Use backlink tools wisely! Link building & backlink analysis for professionals. Find the backlink tool that suits you best from our selection.
Monitor backlinks: This is why you need a backlink tool
Backlinks are still one of the most important ranking factors in the Google algorithm. If you want your website to rank at the top of Google’s search results pages, you should have many high-quality backlinks pointing to your page. This is because Google considers these as recommendations and will classify the content of a page as all the more relevant. In order to find out which backlinks are pointing to your page, evaluate and monitor their quality, and at the same time analyze your competitors’ backlinks, you need to perform regular backlink analyses.
In view of the high requirements for a serious and organic link building as well as threatening penalties by Google in case of guideline violations, you should definitely use a professional SEO tool. Our overview of important backlink tools will help you with the selection.
What a good backlink tool must be able to do?
A good backlink tool must enable you to keep a permanent eye on your own backlinks. But beyond pure monitoring, it should also offer options for evaluating the strength and quality of backlinks. And last but not least, high-quality backlink analysis tools support you in providing new ideas for building and expanding your backlink profile.
Monitor existing backlinks
Monitoring existing backlinks involves much more than regularly creating a list of referring links to your website.
A backlink tool should help you to permanently monitor your long-term link growth, changes in the link structure and upgrades and downgrades of individual backlinks. This is important to ensure natural link growth and to react to unnatural looking peaks or movements in link growth. This way, you can quickly identify links that may have a negative impact on your rankings.
Check the backlink or domain strength
Not only should the backlink tool be able to display the link origin, but also the strength of the backlinks. This is important to assess the value of existing links to your website. However, this functionality is even more relevant in connection with a competitor analysis. Because if you can accurately assess the strength of backlinks from competitor sites, you can decide whether you should also target these link sources for your backlink strategy.
In addition to the strength of a single backlink, many backlink tools also offer the possibility to assess the backlink power of an entire domain. For this purpose, all backlinks pointing to a website are aggregated and a domain strength is calculated. In this way, it is possible to evaluate at a glance how strong the backlink profile of an entire domain is and thus also its ranking advantage in Google.
Generation of new backlinks
Anyone who operates an active SEO management is not only constantly on the lookout for new content, but also for backlinks that link to this content. For this, a backlink tool is a great help. For example, you can regularly monitor the backlink profile or changes in the backlink structure of your competitors and identify new potential backlink sources.
Functionality of backlink checker
Most professional backlink tools available on the market have all the important functionalities to perform the individual steps of a backlink analysis. But not every tool will meet your specific requirements equally well, as individual functions are often designed differently.
Therefore, when choosing the right tool to perform your backlink analysis, pay special attention that
- available number of analyzable websites meets your requirements,
- software provider carries out regular backlink updates,
- software has a domain or URL evaluation,
- link growth and link origin are displayed
- it is displayed which anchor texts have been used for backlinks,
- backlink monitoring is available to monitor the backlink profile,
you can also perform analyses of the backlink structure of your competitors and
- “toxic” links can be identified and declared invalid by means of disavow analysis.
Also of great importance is the database that backlink tools draw on for their analyses. Just like Google, they crawl the entire web and build their own backlink databases. The larger the number of websites analyzed, the more accurate the results later on.
In the following, we will now describe in detail the essential features that a backlink analysis tool should include.
Number of analyzable website
The number of websites or domains that can be analyzed varies greatly between the individual tool providers. While some tool vendors allow unlimited backlink analyses for an unlimited number of domains, other vendors limit the number of analyzable domains and daily queries, sometimes significantly.
Therefore, make sure that your backlink tool allows a sufficient number of individual queries and a correspondingly large number of websites that can be analyzed. Think carefully about how extensive your backlink analyses will be and how frequently you will perform them. This also depends on the nature of your business. While agencies, which usually work for several customers, tend to need an unlimited number of analyzable domains, significantly fewer queries are sufficient for operators of individual websites.
In order to provide accurate data for performing backlink analyses, tool providers update their backlink databases on a regular basis. The frequency of the update cycles varies significantly. They range from daily updates to weekly updates. Some providers do not provide any information at all about the frequency of the database updates they perform.
As a rule of thumb, the more frequently updates are carried out, the more up-to-date the database. And this also increases the quality of the results you receive when performing backlink analysis.
By the way: Due to different service packages of some tool providers, the frequency of updates can also vary depending on the package size and price.
Domain or URL evaluation
The domain or URL rating is an important key figure for assessing the value of a backlink. This allows you to estimate approximately how much of the SEO strength of a website is passed on to the link target through the backlink via linkjuice. This is especially important if the backlink can only be gained with a large investment of time or money.
An example of a value for determining the SEO strength of a domain or URL is the domain or page authority of the tool provider Moz. It is calculated in particular from the number of backlinks pointing to a page and the link popularity of these links.
Some software vendors offer a website rating similar to the domain or page authority in their backlink tool, while others use this metric directly.
Link growth and link origin
The success of your backlink strategy can be seen above all in the long-term link growth. If the number of backlinks increases continuously – i.e. healthily – the relevance of your website in Google search results will also increase. The result is better rankings and growing visitor numbers.
A good tool for evaluating long-term link growth is the graphical representation offered by many tool vendors in the form of a growth curve. Based on the development of this curve, you can easily assess how successful your link building measures are.
Also important is the exact analysis of the link origin to monitor the quality of backlinks. Because just as high-quality links have a positive effect on the Google ranking, low-quality links can worsen the ranking and, in extreme cases, even lead to downgrades. Backlinks from country-specific top-level domains in which your company is not active, for example, should be examined more closely. Because the probability of spam is high here.
Anchor text (or link text) is the usually color-coded and clickable text section that is linked to the target URL. Clicking on the anchor text takes the user to the target page.
Anchor texts play an important role in search engine optimization. When crawling a page, Google examines not only the target URL but also the anchor text itself, and includes this information in its ranking evaluation.
In the past, anchor texts were usually packed with as many keywords as possible, but today the naturalness of the link texts plays a much more decisive role. Anchor texts must be natural and relevant to the topic, the main keyword may only be included in an appropriate number. Otherwise, Google could quickly classify the link text as spam, which has a negative impact on the ranking.
Most professional backlink tools offer the possibility to analyze link texts of backlinks. In case of poor quality anchor texts, you can contact the website owner of the backlink and ask him to correct it.
Another important element of a backlink tool is backlink monitoring. Important backlinks can be deposited and continuously monitored via this. This is especially important if you have bought backlinks as part of your SEO strategy or have received them through an elaborately created guest post.
But also all other backlinks should be monitored continuously. Because strong declines in backlinks can have a negative impact on traffic. Only through effective monitoring can you identify problems in time and take countermeasures.
Therefore, your backlink tool should have a backlink monitoring function that monitors backlinks to determine whether
- the link is still present
- is pointing to the right target and
- the anchor text has changed.
In the case of purchased backlinks, this also allows you to check whether agreements are being honored.
Monitoring the competition is an important part of the backlink strategy. Regularly check where important competitors get their backlinks from, what content they create for it and what strategy they rely on.
However, monitoring the competition not only shows you who is linking to the competitor sites, but also gives you good ideas for your link building and content management. You can try to use good competitor backlink sources yourself. In addition, the competitors’ link targets will show you what content they seem to like to link to.
Building high-quality backlinks is a key part of backlink strategy. But just as high-quality backlinks improve the ranking of a page, so-called toxic or poisonous links (spam links) can worsen it. Therefore, it is immensely important for every website owner to quickly identify and eliminate them. One tool to help is the Disavow analysis.
The backlink tool evaluates existing backlinks based on numerous different indicators and gives the user an assessment of the links’ value. Based on the results, you can decide how to deal with toxic links. If an inquiry to the respective website operator with a request to remove the link is not sufficient, the link can be declared invalid by means of Google’s Disavow tool.
The disavow analysis function is only integrated in a few backlink tools. Especially website operators who have already received a penalty from Google in the past due to an inferior backlink quality are recommended to use this functionality.
Quality over quantity: tips on backlink analysis and link building
What a good backlink should look like
Not only the number of backlinks plays an important role in the Google algorithm, but also their quality. So as far as you can influence it yourself, you should attach great importance to high-quality backlinks. But what does a good backlink actually look like and what do you have to pay attention to when building links?
First of all, a backlink should come about naturally, i.e. not have been generated by artificial measures. Such measures, which also appear again and again under the term “Black Hat”, can be e.g.
- link purchase for money or services,
- frequent link exchange through mutually conditional linking,
- automated and large-scale link placements,
- link placements in low quality directory pages, or
- links with anchor texts that excessively contain the main keyword,
It is important that a backlink comes about organically. This is usually the case when you create good content and other sites link to you for that reason alone.
When building links, you should also consider the following points.
Link trust and strength
The higher the link trust of the referring page, the better the backlink. This is because Google follows the link path and passes on part of the link power to the link target as so-called link juice. If Google already classifies the referring page as particularly trustworthy, the link target also benefits from this.
Dofollow vs. Nofollow
Link juice can only be inherited if the backlink is a dofollow link. Then Google follows the backlink, i.e. crawls also the pages behind it and passes on linkjuice. If the backlink is set to Nofollow, Google does not follow the link, so that no linkjuice is inherited.
Basically, a good backlink should be Dofollow. However, this does not apply without restrictions, since Google also pays attention to a balanced ratio between Dofollow and Nofollow links. So it depends on the healthy mixture. And not every nofollow link is bad, as the example of Wikipedia shows.
The anchor text of the backlink should directly show the user what to expect on the linked page, i.e. be relevant to the topic. The main keyword can be included in the anchor text, but hard link texts should only be used once in a while. Instead, also use soft anchor texts such as “Read more here” or resort to your domain or brand name as link text.
Closeness to topic
Links from websites that deal with the same or similar topics as your website are definitely preferable to backlinks from non-topic websites. It is not the topic of the entire domain that is decisive, but the closeness to the topic of the corresponding subpage from which the backlink was set.
How (and where) you can get good backlinks
Within the framework of a backlink strategy, it should be determined quite specifically,
- where backlinks are to come from,
- what measures are necessary to obtain them,
- who will do it and
- what effort is necessary for this.
Where do you get the backlinks from, with which you can build up a healthy link profile? Below we describe probably the four most popular strategies for link building.
Strategy 1: Competitive analysis
One proven method is to analyze your competitors’ backlinks. Take a close look at their link profile with the help of a backlink tool. Analyze which backlinks could also come into question for you and record them in a list. Important factors here are, for example, the link power or the thematic relevance to your website.
Then prioritize the backlink sources in your list and make a plan how to work through them successively. Of course, with the goal of getting a link from these sites as well. Actions range from a simple phone call asking for links to creating guest posts.
Strategy 2: Google Alerts
Google offers the possibility via Google Alerts to be automatically informed via email when a certain keyword is mentioned on the Internet. So set up a Google Alert with the name of your company, brand or important products.
If you now receive information via an alert that your company was mentioned in a post but not linked, you can ask the website operator via email or phone for a subsequent link.
Strategy 3: Guest posts
Another way to generate quality backlinks is to guest post on trusted and well-visited websites. Besides the intended linking, this also strengthens your brand as an expert in a specific field, which is also rewarded by Google’s algorithm.
When choosing sources for a guest article, make sure that the content of the linking site is thematically relevant to your content. The backlink should be placed in the body text or in the author description, but your money keyword should not be in the anchor text.
In any case, avoid guest articles of inferior quality or with a word count of less than 500 words.
Strategy 4: Create high quality content
Still the best way to get good backlinks in the long run is to create high-quality and unique content. On the one hand, visitors to your website will signal the high quality to Google through appropriate user signals. On the other hand, website owners who deal with similar topics as you do may become aware of your website and link to it.
Evaluate the backlink strength of your own website and that of your competitors
If you want to know how your backlink profile compares to that of your competitors, you can compare the backlink strength of your website with that of your competitors. For this purpose, indicators such as the offpage authority, which can be collected for an entire domain (domain authority) or a specific URL (URL authority), are suitable.
The domain authority indicates how significant or relevant a website is as a whole. The URL authority, on the other hand, relates to a specific subpage and therefore usually differs from the domain authority. The higher the domain authority or URL authority, the higher the probability that the website will rank at the top of the Google search results pages.
In addition to the direct comparison of the backlink strength of your website with competitor pages, domain or URL authority is also suitable for
- assess the barriers to entry into a new market in which you may want to be active in the future in the context of search engine optimization, or
- to estimate the backlink strength in advance for the intended purchase of backlinks and thus to prioritize or exclude possible backlink sources.
Backlink analysis: Why you should check the backlinks of your website
If a website owner sets a backlink to another page, Google considers this as a recommendation. The higher the relevance of the linking page, i.e. the domain authority or domain trust, the higher the value that Google attaches to this recommendation. Via the linkjuice, the linking page bequeaths a part of its linkpower to the link target. The sum of all recommendations then determines, among other things, the placement in the Google search results pages.
Just as backlinks from high-quality sites have a positive influence on the ranking, toxic links may have a negative effect on the ranking. Therefore, check all backlinks regularly. Find toxic links and eliminate them as quickly as possible – either by removing the corresponding link or by using the Disavow tool of the Google Search Console.
But you also need to regularly check all other backlinks on your website. Important criteria are, for example, healthy link growth, avoiding artificially generated growth peaks, or natural anchor texts in the backlinks.
The goal of these regular checks is to be aware of potential problems in time to react to them promptly. In this way, you avoid possible penalties by Google and the associated ranking losses.
Backlink tools with top ratings
What a backlink tool costs?
What free backlink tools can do?
If you want to start quickly with your first small backlink analysis, you can use one of the free backlink tools presented below. However, the functional range of most of these tools is very limited. Often, only single backlink queries can be performed for one URL at a time.
Especially in larger content projects, where numerous subpages must also be analyzed, you quickly reach the limits of what is possible. While anchor texts, link source and link target are usually still displayed, there is rarely any information on the quality of the backlinks.
Free tools usually do not have the option of displaying link growth, identifying toxic links and setting up regular backlink monitoring. If you need these functionalities, you should use a paid tool.
Costs for a backlink tool
If the execution of a backlink analysis means more to you than just querying the currently existing backlinks, you need a professional backlink tool. Especially important is the database that the tool uses. The larger the backlink database and the more frequent the update cycles, the more accurate the results.
Also relevant for a professional backlink analysis is a sufficiently large number of websites that can be analyzed, the display of domain or URL strength of all backlinks and the consideration of historical link growth as well as changes in the link structure. The ability to detect and eliminate toxic backlinks rounds out the functionality of a good backlink tool.
Most backlink tools are part of a larger SEO tool that offers numerous other SEO functionalities such as keyword, ranking and onpage analyses or extensive reporting and interface functions. A good overview is provided by our large comparison of SEO tools.
Due to these many additional functionalities, a price comparison exclusively for backlink tools is only possible to a limited extent. For pure backlink tools, you have to expect monthly costs starting at around 40 euros. For the all-rounders among the SEO tools, the prices start at around 50 euros per month and can rise to several hundred euros per month as the range of functions increases.
Free backlink tools
If a free backlink tool is enough for you in the beginning, for example to query only backlinks that you already have, then we have picked out the three best tools in our opinion for you, with which you can start immediately. We will also introduce you to another tool that you can use to check the quality of existing backlinks.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) at a glance:
- Backlink queries only for your own website
- Display of referring domains, top referring websites, most linked pages
- Results available as CSV file
- Declare toxic links invalid via Disavow tool
- Google account required
The GSC is one of the most important tools for webmasters and also important in the field of backlink analysis.
With the GSC you can display all linking domains for your own URL. It also shows you the most linked pages of your website, the top referring websites and most popular anchor texts of your backlinks. All data can be exported as a CSV file or Google spreadsheet. However, no analyses of competitor sites are possible.
Since the Google crawler is by far the largest on the web, the quality of the GSC’s result data is also correspondingly high.
The GSC also offers you the possibility to invalidate toxic links to your website identified via the Disavow tool. However, since the tool is a true specialist tool, it is not directly integrated into the GSC, but can be accessed via the following URL.
If you want to use the GSC, you need a free Google account.
Backlinktest.com at a glance:
- Unlimited backlink queries
- Display of referring domains, link quality, link target and link text
- Separation of dofollow/nofollow links
- Results available as PDF or CSV file
Backlinktest.com calls itself “the biggest free backlink checker”. After entering the desired URL, Backlinktest.com uses a self-developed backlink crawler to determine many backlinks pointing to this website. To the individual backlinks numerous additional information is provided like:
- total number of external links of a backlink URL,
- xact link target,
- respective link text,
- link quality,
- Dofollow/Nofollow links and
- corresponding IP address are displayed. The table with all backlinks and additional information can even be exported as a PDF or CSV file.
Some results are additionally prepared graphically. For example, the distribution of dofollow to nofollow links and the distribution of link quality are given.
Since there is no limit to the number of domain queries, the tool is also suitable for regular backlink analysis of competitor sites. The export function allows the results to be saved permanently and evaluated in a spreadsheet.
The Backlink Checker from Ahrefs at a glance:
- Unlimited backlink queries
- Display of referring domains, link quality, link target, link text and traffic
- Limited output of results
The backlink index of Ahrefs’ backlink checker is updated every 15 minutes. Accordingly, the results you receive are also up-to-date. In addition, Ahrefs uses the second most active web crawler after Google, according to its own information.
With the Backlink Checker you can perform as many individual queries as you like, so that competitor analyses are no problem. After the query for a domain, you get a backlink profile with information about link source, link quality, the anchor text and even traffic.
The major limitation of Backlink Checker is the very limited display of results. Per query, the top 100 backlinks, the top 5 anchor texts and the five most linked individual pages are displayed. Those who want to use the full range of functions must purchase a paid package, which starts at $99 per month. In advance, however, the popular backlink tool can be tried out in a seven-day trial period for 7 USD.
Domain Authority Checker
The Domain Authority Checker at a glance:
- Unlimited Domain Authority queries
- Query multiple domains simultaneously
- Display of numerous backlink parameters
With Domain Authority Checker you can retrieve numerous backlink parameters for a website and thus evaluate the quality of backlinks. This is important if you want to check the trustworthiness of a specific subpage from which you have received a backlink.
The Domain Authority Checker provides you with data on the queried URL, among other things:
- Domain Authority,
- Page Authority,
- percentage of quality backlinks and
Based on this quality assessment, you can derive appropriate measures for your backlink strategy.
Conclusion Backlink tools: A must for link building and monitoring
A professional backlink tool supports you in keeping a permanent eye on your backlink profile and provides all important data on existing backlinks. In addition to pure monitoring, you should also be able to use the tool to check existing backlinks with regard to their quality and eliminate them if necessary. Furthermore, the tool helps you to develop new backlink sources and to monitor competitor sites.
Given their limited functionality, the free backlink tools available on the market are usually only suitable for taking the first steps towards querying existing backlinks. However, as soon as you want to carry out more extensive backlink analyses regularly and professionally, you should consider a paid tool with a correspondingly large range of functions. The necessary costs, starting at about 40 euros per month, are an investment that quickly pays for itself through more visitors to your website in the long term.