Sitetrail’s guide to the best free backlink and SEO tools will give you a comparative review of their best features and services.
A backlink is a link to one website from another website. The way search engines work is simple: the more high quality contextual backlinks a website has, the higher the chance that it will rank in more search engines. Backlinks can be seen as votes for a website, which is why backlinks have an enormous impact on a website’s search engine results.
Using the right backlink checkers can greatly impact on new backlink opportunities, discovering your competitor’s strategy and helping keep track of the overall health of your website and its backlinks. The right SEO tools can also significantly improve a website’s ranking in search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. There are many backlink and SEO tools available on the market, each with their own functionality and speciality. But how do you choose the best one? Reading Sitetrail’s guide of the best free backlink research tools and SEO planning tools is a great start!
Our top choice is SEMRush (Try it out here to see why)
“Doing backlink research is the foundation of good SEO and media buying. Using a tool like SEMRush is super affordable and can save you thousands in research consulting. It can generate predefined reports, relying on the latest data. This also means that it is the quickest way to see what competitors are up to, allowing you to respond swiftly in order to retain rankings”. (Adriaan Brits, Sitetrail CEO)
Backlink research is often accompanied by website traffic analysis and other domain metrics. The market is crowded with solutions, many of these tools may look flashy and feel intuitive, however the accuracy of data is rather important. For example there is no correlation between the traffic measurement of AHRefs and SimilarWeb – which shows that AHRefs (a flashy tool) does lack accuracy. Below is a roundup of all the known backlink checkers in the market:
Suggested resources trusted by 500+ CMO’s for better search engine optimization
A Backlink checker is essentially a research tool that can show you how the qualitative and quantitative aspects of a competitors’ backlinks or “inbound links”. This enables a business to find new link opportunities and calculate the gap to catch up with the competition. Backlink checkers can also show internal data about your site: the number of inbound links – as well as internal linking structures within a website. Metrics such as “domain authority” (known as DA) and page rank, together with DR and citation flow are indicative of qualitative aspects of a link: simply put, the strength and reputation of a website linking to a site.
Note: Counting the sheer “volume” of backlinks can be fuitile. The qualitative aspects of a backlink include relevance and domain authority.
SEO SpyGlass is a backlink analysis tool that does it all. SEO SpyGlass allows users to conduct a comprehensive analysis on the results of their backlink checks. Users are able to filter and sort through backlink data using parameters such as linked pages, anchors texts and URLs, dofollow and nofollow attributes, domain and page authority, and the degree to which a link is prone to spamming. SEO SpyGlass offers 1000 free backlink checks per domain, unlimited domain checks, and unlimited backlink data and analysis opportunities. This makes it very easy to research your own websites and those of your competitors’. For users looking for just that extra bit of analysis, users are also able to connect their SEO SpyGlass to Google Search Console and Google Analytics and from there, users are able to extract their backlink data from Google Tools to be processed and analyzed in SEO SpyGlass, all free of charge. SEO SpyGlass a brilliant backlink checker tool for backlink research and management.
Also at the very top of SEO planning and backlink checker tools is Google Search Console. Anyone and everyone with a website can use Google Search Console for free. Google Search Console is a backlink tool with one of the largest data allowances, but it only allows users to analyze backlinks linked to their own websites. After website ownership is verified, users are granted access to a range of site quality dashboards with a list of backlinks taken directly from Google’s index. Users are allowed to view the top 1000 results. Google Search Console is however limited in their opportunities for in depth backlink analysis’; they do not provide additional metrics, and no analytical features are displayed on the site. Yet, as a SEO checker
Ahrefs is a powerful keyword research and backlink checker tool that gives users an overview of their chosen domain, Ahrefs draws their data from one of the largest backlink indexes. Ahrefs allows users unlimited free backlink checks per day but limits the number of backlinks users can view to up to 100. They also provide details about additional metrics such as traffic, anchor text and type, and domain and page authority. Ahrefs also makes it very easy for users to see lost backlinks or find deleted ones. Users can identify broken backlinks and examine internal links on their websites for links that they may have accidentally nofollowed. With Ahrefs, users can also view their overall backlink profile which contains details about domain ratings, the total number of backlinks and referring domains.
Seobility is the perfect tool if you’re looking for a quick overview of your backlinks and those of your competitors. As part of their free package, Seobility offers three free backlink checks and up to 400 backlinks per check. Their backlinks list is sorted from the highest ranked link to the lowest, so regardless of the limit of backlinks you are able to see, the best links are listed first. Seobility also provides users with additional details on backlink checker, such as anchor texts, link types and linked pages, and also dofollow and nofollow attributes. Information of the backlink profile, total backlink count, domain rating, and referred domains are also part of their backlink analysis.
Majestic SEO is one of the best marketing SEO tools on the market, with several backlink checkers and SEO planning tools under its belt, all free of charge. Yet what’s different about Majestic SEO is that they do not use third-party data to deliver information to their clients but rather have backlink checkers that continuously crawl the web. Majestic SEO can help you find existing and new backlinks to your site, as well as the sites of your competitors, which include the amount of referring domain, IPs, and anchor texts and the number of links set to follow specific anchor texts. Majestic SEO allows you to compare a bunch of SEO metrics and provides users with basic easy-to-understand tablets of analysis, details and data related to their web pages and backlinks. Majestic SEO does have a subscription version which cost $49.99 per month and contains additional information and detailed reports of their backlink checkers.
Open Link Profiler is one of the best free backlink checkers and SEO research tools on the market today that lets you analyze backlinks from any domain. With Open Link Profiler, opening a free account allows you to download 1000 links per website to filter and sort through to find nofollow links as well as evaluate successful backlinks. Open Link Profiler works very much the same as other popular backlink checkers on the list but their information reports are much more extensive including the age, context, industry and country of backlinks being examined. Open Link Profiler also provides an analysis of backlinks which allows users to remove low-quality backlink and add backlinks discovered from new opportunities, all toward the goal of improving page and search engine rankings.
Ubersuggest is a keyword tracking tool. It’s main SEO research tool is its keyword research features that help identify keywords and the search intent behind them. Ubersuggest can help you find the right keywords, from thousands of suggestions, to use in your website to spur on search engine results. But what’s more, Ubersuggest also has very powerful backlink tools that provide detailed descriptions of your website’s backlinks, such as new backlinks, backlinks that have been lost, and which backlinks are marked as nofollow. Ubersuggest’s free version is perfect for users solely interested in keyword tracking tools, but for those interested in backlink checkers as well, Ubersuggest’s services are not as comprehensive as the other backlink checkers. They do however provide in depth information of the few backlink information requests that their free version allows for. Ubersuggest’s free version gives users an overview of the wider services offered by Ubersuggest in their Pro package which costs $29 per month. Ubersuggest’s other backlink and SEO tools include web traffic analysis, and assistance with new keywords, backlinks and content ideas.
SEMRush is one of the best backlink checker tools on the market today. SEMRush is the best keyword research tool that allows users to analyze web content and backlinks. SEMRush can provide you with extensive information about any URL including the backlinks that point to your website. SEMRush allows users to track their competitor’s sites and gain comprehensive insights into their competitor’s backlinks. You can spot low-quality backlinks and see how many total links a web page linked to you has. SEMrush only allows for a handful of free searches to be conducted before they request users to create an account for $99.95 per month and $83.28 if you pay for twelve months upfront. You will need to create an account with SEMRush in order to have full access to their comprehensive backlink services but it may also be good to check out their exclusive 30-day free trial before fully committing to their services. Read the full SEMRush Review here.
BuzzSumo is also one of the best paid-for backlink checker tools. It allows users to analyze their web content alongside the web content of their competitors. BuzzSumo allows you to find the best keywords for the content you produce. BuzzSumo provides clients with comprehensive information about how their web content performs as a result of specific backlinks, what type of content attracts the most links, and the details of competitor content and the backlinks they inserted. BuzzSumo also allows users to identify which web pages and backlinks are shared most often and also identify new opportunities for future backlinks. BuzzSumo does have a basic free version, but for a thorough in depth backlink analysis you may need to upgrade to the BuzzSumo Pro package for $99 per month, and $79 if you pay annually.
There are many benefits and advantages to using backlink checkers and SEO planning tools. The best backlink checkers provide backlink analysis on information that will allow you to identify and remove bad links, find better backlink opportunities, help form new backlink strategies to strengthen a website’s backlink profile, and many times, provide users with research on their competitors and their backlink strategies.
Using SEO planning tools make the SEO processes much faster, reducing it from days of manual labor to minutes using the right SEO planning tool. SEO tools also present information and analysis’ in a more organized and categorized manner, which means making deductions about backlinks, search engine results and finding anomalies significantly easier and faster. SEO tools can also inspire new ideas and the exploration of new backlinks and search engine patterns you may not have thought about before.
With the best backlink checkers and SEO planning tools at the tip of your fingers, for free or for reasonably affordable prices, why not spend the time and research the advantages of the backlink checker and SEO tools listed above to see for yourself how each can benefit you. Even if it means spending a few extra dollars on premium packages, the benefits of backlink checkers and SEO tools are worth the costs.
We explained that after testing numerous options, SEMRush is the best overall choice for features and pricing. It is used by both enterprise SEO agencies, and in-house digital marketing teams. (Try it out here to see why)
That said, at a very minimum, any one of the backlinks and SEO planning tools listed above will help grow your backlinks, analyze them for better backlinks in the future, and help you research your competitors backlinks as well. They all have some rather different and sometimes unique features tailored to different user needs. Seobility is good for quick daily backlink checks, Open Link Profiler offers extensive backlink data and analyses, and SEO SpyGlass, as one of the top overall backlink checkers and SEO planning tools, does it all.
Yet it might also be the case that no single backlink checker or SEO tool has everything you may need, and using a combination of two or three may leave you better off in the long run. For example, for quick backlink checks, you can first use Ahrefs, because it does not have a daily limit, and then after, you can use Seobility for a detailed exploration of your and your competitor’s backlinks as Seobility provides 400 of the top backlinks per check you conduct. Another option is using Google Search Console, which allows users to view the top 1000 backlinks but provide very limited backlink metrics and analysis. Yet this does not stop you from downloading the results of your Google Search Console backlink check and using the information to conduct a more thorough analysis using another backlink and SEO planning tool, like SEO SpyGlass. SEO SpyGlass is a prime example of a backlink checker that allows users to extract the backlink data from Google Search Console and download it to be analyzed in SEO SpyGlass. It still would not beat the features / pricing balance available from SEMRush.
Choosing the best backlink checker and SEO tool simply depends on what you want to use the backlink checker or SEO tool for, and knowing this will help you decide which one, or two, is best for you!