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How To Check How Many Backlinks Your Site Has

When you're working on a link building campaign, it's nice to check your progress and see if you're actually getting anywhere as far as growing the number of links back to your site. It's hard to keep going with something when you can't measure it. So wanting to track your site's backlinks is only natural.

In addition to the sheer numbers, you may want to see if any of the links are “nofollow”, figure out the anchor text being used for the links, and the quality of sites that are linking back to you.

You may have heard of searching in the search engines using the following query; “link: yourwebsite.com.”  This used to work.

But anymore, the top search engines don't show any links back to your site like this.

They'd rather you not be able to see which links they're counting in their algorithm.

And if they do show anything at all with this or other search strings,  it will only include a partial list of links back to your site.

So if you want to track links, you'll have to move beyond using these search queries and try out some of the websites I've listed for you below.

Before I get into the sites for checking backlinks, I'd like to give you a few tips.

  1. None of these sites can give you a 100% list of the links you have pointing back to your site. That being said, some are definitely better than others. I'll give you a summary of each one and then you can pick what works best for you.
  2. Definitely don't try to compare the numbers you get from each one of these tools. They are not all created equal. It's better to find one that you like and monitor it monthly or so to see your progress.
  3. Don't check multiple times a day, or even a week. I know as a webmaster myself that I may want to check my stats multiple times a day. This is pretty useless. Why waste your time checking your backlinks multiple times a day when you can focus your efforts on link building or doing something more productive? If you focus on link building, you'll be able to be more excited when you do check your results. Check maybe once a month.
  4. Check your competitors backlinks. It's also useful to check how many backlinks your competitors have. This can help you gauge how many you need, what type, and even help you find good places to get links from. After all, if a site's linking to your competitor, they may consider linking back to you. So it's worth it to compile a list of sites linking to competitors and then ask them to link to you (I've seen great success doing this simple task and it's also pretty easy to outsource if you want).
  5. Many of these sites have subscription plans if you want to get the full range of features.  Unless you're running an SEO agency and offer SEO services to a number of clients, I would skip this.  If you do offer SEO services to others then these plans may be worth it because your clients are going to want you to show them the backlinks you've built for them. And a few of these subscriptions allow you to check where a site is ranked in the search engines, another handy tool if you've got clients.

If you stick to these rules, you'll be able to better see your progress and utilize your time and the tools better.
WARNING: Do not use all of the sites listed. This will also be a waste of your time. Instead, find one that works best for you.

You can start a spreadsheet and check and log the amount of backlinks listed on the resources and compare the number of backlinks you get to the amount listed on the SAME resource a month ago. That will give you a much better idea of your progress.

OK, with that out of the way, here are a few tools for checking backlinks:


This is a free tool.

You need to use Firefox to use LinkDiagnosis for checking your links. So make sure you've got LinkDiagnosis.com open with the Firefox browser. Then you'll need to install a plugin for Firefox (they show you how right on the site).  From there you just type in your site's name and LinkDiagnosis.com should go and find the sites linking back to yours.

Like all these tools, it won't show you 100% of the sites linking back to you, but it'll give you a good representative.

Also, I've gone to LinkDiagnosis and had problems getting any data.  I don't know if that's a new thing or if they were just working on the tool while I happened to be there, but it can be frustrating so if you find that it's not getting anything for you try one of the other tools. I do really like the LinkDiagnosis reports when they're working (which is most of the time) so that's why I include this tool.

You can also sign up for a free account and save your reports which is really handy. And you can definitely analyze competitors sites with this tool all you want (which also makes it really handy).

Here's an example of a LinkDiagnosis.com report. This is for the site; moneysavingexpert.com. It's a huge site, a very big moneymaker and has a ton of links.

Here this first section gives you a backlinks overview where you can see all the backlinks, the anchor text used, the PageRank of the page linking back to the site and a few other factors.

You can go and click on the links in the URL column and go and see the page the link is on if you'd like. That way you can see the quality of the sites linking to either your site or a competitors site. If you're analyzing a competitor's site then you can also get the contact information for the site's linking to them and ask them to link to you later on.

As you can see they have a few more tables in the report like the Indexed pages of the site.

And then here's the Anchors Table.

This shows you the different anchor text for your links and how many times they were used.

They also show this in graphical format down further below along with a few other graphs.

Again, it's a good tool and is completely free so you should give it a try if you want to check on your backlinks.


ahrefs.com is another easy to use tool that has a free version to it. You'll need to sign-up for an account. You absolutely must register to use this tool unlike LinkDiagnosis.com, but you don't need to pay.  Once inside your account you can use the Site Explorer and type in any domain name and see what shows up. Also many of these tools will let you look at the backlinks coming back to a specific page on a site (this one included).

So here's what came up with moneysavingexpert.com

I notice they have a big drop in backlinks both the ahrefs.com tool. There are many reasons to explain a loss of backlinks like this, maybe they were getting bad links and needed to remove them, many of the sites linking back to them were deindexed or gone, or they adjusted their pages and their URL structure and as a result, lost the links pointing back to those pages (that are now gone).

Anyway, if you scroll down you can see the anchor phrases used.

Down further is a graph that shows the number of dofollow and nofollow sites. You can see they have more dofollow, but do have some nofollow links (which is normal) which makes it look natural.

And that's just the overview page, all these headings here are different pages of your analysis.  If you click on Referring Domains then you'll see a few and then you need to upgrade to get the rest.

So you'd have to pay to see who is linking to you or your competitors. Their plans are pretty expensive so it's up to you if you want to upgrade your subscription, but a lot of data comes with the free plan.

Majestic SEO

With Majestic SEO you can get limited information on your backlinks or your competitors backlinks. I typed in moneysavingexpert.com and it takes me to a report page.

Here you can see they have the number of referring domains and backlinks along with a few other pieces of data on the summary page.

If you go to the other tabs along the top it will ask you to login.

By registering, you can run free reports on your site, but will need to verify ownership. You need to create a verification file and also agree to let their bot/spider crawl your site. This is not a big deal, but it does require you to do something in order to get the data where some of these other sites make it easier.

You cannot run the in-depth reports on a competitors site for free. For that you need to pay.  You can run as many as 60 in-depth reports per month for a fee of about $50 a month.

So Magjestic SEO doesn't have as many features for you as the others unless you upgrade.

There are many other tools you can use to check backlinks.

Google Webmaster Tools

Another free way to get backlinks data is to use Google Webmaster Tools (GWT).

GWT will give you a very detailed list of the sites linking back to your site. But you can only use this on sites you own or control.

In fact, you'll need to verify your site with a piece of code or upload a file so you cannot use this tool to check the number of backlinks to a competitor.

Checking your backlinks every once in a while with a free plan is useful. I suggest just doing this once a month if you think of it.

This can help you set and reach your goals by gauging whether or not you've met link building goals with each campaign you embark on.

Also, if you're going to spend money with an SEO firm on link building, you would expect reports like this monthly.

It's nice to see that the backlinks are increasing, but there's no reason to go crazy with these tools and waste hours on them. It's better to spend your time creating good content and getting backlinks than analyzing them.

Also, the best measure for your business is how much revenue you're generating and secondly, how much traffic you're getting.

Even if you're able to increase the number of backlinks to your site every month, you want to make sure you're seeing a return for all your work. At the very least you should be seeing more traffic, otherwise your backlink plan may not be working.

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This Post Has 92 Comments

  1. Vikas Sharma

    I am using open site explorer for finding backlinks. is there any tool which help to find social networking backlinks?

    1. Admin

      There may be specialized tools for this, like one that just tracks who’s talking about you on twitter, I can look into that. Thanks, Lisa

    2. I have not actually tried this tool so i will check it out right now. The only problem i have with these tools is that they are not accurate

      1. Admin

        None of them are 100% accurate so you will not ever be able to get that. But they can give you an idea.

  2. I would like to mention our tool Linkody.com. The service tells you when you get new inbound links and monitors your existing ones 24/7. You get email alerts if anything changes so you don’t have to spend your time checking that yourself. The tool provides also anchor analytics and detailed information about your links. It’s free up to a certain volume.

  3. William

    if you are looking for such tool for your personal website or blog, I would like to mention our tool top10ranking.us. The service tells you when you get new Thousands of links and monitors your existing ones.. You get email alerts if anything changes so you don’t have to spend your time checking that yourself. The tool provides also anchor analytics and detailed information about your links. It’s free up to a certain volume.

  4. mintu

    good post.
    through that any one can easily track back link of website.Thanks for all this

    1. Randy Smith

      I disagree strongly. If ANYONE can EASILY track backlinks, then why does every single tool I use to do so, online, or otherwise, give a different number? Can’t be easy, if it were everyone would agree on a number. Or at least be close, the difference between backlinks tools results for my site varies by almost 1000
      I ask a bunch of people what 2+2 is, I get the same answer every time.

      1. Lisa Parmley

        You’re right, it’s not easy. And that’s one reason why there are so many paid tools popping up to do this. Even those don’t get all the links. All of these tools would need to crawl the entire internet daily to find out exactly how many links you’ve got coming back to your site. That’s a big job. So none of these tools are going to be 100% accurate, but you really don’t need them to be as there’s no real reason to know 100% every backlink coming to your site. It’s better to focus on how much traffic you’ve got and getting that traffic to convert. At least that’s what I try to spend more of my time on.

  5. Hypnosis

    so many backlink checkers some have features others don’t

    1. Wedding

      I think the key point is not to rely on Google’s WMT too much as the data tends to be out of date, plus I thik we all know that Google does not show every link to your site. These tools offer a more rounded view of whole back linking activities, thanks for sharing.

  6. Alex

    Hi Lisa,
    I was just checking out different backlinking tools on google and entered the term “how to check back links”. Your post came up 3rd in the search so I opened it because I recognised your name from a product of I purchased last year. The search result also stood out because it was the only one on the page with an author picture.
    Anyway, after reading your post I was happy to see that you recommended ahrefs. A fellow marketer by the name of Mat Carter has also mentioned this tool before so I think I might get the $70 per month subscription. I will find it hard to hold off checking my back links often but I take your point when you say that it is much better to do more productive things.
    I also think it will be a great way to find where my competitors are getting backlinks and maybe even use this as a source for creating my own. I will leave my site url here below and see how long it takes for the ahrefs tool to find it if you don’t mind? I can then come back to this post and give you & your readers an update on how long it takes.
    Here is my site: http://financeapprovalonline.com

    1. Admin

      Like I mention in the article you may not want to buy a subscription to anything unless you are an SEO firm with many clients, but it’s up to you.

  7. Victoria

    I prefer http://moonsearch.com to check backlinks. It is free unlike Ahrefs or MajesticSEO, works nicely on all browsers unlike LinkDiagnosis and you can check your competitor’s backlinks with it unlike Google Webmaster Tools. Hope you will like the suggestion 🙂

  8. looes

    Nice post lisa. I am using ahrefs.com for checking back links and how many back links getting daily and much more information in ahrefs.com. Thanks for taking much about ahrefs.com because of i learn many things from this post.

  9. Lenawilliam

    Thank you for posting this article lisa, its really use full to us.

  10. Liam

    Thanks for pulling together this list of Apps. You would think that SEOMOz or Majestic SEO would have a simple backlinks checker as part of their toolset? This would save so much time checking if they are or alive or not.

  11. facts

    Thanks for such a nice info. YOu have saved my more then hour Work. i have tried ahref but they have limited access to all backlinks data.
    My Question is, Is there any website or software on internet that will show you 100% data.
    and Second question is What is the status of profile link in google panda algorithms.

    1. Admin

      There’s no software I know of that shows you 100% of data (and I’m really not sure why you need that).

  12. jamie

    I do have many backlinks to my website, but i cant see any on these tools. Any one facing the same problem here?

  13. Hey, just found this page on google. I like it a lot. I am new to all of this. Thanks for the article!

  14. Prakash

    ahrefs.com is best option in all .i have used that i found that that provide
    better service but for some services you have to pay some amount

  15. Pankaj Kumar

    Impressive guide…Thanks for sharing this useful Information…I was looking for a way to check backlinks for my website from a long time and I have now installed LinkDiagnosis tools after reading from your post and is really very helpful…Thankss

  16. Manny

    Thanks Lisa for this informative blog post. I ‘m not into link building again and I’m glad I saw your post. I might try linkdiagnosis and see if it will work for me.

  17. Dr. Andrew White

    I used Hubspot several times. About a year ago, they had a super nice page grader that would give tips on improving the page from a SEO perspective. That site switched stuff up recently, but they are still a nice resource.

  18. Chris

    Great article! I was looking for a great tool to check my backlinks.. thanks to you, I finally found one!

  19. syed afnan

    I have never used any of them but now i know about these tools. Thank to the admin.

  20. Sargon

    Informative post. Thanks for sharing.
    I used Alexa ,but it only shows 100 backlinks…

    1. Lisa Parmley

      None of these tools are 100% accurate. I don’t usually use Alexa for checking backlinks and I’d imagine it’s not the most reliable as that’s not really what they specialize in.

  21. olx carros

    Thanks for this post, i like to use this tool, Seo Spyglass.

  22. Angus

    Thanks for that, but why different blacklink checking website has different result?

    1. Lisa Parmley

      None of them are 100% accurate, they can’t find all the links going back to your site.

  23. Lisa angle

    almost backlink checker site is limited for free use,
    I current use this site http://siteexplorer.info, it is free with no limited

    1. kerry

      Hi, the site you recommend is very useful, and it is really good at checking backlinks.
      totally free and no limit, this is very attractive

  24. Shayari

    Thnks for the backlink checkers, at last I found how many sites link to mine.

  25. Romuald

    Thank you for the tip 🙂 I’m using ahrefs but it is not free. Do you know something free ?

    1. Lisa Parmley

      They hava a free plan that does plenty for most people’s needs. LinkDiagnosis.com is also free.

  26. Sasquatch Soap

    Thanks for the list Lisa! My personal favorite so far is link diagnosis with firefox. Seems to work pretty well for those who are early in their back linking journey.

  27. caves

    i think ahrefs.com is the best back links checking tool

  28. Sales

    I definitely need all the advice I can get to promote http://www.aceindustrialsolutions.com. It’s very time consuming when doing it yourself. But backlinks seem to be part of the puzzle & I will keep all this in mind.
    Thanks a bunch!

  29. Steve

    Excellent source of information, you may also want to have a look at another SEO site which also gives a good information relating to your site dynamics

  30. subotai

    nice post, we can all use some information about back link strategy and ways to check your work. nice post.

  31. lizsulifan

    This is great posting, event not so accurate but at least i know which backlink that my website indexing.
    Thank you and happy ester

  32. Mighil Mohan

    Such a perfectly optimized blog !!. Thanks a lot Lisa, I’ve got the correct result for my search query.

  33. Building

    • Have an excellent title, with the relevant keywords, which can entice the viewers
    to start out reading. Even if you manage to produce it on the first page of
    the search engines, you would must keep it there by looking
    after your backlinking process manually on a constant basis, while your competitors will be nipping for your
    heels using their automated backlinking as they definitely continue on to
    websites. If you retain insisting to generate thousands of backlinks in short time of time, you can
    get the risk to get banned or taken out of Google’s listings.

  34. susan boyle

    I tried using the a toll that would help me checking my site. I’m thinking if I should continue using it. What do you think guys? It is Majestic SEO.

    1. Lisa Parmley

      Yes, that tool works well too, I think it’s more expensive. There’s no real reason to pay a lot for these tools in my opinion. Really the amount of traffic you’re getting is what’s important, not how many backlinks you’ve got.

  35. ahsan

    Thanks Lisa for this informative blog post.

  36. Unique

    nice post,.
    try to check my backlink with your list.Thx

  37. This was some very inciteful and useful information. I appreciated the candor in not checking multiple times a week, as I do! 🙂 You are correct in saying that efforts can be focused on building additional link sources. Thanks for the reminder.

  38. Sameer

    Thanks for sharing the information Lisa! I was actually looking for some tool to check the backlinks of my website. I have tried few tools but none of them is showing any results. Can you please help?

  39. Thanks very much for the useful information.I have used ‘ahrefs’ previously but none of the others.I also like to use the website ‘smallseotools(dot)com/backlink-checker/’ for checking backlinks.Good tool.

  40. Mike

    I personally use ahrefs.com and I love it. I use it first to scout out my competition and see how much work they are really putting into their backlinking strategy when I am first testing out keywords in niche markets. It is a pain to wait for the backlinks to show up though. You are very right in the fact that it takes a VERY long time for backlinks to actually show up. They seem sporadic to me. Some show up within a couple days of posting while others will show up after a couple weeks. Some just do not show up at all.
    All in all thanks for the insight on the other free tools! I’ll personally stick with ahrefs because of my experience with them.

  41. dave

    The evidence is conclusive, different tools provide different results. So if you want a more complete analysis its better to use a cross section of tools.
    SEO Spyglass is a free download that can also help in your SEO and backlinks research.

  42. Meer

    Grear article about backlinks. Thanks

  43. Mark

    Nice. Thanks for this article, it’s very helpful for me and my site.

  44. Backlinks (and I’m convinced of this soley) and not only that, but QUALITY backlinks are what really boost your site up so much. This is all so true. Great article, keep preachin’ it!

  45. Shelley Garrett

    Hi Lisa, great article. I’ve been looking for ways to build my site. I’ve been trying to figure how to create backlinks and how to find them when I do. You gave a lot of good options that I will try out to see what I can find out.

  46. kevin

    Thanks for this write up. I kept checking my links and have been getting a little frustrated with all the work I’ve been doing and Google showing zero links.
    I’ll try some of these suggestions and hopefully be surprised…….. I hope.

  47. Hillary

    Hi Lisa – I too did a search for a free backlink finder tool. Beside being near the top of the search list, your post got my attention, was the most helpful and was clearly presented! I will check out your company. Much thanks!

    1. Lisa Parmley

      Thanks Hillary, I’m glad you found this article helpful.

  48. Trion

    Glad you posted Tip Number 2 – most webmasters tend to choose the tool that reports the highest number of backlinks. Much more important is to actually verify these links, remove the dead ones, and then check all the important link factors. You can do that with Backlink Falcon, Backlink Monitor, and SEO Spyglass. The online tools have decent databases, but some of their numbers can be seriously inflated.

  49. eyehealthcare

    I was confused about which tool better for checking the backlinks of my site, and i found your article. It is very interesting and helpful for me. Now I will check them out. Thanks a lots.

  50. Maria

    Great article on backlinks! Very useful. But what is the best among all of them?

    1. Lisa Parmley

      They’re all good. I like ahrefs.com and linkdiagnosis.com. You can run both for your site and you’ll find a lot of the backlinks to it.

  51. Joe Q

    All the Tools are good. I personally tried ahrefs.com and it worked I see the backlinks to my site, linkdiagnosis.com is ultra slow I tried and close the page. Now Alexa is charging to use their page, I am wondering that because many webmasters were using their page. Is there a page like alexa.com that would give you stats like they do.

  52. Hotel Panama

    I like ahref.com gives a complete list of backlinks as well different stats on Alexa. What I would like to know if there is a site that shows the backlinks by Alexa? they have turn they free services into memberships. Is there any site like this that list their barcklinks. Excellent article I consider the best way to see the Current Stats of your webpage would be Google Webmaster Tools. Thank you!

  53. Jamie Toone

    Majestic SEO is a great tool for checking backlinks on competitors – but i would always use GWT for checking your OWN website.

  54. Thank you for sharing, Lisa Parmley. This information is very helpful to me in determining the number of backlinks to my site. I prefer ahref because it can detect detailed backlink

  55. Barbara Varovsky

    Dear Lisa, thanks a lot for the post.
    You know, I used to be a fan of Majestic SEO, as it was perhaps the biggest source of links on the Web.
    But recently I have bumped into WebMeUp Backlink Tool. Frankly speaking, I was positively impressed by its backlink index – it showed more than 5K for my site. Another good point I loved about the tool was that links were analyzed in more detail than in Majestic SEO.
    I’m just wondering if you have ever heard about the tool and what is your opinion on it? Is that a reliable source to check links?
    Please share your thoughts.

    1. Lisa Parmley

      I haven’t tried it or heard of it, but it may be a good tool. Thanks for the share.

    2. Barbara,
      I checked out the Webmeup site you spoke of, but it looks like it is mainly a rank tracker? As in it tracks the ranks of your keywords on search engines? Correct me if I am wrong, as I am always looking for more sources for checking bookmarks. Nice site Lisa! First time here, have to say I like it!

  56. Lance

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for sharing. I’ve tried these tools and they work perfectly.. but might need some subscription to get the full features 🙂 but its much easier than the other tools online to check my sites backlinks.

  57. Glenn C

    Hey Lisa,
    I didn’t know about the Link Diagnosis tool.
    As you quite rightly say, it’s best to install Firefox to make it work properly.
    Great post & thanks for sharing 🙂

  58. Magnovo

    Hi Lisa,
    I’m fairly new to SEO, and stumbled across your blog while trying to learn how to track my backlinks, thanks for taking the time to put it together!
    Do you know the reason why each tool shows such a disparity in numbers? Is is based on some internal algorithm or do the search engines only share out a certain amount of their data? I get a vastly different number in Google webmaster tools than I do from the other tools.

    1. Lisa Parmley

      In order to find all the sites linking back to your website a tool would need to be able to go through every single page of every site on the internet and then find all the links. That’s not possible for any of these tools. So they miss a lot of links. That’s why the numbers are different.
      It really doesn’t matter how many people are linking back to you though, what matters more is how much traffic you’re getting so these tools work well enough to give you ideas of who to ask for links from and the type of sites most likely to link to you.
      I hope that helps!
      All the best …

  59. jake

    very enlightening article i especially found ahrefs.com to be very detailed and i think its the sure winner for me, again, thank you for the great article.

  60. RonnyG

    Hey Lisa…Well you are one of the best in the online marketing arena. Have bought several of your products and have never been disappointed. You are one f the trusted in a field of promoters that are regurgitating what thy have read elsewhere. You have done the testing and speak from experience.

  61. René

    Hello Lisa,
    thanks for sharing this very useful information. Personally i am using majesticseo to create a backlink report of my site links. I also use it to identify possible good link partner to improve my linkprofile. So i do regular checks for backlinks which my competitor are already using.

  62. Dave Singer

    Hey Lisa,
    It’s very interesting article written by you to create a report about site back-links. I usually use SEO Sitecheckup for website analysis that helps to improve website online presence and provide me details regarding technical shortcoming in our website that hurting your ranking on search engine.


  63. Abdul Haseeb

    Very usefull article, i have moz.com and found it very detailed and useful. Can someone tell me if any other website is better then moz.

  64. Raj Tiwari

    Thanks for sharing valuable information. all tool very useful

  65. Raul Ganteng

    Hi,good article,A great list of backlink checkers.Thanks for information.keep on post an informative information

  66. Aakash

    Great Article with very informative content ,There are various types of backlink checker tools are avilable online but ahrefs is one of the best software to cheak baklinks status

  67. David Smith

    Amazing content, so much value! And also, reading your great post makes me want to create even better content myself. Take care.

  68. Valuable and useful information about the backlinks. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post.

  69. Rakesh

    I used may of the backlinks checkers but Ahref is the best amog all. It provide all details which are important for our website. Best backlinks tool ever. Thanks providing such a beautiful article on Check how many backlinks.

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