I recently talked to the owner of a fairly big SEO agency and was slightly surprised to hear him say "we dont bother with a link audit for new clients now"
It surprised me for a number of reasons: -
They have always been very thorough in what they do for their clients
They seem to do good work
For me, the link audit is the basis of all the offpage work that you can do for a client. Its as important as the on page tech SEO audit.
A link profile audit is an important step in any digital marketing strategy as it provides a comprehensive analysis of the quality and quantity of links pointing to a client's website. It helps to identify gaps in the link profile, such as low-quality or irrelevant links, which can be targeted for further link acquisition campaigns, helping to fill the gaps with the right type of links from the right types of sites.
The benefits of a link audit from an acquisition perspective
Here are some key benefits of conducting a link profile audit:
Identifying link-building opportunities: The audit process can reveal any areas where the client's website is lacking in terms of link type or quality, or quantity. This helps to inform the link-building strategy and ensure that the links being built are relevant and high-quality.
Identifying competitors: A link audit can also help identify potential competitors that the client may not be aware of. This information can be used to adjust the client's strategy accordingly.
Identifying link partners: A link audit can also reveal potential link partners for the client, such as relevant websites with a good link profile. We do this when looking through the linking domains and exploring who else they link to and interact with.
By identifying gaps in the client's link profile, a link profile audit provides valuable insights that can be used to inform a more targeted and effective link acquisition campaign. The goal is to improve the client's link profile by acquiring more high-quality and relevant links, which can ultimately help to improve the website's visibility and search engine rankings.
The most important reason to audit a profile
The link audit is also the only way to truly understand what you actually have.
If you have a new client and you pull their GSC links, you see a small snapshot of what Google knows.
You might then choose to add Ahrefs or Majestic (or both if you're being super thorough), but you have to de-dupe these and try and get to one version of the truth.
It's already complicated and boring work.
Even if you do all of that, you then only see what I like to call the 'Gross profile'
This is the profile with every link counting and it's a really false way of looking at things.
Lets look at an example. Say you had this new client, they have a healthy looking link profile from the Ahrefs graph but they have come to you because their previous agency didn't seem to be delivering the rankings they hoped.
Without the link audit you're seeing the 'Gross profile' - everything is counting... but that's not how these things work is it?
What can remove the value of some of these links from the profile?
- Follow status
- In their legacy disavow file
- Ignored by Google's SpamBrain
If you audit the profile, you may find this is their real profile: -
So in reality maybe 10% of the gross profile is actually helping them rank. This can change your plans massively, the audit reveals its probably not an on-page content issue, its just as likely to be that their newer and more active competitors are out-competing them by having more links that actually help. Even if those competitors have a much lower 'Gross profile' count.
Audit your links, its the window of what needs to be done to succeed.