Over the past few years, so much of SEO has changed. But one thing left untouched is the power of quality and natural backlinks.
Old school SEO was about backlink quantity, but now we’re in a place where it’s more about the quality and relevance.
One key to successful online business is to always monitor backlinks of your website – and competitors’ sites too. You need to know your competitor’s SEO strategy – traffic resources, keywords, and referring domains.
I can say that there are lots of premium tools for long-time pros, like SEMrush and Majestic. But for beginners, these link analysis tools have what you need and come at a cheaper price. If you’re an SEO newbie with a limited budget, try these tools to monitor backlinks:
Want more ways to monitor backlinks? Download our free cheat sheet for 5 ways to spice up your SEO strategy with media monitoring.
1. SE Ranking
SE Ranking is one of my favorite backlink checkers that allows you to check incoming links to your website based on Google Webmaster Tools data. It’s a paid tool (starting at $9 / month) and also includes website audit, rank tracking, keyword research, and competitor rank tracking.
You can generate a detailed link analysis for the following parameters: index / noindex, follow / nofollow, cached / not cached, date discovered, Moz Domain Authority, anchor text, anchor text, Alexa rank, Ahrefs rank, social popularity and more.
From there, you can disavow links and generate a file to submit to Google Webmaster Tools.
2. Backlink Watch
Backlink Watch is one of the easiest and simplest tools to track a website’s backlink portfolio. It’s free, and returns up to 1000 links without the option to export reports. I love Backlink Watch for the possibility to use Ahrefs’ API – meaning you can trust the results.
3. SEO Spyglass
SEO Spyglass is pretty new, but provides great results. It has a database of 15,000,000,000,000 indexed backlinks, more than Ahrefs and Majestic have. You can check 1,100 links for free, but can’t export results unless you upgrade to a paid version.
MoonSearch is a free backlink monitoring tool that provides a complex link analysis and checks how many backlinks are indexed. It helps track information about Alexa rank, PageRank, and reputation based on Yahoo, Dmoz and Moonsearch catalogs.
Ahrefs is one of the best SEO tools to monitor website backlinks. It has a free version where you can monitor 10 backlinks and 2 domains per request. The paid versions start at $79 per month for a complete analysis of the backlink profile: dofollow/nofollow, anchor text, image backlinks, etc.
If you ever get a penalty from Google, it will be a lifesaving tool, giving you an exact percentage of anchor text on your site.
Thanks to the addition of “link loss” reasons (e.g., 404, noindex, 301, etc.), there’s no need to guess why some backlinks dropped out of your site. Besides analyzing anchor texts, you can also avoid penalties by disavowing suspicious links from the Ahrefs’ dashboard.
OpenLinkProfiler is a great tool that provides up to 200,000 links per report. It has a large and fresh database of links and shows which links are active in the last 90 days.
The free version allows exporting up to 100 backlinks in .csv format. If you want to export more, you can use the paid version.
You’ll get the overall idea of backlink influence, anchor page, link date, and more.
RankSignals is another free tool that helps you find competitor’s backlinks and traffic sources to build up your link building strategy. Using this tool, you can get a number of dofollow and nofollow links and a number of unique domains leading to your site.
It shows not only PR of the site and the link anchor text, but other parameters like PageRank, Alexa Rank, social metrics (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus). Find out all bad, spammy links and have the option to disavow them.
BacklinkTest provides a full list of incoming and outcoming backlinks. I can’t say that it is a perfect tool for regular use, but it is good for rough use. There are a lot of pop-ups, but the tool identifies the source’s IP address.
9. Monitor Backlinks
Monitor Backlinks is one of the most popular and recent SEO tools to track link profiles. You can check out up to 10 results without registering. If you want to get more results, the paid tool starts at $25. The tool provides the overview of a domain, SEO metrics, keyword rankings, anchor text reports, and lets you disavow low-quality links.
10. Link Diagnosis
Link Diagnosis shows you multiple options while monitoring backlinks, based on a variety of results: nofollow/dofollow links, spam and bad links, internal/external links, and info about web page rank distribution. It provides different types of data from other tools but works best in Firefox.
11. Mention (editor’s bonus)
Link reclamation is about finding people who have mentioned you without linking to you. Once you’ve found them, you can reach out and ask them to include a link back to your site.
SEO expert Matthew Barby shares his link reclamation process using Mention that complements your backlink strategy:
- Step 1: monitor brand mentions. Set up alerts by adding keywords related to your brand or products.
- Step 2: set up notifications or daily email alerts. Check your mentions daily or as they happen.
- Step 3: checking for links. Out of all your mentions, find articles that mentioned but didn’t link to you. These are the opportunities you want.
- Step 4: reach out. Contact the author to request a link for the mention. In Matthew’s experience, the success rate is higher if the post is recent. Which is why real-time monitoring helps heaps.
For more tips on how monitoring can help improve SEO, download this cheatsheet:
Over to you
Performing SEO tasks, you should always keep your eye on links, keywords, audit info, positions, and more for your own company and competitors. Experiment with adding some of the tools above to your SEO stack to get an overall picture of important backlink profiles.