As businesses scale digitally, backlink analysis has been crucial in helping websites improve search engine rankings. Even though Google’s algorithm has changed significantly since 2010, backlinks remain one of the most important factors in Google’s organic ranking process.
With millions of web pages fighting for the top spot in a search engine results page (SERP), you need a proper link-building strategy to cut through the clutter. While preparing such strategies can be challenging, you should consider using a backlink checker and analysis tools to your advantage.
But before we talk about such tools and applications, it is important to understand the fundamentals of backlink analysis.
What is a Backlink Analysis?
Backlinks (inbound links) are links from other websites that direct users to your website. Google and other search engines view these links as an indicator of a high-quality website with authority. Hence, your search engine ranking relies heavily on these backlinks.
Analyzing a backlink allows you to evaluate the quality and volume of links that direct users to your website from a third-party website. Properly studying these backlinks gives you a clear picture of how they influence your site’s search engine ranking. It also helps you understand how you can boost your backlink profile.
Furthermore, backlink evaluation gives you a clear picture of your website’s performance against the competition. It highlights the strategies adopted by your competitors and how you can improve your site’s performance using that information. It even helps you identify new opportunities that can help your website grow further.
Why You Should Do Backlink Analysis
To ensure our good health, we often see a doctor for check-ups. Backlink analysis is similar to a health check-up for your website. It helps you understand how your current link-building strategy is performing on the web. In other words, such an analysis is essential to performing consistently well in search engine rankings.
Here is why you need to perform an analysis of backlinks for your website regularly:
- To measure the effectiveness of current link-building strategies
- To evaluate the quality of a particular backlink
- To identify the links that are performing poorly
- To get a clear idea of what the competitors are doing
- To find new growth opportunities for your website
With backlink evaluation, you can streamline your SEO practices and find effective ways to boost your site’s authority.
When to Perform a Backlink Analysis
As mentioned earlier, it is a good practice to conduct regular analysis for backlinks to your website. While there are no set guidelines for when you should analyze the backlinks, doing it at least once a week will help you keep your link-building strategy on track.
You may also want to perform such an analysis when a competitor’s website starts performing well in the SERP. You can get insights into what works for that website and implement it in your link-building strategy.
How To Perform Backlink Analysis
The main objective of backlink analysis is to help your website get a better search engine ranking. And to accomplish that objective, you need to know the various ways such an analysis can be performed. Here is a complete guide on achieving the different aspects of analyzing inbound links using a backlink checker or analysis tool.
Start with a Website Overview on a backlink checker
Start your backlink analysis with your website overview. You need to enter your site’s domain name into the search bar. Depending on the backlink checker tool you use, you will receive various information. To get started, focus on the following numbers:
- Number of backlinks: This metric will tell you how many links point users to your site. A lower number of backlinks is usually the reason for the lower ranking of a particular site. If the numbers do not grow with time, you may need to consider a new strategy.
- Referring domains: This metric shows you the number of websites directing traffic to your website. You can sort these domains based on their authority and evaluate them individually. You can also generate outreach ideas based on the data.
Since the backlink checker can offer similar data for any domain name you enter, you can also perform the same steps to get data for competitor websites.
Discover Your Top-Performing Pages
While getting the website overview on your preferred backlink checker, you will find a section highlighting the top-performing page on your website. This data will help you identify the pages receiving the most backlinks. You can use this information to understand what type of content works best for link building.
While focusing on preparing more such pages may help your link-building strategy, you may also want to explore the ideas that are working for your competitors. Simply put the competitor’s domain name on the tool and find its top-performing pages. Incorporating similar ideas into your strategy may help boost your site’s SEO ranking.
Find Pages that Could Benefit from Backlinks
While identifying the top-performing page is simple with the help of a backlink checker tool, you need to put in some effort to find pages that can benefit from backlinks. To do that, you need to analyze your competitor’s website first and identify the websites that link to their site but not yours. This reveals the potential opportunities where you could acquire backlinks. You can prepare an outreach strategy for them.
Also, you can find well-written pages on your website that need more backlinks and make slight changes to them. This will help you fit them into your link-building strategy. Moreover, the competitor analysis can give you an idea about the anchor text that is helping them get the most backlinks. You can use similar anchor text on the relevant pages of your website to help them get new backlinks.
Identify Broken Backlinks
Broken backlinks are bad for your website. If someone clicks on the backlink and it turns out to be broken, it creates a negative user experience. Moreover, when search engine bots crawl the broken backlink, it leads them to a 404 error. You could have used that opportunity to rank your website higher instead.
With the backlink checker tool, you can identify the broken backlinks that should have led users to your website. Moreover, during the competitor analysis, you can find their broken links and use the opportunity to approach the referring domain and ask them to use your link, which is working smoothly.
Find Spam Links
While analyzing your website’s backlinks, you will find a list of anchor texts used to hyperlink your webpage. These anchor texts can help you identify if the referral domain uses your link for spamming. Links that do not fit naturally into the page’s context or are from spammy sites can prevent your site from losing its authority.
As you identify the spammy backlinks, contact the referring site and ask them to remove your link from their page. You can also disavow those links, which would tell Google to ignore those backlinks. This way, those bad links cannot hurt your page’s rankings.
Analyze Your Competitors’ Backlink Profiles
As mentioned before, competitor analysis is crucial to your backlink analysis. While it helps you understand your competitor’s link-building strategy, it also lets you improve your backlinks. You can find your organic competitor’s lists on the backlink checker tool. By analyzing your competitor’s backlink profiles, you can:
- Find common links and potential referring sites
- Find out what different ideas they are using
- Identify their broken links and use this as a link-building opportunity
- Determine factors that are driving their top-performing pages
Most of the backlink checker tools available on the internet have an organized dashboard where you can find all the necessary data regarding your backlinks. However, if you find it difficult to operate the tool, don’t worry. Here is a brief introduction to all the major backlink checker tools on the market.
Best Free Backlink Checker Tool
With so many backlink checker tools, it is easy to get confused about which is best for you. To make it easier for you, we have created a list of the top backlink checker tools, most of which are free. Some of them have paid plans that offer additional features.
This is a great option if you are looking for a complete SEO tool. You can access its backlink checker feature through the “Site Explorer” option. You can access dedicated sections on the left sidebar, which lets you explore the backlink feature more deeply.
You can perform competitor analysis, website audits, link building, rank tracking, and more here. The keyword research feature of this tool is incredibly smooth and straightforward. Also, the content gap analysis helps you understand where to focus more on the SEO strategy.
It is a paid tool, and the monthly subscription plans start at $99. However, you can get a month’s free subscription if you pay annually.
This is yet another SEO tool capable of analyzing inbound links. It allows you to compare three different competitors at the same time, using graphs for a visual representation of the data. One of the best things about SEMRush is its free training. You can understand the basics of SEO analysis with this tool. Also, the support staff is quite efficient.
It offers an extensive range of tools to perform competitor analysis, allowing you to get insights into the competitor’s strategy. You can also use the keyword research tool to your advantage. The user interface is also easy to navigate.
While it comes with a free trial, the paid plans start at $129.95 monthly. You can save up to 17% if you get an annual subscription.
Google Search Console
If you don’t want to spend money on paid tools for analyzing inbound links, you can try this backlink checker from Google. This tool will help you monitor and maintain your website’s rankings. It allows you to check whether Google can crawl your site or not. As mentioned, crawling enables Google to understand the website material and give it a rank based on that information.
You can identify which keywords are driving traffic to your website and which are not. The comprehensive data and analytics make it easier for you to evaluate your website’s performance. It can also track and analyze website errors and indexing problems, allowing you to optimize your website for better search visibility. Most importantly, you can see which sites link to your website/pages and get crucial information regarding backlinks. It is a free backlink checker tool that does almost everything the paid tools can do.
This intuitive and user-friendly tool lets you track your website’s ranking while providing accurate and real-time data to optimize your SEO strategies. Moreover, it offers insights into a local business’s Google My Business performance, helping the site with local SEO.
It also offers competitor analysis, allowing you to audit the performance of multiple competitors. Using this tool, you can compare website traffic and ranking across multiple search engines. It has a feature called Hidden Opportunities, where you get keyword suggestions and show crucial data related to those keywords.
The subscription plans for this tool start at $29 per month. Apart from the monthly plans, you can choose a half-yearly or annual subscription at a discounted rate. All the plans include backlink monitoring and competitor analysis.
Majestic is one of the oldest SEO tools used for backlink analysis. It offers many insights into your backlink portfolio, helping you prepare better link-building strategies. The mass backlinks database of this tool offers information on external backlinks, referring domains, backlink history, and more.
Here, you can find backlink profile scores for trust, size, relevance, and more, making evaluating your current backlink strategy easier. Also, the tool makes it easier for you to understand your website’s link map with the link graph features. It also comes with competitor analysis, keyword suggestions, and more.
The subscription plans for this tool start at $49 per month. It has three different plans, and you can avail yourself of a monthly or annual subscription.
SEO Spyglass tool is part of the SEO PowerSuite, a popular online marketing toolkit. Spyglass is used for backlink analysis, and it offers crucial information like the list of backlinks directed to your site, backlink reports, link quality factors, anti-penalty audits, and more.
It is extremely user-friendly and requires minimal knowledge or expertise. Also, the other tools available alongside SEO Spyglass in the SEO Powersuite cover all the major areas of search engine optimization, including website auditing, outreach planning, and identifying major metrics influencing the site’s rankings.
SEO Powersuite and its tools are available for free. However, there are three different paid subscription plans as well. The paid plans start at $99 per year, significantly less than most of the backlink checker tools mentioned in this list.
Backlink Watch is another free backlink checker tool that can help you evaluate the latest 1000 backlinks directing users to your website. You can clearly understand those backlinks’ quality and how you can improve your link-building strategy for better site rankings.
Using this tool is way easier than you think. Just submit the website URL, which will give you all the major information, such as anchor text used for backlinking, outbound links, flags, and more. It also offers details like processing backlink numbers and remaining backlinks to be processed.
It is entirely free to use.
Plenty of other paid and free backlink checker tools are available. However, more options will only lead to more confusion. The ones mentioned above are the most effective ones for your link-building strategy. However, you need to check them out to understand which suits your needs best.
When It Comes To Backlink Checkers, Popularity Isn’t Everything!
A backlink checker can be immensely popular among SEO practitioners, but there may be better choices for your link-building strategy. You may not have extensive knowledge of backlinks or other SEO metrics, or you may not want to spend money on backlink analysis. To make the decision easier for you, we have highlighted some significant features that make each of the following tools better than the others.
Why Ahrefs Is Great And My Recommended Tool
Most SEO professionals prefer this tool for the quality of data it offers. Some of the major advantages of this tool are as follows:
- Accurate data regarding the website’s backlink profile
- Ability to examine each backlink to determine its quality
- Easy to use
- Easy to identify the vanished backlinks as well as the broken ones
- Identify pages that are receiving the most backlinks
You must pay at least $99 monthly to enjoy its services once the 7-day free trial ends.
Why SEMRush Is Great
While SEMRush offers a complete package for all things SEO, its Backlink Gap tool focuses on the backlink analysis of a website. Some of the major highlights of this tool are mentioned below:
- Easy access to a variety of data related to the backlink profile
- Ability to filter data by different criteria (link type, anchor text, date, etc.)
- SEMRush focuses primarily on keyword research features
- Massive database of information that is regularly updated
- Track multiple competitor websites at once
It comes with a 7-day free trial. You need to pay at least $129.95 per month after that.
Why SEO Google Search Console Is Great
Many people prefer this Google backlink checker tool because it is free. However, it also has some useful features that make it a valuable tool for SEO practitioners. It offers:
- Easy monitoring of a site’s performance in the search results
- Determining whether Google can crawl the site or not
- Easy fixing of indexing problems
- Insights into how other websites find your content and link it
- Updated database and trust of Google
You do not need to pay anything to enjoy its services.
Why Majestic SEO Is Great
This tool focuses on backlink analysis, making it an excellent option for your link-building strategy. You can find the following features while using this tool:
- Easy access to all types of data regarding backlinks
- A thorough backlink history to better analyze your progress
- Anchor text charts for easy reviewing
- A mass backlink database
- Essential information regarding referring links (domains, IPs, and subnets)
This is the cheapest paid tool on this list, with monthly plans starting at $49.
Why SEO Spyglass Is Great
As part of the SEO PowerSuite, SEO Spyglass also focuses on backlink analysis. If you choose this tool, you can use all the segments of SEO Powersuite to your advantage. This tool offers the following features:
- Get detailed backlink reports for the website
- Receive anti-penalty audit with a few clicks
- Quickly evaluate link quality factors
- Comes alongside other tools that can offer outreach planning, website auditing, and more
You can use the tool for free. However, the paid plans start at $99 per year.
Why Backlink Watch is Great
This is perhaps the simplest backlink checker tool on the list. Also, it should be distinct from Backlink Watch, a premium backlink checker tool. The Backlink Watch we are talking about is a free backlink checker tool and offers the following advantages:
- Fast and user-friendly interface
- Multiple checks for the website to offer accurate data
- Checks the outbound links of the website
- Connected with SEMRush for additional data like organic keywords, rankings, and more
This is a free-to-use tool.
Why monitor backlinks using a backlink analyzer tool?
We have already discussed how backlink analyzer tools, or backlink checkers, can help you monitor the backlinks of a website. However, if you are still wondering why you should monitor backlinks using such a tool, here is a list of reasons to settle your doubts.
- It offers crucial metrics regarding your backlink profile and helps improve your link-building strategy.
- Backlink monitoring allows you to identify links that hurt your site’s reputation.
- It helps you identify spammy links that can cause your site to receive penalties from Google.
- Monitoring competitor backlinks can help find new opportunities to improve your site’s ranking.
- Backlink monitoring further allows you to understand which content offers more value to the audience.
There is no denying that backlinks are essential for your website’s success. However, if you do not use backlink analyzer tools for your site, you may miss some crucial metrics that could take your website to the next level.