Are you still a little unsure about Link Profile analysis? This article is aimed at beginners in the field of link analysis who need help to understand what you should look at first with your own or other domains in order to better understand them. The analysed domains are deliberately kept anonymous, but there is no business relationship between the author and the domains. It is merely hoped that the article will help you improve your understanding of link analysis and thus search engine positioning, by using Majestic; (as I am a Brand Ambassador for Majestic).
1. Backlink breakdown
The first aspect to consider is the status quo of your backlink profile, i.e. how are the incoming links to your profile classified and divided?
The image shows how many percent of the incoming or found links actually still exist and that division of how a backlink profile can be broken down. This must be taken into account when interpreting your link profile. Obviously, a high proportion of “live” links or more incoming links is generally more positive as it means sites are linking to your site and thus recommending you (by pointing people in your direction). A large proportion of deleted links, on the other hand, could allow several interpretations. Two examples would be:
- With the domain, a large number of links are currently being removed (perhaps the link profile is being “cleared up”)
- Many links have been removed because they may only come from automated projects
Without being able to assess whether this is good or bad in an individual case, the profile should be evaluated in the knowledge that a certain degree of link volatility is natural. However, if the proportion of links marked as “deleted” in your own domain are very high, then it’s probably worth taking a closer look at this.
The second consideration is about the ratio of the analysed domain links from subpages or starting pages. Since homepages are always considered to be the “most important” and “strongest” page of a domain, these links are on the one hand “sought-after”, but if a certain amount is exceeded, they can also appear unnatural, and if they appear unnatural then the links are more likely to harm your backlink profile in search engine ranking.
The follow/nofollow view of the graphic shows the proportion of links that inherit link force (follow). Since there has also been the possibility since 2005 that external links do not inherit any link power, the share of this distribution is relevant – especially in a competitive comparison. Therefore, this breakdown should be included together with others in the overall view of the profile (e.g. together with “live”, “direct” etc.).
The fifth view of the graphic shows whether the incoming links of this domain are freezing over to the HTTP or HTTPS protocol. Since the proportion of domains that have switched to the HTTPS protocol have increased massively, especially in 2017, this view is currently quite interesting, but it will probably become more redundant over time. In the above example, the domain seems to have been switched to HTTPS for quite some time. But in the below image a nice “split” can be seen. In general, this means that the gained link juice is split and that – depending on how the protocol set up is handled – a significant amount of links may be pointing to redirected/canonicalised URLs:
2. Link Type Analysis
One of the “classics” that should be looked at regularly and naturally when analysing your backlink is the type of backlinks which are coming to your site. The four most common types are text links, picture links, redirections or frames.
Certain types of link shares are regarded as “normal” and usually, relate to the industry in which your domain sits. But all link types should be analysed in a competitive comparison. Generally, the proportion of text links is usually between 70 and 90 percent. In the above image, it is therefore very conspicuous that the link profile has an extremely high proportion of picture links. It is deliberately not evaluated whether this is disadvantageous or unnatural; it is purely a matter of being aware of the analysis. Simple reasons for an increased proportion of image links can be sponsoring activities, for example, in which images are mainly used as links.
3. Anchor Texts
Of course, a link analysis should also include a look at the anchor texts with which the analysed domain is linked. Classically, four variants are differentiated in the SEO, which are to be played through in the following on the basis of the domain “example.de” once:
- Brand anchor: “www.example.de”, “example.de”, “Example”.
- Money-Anchor (also called “hard” linking): “Link-Text” (e. g.: “buy product”)
- Compound Anchor (mix of brand and money): “Link-Text from example. com.”
- Miscellaneous: “here, “there”, “now, “click”.
The aim of this subdivision and analysis is to understand whether a domain has been optimised very aggressively with regard to its links, whether it is linked to many “hard” anchors or whether it is rather “brand-oriented”.
The above illustration could, therefore, be interpreted as follows:
Among the top 5 are three brand echo texts, which is positive. There is also a money-anchor, which if isn’t known should be flagged. In addition, there seem to be a lot of links without defined anchor text. These backgrounds should also be analysed, as you could, for example, re-optimize them by contacting the domain owner and ask for a proper anchor text if the quality of the source is good (e.g. trust/flow values). However, it could also be automated links that are of lower quality. At position 10 you can see a “non-DE” anchor text. Assuming that the analysed domain is a DE-TLD, this seems strange and should lead to a deeper analysis as it could be harming your link profile.
4. Languages of the link sources
If you analyse a German-speaking domain whose business model is limited to the German market, for example, you can expect that this will also be reflected in the link profile. External references from other languages would therefore not be natural – which does not mean that they do little damage. Therefore, depending on the strategic orientation of the domain, the distribution of incoming links should be monitored with regard to their origin. If you look at other domains because you want to have a link from the domain, for example, you should also pay attention to the origin of the links in this case.
The following figure shows an example of a domain that is only active in Germany. However, it is noticeable that about 35% of the incoming links come from English-language domains. Although the domain itself has a small proportion of English-language URLs, the proportion of incoming non-DE links appears to be too high, since 1.6% of the links come from other language regions as well.
Of course, some of the English language links can be created by automated link generation. This often happens. Nevertheless, when checking your own domain or another domain on a regular basis, you should check the origin of the incoming links as a matter of routine.
In addition, if you look at the link sources of the entered domain and select the option “Geo”, you get an overview of the domain names and their languages besides the information where the IP comes from. This allows you to quickly get an overview of which pages are monolingual, multilingual or – to stick with our example – not in German. Since the data can be exported, the overview can be exported easily to be further processed.
5. Backlink History
Another view that should be regularly viewed is that of the historical evolution of backlinks such as the number of referring domains. Both views are basically concerned with monitoring the development on the one hand to monitor extreme changes (break-ins and rises) and on the other hand to evaluate the relationship of both processes to each other.
The figure below shows steady growth for both counts up to December, which is almost in step with each other. Before December 10th, however, a clear increase in referring domains can be seen, while the number of backlinks – if on a different scaling – reacts much less strongly. In order to identify such developments and then enter into the analysis, these overview graphs are useful and should, therefore, be viewed regularly.
6. Referring domains with the highest amount of outbound links
In order to get an impression of how much your own link sources link externally and whether they are “left spin” or not, you can filter them under the view “referring domains” within Majestic. The domain list can be sorted primarily by “outbound external links”. A subsequent additional sorting could then be set for all outbound links (internal and external). In this way, you get an overview of the domains that link excessively to the outside world and can place this in a relation to the overall ranking.
In the figure above, many domains appear rather questionable from a quality point of view. A monitoring in this respect can, therefore, be quite useful to see whether new domains are added here, which link “excessive” to the outside.
7. Composition of Topical Trust Flow Topics
As a final consideration for link analysis, the composition of the Topical Trust Flow topics is worth noting, especially in a competitive comparison. Assuming that a link profile in the financial sector is composed differently from a link profile in the health sector, so should its sources for your link profile i.e. so analyse or monitor one’s own link profile in relation to the competition in terms of its composition.
For the analysis of your own domain, this means to understand which topic you are in and whether this is reflected in the link profile. This should then be compared with the competitors to identify any anomalies; (as ideally you want your domain to reflect your industry). The domains from the above illustration are, for example, all e-commerce shops from the same industry. In addition to many thematic similarities with different weighting, there are some “outliers” such as “sports”, in which none of the analysed domains are active. These links could then be analysed in more detail as they could show a business opportunity i.e. perhaps a new market to reach if sites in these industries are linking to your site and information as there could be interest from these topics which is yet to be followed up on, or perhaps they indicate a risk as these links could be harming your link profile as they link to you without meaning or any relation. By comparing the backlink profile of your competitors this may also indicate potential markets yet to explore.
Hopefully, that helps to explain some of the fundamentals to view when analysing your backlink profile and using Majestic.
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