The best backlinks are the ones search engines know about. His four reports for Google Search Console help you analyze the strengths of your backlink portfolio.
Search engines use backlinks (links from other sites to your site) as a measure of value and authority in their algorithms.
Google’s original PageRank algorithm came up with the concept that links are like citations in research papers, for example. The more citations, the more valuable the site.
To attract links, your site’s content must be of value to other users. Also, link equity (total value of backlinks) is an algorithmic component of all major search engines. Analyzing the links that contribute to that equity will help you focus your link acquisition efforts.
The Google Search Console “Links” report is an excellent (free) source for that analysis.
The links page has four sections:
- “Top Landing Pages” (external): Pages on your site that have links from other sites.
- “Top Linking Sites” (external): External sites that link to your site.
- “Top link text” (external): Anchor text of external sites that link to your site.
- “Top Linking Pages” (Internal): Pages on your site with the most internal links.
Search Console also discloses the total number of links to your site that Google has crawled. It’s marked ‘2’ in the image above (34,506 links). You can export a sample of these links by clicking “Export External Links” marked “3”.
The export below contains only 9,451 of the site’s total 34,506 backlinks, or 27.4%. Also, links are not necessarily the most important or most representative. Still, by visiting the pages sampled, you can determine what types of sites link to yours and how.
For example, the Linguee.com.ar URL highlighted above links to many sites, which we translate. But Linguee.com.ar shows a lot of ads on first view and has no real content of its own. Google may consider this a low value link.
top landing page
All pages of the site can attract external links. The Top Linked Pages – External report shows the number of links per page. For example, in the screenshot below, 375 sites (marked ‘2’) have 14,927 links to the home page (‘1’).
Click on a page to see the sites that link to that page. If you click on the home page URL above, you will see Trustpilot.com linking to it. Click the next level to see which pages on Trustpilot.com contain the link.
You can also filter pages to include or exclude characters by clicking on the 3-line triangle marked ‘3’ in the image above and selecting ‘Include Pages’. Then you can filter links to product pages, for example.
Search Console provides filtering in the same place in all reports. You can also export data for all reports (marked ‘4’ above). Search Console doesn’t store your data, so we recommend regularly exporting your data. Provides only the last 16 months.
top link site
The top 1,000 domains linking to your site are shown in this report. For example, in the image below, Trustpilot.com is the top linking site (column marked “1”) with 7,002 pages (“2”) linking to page 2 (“3”).
Search engines use the number of unique, irrelevant linking domains as their primary measure of value, rather than the overall number of links. For example, 50 sites with 1 link are better than 1 site with 50 links.
Scanning the list of “Top Linking Sites” will tell you how much a linking domain is worth. Affiliate sites (owned by the same company as you) are similarly low value. For example, the “4” sites above are affiliates.
Unlike past Penguin algorithms, Google generally does not penalize sites that contain many low-value links. But low-value links don’t help either. They do not contribute to your link equity and ranking ability.
top link text
“Anchor text” is the word that contains the link. This has double value. Contribute to the contextual relevance of the page containing the link, as well as the linked page.
The more specific your anchor text is, the more valuable it will be. A “click here” or “read more” anchor text sends a weak relevance signal to both pages.
To analyze the anchor text that links to your site, scan the list in the “Top Link Text” report, marked “1” in the example above. Text without a brand or domain is usually the most informative.
This report has no numerical data and no way to determine which pages contain the text or which pages it links to. Therefore, this report is less useful than others.
Ideally, your site’s internal links point to the most important pages for ranking. Each internal link carries a small amount of link equity and relevance. A stronger internal link network can produce stronger organic search rankings.
The Top Linking Pages – Internal report allows you to analyze your internal link network. The total number of known internal link pages is 43,985, marked as ‘1’.
The landing page at the top of the example above (2,038 links, marked “3”) is where the shopper can place an order. The home page is second. Scan your list to make sure your high-priority pages have the right number of internal links. Otherwise, consider improving your internal link structure.