What Are the Best FREE Backlink Checkers to Use for Your Business

What Are the Best FREE Backlink Checkers to Use for Your Business?

Search engine optimization is determined by many different factors. Backlinks are right at the top of the list. This SEO area has the biggest advantage strategy over business competition.

The’s limitless potential with backlinks. While the likes of content optimization and keyword research all play their role in any SEO strategy, there’s only so much that can be done to improve these areas. With backlinks, however, there’s no ceiling on the number of valuable links that can be collected.

As a result, it’s essential you are equipped with the most effective backlink tools on the market. This starts with having the best backlink checker in your arsenal. With a backlink checker, several benefits – from monitoring your backlink profile health to discovering competitor strategies – are gained. The outcome: you can maximize your entire backlink master plan.

This in-depth guide will focus on all things relating to backlink checkers and detailing the best free tools available and the importance of backlinks in general.

Why are backlinks so vital?

Why are backlinks so vital

It is beneficial to use several types of links within your overall marketing strategy, including backlinks, external links, and internal links. Backlinks refer to the links that send people to your website. Using external links within your content means you have links to another website (usually done to back up a source), whereas internal links will take your visitors from one page on your website to another.

Search engines like Google view each valuable backlink as a vote of confidence for your site. The more valuable backlinks you gain, the more potential your site has to rank high in relevant search engine results.

However, the keyword in that previous sentence is ‘valuable’. This is because backlinks are not all created equal. To help you determine the value of your links, take note of the differences.

Valuable Links Non-Valuable links
From websites with a higher domain authority Irrelevant websites for your niche/industry
The website has high volumes of traffic Broken links
Includes an anchor text to your website using important, relevant keywords Purchased, unsolicited, or unnatural links
Links from respected sites with a high PageRank Links from suspicious, spammy websites

 

Backlinks are among the essential elements of any successful SEO strategy. Even though others have attempted to downplay the importance of backlinks – including Google themselves – your organic traffic efforts greatly benefit from having links pointing to your website.

Google’s John Mueller, the webmaster trends analyst, has previously said on a Google+ hangout in 2016 that you shouldn’t focus on link building. The disregard for links led many marketers to carry out studies to see whether external links are necessary and whether they should ignore link building. Marketers proved otherwise – take a look at this study carried out at Moz about external links and the correlation.

This fits with what Mueller went on to say. Google does use links as part of the algorithm, but they used plenty of other factors. Despite being downplayed, this still shows that links are crucial, but the key takeaway is that they shouldn’t be your sole focus. If you can meet multiple factors of the algorithm, you can benefit from using backlinks.

Why do you require a backlink checker?

Backlinks don’t always deliver a positive result for your website. Therefore, a backlink checker is crucial to help your backlink strategy.

Say you have backlinks on poorly ranked websites that are suffering from at least one of these issues:

  • Bad anchor list
  • Low traffic
  • A search engine penalty
  • Feature link farms and link directories
  • Cover topics like pharma, porn, and online gambling

Due to their notorious reputation with Google, this is going to reflect poorly on your website. Your site will likely get hit with sanctions that see its organic ranking plummet, which is why you must manage your backlinks profile regularly and ensure you delete all unnecessary links from the equation.

Getting started with using a backlink checker

Backlink checkers all have the same standard features to benefit your link building campaign.

Check anchors – a well-organized anchor list helps achieve a higher ranking for your website. This assists the search bots, allowing them to scan your URLs and highlight the keywords relevant to each specific page.

For instance, if you have a landing page about “marketing tactics” yet your anchors are “business accounting” or “buy chocolate online”, the search bots will consider them as spam.

Then, analyze the current tags on your links. If you’ve worked in the world of backlinks before, you’ll be aware that “nofollow” links work exactly as their name suggests – they signal to the search engines not to follow a specific link. While this might seem counterintuitive, it is a useful tactic to stop certain pages on your site from being indexed. They provide your anchor list with a level of diversity, for example, ensuring it doesn’t appear too spammy.

A third way of using a backlink checker is to analyze the quality of domains where your backlink is present. Many checkers feature their rankings in that regard. According to the search engines, the higher the ranking, the more trusted a domain is. This means you can spotlight websites of value for backlinks, while you can also learn which domains are worth skipping in the future.

What are the benefits of using a backlink checker?

There are four main benefits to using a backlink checker, proving just how useful it can be during your marketing campaign.

Avoid focusing on low-quality links

When you conduct your backlink campaign, you’ll be aware of what websites you’re targeting. You will generally know the type of domain authority they possess, making them a suitable candidate for using links.

If you enlist the services of a marketing company, however, there’s less certainty about the value of your backlinks. Yes, you expect quality from an agency that supplies SEO services, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that is what you will receive. They could be inexperienced or might cut corners with their backlink tactics. The result: you end up with low-quality links pointing back to your site.

This isn’t something you want to happen. However, several aspects should be reasonably expected and given from an agency that will prove that you will get high-quality links in return. This includes:

  • Complete transparency: The agency you use should be open about the processes and strategies they use. This tells you immediately there is nothing to hide about how they are helping build your links, meaning they should be high-quality.
  • Experience: They should have plenty of experience and knowledge of the changing trends in SEO. Experienced agencies will adjust your strategy based on this while still having a point of view on which approach is best for your business.
  • Open communication: You should have the chance to get in touch with your agency whenever you need. Agencies should welcome questions or concerns from you.
  • Accountability: As you are paying for a service, you expect the agency to be accountable for keeping up with the changing landscape in SEO and deliver in a reasonable timeframe.
  • Alignment: You should expect alignment with your agency. They should spend time discussing the campaign’s objectives and help define your goals at the start and throughout the entire process.

With a backlink tracking tool, you can monitor the backlinks you receive from the agency. You can read daily reports and analyze metrics to ensure your link-building efforts are worthwhile. This way, you can avoid spam-like links hindering your marketing efforts.

Get rid of bad links

Once you have identified low-quality backlinks that threaten your site’s standing, it is possible to get rid of these links and remove their negative impact. You may not have much luck contacting the offending webmaster directly, admittedly, but you can use the Disavow Links tool that Google provides.

Just make sure you heed Google’s warning carefully before disavowing backlinks.

Get rid of bad links

It states the following:

“If used incorrectly, this feature could harm your site’s performance in the search results.”

Google only recommends that you disavow backlinks if you believe many of them are spammy or low quality and causing issues for you.

Plus, with certain backlink checkers, you can utilize alerts to receive monthly, weekly, or even daily reports once backlinks are received. This means if a bad link is suddenly produced without your prior knowledge, you’ll know about it straight away and can take the necessary action to remove it from the equation.

See what your competitors are doing

Research is critical for any successful business. Analyze your competition to discover what they are doing in their marketing efforts. Plus, learn the prices they are charging for their products or additional services.

If you want to crush the competition, use a reputable backlink checker to find out where they are getting their links from exactly. If sites are accepting their links and you are within the same niche, it is viable that you have a shot with them, too, if they receive the right offer. Building up a list of high-value domains to target suddenly got a lot easier.

Keep an eye on developments

Just because you have a collection of high-quality backlinks right now, it doesn’t mean this will remain the case in a year or two. For instance, your backlink could be situated on a trusted domain with a high PageRank right now. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean the domain will still have such a lofty reputation in the future. They could be embroiled in an SEO-related scandal that sees them being dropped like a brick by Google.

Fortunately, when a page with your link gets moved or deleted, there are ways to handle this.  With a backlink checker, you can keep a close eye on all portfolio changes. Along with knowing when new backlinks appear, you can track when old links are lost. The quicker you realize a link is missing or broken, the faster you can chase this up with the webmaster of the backlink host to resolve the problem. A backlink checker could prove extremely useful in catching something before it leaves a lasting impact.

Backlink checker and Site Explorer: what’s the difference?

It is not just backlink checkers you can use. Another option to use is Site Explorer. It is a common mention across the internet when discussing backlinks and checking their quality, and you may have heard of it. It differentiates from a backlink checker in several ways.

Backlink Checker Site Explorer
Less complicated to use and easier to understand More powerful than a backlink checker
Supplies you with data and metrics like domain and page authority, traffic, and anchor text Uses in-depth tactics to gain backlinks
Free to use Constantly monitors your current backlink profile
Sorts, exports, filters, and groups backlink data

 

How long does it take for backlinks to appear?

In normal circumstances, it takes up to seven days for a backlink to be indexed. However, there’s never a guarantee those pesky search engine bots will index a specific backlink. Several factors come into play before any indexing takes place:

  • Domain authority: Domain authority is an integral part of securing valuable backlinks. A website with high authority also means Google bots will be quicker to index your backlink. Simply put, Google views high authority sites as being more relevant. This means they are quicker to crawl these sites when compared to those that are much lower on the totem pole.
  • Website traffic: Non-traffic sites are irrelevant when indexing backlinks, as if there is no one on the site, no one will be clicking on your link.
  • Website relevancy: If a website isn’t relevant for the page you’re linking to, this is going to reflect badly on your index chances. For instance, say your website reviews video games. Now imagine the link being placed on a blog that is all about cooking. Due to the relevance between the backlink and the host site being spectacularly low, this will be detrimental to the link being indexed.
  • The presence of robots.txt files: You need to verify that txt files are not in place and closed for indexing to benefit when you find a high-ranking domain that generates plenty of relevant traffic.

What are the best free backlink checkers to use?

backlink checkers

You understand how a backlink checker functions. You know the benefits it provides. Now it’s time to get down to the meat of the guide: highlighting the best backlink checkers which don’t cost a penny to use. While some of these tools offer paid versions, this guide will focus on the features included with the free option.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs

Self-described as the most powerful backlink checker on the market, Ahrefs features a free version that you can readily use. While this only offers a glimpse into the data and features of the premium paid package, it remains a solid starting point for beginners to the world of backlink checking.

Ahrefs allows you to view the “Top 100 backlinks” for each website you check. Each backlink incorporates some additional metrics that are worth noting, such as the domain and page authority, referring domains total, traffic, and the anchor text.

Aside from the 100 backlinks you can view, the free version of Ahrefs presents the opportunity to analyze a website’s “Top 5 anchors” and “Top 5 pages”.

Top 5 anchors

Admittedly, this only offers the chance to explore the surface of a competitor’s website. For instance, you might not learn what blog posts are performing well for a specific website as their main landing pages – homepage, services, index, etc. – are generally going to be taking up those top five positions. The anchor text will also be similar in that the site’s branding will be featured most prevalently. With that said, the information gained can still be useful, particularly when analyzing domains with less overall authority.

Ahrefs’ free backlink checker also supplies a quick review of a website’s overall backlink profile. The stats include the number of backlinks present, the number of referring domains, and the website’s overall domain rating based on Ahrefs’ criteria. This quick review gives you a brief yet valuable insight into the value of a particular website, where you can opt to delve deeper or skip learning more based on the stats.

One of its better features is you’re unlimited in the number of checks you can do daily. It supplies an easy option for some quick exploration of your competitors to find out what backlinks they are benefitting from most overall.

Overall rating

Ahrefs might well have the best premium backlink checker on the market, but their free version cannot quite reach the same heights as other free options available. With that said, it’s still a useful tool to have in your backlink repertoire. This is particularly the case when you factor in you have an unlimited number of checks per day. If you discover a website that you think may deliver a lot of juicy information beyond those first 100 backlinks, you can then analyze it with a free backlink checker tool that offers more information.

Link: https://ahrefs.com/backlink-checker

Seobility

Seobility

Remember how Ahrefs only allows you to view up to 100 backlinks for each website? Well, Seobility’s free backlink checker ups the ante by giving you 400 backlinks to check-in total. While this is still a limited number in the grand scheme of things, they are ordered in terms of the highest-rated links. The result: you can view the best links for your website or your competitors.

Each backlink is accompanied by some additional parameters that are worth your time. This includes the link type, linked pages, dofollow/nofollow attributes, and anchor text. This data is presented in an easy-to-follow manner, which makes it simple to, for instance, note which anchors are being used most prevalently by a website. This can highlight the type of keywords a competitor is using for their benefit.

As with the Ahrefs tool, you gain a quick overview of a website’s backlink profile. Along with covering the total backlinks, referring domains, and overall domain ratings like Ahrefs, Seobility’s backlink checker also reveals the range of follow/no follow links in the form of percentages.

There is one significant caveat with using Seobility, however. You only get three checks per day without registering. This means if you want to analyze a large collection of competitors, you’ll either have to pay up for their premium package, be incredibly patient or use Seobility’s tool in combination with another backlink checker.

Overall rating

By offering up an additional 300 backlinks per check when matched up against its Ahrefs counterpart, it’s easy to see why Seobility’s backlink checker should be added to your digital marketing strategy. Yet, due to only allowing three checks daily, it is best combined with Ahrefs – and its feature of unlimited checks – to maximize your research efforts.

Link: https://www.seobility.net/en/backlinkchecker/

SEO SpyGlass

SEO SpyGlass

Your search for an all-in-one backlink analysis tool is over. By signing up for a free account with SEO SpyGlass, you are rewarded with a wealth of data for backlink management and analysis. To demonstrate that it goes beyond other free checkers, you only have to look at how SpyGlass provides the opportunity to sort and filter discovered backlink data. There are dozens of backlink parameters available, including:

  • Anchor text
  • Anchor URL
  • Linked pages
  • Dofollow/nofollow attributes
  • Page authority
  • Penalty risk

With so many features available for free, you may think there are strict limitations in terms of how many backlinks can view. However, this backlink checker still allows you to view up to 1,100 links per domain – a more than acceptable number for most backlink research campaigns. There’s no limit on the number of domains you can

backlinks

One of the most powerful features supplied by SEO SpyGlass is its ability to connect to Google Search Console and Google Analytics. By going this route, you can pull backlink information from your Google tools, add this to SEO SpyGlass, and conduct a thorough process of the data with the SEO SpyGlass dashboard. Did we mention this is all included with the free version of this backlink checker?

The benefits don’t stop there. Due to its “Domain Comparison” feature, SEO SpyGlass is great for uncovering new backlink opportunities. As the name suggests, this feature compares domains to find websites where they have intersecting backlinks. Simply add some of your competitors into the comparison mixer, get the results, and find which websites supply backlinks to multiple competitors. Why is this useful? Well, it generally means these websites don’t have an exclusive partnership with a competitor – and this opens the door to them agreeing to add your backlink.

Note: there are two main free versions of SEO SpyGlass available. One is available to use online, where you only have to sign up to receive a wealth of information for a particular domain. For the tools and advantages mentioned above, you want to opt to download the SEO SpyGlass dashboard. It works with every operating system.

Overall rating

When you factor in its powerful features and data allowance, it makes sense to opt for SEO SpyGlass as the foundation for your entire backlink strategy. There are few negatives attached to the free version of this backlink checker, which ensures it is one of the best options available on the market today.

Link: https://www.link-assistant.com/seo-spyglass/; online version: https://www.link-assistant.com/seo-spyglass/free-backlink-checker-tool.html

Google Search Console

Google Search Console

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Google has its own entry on this list. However, the Google Search Console is more than just a backlink checker, and its overall goal is to assist webmasters in their efforts to improve their websites.

As for its backlink checking capabilities, the Search Console is more restricted than other options on this list. For a start, you only can analyze your own websites. This means there’s no checking on your competitors to find out what valuable backlinks they’ve procured. The Search Console only delivers a list of backlinks. There are no additional analytics or metrics added for your viewing. With that said, you can export the backlink list to analyze the data with other tools – like the aforementioned SEO SpyGlass. You can export the data with either

Google Sheets

Google Sheets, Excel, or by downloading the CSV.

You get a shorter backlink list directly drawn from Google’s index than those presented by different backlink checkers. While this may sound like a disadvantage on the surface, the list is shorter as Google only includes the links which matter. This means you won’t get low-quality, spammy backlinks in the mix. Admittedly, this means you cannot catch those bad links you want to remove from your profile, but you do gain a valuable backlink list that differs significantly from other tools.

Google provides a total of 1,000 backlinks for each website you check. When you factor in the links that Google doesn’t include as part of the analysis process, this total number of backlinks should be more than enough for the vast majority of websites.

Overall rating

When it comes to backlink checking, the Google Search Console is limited in its functions. Yet, it can still prove to be an integral component of your backlink strategy. Using this tool as a source to gather raw backlink data allows you to export this information to a more comprehensive checker to gain additional analysis and insights. You should view it as the foundation for your research when studying your own website.

Link: https://search.google.com/search-console/about

SEMrush

SEMrush

When matched up against the other backlink checkers mentioned above, SEMrush is a much different proposition regarding the information it provides. Rather than highlighting backlink lists, it goes in the opposite direction by providing an extensive amount of backlink analytics.

You won’t even find notable backlink lists with the free version of SEMrush. You get at most ten backlinks for each domain you check. Now, this may sound like a disadvantage – and it is when isolated – but it’s fine when you consider that most other backlink checkers have you covered in that regard. Instead, with SEMrush, you gain the type of information that is usually placed behind a paywall by other checkers on the market.

SEMrush

Whether you’re checking your website or a competitor, you get a wealth of information in an eye-catching, easily consumable way with graphs and tables. SEMrush summarizes the backlink profile into various categories, including:

  • By top-level domain
  • By country
  • By industry
  • By authority score
  • By anchor

This comprehensive tool even goes back five years to analyze the backlink history of a specific profile. This means you can gain information about when a competitor started ramping up their backlink efforts or the type of consistency they have displayed over a set period to achieve their success.

Overall rating

If you want to gain a true bird’s-eye view of the link building efforts of you or your competitors, SEMrush is an excellent free solution. Along with producing attractive reports that are easy to analyze, you’re not limited by the number of reports you produce.

Link: https://www.semrush.com/analytics/backlinks/

In conclusion

As you might expect, a trade-off of going the free route is that you’re sacrificing a certain level of convenience and high-powered features. With that said, a combination of different free backlink checkers should be able to satisfy all of your requirements when it comes to backlink research.

For instance, a combination of Google Search Console and SEO SpyGlass will typically satisfy most of your backlink needs. You can use Search Console data to offset the backlink limit imposed by SEO SpyGlass, while the comprehensive analytics of SEO SpyGlass compensates for Search Console’s absence of metrics.

If you want to compare the backlink checkers against each other, check out our comparison table for a quick refresh before choosing the backlink checker of your choice.

In conclusion

Do you want to become the champion of your industry online? Check your backlinks with one of the free backlink checker tools in this guide, and make sure all of your links are working in your favor. With so much to gain in return, backlink checkers can become a reliable tool for you to transform your marketing strategy into an unstoppable force!