Google Search Console Links Report: Monitor Your Backlinks For Free
Even if you have only a basic understanding of SEO, you’ll know that the links your site gets are important. Building a strong profile of links to your different pages is a major part of any long-term SEO strategy. But getting the right balance of backlinks isn’t an easy task. This is where the Google Search Console links report comes in.
Many people don’t realize that you can use Google Search Console to find who links to your site and, further, track your site’s internal linking. This post will review the tool’s invaluable Links Report.
Previous posts in the Google Search Console series:
- How to Set Up and Verify Google Search Console
- An Introduction to Google Search Console: What is it?
- How to Use Google Search Console to Improve SEO
- Using Enhancements & Structured Data in Google Search Console
What is the Google Search Console Links Report
Google Search Console offers a range of different reports on your website. They cover everything from your page’s position in search results to errors in your site’s code. The Links Report is one of the tool’s main features. The Report tracks both external and internal links. This means links to your site from other websites on the net (external) and the links between the pages on your site (internal).
The information you can find within the report includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Top linking sites
The Links Report shows the root domains of sites that link to you, in order of how many links they have to your content.
Top linked pages
The pages on your site which are most often linked to by other sites. The report also allows you to see which of your pages are most often linked to by which external sites. I.e. which pages a certain domain links to the most.
The above insights are all also available for a site’s internal links. That helps you to assess which of your pages is linked to most within your site structure. As a result, you can tidy up that structure and ensure a smooth flow of traffic through your site.
Top linking text
What text other sites are using to link to your pages. This is crucial information as poor anchor text from external sites can be damaging. It can give Google the wrong idea as to the topic of your content.
The Google Search Console Links Report can tell you everything you could want to know about links to your site and its pages. Just having that information, though, isn’t enough. You need to know how you can analyze and assess this information. More pertinently still, you will want to know what you can do with the data. This will provide you with insights that you can use to improve your website and your business.
How You Can Use The Links Report Data
All the above boils down to something quite simple. It’s a collection of straightforward data. Data that tells you who is linking to you and which of your pages they’re linking to. Amongst other things. There are lots of ways you can use that data to make a difference to your site and your wider business.
The following are a few examples of some of the most useful things you might do with the Google Search Console links report data:
ID & Reach Out to Serial Linkers
As mentioned previously, Google Search Console’s Links Report can inform you which sites link to you the most. The sites that routinely point people toward your content are known as serial linkers. These are the domains that appear at the top of the ‘Top Linking Domains’ section of the Links Report.
It can be good to reach out to those sites and build a relationship with the people behind them. They’ve already shown that they’re fans of your content. That means they could be receptive to a suggestion from you to work together more closely. You might be able to agree to a more formal linking arrangement. Furthermore, you could even suggest providing guest posts on one another’s blogs. It’s a similar idea to engaging with affiliate marketing.
If you are going to reach out in this way, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you should disregard social media platforms and forums on the ‘Top Linking list’. Second, check out any site that’s linking to you before reaching out to them.
It’s only links from high authority, trustworthy sites which will help you. They can improve your site’s link profile. Links from untrustworthy sources, won’t. Backlinks provided by sites in irrelevant niches won’t do you much good, either (but aren’t totally irrelevant). If you specialise in remote working tools (video conferencing platforms, etc.), links from pages about universal TV remote controls won’t cut it. Even if they use the word ‘Remote’ as their anchor text.
Learn From Your Mistakes & Your Successes
The above is a clue that link building is far from straightforward. What you have to do is to create quality content that you think people will want to link to. Then, you need to do your best to make sure the right people find the content. This is not easy and it’s not fast and that is why it’s essential to undertake SEO that offers real value.
The Google Search Console links report can help you streamline the process. Viewing your ‘Top Linked Pages’ shows the content on your site that is most interesting to others. It’s the content that has been found and linked to the most. This part of the Links Report also shows you the content that hasn’t been getting many backlinks.
The information that you get from this provides you with the chance to learn from both your mistakes and your successes. You can identify what your top-performing content has in common. You will also be able to see the types of content or topics covered which don’t do well. From there, you can tailor your content marketing strategy moving forward. You’ll know what types of content to create more of and which to avoid.
Disavow Spammy & Unwanted Links
The Links Report is also helpful for showing if you have links to your pages that you’d rather you didn’t. You can end up with lots of low-quality links from untrustworthy websites and know nothing about it. Such links will not help your standing with Google. You can use Search Console to stop such links from building up.
Pages linked to by sites Google suspects to be spammy will also be viewed more sceptically. Google can often ID spam sites itself, and will ignore links from them. The Google Search Console links report, though, gives you the chance to avoid any risk whatsoever.
By checking your Links Report, you can identify any links to your content from untrustworthy sources. All you then need to do is to disavow those links. Google has a guide on how to do this. It’s your way of telling Google that your content doesn’t deserve to be associated with a spam site.
Have Questions About Google Search Console?
This unfortunately brings an end to our Google Search Console series. And our Google Analytics fundamentals series. There are of course plenty of other things to be talked about regarding Google Search Console and Google Analytics and we will definitely be doing more of that in the future. For now, you have these two series to understand the basics.
If there is something that you’d really like answered regarding either of these platforms, please let us know down in the comments and we will definitely create an article on it.
The list of articles in the Google Search Console series were listed at the start of this article. However, you can find our Google Analytics fundamentals series either on the blog or here:
- An Introduction to Google Analytics (GA3) Universal Analytics
- How to Set up Google Analytics on Your Site the Right Way
- A Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics Dashboards
- A Simple Guide to Site Search Tracking in Google Analytics
- Google Analytics Acquisition: What Content Are Your Visitors Consuming?
- How to Find Which Device Users Search For You On: Google Analytics
- Google Analytics Audience Reports Guide: Understanding Your Audience
- The Definitive Guide to Google Analytics Goals: Setup, Uses & Definitions
- How to connect Google Search Console to GA4 - 26/05/2023
- How GA4 Integrates with the Google Cloud Platform - 12/04/2023
- Do’s and Don’ts of a GA4 migration - 05/04/2023
Thank you, Will. I didn’t realize I could use this report for internal linking as well. That’s awesome. I was finding it hard to see how many internal links my posts had without having to look at each in the dashboard with Yoast. And GS is FREE.
You are most welcome Lisa! Internal links are the secret (oftentimes forgotten) secret. It turns out the internal linking report in GSC follows suit!