How to perform a backlink audit on your website


Objective: The aim of this guide is to perform a thorough backlink audit for any website, providing insights into the current state of its backlink health and actionable steps for improvement.


Importance: Backlinks play a crucial role in search engine rankings. A backlink audit ensures that your website leverages quality links and avoids penalties associated with poor-quality ones.


Tools Required: Browser, Google Docs, Google Sheets, SEMrush, and Ahrefs.


Frequency: Conduct the audit periodically, ideally every 3-6 months or when there are suspicions of penalization due to the website’s link profile.


Performed by: The individual responsible for SEO.


Environment Setup


  1. SEMrush Account Setup:
  2. Ahrefs Account Setup:
    • Go to Ahrefs’ website.
    • Choose a suitable plan (Standard plan is generally sufficient).


Step-by-Step Backlink Audit Process


1. Identify Potentially Toxic Backlinks using SEMrush:


  • Log in to your SEMrush account and navigate to “Backlink Audit.”
  • Enter the website to be audited and start the backlink audit process.


audit process


  • Configure settings including brand settings, domain category, and target countries.


brand settings          domain category          target countries


  • Once the audit is completed, review the Overall Toxic Score.


Overall Toxic Score


  • Export the results to CSV and open it in Google Sheets.


CSV file


  • Paste the data into the Backlink Audit Template.


Backlink Audit Template


  • Analyze each link manually and assign a Risk Score.


Risk Score


  • Decide on actions for each link: Remove, Disavow, or No Action based on risk assessment.


Remove, Disavow


2. Take Action on Spammy Backlinks:


  • For links marked for removal, attempt to contact the website owner to request removal.
  • Utilize various methods to find contact information, prioritizing personal contacts over generic email addresses.
  • If necessary, use tools like Mail Hunter or Whois lookup for contact details.
  • Follow up with a polite removal request email template provided.

3. Identify 404 (Broken) Backlinks using Ahrefs:


  • Open Ahrefs and enter the website for analysis.





  • Export the data to CSV and paste it into the 404 Audit Sheet in the Backlink Audit Template.




Backlink Audit Template


  • Review each link and decide on actions: Contact for fix, Redirect, Bring page back, or No Action.


4. Take Action on 404’d Backlinks:


  • For links needing a fix, attempt to contact the website owner to request correction.
  • Follow similar steps as mentioned earlier to find and contact the responsible party.
  • If redirection is required, follow the provided procedure for implementation.
  • For recreating content, follow appropriate content creation guidelines.
  • For links marked with no action, move on to the next link.


5. Analyze Your Top Linked Pages using Ahrefs:


  • Use Ahrefs to analyze the top linked pages of the website.



  • Export the data to CSV and paste it into the Popular Pages Sheet in the Backlink Audit Template.




  • Add comments and actions as needed based on the analysis.


  • Extract insights for future link building campaigns and content creation strategies.



By following these steps, you’ll be able to conduct a comprehensive backlink audit for your website, identifying areas for improvement and implementing necessary actions to enhance its overall SEO performance. Regular audits and proactive measures are essential for maintaining a healthy backlink profile and improving search engine rankings.