Backlinks are the backbone of successful SEO. The art of having external websites link to your own remains one of the most effective ways of gaining big traffic and in turn, climbing the search engine rankings. After all, who will stumble upon your site if it has no links from elsewhere across the internet?
Checking backlinks also has a significant role to play in outreach campaigns. By finding a competitor’s links, you can target websites that may be on the lookout for updating their resources and references.
Here, we’ve come up with a list that focuses on 10 of the best backlinks checker tools available online today.
Ahrefs is so meticulous with their data that it’s no surprise that the tool has established itself as a market leader – and its coverage of backlinks is where the site really excels.
Here, we get a taste of the power holds Ahrefs holds. At a click of a button, we’re able to see all live backlinks that refer to any specific site (in this case, we went for our own – at the risk of coming across too self-indulgent). We’re able to scrutinise all of our links as well as seeing what form they take, and the domain authority and location of every referee.
Dig a little deeper, and you can categorise all of your referring domains by stature (‘DR’ stands for ‘Domain Rating’, and is a good indicator of the value of the websites that are referencing you), by the referring site’s rank on Ahrefs, or by the number of Backlinks and DoFollow links lists for your site.
So detailed is the data that Ahrefs collects for links, that many sites use the tool purely as a backlink checker. But the website does much more than that.
The website also features many options focusing on relevant topics like ‘content explorer’ and ‘keyword explorer’, as well as useful utilities like ‘Alerts’ – which is on hand to inform you whenever an article has been published elsewhere featuring a specific set of keywords.
Subscription for Ahrefs start at $99 per month for a streamlined service, and range all the way to $999 p/m for agency-level coverage. But on a brighter note, there’s a seven-day trial available at the price of $7.
Moz has infused their vast SEO know-how into the Open Site Explorer. The service is available via MozPro and is hugely popular among marketers for its simple and data-heavy interface.
The Open Site Explorer is intuitive, where users are able to use Moz’s algorithms to not only observe established links, but to find link-building opportunities as well as being presented with a list of existing backlinks that may be damaging to a given site’s search engine rankings.
The key draw of this service comes from the chance to tap into the SEO expertise that Moz has in abundance. They’re the go-to site for knowledge on the subject, and this greatly aids the metrics of the Open Site Explorer.
While there’s a fully free version of Open Site Explorer, the number of searches you can perform daily is limited unless you subscribe to MozPro, where prices start at $99 per month.
‘The easiest way to check your bad links and your competitor’s good links,’ boast Monitor Backlinks – and while there are a lot of straightforward backlink checkers available online, perhaps their greatest asset is, in fact, their flexible price structure.
The cheapest subscription to the service, a yearly one, works out at $16.50 per month and comes with a free trial, too – this allows you to monitor one domain and includes up to 50 keywords and 500 referring page searches.
Monitor Backlinks’ features are also good value for their price. Powered by SEO AutoDiscover, users can enjoy a fully automated service that monitors domains, keywords and competition (though competition monitoring is a premium add-on).
Results are well charted in a usable interface. Users are also able to get a regular email or PDF reports delivered on their site’s performance.
Google are the kingpins when it comes to SEO, after all, it’s their search engine that we’re constantly trying to optimise our site for. So naturally, they had to wade into our list with a very effective and entirely free service.
The Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is a great resource that allows you to register and monitor your site’s performance.
The service enables you to submit new content for crawling as well as picking the sort of information that you don’t want to show up in search results.
To check your links, log-in to your search console account, go to Search Traffic > Links To Your Site.
Because of the intrinsic link that Google Search Console has with the search engine giant’s results pages, you’re able to easily identify what aspects of your pages are causing them to perform better or worse in the SEO rankings. Google also promises that your site will be better protected from malware via their service.
SEMRush promises to be your ‘all-in-one marketing toolkit’ – and considering its impressive reputation within the SEO community, you won’t find many experts who disagree with such a statement.
Users of the service are told that they’ll benefit from their competitors via fine-tuned analytics reports and advertising research.
The dashboard is easy to use, and SEMRush offers very handy side-by-side domain comparisons that allow you to really get to grips with your competitors.
Prices for the service start at $99.95 per month.
With esteemed clientele like NewsCorp, Yahoo! and BuzzFeed, BuzzSumo’s status as a big player in site management is there for all to see.
The dashboard is well laid out and works for keywords as well as URLs, allowing webmasters to see the highest ranking pages on a given topic, check backlinks to a specific page and more.
A very curious feature boasted by BuzzSumo is the Influencer tab, where a search can return results for the most prominent figures associated – with big potential for both link-building and outreach.
Prices for BuzzSumo start at $99 per month, though discounts are available for those happy to sign up for a yearly subscription – there’s also a free trial for new users.
7. Majestic SEO
Majestic SEO makes for a well-detailed presence when it comes to link building.
Through Majestic SEO, you’re able to access time-specific charts for your external links and referring domains as well as being provided with a meticulous breakdown of the types of backlinks that run to your site – whether they be educational, governmental, or from anywhere in the world.
You also get your fill of information on No Follows, redirects, and deleted links.
Majestic SEO’s pricing is comparatively good for a premium service too, with prices ranging from £64.99 to £319.99 monthly.
Here we have another powerful tool that offers a great free backlink checking service.
The Open Link Profiler is easy to follow and well colour coded to display the most significant results first. The quality of the backlinks that come up in your search results carries an ‘LIS’ (Link Influence Score) ranking that calculates the power of the links you find by a range of factors in order to tell you its true value to your site.
Open Link Profiler has a free service, but dedicated users can purchase a fuller version of the tool from $69.95 per month.
As you may have guessed by their name, Linkody are backlink specialists. Their backlink checker is free for checking up to five unique domains, but if you’re craving more freedom, prices don’t jump up to the sorts of figures listed by competitors.
The layout of the results page is simple and clutter-free.
A great asset to the service is the emphasis on the authority of link sources, and premium account holders can dabble in the Mozrank, page authority and domain authority of their backlink providers with ease.
Linkody’s interface and quick-to-use service make it ideal for beginners in the world of SEO looking to keep their site’s links in check.
The Linkody backlink checker has a free but limited service, while premium versions are priced at a reasonable €13.90 per month.
Kerboo has no problem in declaring its service ‘world class’ on their website, which is just as well given that their prestigious analytics tools cost between £249 and £2,499 per month.
Their price is high but fortunately so is the quality that comes with it. Kerboo aggregates multiple data sources to come up with a highly accurate outlook on web and link performance, and have even developed their own LinkRisk score to determine the value of your backlinks.
Kerboo’s service is so intricate that you’re effectively able to stalk and scrutinise every new link your competitor sites gain – in short, it’s a really nifty tool, which goes some way to explaining why it was a winner at the 2014 and 2015 UK Search Awards for ‘Best SEO Software.’