Keyword targeting is crucial to success, but only the tip of the iceberg of a successful SEO strategy. Backlinks are another necessary part of SEO, but managing them on your own can feel like a full time job. Managing your backlink profile is essential to avoiding setbacks to losing masses of organic search traffic, but if you don’t know how you are leaving yourself vulnerable to major online setbacks.

How Backlinks Help Your Website

Part of the infamous Google search algorithm actually measures and grades your search engine rankings based on your backlink profile.  Basically, the idea is that a website that many other sites have linked to should gain a better ranking than a website with no backlinks because the content is more relevant. It is very hard to quantify the effectiveness of an individual link since we do not have access to the inner workings of the Google algorithm. However, we do know that a backlink from a well-established authority site with tons of organic traffic is much more valuable than a link from a site that was just thrown up yesterday.

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All Backlinks Are Not Created Equal

This does not mean that every link to your site is beneficial to your rankings, though. Recent updates to the Google algorithm has effectively weeded out websites that spammed backlinks. In fact, low quality sites that link to your pages can decrease your rankings. In the past, black hat web developers and SEO specialists tried to harm other websites’ rankings by linking to them from low quality, spammy sites.

Poisonous Links Can Harm Rankings

This is just one of the reasons why it is absolutely essential to manage and monitor your backlink profile. There are Google tools and other methods to disassociate yourself from these poison links, but you will never know they exist (or find out too late) unless you proactively monitor your backlinks. And what are the consequences if you don’t? Well, dropping in the rankings and losing organic search traffic is one consequence, for a start. The worst case scenario is getting penalized by Google. This is disastrous because it can literally take months to recover. Previously, penalized sites had to wait until the next Penguin update (a component of the search algorithm) before they were taken off the naughty list.

Although, this is yet another job that can suck up your time and distract you from running your business. Whether you sell digital goods, engage in ecommerce, or sell services, you need to focus on running your business instead of wasting time on a thousand different aspects of your web presence.

Tools to Monitor Backlinks

To monitor backlinks, you need to learn how to use certain tools. In the end, I think hiring an expert is the most advantageous because it saves you time and you don’t need to build a new skill. However, some of these tools include:

About 

Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.