Link profile analysis using the XOVI link tool
February 1, 2016
XOVI’s proprietary link tool has been on the market ever since February 2010. This has been further developed time and again and provided with new functions. How does XOVI go about this? XOVI does not buy any backlink database, but crawls the Internet itself using its own crawlers and stores the backlinks in its own database. This data is processed in the tool for individual use. The capacities of our backlink crawler have been significantly expanded since dmexco 2015.
In the run chart showing the number of backlinks found, you have certainly noticed some jumps. Since last fall, one can clearly see that XOVI is continuously searching for and finding new backlinks. Even the database is frequently re-crawled and backlinks that no longer exist are deleted from it. You can now also find an indication of when a link was last found on the link source.
Why a backlink tool?
Backlinks should still be the most important ranking factor for Google. When Google started its services, backlinks were almost the only deciding factor. It practically did not matter where the backlinks originated – what mattered was just how many links there were from other websites to a domain. That has truly changed over time. Not only since the first Penguin update in April 2012 has Google fine-tuned its algorithms and it now ranks links in a completely different way.
Now it does matter where a link is placed and how many links there are. Topic relevance is the keyword. There are explicit quality criteria for a link and Google has also employed an anti-spam team. Matt Cutts, currently on a one-year sabbatical, is head of this group that looks to see that there is as little manipulation as possible and may apply substantial manual penalties, thus banning domains from the Google index.
How does the XOVI backlink tool help?
There are now two things that you can do particularly well with the XOVI link tool – one is an analysis of the link profile of your own domain and the other is a comparison with the competition to find new backlink sources for your own off-page optimization.
The handling is the same for both applications. We go to the top right and call up the domain to be checked. Let’s take koeln.de as an example and then switch to “Links” > “Overview”. By the way, you do not have to create a project for the link tool. Simply analyze any domain you wish.
Here at the very top we find the link performance indicators. In the links section, we can quickly see the key figures at a glance. The domain has, for example, more than 2 million backlinks from 364,146 different pages found on 8,284 domains. The number of domains is also called domain pop or domain popularity. You have probably already encountered this term.
For the purpose of optimizing a page, it is best if the number of linking domains is as high as possible. That means that the links do not come from just a few domains, but that the links you see, even those that are recommendations from other websites, come from various domains. The higher the domain pop, the better. The performance indicators also show the number of IP addresses that the links come from. In ranking links, Google also takes a look, of course, to see if an owner has many domains and if these are hosted on the same server, for instance. Then it is clear to Google that this is not a matter of a natural link building. So, the greater the number of IPs, the better.
Additionally, XOVI shows the number of subnets (Class C networks) found. The originally employed concept of IP addresses foresaw only a rigid allocation. Eight bits were foreseen for network addressing and the remaining 24 bits addressed a specific network participant. This concept, however, allowed for only 256 networks. That was seen as being too few and for that reason in September 1981, the so-called network classes were introduced which restructured the allocation. Here, too, the higher the number of subnets, the better.
You can find various other analyses in different charts and tables in the XOVI Suite under the link performance indicators on the overview page.
Here, for example, the chart for the change in key figures. You can see graphically how the domain pop, number of IP addresses and subnets have developed. If the curves are not similar, you should take a closer look at the links again.
In a table in the overview, you can already identify the subpages of my domain that are linked to most.
Other charts there such as the statistics of top-level domains show where the links come from. When doing a link audit, you should check to see if a purely German-language domain, for example, has a lot of links with TLD .ru or .com or other countries. As a rule, it is unnatural if there are a great deal of links from Russia to a purely German-language website. If so, then look into it.
You also get a diagram on the homepage-deep link ratio. Here the percentages show which proportion of links are made to a domain’s homepage and which proportion to subpages. Since a link to a subpage appears to be more specific and exact, you should strive for a ratio of 30% (homepage) to 70% (subpage). Deviations are possible, of course, and not directly to blame for a bad Google ranking.
The ratio of nofollow and dofollow links is also interesting. An unnatural link profile here is shown by a disparity in favor of dofollow links. It is not natural for a domain to have exclusively or an extremely high percentage of only dofollow links. In link building, attention should be paid to there being also links that are placed with a nofollow attribute. Otherwise, there may be the threat of a Google penalty. That also depends, of course, on the link sources and the respective number of links.
An important factor in assessing a link profile are also the anchor texts used. Anchor texts are those texts that you click on when you click on a link. They are also called “link texts”. Here, too, you should proceed very naturally with link building.
What is natural?
- Use of the domain as link text (e.g. xovi.com)
- Use of a URL as link text (e.g. http://www.xovi.com/blog)
- Use of a brand (the best tool from XOVI is the link tool)
- Use of words or phrases such as “here”, “You will find here”, “Find out more”
The following is an example of a rather unnatural link text:
- Hard keywords linked such as “SEO tool”, “online marketing tool”, “link tool”.
These are also known as “money keywords”
Of course, it always depends a bit on the context in which a link is placed. Not everything is unnatural, but if you have the feeling that the link has not been voluntarily placed to refer a reader to an interesting website, but rather placed unnaturally just for the sake of the link, then be careful that Google does not view that as link spam. Google has declared war on this.
Detailed information on individual links can be found in the submenu of the link tool in XOVI. We are interested, of course, not only in the sheer number of links, but we would also like to take a look at the links themselves. All backlinks stored for a domain in the XOVI database can be found under “All Links” in the menu.
Here you will find information on the linking website, the link target, the anchor text. Int & Ext shows the total number of internal and external links that are found on the linking website. The next column contains information on when the link was first found by the XOVI crawler and the last column shows the number of days since this link was last checked to see if it still existed. You can thus estimate how fresh a link may be. Please note that a link may also be older. As a tool provider ourselves, Google, of course, does not give us access to its link database. The data actually depicts when the XOVI crawler found the link for the first time or found it again later.
Just click through all the submenu points and you will see what types of information you can get.
We have another tip for you: The great advantage of a backlink tool is that, as opposed to the Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools), you get not only a list of your own backlinks, but also those of your competitors. You can enter any domain in the field in the top right and call up the functions in the link tool.
In building up backlinks, you are always searching for possible link sources. Why not take a look in the backlink lists of your competitors? So that the table of links is a bit clearer, we would recommend using the list of domains. You will find that under Links > Domains > Overview. Not every single backlink is listed there, but there is every linking domain with different KPI that you can then look into more closely.
Why isn’t the PageRank given in the tool?
Why do we no longer show the PageRank (PR) for the domains? According to Google itself, for some time now PageRank is no longer being updated by Google and a potential internal update is no longer published. Up to now, no new update has been announced either. It therefore no longer makes sense to link the quality of a backlink to PageRank, and in many cases would certainly lead to a misjudgment of the link ranking today since the old PageRank cannot even be updated.
Use the backlink tool specifically to analyze your own link profile and that of your competitors and then establish either a link building or link deletion strategy. Kevin Jackowski explained what makes a good backlink in another blog post on XOVI. Analyze your link profile according to these criteria and optimize it. It will certainly be worth it.