinks to your site so you know when to take action.
How to Check New Backlinks with the Greatest of Ease
Having to check new backlinks all the time might sound like a lot of work, but there are tools out there to make it easier.
Our own Free Backlink Checker tool will instantly give you an idea of who’s linking to you.
You can use it for free once per week, so you can start recording and reacting to new links without paying a cent.
Just open the tool, enter your domain’s URL and hit Check Now! You’ll get a list of links. We recommend downloading the CSV to make it easier to create a tracking spreadsheet.
One of the nice things about the results from this tool is that they tell you if the links to your site are follow (the green “F” symbol in the image above) or nofollow (the orange “NF” symbol).
If you see a lot of nofollow links, you may want to get in touch with the site owner to see if they’d be willing to change some of them to followed links, as they’ll have a more positive effect on your SEO with this status.
The Free Backlink Checker, of course, has its limitations. Once you see how useful it is to you, you may want to upgrade to the full Monitor Backlinks tool. With this tool, you can automatically check new backlinks on your site.
It even lets you know when your competitors get new links so you can react. You’ll receive immediate updates about all backlink changes via email, so you’ll always stay in the know.
It includes keyword rank monitoring, as well.
It even gathers information from Google, Majestic and Moz, to give you a detailed view of the quality of the link:
And there’s a free 30-day trial so you can check it out and see if it’s right for you.
The added analytical power will help you check new backlinks and improve your SEO across the board.
Now, let’s talk about what to do when you check new backlinks and find things to work with.
4 Things to Do When You Get New Backlinks
So you’ve been checking your profile regularly and you see that you’ve gotten a new backlink. Now what?
Here are the four things you should do every time someone links to your site:
1. Record the new backlink
Monitoring backlinks isn’t enough. You should also be keeping track of them. Using a tool like Monitor Backlinks is the best way to do that, but you can also go with simpler solutions, like an Excel spreadsheet—it will just take you a whole lot of time to track down your backlinks and record the relevant information for each one.
No matter which method you choose, be sure to record every new link.
Here’s the basic information you’ll want to include:
- Referring site
- Destination page
- Anchor text
- Quality of link
- Action taken
We’ll discuss those last two points in a moment.
You may also want to record if a link was part of a link-building campaign or any kind of outreach so you can measure the effectiveness of your own efforts. This tool or spreadsheet can be a big help when you undertake an SEO audit.
2. Determine the quality of the link
Search engines know when a reputable, influential site is linking to you, and they reward you with better rankings—this is the “link juice” so often spoken of in SEO circles.
If lots of low-quality, spammy sites are linking to you, there’s a possibility that you’ll be penalized. It’s only a possibility, but it’s not worth the risk.
So, when you get a new backlink, take a look at the site it’s coming from. Does the site look reputable? Or does it look like a link farm?
If there are tons of links to a wide variety of other sites (especially if those sites also look disreputable), you might have a bad link on your hands.
If the site is engaging in questionable SEO practices, like keyword stuffing, anchor text manipulation or any similar practices, it’s a good idea to disavow that link (we’ll talk about that in a moment).
Directory sites can also be bad news for your backlink profile. Some directories are of high quality and won’t hurt you, but most directories that you’ll come across are simply spamming links for nefarious SEO purposes.
So, be extra wary if it looks like a directory site, and consider disavowing it.
3. React to high-quality links
Assuming, however, that the link is a good one, the next thing you’ll want to do is to react to it.
This is something that many site owners overlook.
When you get a good link, say thanks! Reach out to the person who linked to your site with a quick email letting them know that you appreciate the link.
You can also suggest further content that they might be interested in, but don’t be too heavy-handed about it. If it looks like you’re emailing them only for SEO purposes, they’re going to delete your message fast.
If you’re lucky, you may even begin a relationship with that person that could include further linking, content opportunities or other benefits.
Make a note of the good links you’re getting, too. What kinds of sites are they coming from? What types of content are they linking to? This can be useful information for a future outreach campaign.
4. Address bad links
Of course, when you get bad links, you’ll need to react to those, too. When you get a low-quality link, you’ll want to address it before it becomes a problem.
This is where the link disavowal tool comes in. In short, this tool tells Google that you want nothing to do with the site that linked to you.
You’re not affiliated with them, you don’t support them and you don’t want search engines to recognize the link that they put on their site to yours.
We wrote up a walkthrough on how to use Google’s disavowal tool. Check it out to get the details on how to disavow links.
The Takeaway: Start Checking New Backlinks Right Away
It might seem like a big undertaking to start checking all of your new backlinks and reacting to them. But it’s one of the most important parts of your site’s SEO.
With the right links, you can gain a huge advantage on your competitors.
So, start small. Run a check with our Free Backlink Checker tool to see who’s linking to you. Start a tracking spreadsheet. And get in touch with the people who are sending you high-quality links.
It takes time, but it’s absolutely worth it.
If you really want to cut down on the time it takes, try out the full Monitor Backlinks tool with our free 30-day trial to see how much easier it can be to keep track of your backlinks!