How-to 11 min read

How to control the growth of the link popularity of the website

A sharp increase of backlinks and other changes in the dynamics of the link popularity may indicate the prohibited methods of increasing it. Track the dynamics to protect yourself from getting under the filters.
When used correctly, the link popularity helps the website to improve its SERP position in search results. Also, the publication of links to your resource makes it possible to obtain a certain degree of trust from the search engines.

In order not to go beyond the link promotion strategy and to control its effectiveness, it is necessary to analyze the changes taking place with the link popularity. Such an analysis is necessary to:

  • check if the published links are indexed;
  • check if there are any third-party links which publication you did not initiate;
  • to adjust the strategy of external promotion, the volume of publications;
  • identify and eliminate the errors.
Link promotion is a component of SEO optimization, which is responsible for building authority and trust from search engines. Link publishing occurs both on a paid basis and by agreement.
The required condition for external promotion is a balance. This means that links are not published on the principle of "more is better", a solid strategy of external promotion is being developed, which will ensure the growth of positions for key queries and prevent the imposition of sanctions by search engines.

Irrelevant links, which are bought thousands per month, can harm your website and drive it under the filters. But if you buy not many links - hundreds, - they will not give you any effect.

The sharp changes in the dynamics of the link popularity attract the attention of search algorithms that are automatically punished for this. Similar actions are regarded by search engines as an attempt to manipulate search results. Swings from zero to several thousand links per month are considered sharp.

Analysis of link growth will allow:

  • to find new websites which can be later used for link building;
  • explore the quality of published links and the naturalness of dynamics;
  • control the growth rate of the link popularity.

To learn how to check number of backlinks in a website, you can use the tools:

Analysis of link popularity in the Google Search Console

The tool is useful because it shows all the indexed links. This means that you will receive information on links which Google searches take into account.

To get a detailed dynamics report, go to the tool, then select the "Links" section in the left menu, as in the screenshot below:
link analysis in the Search Console
This section allows you to view and export data from the websites linking to your resource. In the old version of the console, the reports are in this section:
link analysis in the old version of the Google Search Console
To get information on the most frequently referred websites, open the "Popular Links" report in more detail:
Popular links in the Google Search Console
Here you will receive all detailed information about the crawled links. This document can be filtered or downloaded to your computer:
Popular sites with links in the Google Search Console
For a more advanced analysis, you can download the report from the tool and perform the analysis manually. Then you will need to export the data to Google Sheets and set up the chart by the ranges of the table.

This will require basic skills for working with Excel and charting. There is nothing complicated in it, and everyone will be able to perform such an analysis, the only drawback is that you will have to constantly download the information on the links from the console manually, sort it and display it in a full report by yourself. You will need to combine several different uploads in one report in order to, for example, analyze the anchor text list.

Since time is money, you can turn to Serpstat for a more advanced and automated analysis of link changes.

Link popularity analysis in Serpstat

In order to get ready-made data, including a visual graph, go to your projects and select the "Backlink Analysis" section in the left menu.
link analysis in Serpstat
Selecting the "Summary Report", you will receive:

  • List of the link donors.
This report contains data from all websites that have published a link to your website. The total number of donors is highlighted in blue, and the domains that appeared during the last day are highlighted in green.

  • The total number of backlinks.
  • The total number of unique IP addresses.
  • Data on the number of domains which the studied page refers to.
  • The total number of pages links to which are placed on the page.
  • Data on the amount of pages that are related to internal links.
  • Unique IP addresses that link to your page.
  • Information about the subnets in which the specified IP addresses are located.
  • Summary about the number of "edu" and "gov" domains. Domains with this ending have more weight among others, since search robots have a positive attitude, trust. This observation is quite common among SEO-specialists, and there are reasons to take it into account.
Statistics backlinks in Serpstat
Thanks to the report indicated in the example, you get reliable data, that 5.79 thousand domains link to the website. Over the 1400-day range, donors published 93.62 thousand of links.

Below the summary is a chart that will help you quickly navigate the dynamics of changes in the link popularity:
Link dynamics in Serpstat
A large number of ups and downs is a bad sign; the curve should smoothly grow up. Such jumps indicate a clear abuse of links.
But sometimes, your competitors can do it. In this case, immediately report this technical support to all search engines and you can not worry about the negative impact of such jumps in links.

When analyzing link popularity changes, note that the default period is 120 days. If you need wider coverage, then adjust the schedule on the "History" tab. It is available to users of Plan C tariff and higher.

A summary report will allow you to see the big picture. This makes it possible to identify periods of growth backlinks and periods of loss. For example, if you see the loss of links in a short period of time, this may indicate that:
The links blinked. This happens when temporary or rented links were not renewed on time, and they were removed. This type of link is considered the less trust, low-quality, because the link, as a rule, is contained not in the context of thematic content, but somewhere placed - for example, in the link cloud.

Of course, if the links are extended, some of them will be restored automatically, but only if there is free space on the donor's website.
The website owner purposefully took off the links. The reason, perhaps, was the imposition of sanctions. For low-quality link popularity, search engine sanctions are imposed, which limit the visibility of the web resource in SERP.

To get away from filters is to abandon few trust and non-thematic links. Filters leave their mark on the further SEO-promotion of the website, its history, so be careful with links.
There are other possible causes of sharp changes in the dynamics of the link popularity, but we will not consider them in this article.

When analyzing links to your website, you should definitely pay attention to anchors.
link anchors in Serpstat
Spamming with key phrases in anchor links is unacceptable. If your analysis showed that most of the links contain an anchor, for example, "buy a bicycle", then this is definitely a reason to worry.

Explore in more detail what percentage of the total mass relates to anchor links ("buy a bicycle"), and which does not ("on the website", "here", "Bicycle 01 company", etc.). The balance most used by SEO-specialists refers to the Pareto rule – 80/20. But in view of the individual construction of a website promotion strategy, experienced specialists using another ratio.

Detailed summaries of donor's data, linking pages, link anchors and leader pages should be found in the corresponding sections of the menu. This will allow you to get not a superficial understanding of the situation with external promotion, but to make a deep analysis of your website.


An analysis of building of the link popularity is carried out both before the start of the promotion, and periodically: perform slices that control the situation.

Large volumes of non-thematic links with a low indicator of trust negatively affect on SEO-promotion. In addition, there is a risk of getting sanctions that can seriously limit the visibility of the website or part of its pages in search results.

You can use the Google Search Console and Serpstat tools to analyze links.

Youshould also keep in mind, that competitors may purchase links to you from substandard resources. This needs to be tracked, monitored and timely informed to search engines.

This article is a part of Serpstat's Checklist tool
Checklist at Serpstat
Checklist is a ready-to-do list that helps to keep reporting of the work progress on a specific project. The tool contains templates with an extensive list of project development parameters where you can also add your own items and plans.
Try Checklist now
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