The main factor responsible for getting you good search engine rankings has been the same for years now…essentially, backlinks are SEO. That’s why analyzing the backlinks you already have and identifying new opportunities out there is a crucial activity for your affiliate business.
Pick Your Backlinks Tool
There are many free tools that you can use for basic link analysis. But if you want to get the best data available, you will have to spend decent dollar for it.
There are four big players in this space:
Moz offers limited access to the Open Site Explorer for free. Apart from that, the main PRO account at Moz.com gives you access to custom analytics and tracking software that lets you have a really close look at everything that’s going on with your site.
Ahrefs has three main types of premium accounts: Professional, Elite, and Enterprise. Each comes with a limited number of backlinks and SEO reports you can perform and search engine results you can track. There’s also their Site Explorer tool that lets you in on some backlink data.
3. Raven tools with their Link Manager
Raven is a whole package of online marketing tools that can help you out in a lot of areas, not just SEO. When it comes to backlinks, their Link Manager tool allows you to create a list of live links pointing to your site, and then monitor the changes over time.
Check Your Anchor Texts
Once you have your tool picked, a good place to go next would be to analyze the anchor text structure of your backlinks. The most important thing here is the number of branded links vs. the number of keyword-optimized links.
In Open Site Explorer you can do this by going to an URL like:
Then, once you export this data to CSV, you can further work with your anchor texts in Excel.
The idea is to look for patterns and separate your links into three main groups: branded (usually containing your site’s name), keyword-optimized (containing the phrases you’re optimizing for), and general (things like “click here,” “link,” and so on). What is considered a good practice these days is to have a linking profile comprised mainly of branded links.
Check Followed Links
It’s believed that only followed links bring SEO benefits, but a natural linking profile should consist of both followed and nofollowed links. Tools like the Open Site Explorer will show this distribution in a clear and understandable way:
Compare to Your Competition
There’s no better way to grow than to learn how to analyze your competitors and then compare your efforts to what they are doing. You should pay attention to every little insight you get. For instance, how many linking domains does your competitor have vs. how many do you have? Or, what is your competitor’s anchor text distribution vs. what is yours?
The secret here is to repeat this work month after month. Consistent effort is the only way to grow your search engine presence.