We want to document our backlinks for several reasons:
- Check whether our off-page strategy is working or not
- Know which backlinks is ours so we don’t disavow by accident
- Understand how much has gone into the site
- Decide how to craft our off-page SEO strategy
- Chase the right person when a paid backlink disappears
Tracking your backlinks by spreadsheet is the best way to go. However, there are tools that can spit out insights from your backlinks data input and notify you when links go down.
Tracking and Managing Your Backlinks On Spreadsheets
Here is how I structure my backlinks spreadsheet columns:
- Target URL. This lets us know what pages have the most link equity. Might be handy with internal linking campaigns.
- Anchor text. This is either the ideal anchor text or the anchor text being used.
- Source. For those buying their links from somewhere, you may want to know from who. Especially important if you are renting PBNs. You also know who to contact when your backlink gets lost or removed.
- Link type. You can alternatively have multiple tabs. For the sake of keeping it simple, you can use this column to identify blog comments, citations, guest post links, PBN rental links, and any other type of link out there. It also ensures you have the data to determine whether you have sufficient diversity for safety reasons.
- Price. Great to see how much is being spent. Can help with future budgeting. Can also help check whether you are being ripped off by a deal or not.
- Date. This gives you insight on the link velocity to interested target pages. You can better craft and control how fast you build backlinks.
- Status. This lets you know whether a backlink has expired, pending publication, or is lost. You can keep a running record of links even if they are gone.
- Live link. This is the URL of the external site with backlink to you.
- Notes. You can write other things on your mind here. Maybe you want to note how long the link will be live for. Maybe you want to note other conditions for having acquired the link (Reciprocal link that you cannot remove? Occasional social share? Recurring rental?).
- Metrics. Some people like to track Domain/Page Authority (Moz), Domain/URL Rating (Ahrefs), or unique/dofollow referring domains. Whatever you want, you can add additional columns for it.
Making Sure You Stay On Top Of Tracking
It’s easy to forget to track backlinks. Here are several steps you can take to make sure you don’t forget:
- Make use of screenshots. Throw the screenshot itself into your spreadsheet. This won’t have all the information you want, but it sure helps to remind you at a later date to update the spreadsheet.
- Check your link building tools each month. Whether you are using an automated outreach tool, a client relations management (CRM) tool, or buying from a source and their dashboard, schedule a day each month to visit those tools.
- Use SEO backlinks checker tools. For the super lazy, this is an alternative. Keep in mind PBN rental sources may block your tools from identifying them. I wouldn’t recommend this approach, but it is an option.
Wrapping Things Up
Though a relatively simple process, tracking and managing your backlinks can help you ensure backlinks aren’t lost. It also provides you with a lot of valuable insights, such as how much is being spent, link velocity for your backlinks building campaign, and who to chase when a backlink goes down.