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Home » Link Audits & Google Penalty Recovery » 6 Common Link Audit Mistakes and their FIX

6 Common Link Audit Mistakes and their FIX

I made a list of the most frequent link audit mistakes to help you avoid them.

Read this post to find out what can go wrong with a link audit and how to deal with various issues.

Did you do any of these mistakes in the past? Don’t worry, we will help you fix them.

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Link Audit mistakes

What are the most common link audit mistakes?

Did you ever wonder why your website never recovered from a Google Penalty? There can be multiple reasons why that happened. Many SEOs and webmasters out there make mistakes every day. Be it because of the lack of proper education or because they want to get the work done fast and treat SEO and link audits like a one-time job.

You need to be very careful who you give your link audit work to. The best thing is to do it in-house. But if you decide to outsource it, make sure that you choose an LRT Certified Professional, LRT Certified Xpert or LRT Certified Agency. We train SEOs to do proper link audits and ongoing link risk management for their client’s accounts.

If you ever paid for a link audit, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Who did the link audit for you?
  • How much did you pay?
  • Did you check the disavowed links yourself?
  • Did someone suggest to remove all your links and start fresh?
  • Did the SEO remove all your “weak” links?
  • Did someone just start a link building campaign without doing a link audit first?

Read on and learn about the most frequent link audit mistakes.


Avoid these link audit mistakes! It can save your business.

Every day my team and I talk to clients about using Link Detox (DTOX) and LinkResearchTools (LRT) for their link audits.

Some of our customers decide to go for “an outsourced solution” that is so much cheaper for the full service – i.e. some Link Detox credits and the full audit, plus webmaster contacting, plus follow-up plus good-night sleep for the next months and years to come.

That sounds like – “too good to be true.” And I am afraid many fall for the dream that a link audit is a cheap, quick fix done by some cheap labor offshore worker. If it sounds too good to be true, it often is. And we certainly don’t recommend shortcutting your responsibility to take care of your backlink profile.

We’ve seen a lot of scams, frauds or simply incompetence from “cheap labor” workers that advertised their service with our trademarked brand “Link Detox” or “LinkResearchTools.” We’ve even seen people advertising their link audit services using a fake LRT Associate, LRT Certified Professional, Xpert or Agency certification.

Other customers decide to do the link audit themselves, but they don’t understand how important it is to allocate time and resources to SEO. They are happy to do a link audit, even if it’s not a full link audit, just to cross this task off the list. That’s not enough to recover from a penalty, that’s not enough to get great rankings. You need to look at the full backlink profile if you care about all those leads and sales that you can get every month from organic search traffic.

Here’s the list of the most frequent link audit fails sorted from 6 to 1 being the worst and most terrible mistake.

Link audit mistake #6: Disavow and wait for weeks and months

This is a “soft-scam” – call it lack of education on how disavow works. One typical problem we see is that people create a disavow file, hand it back to their clients for upload or upload it themselves to Google Search Console (GSC) using the Google Disavow tool and then they sit back and relax.

don't wait for Google to review your disavow file

Even if that is the perfect disavow file, it can take months for Google to re-crawl those links.  Do you want to recover from a Google penalty in a few months? Or do you want to have those rankings back in a few days only?

After you upload a disavow file to Google, don’t sit around and wait. You have no time for that. You can force the Google bot to re-crawl your disavowed links faster. That’s why we built Link Detox Boost (BOOST) for in 2013. It speeds up the re-crawl of the links you have in your disavow file. If you don’t use it, don’t expect to recover your rankings fast.

link detox boost how it works

SEO tips



  • What?

 Make Google re-crawl the links you disavowed much faster.

  • How? 

Run Link Detox Boost 48 hours after you uploaded the disavow file.

Link audit mistake #5: Disavow all weak links – regardless of their quality

If you don’t invest time in creating a proper Link Detox report for your website and if you don’t take the time to review all the links and double check the automated recommendations that Link Detox makes, you will never recover.

Cheap workers will certainly not take the time to have a second look at your links. They just disavow all the weak links without having a second look.  That’s wrong. We always recommend that our users review all the links before taking the decision to disavow them.

A pattern we see is that they take whatever link list they get from Link Detox and just generate a disavow file that follows the pattern “weak links” must go. Congratulations! You’ll probably disavow 50% of your natural links with that. Just because a link does not have inherent link strength doesn’t make it unnatural.

Your backlink profile needs a mix of links. It doesn’t only need powerful links, it also needs weaker links, as long as these don’t come from link networks, malware sites, etc.

The time and resources that you invest in doing your link audit work right will certainly pay off big time.


SEO tips



  • What? Review all the backlinks using the Link Detox Screener and only disavow the ones that you don’t find helpful for your website.


  • How? Do it yourself or hire a professional that you can hold accountable. Take responsibility.

Link audit mistake #4: Not knowing how to use Link Detox the right way

Link Detox is a very helpful tool, and it saves you countless hours. Just have in mind that there are a few steps that you need to go through if you want to obtain reliable results:

  • Classify at least 80% of your keywords (anchor texts) and “Recalculate” the report right away. We use all this information to calculate the DTOXRISK as accurate as possible. If you don’t press the “Recalculate” button, you’re looking at the wrong DTOXRISK
  • Upload of extra backlink data files
  • Upload your latest disavow file
  • Connect your Google Search Console and Google Analytics account
  • Connect external backlink sources using API keys

Did you give the person that’s doing your audit access to your Google Search Console account? Did you give them that link building list from 2009-2017 from the SEO guy responsible for the mess you’re sitting on now?

Did anyone ask for that?

No, of course not – because looking at all that takes extra time.

Make sure that you or whoever takes care of your link audit knows how to use Link Detox correctly. Don’t go for the cheap, “too good to be true” link audit. You need a trained professional SEO for this kind of work.

LinkResearchTools (LRT) has a great certification program. If we give someone an LRT Certified Professional, LRT Certified Xpert or LRT Certified Agency certificate, it means that we trust that person to do professional link audits for you using our software.

They have to do a lot of work to get to a certification level higher than the  LRT Associate. And then they need to renew their certifications and learn again about all the changes and new features we added in LinkResearchTools, so that can make the most of the software, but also avoid making dangerous mistakes when doing link audits.

SEO tips



  • What?

Get trained and do all the link audit work yourself or hire a LinkResearchTools Certified to do the work for you. No $5 link audits, no outsourcing to people that are not trained to do the job.

  • How?

Join our LinkResearchTools certification program, or send us a message asking for a quotation for having one of our certifieds do the link audit work for you.


Link audit mistake #3: Not considering the deleted links

Since we added the 25th link source to LinkResearchTools (LRT), many people ask where are all these links coming from. If you don’t see these links in other tools, it does not mean that they don’t exist. LRT shows you the full picture of your backlink profile, and when you do a backlink audit, the full picture is everything that counts.

We don’t only look at the fresh link index; we also look at the old links and the deleted links. Are you wondering if the deleted links matter? Yes, of course, they do. Deleted links have their value and interpretation, and they are meaningful for a backlink audit. Learn more about the fresh and historical link index from the Podcast interview we had with Dixon Jones from Majestic.

Don't ignore the real size of your backlink profile and keep in mind that you need to audit all the links. Yes, that includes the deleted links.


SEO tips



  • What?

Combine as many backlink sources as possible and look at the full picture.

  • How?

Choose a software & a plan that allows you to analyze ALL your backlinks.

Link audit mistake #2: Not looking at the full backlink profile

Did you do a link audit in the past, but still haven’t recovered your website’s rankings? The number one reason why that happened could be that you haven’t done a thorough enough link audit.

There’s a high chance that you need to audit your backlink profile again. This time you must go for a full backlink audit. Partial link audits don’t work. That’s why we show you so many more links in LinkResearchTools (LRT) and don’t allow partial audits anymore. We want you to look at the full picture of your backlink profile and clean up all the toxic links that could get your website in trouble. Keep in mind: the backlinks that you didn’t audit are holding your website back.

Go and redo it with the latest version of LinkResearchTools (LRT). We saw a 370% organic traffic increase after a full backlink audit. You can only trust the result of a full backlink audit. That’s why you cannot do partial backlink audits in LRT.


While in the past you could still run a Link Detox report for a large website with any plan, now it’s not possible anymore. Why? Because we want to keep people away from making the huge link audit mistake of auditing only a small percent of all their backlinks. If you have a large backlink profile, you need a large plan that is suitable for your domain. And you need to do the work. Nobody else will do it for you.

Remember, Google takes all your backlinks into account. If you still have a lot of old, spammy links in your backlink profile, your website will never rank well. Take the time, look at your full backlink profile and enjoy all the benefits that come with a significant organic traffic increase. You’ll have more leads, and you’ll have more sales. It’s all up to you and your willingness to do your backlink audit the right way.

Just think that when you pay for backlink audits, you pay to increase your organic traffic significantly. And organic traffic brings you leads and sales. You invest money to make money. Business doesn’t work otherwise. I’ve learned that a long time ago myself.

Link audit mistake #1: Link Removal for EVERYTHING

This is the worst link audit mistake and certainly a scam. We’ve heard agencies brag about how they first cause fear with a (wrongly generated) Link Detox Risk scale that is in the deep red.

Then sell the client on massive link removal with a success fee per removed link. Then just bulk email EVERY webmaster for EVERY link. And charge for every removed link.

To recap: In this case, the agency doesn’t even care to find out which links might be hurting you, or using Link Detox right. All they are doing is abusing our brand and reputation to scare the client into buying a link removal plan, then charge by the link.

SEO tips



  • What?
  • Don’t allow anyone to disavow/remove all your links. That’s the biggest link audit mistake.
  • How?
  • Choose a trained professional and personally have a look at the disavow file before it goes to Google. 


Cheap and partial audit work will end up costing you more than what you saved. It’s not about saving maybe hundreds of EUR in software fees or thousands in service fees. It’s about recovering and protecting your business from Google Penalties.

Falling for cheap offers is the same trap as you fell for the cheap link offers. Ah wait, maybe you’re still in the market for buying cheap $20 “authority links” from shady sources like you did pre-Penguin?

When you look for a link audit from professional to do the link audit work for you, we know our LRT Certifieds, and we stand behind them.


Christoph C. Cemper

Christoph C. Cemper is the CEO and Founder of LinkResearchTools and Link Detox. A well-known and distinguished expert in SEO who started link building for clients in 2003, building LinkResearchTools since 2006 and marketing it as SaaS product since 2009. When the famous Google Penguin update changed the rules of SEO in 2012, Christoph started Link Detox, software for finding and disavowing toxic links. 

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William Sears - Growth & SEO at LinkedIn

William Sears

"A huge part of SEO success is your backlink portfolio.

 Not only do you need to understand where your links are coming from, you need to be able to take action to manage those links. LinkResearchTools is an indispensable collection of powerful tools to do just that. I’m a long-time customer of LinkResearchTools and highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about crushing it with links."

Kenneth Chan, Founder and CEO - Tobi


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