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FREE online SEO course: SEMrush SEO Toolkit 


14 lessonsNov 20, 2019


Hello and welcome! In this lesson, we will learn about the Backlinks report. Backlinks are one of the most important Google ranking factors, and this report is where you can get ideas for link building. It helps you find out you and your competitors' backlinks, and analyze their value and impact on domains.

Getting Started

Let's explore the Backlinks report.

After typing a domain name into the search bar, you will see statistical data for backlinks to this domain. Or, you can analyze a specific subdomain or URL.

In the report you will find the Backlink Authority score, which is based on two important metrics, Domain score and Trust score, with changes in their value over time. Domain score is based on the number of backlinks to the analyzed domain.

Trust score is similar to Google's no longer used PageRank. It reflects the number of backlinks from trusted websites. Always pay attention to these metrics. The higher these scores, the more weight a backlink from the queried domain will have. If the trust score is much lower than the domain score, this means that the domain may have many potentially bad backlinks.

With the help of the New and Lost backlinks chart, you can find out:

  • your competitor's link building behavior;
  • how many new links your competitor has acquired recently, so you can plan your own link building efforts accordingly;
  • which valuable backlinks were lost by your competitor, so you can try to get them for your own website.
  • Below, there's a widget with the main data from the Backlink Audit tool provided, which you had already set it up for a queried domain. We'll cover this tool in one of our next lessons.

Then, you can see the backlinks' distribution by type, follow/nofollow attributes, TLD zones and countries, as well as the most popular anchor texts.

Decide whether you should create more visual content and get more image backlinks to your website by analyzing your competitors in the Backlink Types chart.

See the relation between follow and nofollow backlinks to your domain so you can focus on increasing dofollow backlinks share.

Figure out backlinks of what TLD types your competitors strive to acquire, and which ones your website is lacking, in order to have a rich backlink profile.

Focusing on backlinks from .edu or .gov websites could be beneficial.

See what area of the world your competitors are getting links with the help of Country table and the Geo Distribution report. You can also see if some of them are purchasing cheat backlinks. Look out for a raise of links from sites locating irrelevant countries.

Get even more insights into your competitors' link building strategies from the Top Anchors and Top Anchor Terms lists.

It is essential that their top anchors and anchor terms correlate with the products or services they push the most. In other words, you can find out what your competitors are promoting and how.

Finally, with the help of the Overview report you can compare several domains' backlink profiles and their main metrics.

Under the Backlinks tab is a detailed list of backlinks furnished with data, such as:

  • Page and Trust score;
  • target URL;
  • anchor text;
  • number of internal and external outcoming links;
  • first and last seen dates.

You can filter the list by anchor name, link type, follow/nofollow attribute and other parameters. To give a couple of examples of what useful information you can find: it is possible to see your competitors' freshest valuable links by combining the new and follow filters; which links your competitors have lost in a specific zone or from a referring domain; also, you can shed light on your competitors' top partnerships by using the Sitewide filter - such important types of backlinks are never acquired by chance.

If you're analyzing your domain, you can send backlinks you regard as low quality to the Disavow list. Then, you can upload them to Backlink Audit or export them to a .txt file. To see detailed lists of top anchors and top anchor terms, go to the Anchors tab. There you can see how many backlinks contain a certain word or phrase, as well as how many referring domains use it when linking to the analyzed website.

Make the best of the anchor partial match auto-suggest filter and find topics of backlinks that your competitors have. Start typing a word, and SEMrush will auto-suggest phrases from anchors of your competitor's backlink profile.

The Referring Domains tab will be handy as it will provide you with a detailed list of domains linking to the analyzed domain. You may want to filter this list by TLD type and country by using the proper tabs or applying advanced filters. This can help you find the sources of backlinks you might be interested in the most. Last but not least, you can see new and lost referring domains to find out more about your competitors' recent link building activity.

So, when you become aware of your competitor's new referring domains, you get new backlink opportunities for yourself. And there's nothing better than turning your rivals' failures into stepping stones of your success. Just reach out to the owners of websites that no longer link back to your competitors and try to convince them to link to you instead.

Not only is the number of referring domains an important ranking factor, but so too is the number of referring IPs. The Referring IPs tab will provide you with this information. If a certain IP address hosts a suspiciously high number of referring domains, this could be an indication of black-hat SEO.

The Indexed Pages tab shows you the pages of the domain discovered by SEMrush. The pages are sorted by the number of backlinks from other websites. You can check out your competitors' top pages to understand what content persuaded referring websites' owners to link to them.

Keep an eye on the Internal Links metric as well. This might help you get ideas on how to properly link internally to help your rankings. The Competitors report will show your competitors in terms of common backlinks. After using this report, you can start analyzing your competition to discover more link building ideas.

So, to sum up: to get ideas for link building, review your backlinks and your competitors' backlinks and estimate their value, by using the Backlinks report. Practice makes perfect, so don't forget to play around with this report. It is crucial to study the Read Further section since it contains more information needed to pass the exam. Go to the SEMrush blog or our knowledge base for more information.