16 Ways to visualise back links

Over the past ten years within search I’ve read or dealt with link visualization in many ways, it could be to visually see where a website stands against its competition, it could be for a monthly review to show the relevance and quality of links you have and the different type of links, it may be for a sales pitch showing anchor text variations or to illustrate why a website isn’t ranking or you may want to look for patterns in data.

The purpose of this post is to show you a number of ways in which links can be visualized I’ll link to resources of where I first heard of those methods or sources from websites and I’m sure there will be many more and some might be very similar but here we go 16 ways to visualize link data.

The majority of these visualizations require data from a link database such as:

I’m sure there are more but here’s 16 ways to visualize your link data.

1)    Link Profile – Open Site Explorer

Patrick Altoft of Branded3 created a spread sheet and pivot table chart from data downloaded from Open Site explorer http://www.blogstorm.co.uk/using-pivot-charts-to-visually-analyse-competitor-link-profiles/

Basically to visualise a link Profile; he downloaded the data and chose domain / page authority on one axis against the count of links to produce the following:

blogstorm link profiles

2)    Link Profile – Majestic SEO

You can do the same with Majestic SEO data but create the visual as a bar chart instead of area graph. This is part of what you see if you use Analytics SEO; this time count of domains / links against AC Rank.

analytics seo link quality

3)    Categorizing Links

Next Richard Baxter created an excel sheet to quickly categorize your links. (https://seogadget.co.uk/categorising-your-links/) The sheet does a look up on the most popular directories, panda winners and losers and pushes out the charts of how your site fairs.


This sheet is a good quick visualization but doesn’t have enough data to be that accurate but we liked it anyway and I’m sure Richard will have a more extensive version he uses in house.

4)    Anchor Text Variations

Now you can pull link data from a lot of different sources i.e.

  • Majestic SEO
  • Open Site Explorer
  • Ahrefs
  • Search Metrics
  • Bing Webmaster tools

Once you’ve downloaded the data into excel simply pivot the information by anchor text look at top ten is always easier.


5)    Anchor Text Variations pt2

I’ve often seen anchor text visualised by a tag cloud to indicate the most prominent anchor text by weight and size of the words in the tag cloud. You can use a few website such as:


6)    Brand Profile

To carry out this it requires manual manipulation of the link data, the simplest and quickest way to do this is to filter your anchor text by branded keywords and then various miscellaneous keywords, I find this a quite good visualisation to look at how a site has been pushing the branded side of links.


7)    Type of Links

If you haven’t ever used www.linkdetective.com then try it out, it spiders the links you upload and can display the type of links (In General); a lot of this is based on position but I like it for a quick overview.


8)    Link Types pt. 2

Occasional it is useful to see the type of links you have pointing to your website such as, text links, images, redirects etc, again use the data you have in excel from OSE or similar and look at how your site is linked to.


9)    Link Types pt. 3

If I’ve gone in depth into a websites links and the competitors I will often manually review the type of links (I do personally have a good look up Excel document so I can do this far more quickly) however I find this very useful to diagnose the type of links someone has in terms of:

  • Directories
  • Articles
  • Press releases
  • Footer links
  • Etc.


Linkdex has a similar tool which is automatic to give you this kind of spread; not as accurate as manual manipulation but far more quicker.

10)   Link Count over time

This method of link count I have seen used in destructive ways before, whereby SEO companies have advised business that they have lost links as appose to what new links have been found, but its always useful to have a quick look at how your competitors are doing in terms of link velocity. You can determine when the links were built, just when they were picked up from majestic or ahrefs but its a nice overview.

Majestic SEO (Backlinks reviewed non-cumulative)


Ahrefs (Backlink count)


11)  Trust Flow

If you not aware of Majestic SEO trust and citation flow update, then you should check it out;

  • I’ve tested this against sites which have received “Unnatural links warnings” in Google Webmaster tools and have found some correspondences.
  • The graph itself shows the quality and trust of your link profile.


12)   Links by Top Level Domain:

You can use an export from Majestic, Open site explorer or ahrefs will do this automatically.


13)  No follow v Do follow links

Again simple enough to produce from any of the main link index’s you can take that data in excel or via some coding and produce your follow / no follow percentage.


14) Links Map (Google fusion)

If you had chance to read Mark Cianfrani post on SEER Interactive I think it gives a good visual example on how to use Google’s Fusion Tables to produce link visualizations such as below:

15) Server IP Address (Class C)

I find it occasional useful to look at if the links are from the same servers or class C Ip address, using a tool such as Net Peak Checker allows you to automate the look up information and then download to excel for the visualization

The table below shows the top 10 Class C IP addresses, this looks fairly natural in terms of there is no great number of links from one Class C IP address.

16) Linking Page Language

Again you can use Net Peak checker to look up the language of the pages linking to your website, export to excel and visualise.


Back link visualization can have a number of uses so hopefully you can make use of some of the methods I’ve created or curated from other industry specialists, if you have any other visualizations please add a comment below and love to see them.

Posted in Link Building, Research | 2 Comments

Unnatural links Warning -State of Search – WebmasterradioFM

State of Search Webmaster radio

Quaero Media founder Neil Walker was part of State of Search Radio Show on Webmaster Radio on the June 27, 2012

He joined one of the shows producers Roy Huskies and the Regional Head of SEO at Mediacom, Peter Young.

For full links to the radio shows click the links below:

The show was about recent link warning messages in Google webmaster tools and other recent SEO consultancy stories from the three.

The show itself is run by:

Please do listen to the show and if you have any question don’t hesitate to get in touch; you may also find interesting my recent post on “Unnatural links warnings” on Dave Naylor’s SEO Blog.

Posted in Link Building, Webmaster Tools | Leave a comment

WordPress Parallax Scrolling Website – Quaero Media Goes Live!

After 18 months as being a consultant I have re-branded my consultancy into an overall Agency of “Quaero Media”. The first point of call is getting clients on board but this require more than just my personal name and brand and of course required the development of a company website.

Being different

Rather than just a standard website, I wanted to and felt needed to create a site which stands out but also is built from a strong technical SEO point, so I decided to build a Parallax scrolling website with a community blog attached. If you like parallax websites there are some really good ones like Mario Kart Wii sites like this gave me inspiration to try something a little different.

The Design:

I am not a designer but yet I have worked with many designers and developers over the years, I wouldn’t consider myself to a coder if I was sat in a room full of programmers but yet I can piece together code to perform what I require, I also understand the logic previously working in C+, HTML and then PHP but also being a CTO for a listed company in my previous capacity means I’ve had to be aware of technical specifications in a lot of diverse areas, but to make my life easier I initially purchase a template which I could customise to reduce work load.

Some Background:

So I wanted to use a parallax design, however a one page website is not the best solution for SEO, so I created the blog outside of the parallax framework. (Note: The whole site is created in WordPress). What next created a problem is that for anyone that saw my SMX London presentation on Mobile Trends, Apps and Landing pages (with Rob Kerry and Andy Atkins Kruger) will know I made the statement that “Approximately 20% of your traffic now comes from a mobile device” so I needed to make sure the new company site could be viewed on tablets and smart phones something which parallax websites don’t do very well.

Creating the website:

I’m going to be very transparent and tell you how I created the site, what resources I used, what I had to change to my pages to get the Parallax affect to work in WordPress but also what I did to get the site up and running in fashion which I could take any criticisms on board but know that I implemented a lot of the points which I would advise in my services to other companies.


The website consist of two and half primary themes, you might be thinking how do you have half a theme? It’s because there is one main theme which runs the desktop version of the website which I have created a specific template (The front page) which uses a separate styles sheet and few pieces of code to pull in each single WordPress page into the one page site.

I carried out the standard work to choose a static page for my home page and the blog page.

I then used the following code so that I can pull in each actual single page I created in the WordPress admin into one single page template:

Code to display a page outside of WordPress:

I had to add the standard WordPress header code and then the following:

The Page Title:

<?php $page_id = 164; $page_data = get_page( $page_id ); echo ‘<h2><stong>’. $page_data->post_title .’</strong></h2>’;// echo the title ?>

The content:

<?php $page_id = 164; $page_data = get_page( $page_id ); echo apply_filters(‘the_content’, $page_data->post_content); ?>

Where ID equals the actual page ID, I repeated this ten times so my home page is actually ten pages.

What about duplicate content of those pages? And what about mobile devices?

To get around the mobile device issue I installed the “Mobile theme switcher” plugin (Link in resources); this enabled me to use a second theme for anyone coming to the site from a mobile device.

I used a an adaptive design for the second theme; this means once someone uses the site from a mobile device the whole design adapts to the screen size, the advantage:

  • My site can be seen on virtually all mobile devices and is usable
  • There is no duplication of content as they are all the same URLs

Desktop Version:

Ipad Version:

Iphone Version:

You will however notice that the pages I did create into one single entity for the desktop version are now the menu; so surely this could give some form of duplicate content? I did this because on a mobile you don’t really want all that information on one page, so the unique pages are all accessible from a mobile device I however did no index them and put the canonical as http://quaeromedia.com – thus removing any issues from this scenario.

The other change I had to make to the second theme (For mobile devices) was to remove the dynamic menu and sidebar widgets, this as it simply conflicted with widgets in the desktop theme.

WordPress Setup:

I used the following plugins (annotated with reasons)


Implemented Tracking:

WordPress Settings:


I added following ping services a total of 72 – Download File – (I’m not going to list them all here.)


I also added a list of blacklist comment words (There is probably a lot more, but this is the initial list). – Download file.


For my permalink structure I used:

  • Custom Structure of: /%category%/%postname%-%post_id%.html

This was because I like an organised structure of URLs by Folder, I can also identify posts easily because they will contain .html

Page Speed:

Well its not excatly going to put me a no.1 position if i have a good page speed, but i think it is important to make sure your website is fast on loading, so using firebug for firefox with the Google Pagespeed addon, i simply went through the site to see what changes I could make.

So could be better, but from a personal perspective 90 is a good score and I feel I can benefit my time else where than making this number greater.

What else I did:

For me putting a new website live is not just about the website, you have to consider the social entities which are part of your website family; so I created:

Final Checks:

I think it is important that you check cross browser compatability, however there are so many I have checked Quaero Media works on the following and then will analyse anaytics.

  • Firefox 11.0
  • Google Chrome 20.0.1132.47
  • Internet Explorer 9
  • Ipad 1 – Safari
  • Iphone 4s – Safari

On to the future

We would love to hear you thoughts on our new website, if there was something you would have done differently, if you like / dislike the site, is there any plugins you think we should have used.

Thanks for Reading and welcome to Quaero Media.

Posted in Development, News | 1 Comment