The competitors have entered the ring.
The match is on.
From free tools to all-in-one systems that can manage your entire SEO strategy, there are a number of backlink checker tools that can help get the job done. However, not every backlink checker tool is worth your investment.
How do you know which backlink checker tool is actually worth your time and attention?
Let’s watch the Ultimate Showdown to find the best backlink checkers of 2018.
To help you find the backlink checker tool to fit your needs, we put all the most popular backlink checker tools to the test through three rounds of competition:
- Best Backlink Checker for Beginners
- Best Free Backlink Checker
- Best Backlink Checker for Monitoring Competition
Then, we let our winners battle it out for the ultimate title of Best Overall Backlink Checker.
We know you’re busy and ready to get to checking those links, so—spoiler alert!—we’re going to divulge the winner with a quick summary right upfront.
The winner is Monitor Backlinks. It beat out the competition due to its ease of use, ample automation to make backlink checking quick and painless, slick reporting, keyword rank tracking, competitor research tools and unbeatable pricing.
We’ve also secured an exclusive offer for CoSpot readers: Click here to claim your free trial of Monitor Backlinks!
Keep reading to see the point-by-point breakdown of its features along with comparisons to the other tools in our backlink checker showdown.
The Ultimate Showdown: The Best Backlink Checkers of 2018
Round 1: Best Backlink Checker for Beginners
In the first round, we welcome two backlink checkers that are known to be great for beginners: Ahrefs and Moz.
They’re often the first backlink checkers that beginners gravitate to, if for nothing else but name recognition.
Is one of these a clear winner in terms of ease of use?
Opponent #1: Ahrefs
Ahrefs is one of the big names in the SEO world. As one of the leaders of the industry, they’ve refined their system and software, making it easy to use for SEO beginners and experts alike.
With everything located on one dashboard, newbies can find exactly what they need without feeling intimidated by different programs, pages or reports.
As a backlink checker tool, Ahrefs pulls a complete backlink file for the user’s website, sharing the number of referring domains, referring pages and the number of new and lost domains or pages.
Ahrefs also has a tool for researching backlink opportunities and keeping an eye on competitors, giving even individuals new to the SEO world a snapshot of how they can improve their backlink strategy.
Ahrefs has three different pricing tiers: Lite, Standard and Advanced. Lite packages begin at $99/month and are best for smaller teams or solopreneurs. The Standard package, which costs $179/month, is Ahrefs’ most popular plan, offering 1,000 tracked keywords and 10 campaigns.
Opponent #2: Moz
Moz is obviously another big name in the SEO world.
While they offer a complete Moz Pro tool, the Open Site Explorer allows users to research backlinks and find link building opportunities without needing to purchase the entire Moz Pro package. This can allow newbies to get a taste of Moz’s backlink tools before investing too much.
The Open Site Explorer only scratches the surface of what the Moz Pro package provides, but it still can share Domain Authority, Page Authority and popular inbound links. However, Moz Pro can provide users with link building opportunities, spam analysis and more.
Moz Pro offers four different pricing packages, including Standard for $99/month, Medium for $149/month, Large for $249/month and Premium for $599/month. The Medium package is the most popular, offering 10 campaigns, 750 keyword rankings and unlimited backlink queries per month.
In this round, Moz takes the win for Best Backlink Checker for Beginners.
The free Open Site Explorer is a great way to allow new users to test out the software before committing to the entire package.
Additionally, with a lower monthly cost per month for the most popular package, Moz can allow smaller businesses to access a full SEO suite without breaking the bank.
Round 2: Best Free Backlink Checker Tool
In the next round, Majestic SEO challenges Check My Backlinks for the Best Free Backlink Checker Tool.
Opponent #1: Majestic SEO
Majestic SEO is a popular SEO tool. While you do need to pay for their main item, they also offer free access to their tools with some restrictions.
The Site Explorer Preview allows users to take an inside look at their own website, analyzing everything from Trust Flow to the number of referring domains.
The Majestic SEO Site Explorer is free if you can confirm that you own the domain. While you’re only able to access surface-level information about your competitors, the Site Explorer can allow you to better understand your own website and backlinks. Through the free version of the Site Explorer, you can analyze your anchor text, referring domains and lost links.
While Majestic SEO does offer this free tool, they also have a number of paid options. This can allow users to upgrade their abilities without needing to switch tools. The free tool is a great way to get started, but in order to access the full depth of the Site Explorer, users will need to purchase a plan, beginning with the Lite package for $49.99 a month.
Opponent #2: Check My Links
Check My Links is an extension for Chrome that allows users to crawl websites as they browse.
With the simple addition of the extension into their Chrome browser, Check My Links users can find broken backlinks on their website, competitors’ websites or websites they’re hoping to score links on.
As an extension, Check My Links is a free tool that makes it easy to think about your backlink strategy as you go throughout your typical workday. Since you can easily comb through any page, you can find backlink opportunities to help you grow your online authority.
However, Check My Links doesn’t provide you with the same in-depth look as other tools can. With Check My Links, you’re only given a report outlining good or bad links.
Check My Links doesn’t have an upgraded version, meaning it’s always free to use and users aren’t restricted based on what they pay. This is great for teams with minimal budgets.
Winner: Majestic SEO
Even when it comes to the free tool, Majestic SEO allows for more diversity when it comes to monitoring your backlinks. The free Majestic SEO can help users gain a decent first look at how their backlink strategy is working. And if you like what you get, you can always upgrade.
While Check My Links is a useful tool, it’s too limited to be beneficial on its own. Check My Links is best used as a supplemental tool.
Round 3: Best Backlink Checker Tool for Monitoring Competition
In the third round, we put Monitor Backlinks head-to-head with SEMrush to find the Best Backlink Checker Tool for Monitoring Competition.
Opponent #1: Monitor Backlinks
Monitor Backlinks brings automation into the world of backlinks—a rare thing indeed. With other tools, all this backlink monitoring business has been very manual and time consuming.
As a backlink checking tool that allows you to receive notifications every time you or a competitor has a backlink profile update, Monitor Backlinks is great for the website owner who doesn’t want to check a dashboard every day.
Not only that, but Monitor Backlinks provides an easy-to-read overview of the user’s site, including in-depth looks at the competition. You’ll get every bit of backlink data you could need, from referring domain and anchor text to Domain Authority, Citation Flow and Trust Flow.
When growing your backlink and SEO strategy, it can feel overwhelming to also need to check in on your competition. However, with Monitor Backlink’s notification system, you can easily be alerted each time there’s a change to your competitors’ backlink reports.
The notifications go straight to your email, so you don’t even need to visit the Monitor Backlinks dashboard to stay on top of what’s happening.
This allows you to keep an eye on how your competitors’ backlinks—and your own backlinks—are changing without needing to take time away from your own strategy.
It’s also a particularly well-rounded tool, complete with a keyword rank tracker, built-in reporting features and a disavow tool (for getting rid of harmful links).
Monitor Backlinks has unique pricing that allows you to pay for exactly what you need. They also offer pre-made plans, beginning at $24.90 per month.
Opponent #2: SEMrush
SEMrush is a major contender in the SEO world, meaning they’re able to provide a complete overview of your SEO and backlink strategy. Their in-depth analysis of backlinks, anchor texts and referring domain can be applied to both the user and their competitors.
In addition to the typical information about your competitors’ backlinks, SEMrush also shares what they call your “Competitor Level.” This metric, given to users as a percentage, allows users to see which sites are their biggest competition for backlinks and online attention. The number is based off the number of common backlinks, hinting at which competitors you should analyze more thoroughly.
SEMrush’s pricing begins at $99.95 per month for their Pro package. The next level up, the Guru package, is $199.95 per month and SEMrush’s most popular choice.
Winner: Monitor Backlinks
While the Competitor Level feature from SEMrush is a neat feature, being able to receive updates and alerts on your competitors’ activities is a real time saver.
Additionally, the custom pricing allows companies of all sizes to take advantage of the competitor tracking features.
Final Round: Best Overall Backlink Checker Tool
For the final round, we let our three round winners battle it out for the title of Best Overall Backlink Checker.
Opponent #1: Moz
While Moz may have been our winner for Best Backlink Checker Tool for Beginners, it’s really an awesome product for individuals at all levels. As arguably the biggest name in the SEO world, you know you’re getting quality reports when you use the Moz Pro Open Site Explorer.
However, Moz is more than just a backlink tool. In fact, backlinks are simply an additional feature of their bigger tool, not a main focus. Moz doesn’t offer segmented tools, meaning you need to invest in the entire package if you want access to the Moz Pro Open Site Explorer.
Opponent #2: Majestic SEO
Majestic SEO entered the final round by winning the Best Free Backlink Checker Tool, but it isn’t only a free service. While their free system is a great way to get started, their paid tool is really where the magic happens.
Majestic SEO’s strength is really in backlink tracking. However, for a tool that can’t provide you with additional SEO details, it’s rather expensive. While Majestic SEO can provide you with a complete look at your site’s backlinks as well as your competitors, you’ll need to add another tool—meaning you’ll need a bigger budget.
Opponent #3: Monitor Backlinks
Monitor Backlinks allows you to do much more than just keep an eye on your competition. While it may be our Best Backlink Checker Tool for Monitoring Competition, it can also provide you with the insights you need for your own website. In addition to competition monitoring, you can also monitor all your own domains and link building campaigns with Monitor Backlinks.
With a unique pricing strategy, you can include Monitor Backlinks into your SEO plan, no matter how much you’re looking to spend on monitoring backlinks.
Winner: Monitor Backlinks
With budgeting options that fit the needs of each and every company and an in-depth, automated look at your domain’s SEO and ranking keywords, Monitor Backlinks provides you with everything you need, wrapped up and delivered right to your email.
While Moz and Majestic SEO are excellent tools, they provide many users with additional features that they just don’t need in a backlink checking tool.
If you’re in the market for the best backlink checker, consider the winner of our Ultimate Showdown: Monitor Backlinks.
And don’t just take our word for it—to find the right tool for you, try out a few!
Most of the tools featured here offer free versions, allowing you to take them for a trial run before you commit.
This is really the best thing to do before making a commitment.
You know what you need better than anyone else!