How can you use link analysis tools?
Tools for incoming links analysis can be used in a variety of ways, but they are mostly used to:
1. Comparison with the competition - backlink monitoring tools can compare two sites and check the number and quality of links. Thanks to such report you can evaluate your situation and decide which quality links are still not directing users to your website and how you can compete with others. Of course, you should remember that links are only a part of SEO activities - the optimization of the page itself is as crucial for successful SEO.
2. Competition activities analysis - when you see what links are acquired by your competitors, you can answer a lot of questions regarding their activities, such as:
- what link acquisition method do they use?
- Do they have their own dedicated base of support pages (hidden from the search engine bots)
- What sites publish their advertising articles?
- Were any Black Hat SEO techniques used?
- What other services cooperate with them?
This knowledge can give you a lot of ideas and you may find an inspiration to devise your own link-building strategy. It is worth remembering that clever SEO specialists can expertly hide their activities, so you may never see the full scope of the dealings your competitors perform.
3. Link-building campaign monitoring - when link-building is outsourced to specialized agencies, you should monitor their activity. The report of links gained is not enough. All in all, a link from a small, private presell blog which has zero value in the eyes of Google bots is not worth the money you invest in it.
4. Negative SEO campaigns monitoring - let's not discuss if negative SEO activities exist and focus on the fact that some competitors may try to cause a drop in search engine results for your page. Link analysis tools and Disavow tool are probably the only effective means of fighting negative SEO.
5. Listing of all incoming links - from the moment of first signifiers of link acquisition the link analysis tool will list a whole base of backlinks you gain and will denote which are beneficial or detrimental to your efforts.
Free link analysis tools
Searching links through a browser
You can use Google to quickly see the links that direct to your site, by typing "link" command and our domain in the search box. Remember, it is only a sample of links leading to your domain and as such you should not presume the most important links are displayed here.
Important note! If you wish to see more search results, denote that you don't need links from your own domain, by typing the command like this: "link:domain.com -site:domain.com"
Below you can see an example of such search:
Google Search Console
When you have an access to Google Search Console, you can download a list of sample links to your domain which are saved by Google. This information is unfortunately not very complex, as you get only a list of URLs without the info about the anchors leading to your page. When you use GSC, you can acquire a list of recent links or a sample of all leads. GSC gives you an ability to generate a list of up to 100 000 links.
What information can be gathered from Google Search Console?
- Sample of new links (up to 100 000)
- Sample of all links (up to 100 000)
- list of domains with the largest number of links (up to 1000)
- Subpages which are linked the most
- texts used the most in anchors
It's a simple tool which can perform a quick incoming links analysis, but the link base is relatively small. When you specify the URL of the domain, you will receive an information regarding links directing to it (including the anchor, PR, and nofollow attribute). When the link takes a form of an image, it will also be shown. Operation speed is the big advantage of this tool, but its interface doesn't encourage to use it.
Backlinks: Your Free Backlink Checker Tool
A tool presented by Neil Patel famous digital marketer and SEO specialist. The list is presented in a clean form and each link has the parameters such as an anchor, PR and DR assigned. When you register using Google Account you'll receive a larger link database.
A fast and simple tool which can generate basic information about links to your site - Anchor text and Page Rank.
Comparison of free tools
size using Whitepress
Paid tools (with free version available)
One of the most popular link analysis tools with a huge database. It is also simple to use and has a user-friendly interface, which makes it even more pleasant to utilize, even if you are completely green in SEO. Majestic SEO can return very interesting data about incoming links, for example:
- anchor distribution diagrams
- diagrams for different link types (nofollow/dofollow, text/image)
- division of links - Fresh Index (no older than 90 days) and Historic Index (all link data)
- information about deleted links
The tool is paid and in its free version it does not show this much information, but it allows you to check a lot of data for your own domain if you verify your ownership.
The second most popular link analysis tool. It shows almost the same data and link parameters as Majestic in a slightly different form. The choice between Ahrefs and Majestic depends only on your personal preference and being used to one interface or the other. All necessary info is displayed in a form of graphs and visualizations which make the data more comprehensible. Ahrefs also shows metrics for Social Media traffic, including likes and shares on Facebook, tweets and retweets on Twitter.
MOZ Link explorer
A tool developed by moz.com group - one of the biggest SEO-oriented portals on the web. OpenSiteExplorer is less complex than the two previous tools and much smaller link database. Nevertheless, it presents all information in a clear and understandable way. Just like Majestic and Ahrefs, OSE gives you an ability to export link for further analysis.
Unlike the previous tools, SEO Spyglass is a desktop software, not a browser-based one, which is a rare occurrence for link analysis tool. SpyGlass is a number of tools combined into one app and one of them offers link analysis. Before you download the list you can choose what parameters you are interested in to make your work easier. A very useful parameter is PenaltyRisk, which evaluates a risk of the negative influence of a given link. The link data can be exported to PDF (and you can configure the way it is displayed before you do it).
A multipurpose tool which not only analyzes links but also helps in general website optimization. Just like SpyGlass, it is able to evaluate a negative effect the given link might have using a PenaltyRisk parameter - the lower it is, the lower the chance of negative Google input.
MonitorBaclkinks is a relatively fresh tool which presents the collected data in a very convenient way. Sadly, the link database is small for now, thus, the tool focuses more on monitoring the existing links instead of gathering all of their parameters.
What will you see for free?
Each of the described tools allows for a free checkup of the backlinks for a given domain, but it restricts the amount of data it displays.
Comparison of capabilities
The summary below shows different capabilities of each tool, tested on one domain. We used the cheapest available paid version.
Link quality analysis tools
The information regarding the number and sources of links is not enough. You should collect and evaluate the links when you wish to delete some of them if they have a negative impact on your domain. Thus, you should gather as much data as possible to check the negative effects of some links. Here are some tools that will help you see the quality of links.
An desktop tool that allows you to analyze the quality of links. When you upload the list you have to wait for a couple of minutes to get the full evaluation. The analysis should give you the information such as:
- evaluated quality of the link
- type of script used on the page linking to you
- anchor text
- rotation data
Clusteric also gives you an ability to create a file with links which should be reported in Disavow Tool. Just specify the parameters of such links (for example - all dofollows from SEO scripts with a quality below 70) to generate a list.
As you can see, there are numerous analysis tools available, but they differ in database size, data collection solutions and presentation methods. It's best to use their free capabilities and choose the one that you liked the most. Maybe you already use one of analysis tools yourself? Leave a comment if you do.
Author: Karol Soja