Finding the best backlink tools is key for effective SEO and driving referrals to your site. With so many options available, it can be tough to know where to start. This guide examines the top backlink checkers and generators to use in 2023 for maximum impact.
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Backlinks remain one of the strongest ranking signals for Google and other search engines. By generating high-quality backlinks from authority sites, you can rapidly improve your domain and page authority to rank higher in search results.
However, with link building come risks like toxic backlinks and over-optimization penalties. The right tools allow you to safely build links, check their value, and monitor your overall link profile.
Why Are Quality Backlinks So Important?
Before exploring the leading backlink software tools, it helps to understand why backlinks matter so much:
- Search engine rankings – More backlinks from reputable sites signal to Google that a page offers valuable info to merit higher rankings.
- Referral traffic – Every backlink is a potential new referral source driving visitors to your content.
- Trust and authority – Inbound links help establish domain authority and topic relevance in Google’s eyes.
Quality trumps quantity when it comes to backlinks. A few authoritative editorial links can outweigh hundreds of artificial, spammy links. Google’s algorithms can detect and downgrade sites using shady tactics.
The best link building focuses on content production and outreach to earn editorially-given links. The right backlink tools make this process far more manageable.
Top 5 Backlink Checker and Building Tools
After checking dozens of backlink tools and software options, these solutions stand out as the most useful:
- Ahrefs – Robust set of SEO tools including backlink checker and building assistant.
- Semrush – Equally popular SEO suite with backlink tracking and analytics.
- Moz – Long-trusted tool for backlink analysis and monitoring.
- Majestic – Specialized backlink index and historical link data tool.
- BuzzStream – Link building campaign and outreach management software.
The best backlink checker for your needs depends on your budget, focus (analysis vs outreach), and existing software stack. We’ll compare the capabilities of these five leading tools in detail below.
1: Ahrefs Backlink Checker and Builder
Overview: All-in-one SEO toolkit with massive backlink index for deep link analysis and building link opportunities.
- Checks up to 100 million pages per day for new backlinks
- Analyzes link intersect data between any two domains
- Pre-built lists for finding link building prospects
- Tracks toxic links and removal opportunities
- Lite: $99/Mo with limited capabilities
- Standard: $179/Mo for comprehensive features
Ahrefs is the Cadillac of SEO tools, providing an enormous wealth of data for researching competitors, checking your current link profile, finding link building targets, and measuring campaign success.
For backlink analysis, it boasts the largest link index (over 130 billion) of any tool. The depth of its crawl and link data makes it easy to uncover new link opportunities as well as toxic or risky backlinks to clean up.
We especially like the Link Intersect comparison showing sites that competitors have gained backlinks from (but you haven’t yet). This reveals some of the best prospects for outreach emails pitching’s guest posts.
For a complete SEO stack, Ahrefs is hard to beat. The unlimited use cases make the premium monthly plans worthwhile for serious digital marketers and agencies focused on organic growth.
2: SEMRush Backlink Building Tool
Overview: Industry leading all-in-one SEO and content toolkit with backlink tracking and analysis.
- Backlink Auditor shows where sites link to your pages
- Backlink Analytics tool for tracking growth and trends
- Clickable Backlinks report mapping each inbound link
- Comparable metrics to Ahrefs for fewer dollars
- Pro: $99/Mo starter plan
- Guru: $199/Mo for full features
SEMRush competes closely with Ahrefs for SEO power users. Though its backlink index remains smaller, it indexes over 70 trillion links. The Backlink Tracking tools make it simple to analyze competitors, see who links to your site, and pursue new link building targets.
Helpful reports provide graphs showing changes in total backlinks and referring domains over customizable time periods. You can also filter links by type (follow/nofollow), anchor text usage, URL rating, and more. These filters help isolate the most valuable existing links to model.
For specifically building links, SEMRush shines with its automated messaging capabilities. You can create sequences sending custom emails when new content publishes or threshold metrics are hit to convert more link prospects.
As a bonus over Ahrefs, SEMRush publishes more original SEO content and tutorials to help guide your strategy using their toolkit. For an affordable but still robust SEO crawler, SEMRush is very appealing.
3: Moz Backlink Explorer
Overview: Moz remains trusted for link data signals with over 200 billion links in its index.
- Link Explorer shows both inbound and outbound links
- Prioritizes links by Domain Authority and Page Authority
- Filters by attributes like Follow vs Nofollow
- Shows recent lost links with diagnostics
- $99/Mo basic plan
- $175/Mo full features
Moz preceded Ahrefs and SEMRush with its Open Site Explorer backlink analysis tool launched back in 2009. While its index lags the size of these two competitors, Moz still measures over 200 billion links. This makes it more than sufficient for most robust link audits.
We especially appreciate Link Explorer’s page authority metrics. This reveals both the power of individual linking domains and specific pages pointing at your URL. Sorting by authority instantly shows the sites and pages offering the biggest SEO value to maintain or replicate.
For tracking lost links, Moz also stands out. Its Link Intersect tool maps sites linking to both competitors and your pages previously. By showing recently lost links, you can diagnose toxic links getting devalued or administrative issues around permissions.
Moz tends to be most popular with long-time SEOs thanks to its historical reputation. But its link dataset remains solid enough for most link building needs even with fierce competition today from Ahrefs and SEMRush.
4: Majestic Backlink Checker and Explorer
Overview: Specialized link index database for historical backlink tracking with Flow Metrics showing trends.
- Shows backlinks for any site since 2006
- Flow Metrics reveal trajectory of links gained/lost
- Analyze competitor domains link overlap
- Exportable trusts flow and citation flow data
- Lite: $49/Mo limited plan
- Full: $499/Mo complete access
Whereas Ahrefs and SEMRush focus on breadth, Majestic emphasizes depth. It offers the best historical link data, crawling the web to catalog backlink changes across sites since 2006.
This wealth of longitudinal link data powers Majestic’s unique Flow Metrics. The Trust Flow and Citation Flow scores reveal short- and long-term trends in your domain’s link velocity and authority gains.
The Exportable Backlink Reports function also formats all your tracked links data in a spreadsheet to manipulate offline. This helps integrate link tracking into larger SEO audits and reporting.
For pricing, Majestic’s plans get expensive for complete access compared to the other tools we recommend. But if you need deep historical link data for analysis, its archives are unmatched making the high-end cost justifiable for enterprises.
5: Buzz Stream Link Building Software
Overview: Link building campaign management to find prospects and track outreach.
- Build targeted media lists for outreach
- Personalize and automate cold emails
- Follow-up sequence reminders
- Track opens, clicks, and replies
- Team: $97/mo. base plan
- Premium: $197/Mo more contacts
All the previous tools focus solely on backlink analysis. To complement them, Buzz Stream facilitates outreach to earn those coveted editorially-given links.
After you identify new sites and pages to pitch guest posts to, Buzz Stream helps craft personalized cold emails, follow up through sequences, and monitor responses. This saves tons of manual effort tracking outreach campaigns.
We especially like the ability to track open and clickthrough rates. This reveals which outreach email subject lines and content work best to capture attention for highest conversions to backlinks.
Buzz Stream definitely requires more active participation for sending emails and producing new content worth linking to. But in terms of managing the administrative work, it’s an essential tool for smart link builders.
Key Criteria for Selecting Backlink Tools and Software
Again, there are tons of SEO tools providing some degree of backlink tracking and analysis today. Assessing them comes down to a few key factors:
Link Index Size – Breadth of crawl with more indexed pages and measured links powering accuracy.
Link Metrics – Domain Authority, Page Authority, Trust Metrics offering context.
Link Intersect Data – Ability to map overlapping links between competitors and your site.
Historical Link Tracking – Longitudinal indexes showing trends in links gained and lost.
Link Building Workflow – Finding prospects, managing outreach, earning links at scale.
Price and Available Support – Cost fitting budget constraints and objectives.
The best backlink building stack often requires pairing an analysis tool like Ahrefs or Majestic with campaign software like Buzz Stream. This drives the highest ROI combining insight with productive outreach.
Step-By-Step Guide to Find Backlinks with Any Tool
While every backlink checker software has its own workflow, the process follows similar stages:
Choose Target Pages and Domains
First select the specific pages and domains you want to analyze backlinks for. Common options include:
- Your homepage and important site content
- Main competitor website and blog
- Industry authoritative sites to model
Comparing a few target domains side-by-side reveals useful link building intelligence.
Export Backlink Lists
Most tools allow exporting backlink list reports in spreadsheet formats. You can also copy and paste links from the platform interface but this gets manual quickly. Focus just on editorial links ignoring navigational site architecture links.
Aggregate Links and Analyze Patterns
Add all editorial links from target pages into a master spreadsheet for easy analysis. Look at parameters like:
- Anchor text patterns
- Page authority and domain authority averages
- Recent link trends – which sites link frequently?
Identify Top Referring Domains
Prioritizing linking domains by authority helps reveal the sites that influence search perception and conversions most. Sort to find the top 10-25 most valuable sites to emulate or pitch first.
Map Link Prospects and Assets
Compile a content asset list then map link targets to topics. See which of your posts and guest contributions match up with pages these publishers would link to.
Export Reports to Track Changes
Checking backlink reports once only provides a snapshot. Export at set intervals to compare changes in links gained/lost and monitor new opportunities.
Repeating this workflow monthly offers an SEO audit to recognize shifts from Google updates, outreach successes, toxic links, or lost connections needing recovery.
Key Takeaways and Recommendations
- Backlinks remain crucial for ranking well organically and driving referral clicks. Prioritize quality over quantity from reputable sources.
- Ahrefs, SEMRush, Moz, and Majestic all provide powerful (if pricey) backlink analysis. Buzz Stream adds campaign outreach features.
- Study competitor links for patterns then pitch similar content assets to identified authoritative sites.
- Schedule recurring backlink exports, monitoring new links gained and lost to guide ongoing outreach.
- Combine software tools as needed to automate administrative link building tasks where possible.
Earning backlinks should be central to any modern SEO and content promotion strategy. The right quality links directly influence search visibility, referral traffic to your site, brand authority perception, and ultimately conversions.
But gaming links using shady tactics can seriously damage a domain’s reputation. Google prizes organic editorially-given links. So focus your efforts on producing genuinely useful content then reaching out to relevant sites.
The backlink analysis software highlighted here empowers enterprises both large and small to pursue links safely and efficiently. Tracking competitor sites reveals volumes of actionable data through link intersect comparisons.
Paired with campaign management systems like Buzz Stream, you can methodically cultivate organic links at scale from identified target domains. Measure changes over time until you hit metrics matching or exceeding rivals in your space.
Remember search interest and conversions flow to pages Google deems the most authoritative. Earning great links remains the best path to establishing trust and prominence.
Pick tools fitting your current business size and resources, then develop the hands-on expertise needed to build a diverse, thriving backlink profile driving referrals and revenue.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the risks of low-quality backlinks?
Too many artificial, manipulated backlinks trigger search engine penalties against your site. Focus on earning editorially given links building genuine authority.
- How many backlinks are considered good?
Aim for at least 50-100 referring domains to your homepage as a start. Getting links to deeper content is ideal and expands reach further.
- Can you check who links to a website?
Yes, backlink analysis tools like Ahrefs show all web pages, domains, anchor text, and other data for inbound links pointing to your chosen URL.
- What is the best backlink Checker?
For comprehensive capabilities, Ahrefs Backlink Checker stands out as the most robust for tracking and building links effectively.
- How much do backlinks cost?
Manual outreach and content promotion to earn backlinks carries high time costs. Paid link packages potentially risk penalties. Focus on producing quality content, then pitching relevant sites.
- Can I build backlinks for free?
You can absolutely build quality backlinks without any out-of-pocket spend by creating useful content that publishers want to reference with links citing your expertise.
- How long do backlinks take to work?
New quality backlinks may influence search visibility in as little as 1-2 weeks by demonstrating authority. Consider 6-12 month inbound link building initiatives for measurable organic growth.
- What is a good backlink click through rate?
Shoot for at least a 1-3% click through rate from backlinks to your content. This shows they are placed in relevant context driving interested visitors.
- What should you not do when building backlinks?
Avoid buying links from low-quality ad networks, spamming blog comments with links, manipulating anchor text ratios, and other tactics discouraged by Google.
- Can I create my own backlinks?
Self-made backlinks between commercial sites you operate will get devalued or discounted by search engines. Focus instead on references from independent trusted sources.
- How often should you build backlinks?
Continually look for relevant guest post opportunities while monitoring existing links monthly. Set goals for new link growth week over week or month over month.
- Can I get penalized for having too many backlinks?
Yes, lots of artificial purchased links or suddenly gaining thousands of links looks suspicious. Organic verified editorially given links show true authority.
- What qualifies as a high quality backlink?
High domain/page authority sites, relevant context links, partial match anchor text phrases, and links persisting for 6+ months.
- Should I disavow bad backlinks?
If toxic links are distorting your backlink profile, use Google Disavow Tool providing a list to ignore these manipulative links.
- Where should I put backlinks on my site?
Links within genuine, useful content pass equity much better than site headers or sidebars full of advertisements and affiliates.
- How important is domain authority for backlinks?
High authority sites (DA50+) lend more ranking power and conversions via links, establishing your relevance. But niche links also have value.
- What are follow vs nofollow links?
Follow links pass authority signaling endorsements. Nofollow links show references without vouching for sites so avoid penalties for risky sites.
- Which pages should I build backlinks to?
Homepage and pillar evergreen performing content most influential. Also build links to topic category, service pages, and blog aiming for full site architecture equity flow.