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Google Search Console provides valuable information about links that point from other websites to your website, also often referred to as backlinks. Links have always been (and still are) an important ranking factor for search engines and thus play an important role in SEO.

searchVIU uses backlink data to check whether a link that is pointing to your current website will still point to a working target after your website migration. As backlinks pass relevance to the linked page and also to other pages on your website, you don’t want them to point to error pages or unimportant pages after you redesign or migrate your website.

Backlink data can be found in various sources. None of the sources provides a complete data set of all of the backlinks to your website that exist. Therefore, it is necessary to combine data from different sources, in order to obtain high data quality.

If you link Google Analytics to searchVIU, some important backlink data can already be imported automatically. searchVIU checks the Google Analytics referral traffic report for links that actually generate traffic to your page and then crawls the linking URLs to verify that the link is really there.

There are other tools that provide interesting backlink data, but you need a paid subscription for most of them. One tool that provides this kind of data for free is Google Search Console.

In order to export link data from Google Search Console, you simply go to the Links report in the left sidebar navigation:

Next, you click on the button “Export external links” in the top right corner. Here, you can choose whether you want “More sample links” or “Latest links” (choose “More sample links”) and whether you want to download the file in the CSV format or open it in Google Docs.

Once you have saved the link data as a CSV file or opened it in Google Docs, you can import it into searchVIU, so that it can be used to check the status of your linked pages on your DEV website.

In searchVIU’s project settings, under “External Links” you have the option to either upload a CSV file or paste the URLs that contain links to your website as a raw input.

Before searchVIU uses the link data in the Relaunch / Release > Linked Externally report, all linking pages are crawled to verify that the links are actually there. The pages will also be crawled regularly from now on, to check if the links stay online.

If you have any questions about exporting backlink data from Google Search Console and importing it into searchVIU, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. We will be happy to help you with any kind of question!