The mantra for a successful endeavour (May it be a business, a college competition, a project at job or blogging) is, we always go forward keeping an eye on our competitors.
More is at stake when we are a blogger or an online enterprise. It becomes essential to outdo your competitor in order to obtain the ranking that the former does.
For this, we spy on our competitors’ traffic sources, the keywords they rank for and the backlinks that point to their domain.
Don’t miss my complete tutorial on how to check your competitors’ backlinks. I have covered some incredibly simple hacks to find competitors’ links and beat them in SERP.
Spying on your competitors’ backlinks can give you an idea of what domains are linking to their posts and thus you can target those sources too.
Why Do A Backlink Analysis?
- To know which sites are linking to your site or your competitor site.
- In order to capture the friend domains of your competitor into your friend zone.
- To compare your backlink profile with a strong competitor so that you can go stronger than them (this is helpful to tell Google that you are a competitor of an already established site).
- To check your friends by seeing who is linking to you so that you can return them the favor.
Top Backlink Checker Tools For Link Analysis
SEMRush is one of the most popular SEO tools out there and now it has added backlink analysis feature to its arsenal.
Previously it was very good for analyzing keywords both organic and ad keywords. The data can be got in a graphical format.
Now that it has added a backlink checker feature all you have to do is:
- Go to the SEMRush homepage.
- Type the domain name (in my case I typed quicksprout.com), you want to analyze and hit enter.
- If you want to compare the domain names, there is a tab for that on the left corner and you can get a detailed list of referring domains, referring IPs, links from .gov and .edu sites as well as other TLDs.
- You can export it as PDF by clicking on the PDF button on the right top side.
In my opinion, the free version works pretty well unless you are one of those SEO analyst trying to lock horns with your competitor.
In case, you are one there is a paid version for $69.95/mo which will give more in-depth analysis.
Read my SEMrush review to learn how to use it effectively.
And, use our SEMrush free trial offers to get SEMrush PRO account free for 14-days or SEMrush Guru account free for 14-days.
Ahrefs is the best tool in getting a backlink analysis of a competitor site or any site. It has been the winner of the test conducted by Matthew on one million domains for backlinks.
Aherfs is recognized by its up to satisfaction consumer support and detailed analysis. Its free version works for only three analysis while a fees of $79/month is charged to use the backlink checker tool in its full glory.
For a free analysis just go to the home page and type the URL of the website whose total backlink analysis you wish to do. Other prices and packages are as shown here.
Then you get the complete analysis of the backlink profile of the site tested as shown in the image below. They provide a full analysis on number of dofollow backlinks, nofollow backlinks, links as text and image backlinks apart from the basic .edu and TLD based searches.
It gives a clear diagrammatical representation of the number of social shares the domain has got and includes Google +1, tweets and Facebook likes and shares.
The free account shows you the top ten results based on each search while the paid version has unlimited results.
You can export the searched result of backlinks thus generated into a .csv file in the paid version.
To export the report on the free version, follow this path.
Backlinks → external → backlinks → new/lost → export.
Serpstat is an all-in-one SEO platform for SEO, PPC, and Content Marketing. It contains 5 tools: keyword research, rank tracking, competitive analysis, site audit, and backlink analysis.
As to the last tool, it allows analyzing your backlink profile, monitoring new and lost backlinks, measuring the link’s authority, researching competitors backlinks, and exploring anchors.
To check your backlink profile, go to the Serpstat homepage > type in your domain > open backlink analysis > choose backlink dashboard tab.
Here you’ll see the number of referring domains, pages, IPs, subnets, number of indexed pages, domain zones, page rank, trust rank, frequently used anchors and the numbers for each.
Also, there are all these numbers displayed in the graphical format. You can go to Referring Pages tab and export all your backlinks to Excel or Google Sheets.
Other tubs show the same data in details. Top pages report shows all pages of the analyzed domain that have been crawled. Here you’ll see the number of referring domains and pages, the number of outgoing links to external and internal resources, flow metrics and page language.
The free version gives you 10 queries per day and 20 results per report. Paid version starts at $19.
4. Majestic SEO
As the name suggests it is majestic and one of the most used SEO tools by professionals. It is the strongest competitor of Ahrefs and is good at some places.
They have their own curated list of majestic million where they rank sites on top million based on their rankings on links and other criteria.
They have the largest database of links and also evaluate types based on the quality of links coming from various sources.
The basic advantage of MajesticSEO is that you are free to download the link profile of your competitor and can twist them as you go so that you can have the clear view of the strategies of how the website has gained their backlinks.
They have various plans like the free plan. Their Silver plan, Gold plan and platinum plan are priced at £29.99, £ 99/mo, £250/mo respectively. For a basic search, the free version is good to go with but it is advisable to better check the pricing page so that you get a better idea of which plan works well with your business.
On the summary tab, you get a full list of links referring to a domain or URL and it also gives us a detail about how many backlinks were indexed from how many domains and also gives you the latest crawl timing.
In the backlink tab, you get a complete list of backlinks that is available to a site. Here is a list of all filters I use in order to get a noiseless URL report.
- Filter out reports from more than five links from a single domain.
- I also filter the report to hide results from sites like .nz, .cnetc. that usually tend to be spam.
- Filter out link errors like 404 errors, 300 errors and duplicates in URL.
- Lastly, I filter the results from URLs having “replytocom” and “comments” as these are nofollow links from WordPress comment sections that are useless in meaningful analysis.
Open Site Explorer is a great tool from moz.com and when a product is from Moz it has to be good. They help you to see who is linking to your competitor site filtering the report through domain authority, and anchor text used.
Comparing amongst a bunch of other sites is also possible and this helps in understanding the key strategies of your competitor to build high-quality backlinks.
Open site explorer is still not very capable of filtering results from spammy links (there may be many some with high page authority too) and thus you have to very vigilant in rejecting a backlink from the OSE result that can lead to harm your own SEO.
I recommend this article from the Moz blog by Tom Anthony. It shows you a Google spreadsheet that grabs the top SERP results automatically, in addition to the metrics given by you. Read the tutorial to learn how to configure it.
6. SEO Spyglass
SEO Spyglass is a new tool that is completely evaluating itself in order to provide great results. In a recent update, it has increased its database of indexed links to 15,000,000,000,000. This is pretty more than Ahrefs and Majestic SEO.
On the contrary, it is not a web-based client but is desktop software that runs from your PC and checks for all the live links at that point of time.
You get the fresh links and no error of dead links or links not updated (as in case of Ahrefs and MajesticSEO).
The number of backlinks for a single URL is 1100 but can’t export it whereas the paid version (a onetime fee) gives you the right to use any number of backlink analysis as well as exporting facility.
Backlink watch is the easiest tool out there to analyze the backlink portfolio of any website including yours. The good news is that it uses ahrefs’ API so you get pretty trustable results.
There is no option to export your results but there is a workaround to harness this free tool.
Just copy all the reports from the site → open spreadsheet → right click → paste special → text → done (ok).
Google alerts is the first thing that comes to mind when we think about monitoring a mention online. This easy to use tool can be used to get free alerts when your selected word/words are mentioned on the web. It can be your brand name, a product or your competitors’ name.
You can use it to monitor when your competitor is mentioned as a link on the web. The benefit is that the delivery is real time and thus could be helpful.
Though it is useful for getting basic information on a linking activity, the main drawbacks are that you do not get any notifications of the links that are already used (before you set your alert). It tells nothing about the quality of the linking site too.
Link diagnosis is a great tool that not only helps you get a wide variety of results like link type (nofollow, dofollow, missing, good etc.), page internal + external links and also a brief about page rank distribution (now obsolete as Google officially announced its death).
Open link Profiler has been a favourite SEO tool for many. Open link profiler has the large database of freshest backlinks to a site which counts to the magical number of 2,00,000 backlinks to a domain.
They display links that are active in the last 90 days only so that you don’t have to deal with outdated stuff.
Their free version helps you download up to 100 links in CSV format. This feature is not provided by any major SEO tools like majestic SEO, Ahrefs or open site explorer.
They have a link influence score for all sites so that you get an idea of the best-based pages on the basis of backlinks to it.
Working the backlinks inside out
- Now that you have got the backlinks using any of the given tools out there, just copy the backlinks to a notepad and save it as a text file (remember we are not using MS word because it adds unnecessary coding to the text in it). Now save it.
- Use a duplicate remover tool like duperemovetool to filter out further duplicate URLs that might be of no work.
- For analyzing the backlinks, I said to check if a backlink is live or not. Use this tutorial. It also checks if a link is penalized.
- Use your experience and guts to cut out links that appear spammy even if any tool doesn’t consider a spam.
- To use excel as a free alternative to analyze links you can use SEO tools for spreadsheets.
- Now that you have got your best list of backlinks, save them to use for your SEO purposes.
Warning: Beware of Analysis Paralysis
Analysis paralysis is a term coined to refer to the process of wasting too much time in analyzing that hardly any time is left for doing the backlink building.
It means you waste so much time and resources in finding the backlink profile of your competitor that at the end you find out you have no time to build any meaningful backlinks and your competitors have moved pretty ahead. Beware of it.
Over to you
Being an SEO makes you different from a guy doing the same stuff. There are millions of ways of optimizing your site for search engines and each SEO analyst has his own set of methods.
I would also suggest you to test SEMrush PRO account totally free by clicking this special promo link. Along with backlinks analysis, you can do a complete competition analysis including backlinks, keywords, keywords position, site audit etc.
What are your backlink analysis strategies?
Our readers would love to learn from your work styles, please do comment them in the comment section below.