Regulating your incoming backlinks isn’t easy, especially when doing it manually. But when you’re working as hard as possible to create a strong SEO plan and climb the search engine rankings, it can be frustrating to discover that some links have either dropped considerably or were eliminated entirely.
Sometimes declining backlinks are preventable, but you may find that, in other instances, there was nothing you could have done to maintain your backlink profile. But whatever the cause of your backlinks going down, it’s important to understand the cause.
This blog will go through some of the top reasons why your backlinks may not perform as you expected.
If your backlinks suddenly decrease or even disappear entirely, it’s easy to lose hope and get bogged down with things like who is to blame and how unfair it may feel to you at the time. However, the fact remains that your competitors aren’t going to sit and wait for you to fix the issue, which is why it’s so important to understand why they’ve gone down and how you can prevent them from becoming a regular occurrence.
The best way to get to the root of the problem is by using analytics software and retracing your steps. The software can help you to discover which links have been lost or broken. You can then begin remedying the problem by reaching out to site owners or simply moving on and learning from your mistakes. Always keep a comprehensive list of your backlinks to map out where things start going wrong.
If you find that you can do little about your declining backlinks, it may be time to stop analyzing what’s happening and take action instead.
The first potential reason is simple - the links in question were of poor quality and deemed toxic. These terms can broadly cover many aspects of a bad backlink, from the poor rankings of the page in question, or the layout of the website’s page, right up to the fact that it may be linked to too many similar pages under the exact same anchor text.
If you’ve been buying cheap backlinks, many of them may have been of low quality. It’s always best to earn your backlinks as naturally as possible. However, if you are paying for backlinks, make sure you choose websites related to your niche that put out great content. Backlinks should always be about more than just earning a link – see every backlink opportunity as a chance to educate and engage with your audience.
Suppose you aren’t using analytics software to track your backlinks and have no reliable way of tracking them. In that case, you may have enough data to understand whether your backlinks truly are declining. You may have misremembered the number of links that were placed, or you may be unaware of a slew of new links your team recently acquired.
If you’re using spreadsheets or e-mails to track your link-building efforts, it might be time to invest in a better solution. But before assuming anything is wrong, check to ensure that everybody is completely up to date and that no team member has forgotten to send updates.
If these poor-quality links persist, you may experience penalization from Google or another search engine. Because the aim of a good search engine is to provide someone with the best match for their searches possible (including accuracy and quality), poor links can significantly decrease your page rankings.
In some extreme cases, you can even be dropped from the main Google index itself or want todisavow the link off your own back, as you’ve been perceived as potential spam or a harmful site that’s of poor quality.
If you do suspect that a Google penalty is the cause of your declining links, it might be time to conduct a site audit. You can receive Google penalties for a wide variety of SEO mistakes– it’s not always about backlinks. Google usually issues two types of penalties: manual penalties and algorithmic penalties. The former comes from an in-depth review of your website, and the latter when you’ve been using features that aren’t in line with Google guidelines.
The internet is constantly changing, but change doesn’t always mean growth. As new sites pop up daily, old sites will also disappear, rebrand, or migrate to new domains. If you’ve seen a reduction in your backlinks, it could be that the site they were placed on no longer exists. This will never be your fault, and it’s an inescapable part of the digital world.
However, low-quality sites are much more likely to disappear than established sites with more authority. You can reduce your chances of experiencing this issue by placing links on high-quality sites with a good reputation.
Alternatively, if the site is definitely still there, it could simply be that the website owner has decided to cull some of their content. The fact that your backlinks were included in this likely has nothing to do with your business and more to do with the vision that that particular site has.
However, it’s always worth reaching out to site owners with whom you have a strong relationship and questioning why your links have disappeared. Sometimes, if there’s room for your links in another blog post where they can provide readers with value, site owners will be more than happy to replace some of your lost links. Similarly, if a site has moved to a new domain, you must ask the site owner to ensure your links are also placed there.
Sometimes the competition has something up its sleeve, and it just clicks with the algorithm. And if they’ve earned some strong backlinks from reputable places, they may just rise organically. But when it comes to your backlinks, there’s another reason why a backlink of yours may be taken down or sink to new lows.
Unfortunately, it’s not always due to a competitor's skills and marketing savvy either. Vindictive competitors may sometimes report your website, links, or other contact forms as spam. If this is done regularly and strategically, it can undo months of hard work.
If one or more of the sites doing the linking in blog posts suddenly vanishes or ceases to exist, it leaves behind a trail of broken or expired links in its wake. In some cases, the source of the backlinks may have been proven to be inaccurate, potentially harmful, or untrustworthy.
When starting out on your backlink tracking journey, you might wonder what you should be looking out for. The following factors are a good place to start:
Tracking these factors can help you ensure that your backlinks aren’t decreasing and that they contribute positively to your website’s authority. However, it’s challenging to track your backlinks without using any software. While having a spreadsheet of all this data is good, you may also want to invest in a digital solution to automate the process.
Majestic – One of the top ways to keep track of your backlinks, this tool helps you to understand whether your backlinks are of high quality. This can help you decide how to proceed in your backlink-building journey while also allowing you to monitor your current links.
Linkio – If you’ve neglected to write down your anchor text and placement sites in the past, Linkio can help. It will give you everything you need to know about every link pointing toward your site and provides real-time data.
Mention – This tool is the best for PRs and site owners looking to track whether their audience is talking about their brand, regardless of whether they’re linking to it. It will find all mentions of your website on the internet, which could help you to identify backlink opportunities. Notice a site singing your praises or talking about your services? Reach out.
When backlinks go down, it’s difficult to know how to keep on top of monitoring all of these potential link issues. However, with technology at your fingertips and an innovative backlinks monitor system to continually check, evaluate, and analyze these issues for you, you can prevent them from happening and keep your brand where it belongs on the search engine rankings.