When it comes to your backlinks, there’s no room for indecision.
You’re either going to keep the link or remove it, and that’s going to depend on how Google feels about it.
There are links Google loves—these strengthen your backlink profile, and as a result, boost your overall SEO.
Then there are links Google hates, and you’re going to want to get rid of these ones quick smart if you don’t want to get penalized.
And finally, there are links that Google flat out ignores.
What you do with these ones will depend on whether they support or hinder your wider link building strategy.
So—kiss, marry or kill?
Sometimes you have to be ruthless.
Today, I’m going to show you how to use the Free Backlink Checker to audit your backlinks and decide, once and for all, which category each one belongs to.
By the end of this post, you’ll know exactly how to use this tool to help drastically improve your rankings, avoid harming your rankings and keep from wasting time on links that just don’t matter.
Cool! Let’s get started!
Kiss, Marry or Kill: How to Use Our Free Backlink Checker to Get Google on Your Side
How to Identify Links Google Loves
At the end of the day, smart link building is simply having more backlinks Google loves.
These links are trustworthy, relevant, authoritative and valuable. They’re the ones to cherish!
You need to do two things well to have and maintain a strong backlink profile:
2. Be able to audit your backlinks so you have more high-quality links than low-quality ones.
Here’s how our Free Backlink Checker will help you do both:
High-authority Pages and Domains
Links from high-authority pages and domains pass more authority to your site.
For example, a link from the Wall Street Journal will give you much more “link juice” than a link from some no-name blogger.
So the more higher-authority links to your site, the better.
Here’s how to quickly estimate the authority of the pages and domains linking to your site using the Free Backlink Checker:
1. Find the Trust Flow and Citation Flow columns on your Backlink Checker results:
What are TF and CF, you ask?
Citation Flow, according to Majestic, measures the equity or power of a website or link. It’s a score between 0-100 that gives you an idea of how influential a link will be based on how many links are coming into it.
This metric replaced Majestic’s old ACRank, and is based on better mathematical logic than that metric was.
Trust Flow is also a score from 0-100. This score focuses on link quality based on trusted seed sites that Majestic collected after scouring the web for trustworthy domains.
When a link is closely related to one of these trusted seed sites, it gets a higher Trust Flow score.
You can compare them with Moz’s Domain Authority metric.
2. Look at the number rankings for each link. The higher the number, the more authority it’ll pass to your site.
Diverse Link Anchor Text
Google likes to see a wide selection of anchor text used in links to your site. Lots of the same exact-match anchor text sets off their “spam alarm.”
So your goal is to have a diverse portfolio of anchor text words and phrases pointing back to your site while using as little keyword-rich anchor text as possible.
Here’s how to compare link anchor text with our Free Backlink Checker:
1. Find the Anchor column in your results:
2. Compare the anchor text and look for text that’s identical or very similar:
The anchor text highlighted above would normally be an indicator of a potential red flag for Google.
However, anchor text that matches a website’s name or URL will not cause a penalty to the site it’s linking to.
But if you see several instances of “get more SEO traffic” anchor text, all pointing to the same page about how to get more SEO traffic, then you’ll want to either remove some of them or ask the site owner to change the text.
As stated above, authority is important …
… but only if the referring page or domain is relevant to your site’s niche.
Let’s say you have a site about training puppies, and a dirt bike site with a high CT/TF is linking back to you. Will you get any of that “link juice?”
Probably not. And that’s because dirt bikes aren’t related to training puppies.
So the more relevant the referring site, the more authority is passed on to your site.
Here’s how to make sure your backlinks are relevant to your site:
1. Find the link to the referring site in the URL From column:
2. Click on the link to the page you want to visit:
3. Look at the page and site. Are they relevant to your site’s niche? Or are they from a completely different industry?
As you can see, Quick Sprout is an online marketing site that focuses on SEO techniques like link building, on-page optimization, etc.
So it’s highly relevant to Monitor Backlinks, which makes it a great source for a backlink.
Editorially Placed Links
Did someone link to your site because your content is awesome?
If so, that’s an editorially placed link. Which means it was naturally placed, usually in the body content of a particular page.
Editorial links (natural links) pass more “link juice” to your site than unnatural links.
Unnatural links are a no-no when it comes to pleasing Google. Hear it straight from the horse’s mouth:
“…creating links that weren’t editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page, otherwise known as unnatural links, can be considered a violation of our guidelines.”
Here’s how to make sure your links are editorially placed using the Free Backlink Checker:
1. Visit the link to the page you want to check in the URL From column:
… then ask yourself the following questions:
2. Is the link in the body content of the page?
3. Is the anchor text natural or unnatural?
4. Is the link one you purchased?
In this case, no. But if it were, then we’d have an issue because it’s a dofollow link (more on this in a bit).
How to Identify Links Google Hates
There’s links that Google loves, and then there’s links that Google hates.
It goes without saying that these are links you want to avoid at all costs—and to get rid of as quickly as possible if you find them.
The good news is our Free Backlink Checker makes it easier and quicker to find those links than doing your own manual backlink audit.
Let’s look at some of the most common and detrimental backlinks that can lead to Google penalties, and go over how you can find them with our free software.
Low-authority Pages and Domains
As I eluded to earlier, lots of links from low-quality pages can make your site look suspicious to Google—which can ultimately hurt your rankings.
Not to mention, low quality links also pass less authority to your site.
So, naturally, you always want a larger ratio of higher quality links to lower quality links.
Here’s the quickest way to find low-quality links using the Free Backlink Checker:
1. Find the Trust Flow and Citation Flow columns:
2. Locate the links with an TF and CF of zero. Consider removing them from your site first (especially if they’re irrelevant to your site’s niche):
3. This will suffice for now. Add some more higher quality links to your backlink portfolio first, and then consider removing links with TF and CF of below 10.
Foreign Language Links
Google frowns on having a large network of backlinks from foreign language sites.
Because the majority of people visiting your site from a foreign language site will be unable to understand and comprehend your site’s content.
That could change in the future, thanks to advancements in translation technology.
But for now, Google views having too many links from foreign language sites as spammy. And your site can be penalized as a result.
Here’s how to find out which links might be from foreign language sites:
1. Find the URL From column:
2. Look at the top level domains at the end of each URL (.com, .org, .etc) and find the ones that are foreign in origin:
(Here’s a list of URL top level domains to help you find domains that are foreign to your native country.)
3. Click on each foreign URL to see if the language on the page is foreign.
If so, you should remove the link to your site. But if the foreign site’s in your native language (i.e. a UK-based site linking to an American site), then consider keeping it (especially if it’s higher authority).
Paid Links That Pass PageRank
It shouldn’t surprise you that Google doesn’t like paid links (even those from big-name companies like Forbes).
That’s not to say all paid links are bad. (Some SEO experts still think it’s smart to buy them.)
You just need to make sure they’re not passing PageRank to your site. That’s a quick way to get your site slapped hard by Google.
Here’s how our Free Backlink Checker will help ensure your paid links aren’t inadvertently hurting your rankings:
1. Determine which links you’ve paid for, and then find them under the URL From column:
2. Next, look at the adjacent Status column to see if the link is nofollow (NF).
How to Identify Links Google Ignores
There are links Google loves. There are links Google hates. And then there are links that Google just flat out ignores.
As you’ll soon see, in a lot of cases it’s no big deal if your link is ignored.
You can usually just leave these links be—there’s no need to either commit to them or get rid of them, because they won’t cause you any harm.
It’s like acknowledging them with a polite kiss hello, and then leaving them to do their thing.
Let’s look at the most common link type that Google ignores:
Nofollow links are links with the “rel=nofollow” tag attached to them.
That tag tells Google to ignore that specific link when it’s crawling a page or site, regardless of its authority.
What does that mean for your link building efforts?
It means that if that page with a high Citation flow and Trust flow has a nofollow link back to your site, you’ll get zero of that link juice passed on to your site. Bummer!
But it also means that the new site with a Citation flow and Trust flow of zero won’t harm your rankings …
… or that link you paid for won’t lead to Google penalizing your site.
Here’s how to find nofollow links in seconds with our Free Backlink Checker:
1. Find the Status column:
2. Look for all links with NF in the Status column. These links are nofollow, so there’ll be no link love coming from them.
Now It’s Your Turn
I just shared with you how to use the Free Backlink Checker to analyze and categorize your links, and make Google rank your site and pages higher for your target keywords.
Now, it’s time to put what you’ve learned to practice.
Go through your link profile, decide what should be kept, what should be removed and what can be left alone.
Get on Google’s good side and you’ll be surprised just how soon you’ll see positive gains in your rankings!