Link Audits

Need a backlink audit?

Dr. Marie Haynes is one of the best in the business when it comes to auditing links.

Backlink Audits

You won’t find many people who have more experience in auditing links than I do.  I have been auditing backlinks since early 2012.  I have written many guides and articles on the subject.  I have also spoken at the search conference Pubcon on the subject of link based Google penalties and also SMX on Google’s Penguin algorithm.  If you think that your website may have unnatural links pointing to it, and would like to deal with those links, then I can help.

Who needs a link audit?

Not all websites need a link audit.  However, here are some situations in which I would recommend having a good thorough look at your backlinks:

  • If you feel you have been affected by Google’s Penguin algorithm.  (Not sure? See this page on Penguin recovery.)
  • If you know that you have had links built for you (as opposed to earned).
  • If you feel that you may be affected by negative SEO

Manual link audits vs automated audits

I am not a fan of automated link audit tools.  I have reviewed link audits for many sites that have used an automated link audit tool.  In some cases these tools will recommend disavowing perfectly good links.  And, in the vast majority of cases, a large number of unnatural links can be missed.  The most accurate way to have a thorough look at your links is to manually review them.

Here is how I do my link audits:

  • I create a link spreadsheet by downloading all of your links from,,, webmaster tools latest and webmaster tools sample.
  • I also have techniques that I use to help me find additional links that may not have been picked up by the backlink checkers.
  • I will manually visit one link from each of these domains.
  • I will classify each link and give my opinion on whether it definitely needs to be disavowed, definitely can be kept, or is debatable.
  • For debatable links, we will discuss your options and the best strategy that will allow us to keep as many good links as we can and clear the slate for as many unnatural links as we can.
  • Once we are in agreement then I will create and file a disavow file for you.

Is link removal necessary?

This is a tough call.  Is it safe to just disavow links, or should we be actively removing links?  If you are dealing with a manual penalty, then removal is very important.  If this is the case, then click here to see my services in regards to manual unnatural link penalties (link soon).  But, if you are either dealing with Google’s Penguin algorithm, or simply want to clean up your link profile, disavowing most links is usually sufficient.

I wrote a thorough article on the pros and cons of removing vs disavowing links on Search Engine Watch. In summary, I recommend removing the links that you actively control and disavowing the rest. However, link removal is available if you want us to do this.  Depending on the type of link you have, we usually have success in removing between 5-35% of the unnatural links.





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Link Audits February 5, 2015


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Marie Haynes is the founder of HIS Web Marketing, formerly at In 2015, she rebranded the company to Marie Haynes Consulting Inc.
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