SEO analysis tools are powerful instruments in boosting your brand visibility among leads and current customers. One way they do this is through tracking backlinks that could either put your site pages at the top of the search engine result rankings where prospects can easily find you or bury your content amidst the competition.
Why Track Backlinks?
Tracking backlinks has several benefits, from knowing how people have come to find your site and even helping you make decisions about the direction of your content.
See which content brings in the most traffic and revenue
Do you know which are the most popular pages of your site? They most likely got to the top because people are sharing them and linking to pages that use your targeted keywords as anchor text, or the highlighted/underlined text that indicate a link. Knowing which pages are your major drivers for traffic can shape your marketing plan for future content or prevent you from spending money on content that does not produce as many backlinks.
Remove spammy links that cause drops in traffic
What if your website has been growing in traffic consistently, but now you notice a sudden drop off in site visits? Spammy links could be the culprit for the decrease in where you are found on search engine result pages (SERPs). Google notoriously penalizes websites by downgrading them in the SERP rankings due to these common link violations in Google Webmaster Guidelines:
Cross-linking between partner sites or pages too much
Buying or selling links
Creating links through automated programs
But you won’t know which links are responsible for the decline in traffic without being able to effectively track backlinks. Or if you track links manually, you will have to comb through these individual sites, losing precious time and traffic. SEO analysis tools with a good built-in backlink tracker should help you avoid these issues so you can keep your SERP rankings high and ensure return on investment on quality content.
Best SEO Analysis Tools for Tracking Backlinks
There are plenty of reasons why you should monitor the influx of external links to your site on a regular basis, but which tools should you use?
Here are the five best SEO analysis tools for checking backlinks:
1. Moz: Open Site Explorer
Moz is a favorite for SEO experts because it has paid and free tools to fit your needs and budget. The paid version, Moz Pro, has a link checker available for free called Open Site Explorer.
Simply enter a URL in the search bar. The results will show page link metrics, including new links and total number of links. You can also see the names of pages and URLs that bring a high number of traffic to your site as well as display a “Spam Score” that warns you if you are at risk for a ranking penalty.
2. Ahrefs: Backlink Checker
Another frequently used tool is Backlink Checker from Ahrefs. While there are subscription plans available, you could sign up for a free trial to look up URLs and view positive or negative changes in the amount of backlinks, the number of referring domains and more.
3. Majestic: Site Explorer
While it has a similar name to the Moz tool, the Site Explorer from Majestic has features that make it stand out, including unique metrics like Trust Flow (based on clicks given from trusted sites to a particular URL or domain) and Citation Flow (based on the number of citations to a URL or domain). Majestic also features graphics to easily read backlink metrics like the pie charts in the Backlink Breakdown and line graphs in the Backlink History section.
4. SEM Rush: Backlinks
There is a subscription plan for SEM Rush, but you can use the Backlinks tool for free to analyze links that point to your site. However, you are limited to a certain number of free searches with SEM Rush tools.
Using the Backlinks tool, you can see the anchor text that accompany your page links to determine whether external sites are describing your site with your chosen keywords. In addition, there is an indicator of how authoritative a domain that links to your site is, letting you know the links you earn are from trusted sites, which tend to have higher traffic.
5. Google: Analytics
For a completely free tool, choose Google Analytics to monitor your backlinks. If you have a syndication partnership to share content, the Referral Traffic section is an especially helpful feature of Google Analytics. You can see the names of URLs that bring traffic to your site, the number of visits and see how long visitors stayed on your page.
Whether you want to invest in backlink tracker via a paid subscription or use the free tools available, checking your backlinks is crucial.