Members of the developed world continue to make their buying decisions over the internet. Therefore, the majority of modern businesses require a strong online presence. Whether these businesses are actually taking payments over the internet or simply convincing users to pay for their services ‘offline’, digital visibility is as important today as it ever has been. Something that will continue to play a pivotal role in a company’s digital success is their organic search engine performance; ranking highly on Google (usually Google) for terms relating to their company.
The power of search engine optimisation (SEO) and the art of achieving it should never be far from the thoughts of any digital marketer, even if they do not regard themselves as SEO professionals. Since building backlinks remains one of the cornerstones of successful SEO, we’re taking a look at why all modern marketers should be using a backlink checking tool to guide their strategy and measure their clients’ progress.
What does a backlink checker do?
Firstly, backinks are outbound hyperlinks from other websites to your or your client’s website. Google regards these links in a similar way to a referral or a vote. The more votes you have and the more influential they are, the more important Google regards your web pages. Therefore, it’s important to know where backlinks come from, including the website, the specific page, and even the text used in and around the hyperlink, itself. In short, not all backlinks are made equal! It’s also important to know which pages on your site attracts these links.
On a very basic level, this is exactly what a backlink checker does; they check the internet for links to and from billions of website, including the ones to your site. However, having the raw link data, alone, doesn’t mean very much without the knowledge and tools to interpret it and, more importantly, implement a strategy around it. Here’s where the suite of tools that backlink checkers provide comes in handy for the modern, digital marketer.
Okay, this is all well and good, but:
I’m not an SEO pro – I’m not being paid for SEO, why should I care?
Actually, there are several good reasons to care.
Why digital agencies need to use a backlink checker
1. Ignorance is not bliss
For any business in the world, there is one ‘best’ way they can make money from digital marketing. It might make sense for them to invest in multiple streams, but there can be only one outright most profitable marketing channel. Now, SEO might not be it, but how do they know and how do you know?
Combining fantastic tools like clique hunter, competitor comparison and topical trust flow from platforms like Majestic mean you can begin to understand the SEO opportunities. On the other hand, if you don’t have at least a basic understanding of SEO, you run the risk of being usurped – what happens when an SEO pro approaches your client and tells them they rank terribly on Google? They’ll now be vying for the marketing budget you’re currently enjoying!
Knowledge is power so stay abreast of what’s going on in the search world.
2. All digital marketing contributes to SEO
Once upon a time, stuffing a web page full of keywords fooled Google into thinking that page was mega relevant for those key terms. Once Google got smarter, that didn’t work so well. After that, all you needed to do was point a few heavyweight backlinks to your site and BAM, you flew up the rankings. Well, Google got smarter still. Now Google uses over 200 ranking factors in its closely-guarded ranking algorithm in a bid to make its engine the most intelligent, spam proof it has ever been.
This means that keyword spamming and bought backlinks ain’t gonna cut it (well, it might until Google wipes your site off the face of the Earth). Google now requires pages, sites and brands to have a far richer online existence in a bid to provide users the best possible results and experience from their searches. This means that the work of social media companies, PR agencies, content marketers and other digital advertisers all plays a significant role in search performance.
3. Backlink profiles highlight opportunities
By studying the kind of websites that link to you or your clients’ (and their competitors’) content, you are far better informed about the type of audience that finds each type of content more interesting. This should represent new areas of focus, helping you elevate your metrics, as well as the potential to build further backlinks for your sites. Remember, knowing exactly which content resonates with your target audience is one of the keys to successful strategy creation.
4. Improving the ROI
For most businesses, backlinks are a valuable commodity. They can be incredibly difficult to achieve and black hat techniques mean you run the risk of having a site penalised and search visibility completely removed, probably indefinitely. If by your social, PR and content creation endeavours, you can earn genuine links for your client, increasing their referral and organic search web traffic, you provide a lot more tangible return.
By using a combination of backlink tools and Google Analytics, you can build up a comprehensive case for the web traffic you’re responsible for. Another useful tool is SerpBook; where you can track your rank on Google and see how you fluctuate after winning and losing certain backlinks.
The best backlink checker for a marketing agency to use
There are several great backlink tools available to aspiring SEO experts and broader digital marketers. Ahrefs and Moz are both excellent tools, each with their own strength and weaknesses. However, since we happen to be virtually next-door neighbours with Majestic, another one of the best backlink checkers, it would be rude not to use them!
But it’s not just that we can go round for a coffee with them that makes them the sensible choice for non-SEO pro, digital marketers. For us, there are three very good reasons to use Majestic.
1. It’s the cheapest. If you’re not an SEO pro and are, therefore, worried about affecting your bottom line with something that’s not a core service, Majestic is the obvious choice. There’s also a seven-day money back guarantee if you don’t like it within the first week. I don’t know why it’s the cheapest.
2. It has some very useful tools. Tools that regular muggles can use to inform their marketing decisions like the ones we mentioned above – especially topical trust flow and the compare tool. We also love the Chrome extension that lets you see a page’s trust flow and citation flow in an instant (more about how to use these metrics here).Remember that we mentioned how not all links are created equal? Well, Majestic is great at telling us how useful each of our backlinks is, based on a huge number of factors, and these become their trust and citation flow metrics.
Note that Moz also has a neat Chrome extension for domain and page authority that you should download.
3. There’s a telephone walkthrough. This is a great feature of Majestic. You actually get to speak to a real-life human being, on the phone, for 30 minutes. There’s already a gamified, awards-based learning system for the platform but for any bits that you don’t quite get, you can speak to one of their experts.
SEO is no longer the dark art it used to be. If fact, as Google gets smarter, their search engine increasingly reflects a common sense kind of algorithm. Having big, loyal social media followings and producing great content has numerous effects on search performance and building links because all of this will seriously benefit a site’s ranking power. As a digital marketing agency, unless every single one of your clients has an SEO team, you need to know your SEO stuff. Start with backlinks.