Quality back links are considered as one of the most important ranking factors for organic search from the inception of search engines. Links are still important and will remain important factors in coming days but the only change we may see is; the way we are building them. As Google is one of the most popular search engines, webmaster has to follow their guidelines to get better search position. If you avoid their guidelines, you may have to lose tons of organic traffic that may result in business loss. Here are some link acquisition techniques that may hurt your website in Google SERP:

  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
  • Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
  • Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links
  • Using automated programs or services to create links to your site

Checkout Google link schemes guide to understand this topic in more details.

Google has penalized millions of websites in last couple of years who violates these guidelines including big brands too. Webmaster has to remove those backlinks which violate Google guidelines to recover but the biggest question is; how to identify such backlinks? The answer is; Google webmaster tool and Ahrefs.com that provides detailed insight of backlinks to your website.

You must be thinking about effective ways to generate backlinks that does not violate Google webmaster guidelines right? No worries as we have different tools available online that can help you to understand link acquisition strategies of competitors and can helps you to generate quality and natural backlinks for your websites. Ahrefs.com is one of my favorite tools to dig deeper in competitor’s link that helps me to understand link building patters of my competitor’s websites. Let me share Ahrefs review with you by sharing its useful features in more details.ahrefs review Ahrefs provides a fast graphical representation that would be easy to understand for even a first time user. The tools integrated into the platform include:

  • SEO Report
  • Batch Analysis
  • Domain Comparison
  • Backlink Report
  • Site Explorer and Backlink checker

Lets understand each of this feature and how it can helps you to integrate in your link acquisition strategies.

Domain Comparison

This is one of the best tool that helps you to compare the backlink patterns of your competitor’s website. You can visualize the types and amount of links, domain rank, referring domains and links, % of nofollow and dofollow links and many more. Here is the screenshot of domain comparison tool for some of the leading yoga brands online.Domain comparisonBacklink Report

This is a heavy on graphics tool and quite easy to understand. On access, it takes you to an overview screen and check for available domains, sub domains, target pages, anchors, and broken down TDLs. A section here lists the top values corresponding to each link and as such, this could be a bit of complicated process. Clicking on the backlinks tab lists out their Ahref ranks, its social information on websites like Facebook/Google/Twitter, anchors used for the link, type of link and time of the last update. You can have clear understanding about links and its patterns by visualizing this report. Here is the screenshot of Anchor distribution from Backlink overview report for one of the leading yoga brand.Anchor DistributionYou can see such report for referring domains, sub-domains, tlds etc. All these information leads to a better report as listed and ranked from the highest to the lowest. The final report is highly sortable and can be exported for future reference.

Site Explorer

This tool gives the user a perfect bird’s eye view of a website/domain. This also includes a wide range of technical information along with information for social signals. An already accessed report is stored in the History section for analysis benefits. The overview tab presents the following sections:

  • Total Backlinks
  • Referring Pages
  • Referring Subnets
  • Referring IPs
  • Backlinks Types (involves dofollow, nofollow, redirect, sitewide, not sitewide, frame, form, image, .edu and .gov)
  • Referring Domains (involves .edu, .gov, .com, .org and .net)

Each of the metric listed above links to a clickable number wherein more information is presented. There is also a huge range of information about anchors used in the domains and represented by bar charts. An analyst looking for graphical presentation will certainly love this tool. Here is the screenshot of overview where as each information can be explored in more details as per your requirement.Site overviewThe Ahrefs link building platform also comes with a highly saturated Navigation bar, featuring:

  • External links
  • Anchors text distribution
  • New/Lost backlinks within specified time frame
  • Referring Domains
  • Pages
  • Raw Exports
  • Linked Domains
  • Site Issues

Raw data is critical for any kind of analysis and with link building, the benefits extend substantially. The top pages in overview tab in Ahrefs presents a detailed list of pages with useful information about errors including HTTP Timeouts, permanent redirects, 302 issues, missing descriptions, overly long URLs and inappropriate title texts. This would be a huge advantage as domains involving site problems bring about a bad name if not corrupted functionality. The Pages tab of the Ahrefs is also nicely formed with a huge amount of social information listed within. Alongside each of the page URLs there is also a tool for accessing the organic keywords advisable foe the page.

Ahrefs is a unique suite integrating “the largest index for live links” and this is the reason i just love this tool for all link research activities. The tools is available both in a free and paid “premium” version and further as an affiliate program and as an API. The developers at Ahrefs have created their own APIs and this puts them in the same platform as SEMRush, Majestic and Moz, other leading service provider in this category. The pricing for Ahrefs starts at $79 for a month and the premium category costs around $499 for enterprise plans. Also, most of the plans come with an upfront discount.


As natural link acquisition is one of the most important strategies for an online marketers, tools like Ahrefs can not only save your precious time but also helps you to built best link acquisition strategies. For online entrepreneurs the Ahrefs would be of great advantages and will certainly lead to a better designed and placed page than those just relying upon hunch.

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Jignesh gohel is a Google Ads certified professional and digital marketing consultant having over 14 years of experience. He loves writing about gadgets, pay per click advertisement, ecommerce and online marketing. Connect with him here at Linkedin - Jignesh Gohel