You’ve probably heard about backlink profiles and their importance before but may not have a full grasp on what they actually are. Fortunately they’re not as complex as you may think; your backlink profile consists of the sites that see your content as authoritative enough that they are willing to send their users your way. That trust is the key to why your backlink profile is seen as a primary indicator of the SEO health of your site. Google places a premium on ensuring that the links to your site occur organically and solely due to the quality of your content; in fact, the aim of the 2012 Penguin core algorithm update was largely to penalize sites that engaged in shady link-building practices, either by purchasing them or getting their backlinks through networks specifically designed to evade Google’s link quality evaluation. It should go without saying that you need to avoid such practices, as subsequent updates have gotten even better at identifying and penalizing sites that utilize them (as well as rewarding sites that rid themselves of low quality links and naturally build their backlink profiles). 

Now that you know what they are you should also know how to monitor your backlink profiles. Nearly all SEO platforms have features that allow you to view your profile and include useful information such as the relative quality of those links and give you the ability to track lost/added links over time. Ahrefs provides a free backlink checker that allows you to see partial information on all of the links that point to your site, though you may want to invest in a subscription to get full value from it or similar products. Once you have a clear view of your profile you can begin to analyze it, determining the value (or potentially the drag) individual links are providing for your site. Domain authority and page authority are useful metrics to make that evaluation with; the higher the number for each, the more value you’re getting from that link. Relevance is another thing to consider, since if you’re operating a site for an organic bakery but a large portion of your inbound links are from basketball blogs that may raise an alarm for Google that those links were obtained inappropriately. Similarly, you want to have a degree of diversity in terms of the domains linking back to you. The first link you get from a respected domain will provide a ton of value and authority, but each subsequent link you get from that domain will have incrementally less. It’s thus important to have inbound links coming from a variety of different domains. You should also regularly monitor the backlink profiles of your competitors to find missed opportunities, keywords you should be targeting and other strategic insights. Lastly, you need to understand that having a high number of backlinks is not on its own enough to say your backlink profile is in great shape. A profile that’s heavy on high-quality backlinks, interspersed with lower or neutral quality backlinks, is the ideal to aim for. While Huckabuy does not currently offer a product that’s focused on backlink profiles and the discipline of link building, we recommend you check out this accessible and thorough guide provided by Ahrefs if you’re interested in learning more about how to manage your backlinks and build them responsibly.