In years past, owning a smartphone wasn’t on most people’s “need” list.
How quickly things change.
It seems like many of the things we do on a daily basis now require a smartphone.
Without one, how would we get directions to where we’re going? How would we track that morning run? How would we find the best places to eat?
How would we keep in contact with our friends and family, or organize our work schedule, or any number of other daily tasks?
Just like your smartphone, the task of monitoring backlinks wasn’t always on a content marketer’s “need” list.
However, times have changed.
So, why exactly do you need to monitor backlinks?
What should you look for in a tool that monitors backlinks?
And which are the best tools currently on the market to help you accomplish this task?
Today, we’re going to answer those questions for you.
Plus, you’ll see a full comparison of the top tools to monitor backlinks, giving you the best advantage for success.
Why Monitoring Backlinks Is Now More Important Than Ever
Spammy Backlinks Do More Damage
Ever since the Penguin update, Google has been heavily targeting backlinks that it considers to be spam.
Several factors are involved in determining spammy backlinks, including whether they come from a trusted site, whether the linking site is relevant to your site, and where the links are within that site (such as in your blog comments, sitewide, etc.).
All of this means one thing for you: The backlinks leading to your website have the ability to cause serious penalties to your site.
This is one of the top reasons you need to monitor your backlinks.
Your Competition Is Working Smarter
Keeping up with the Joneses takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to backlinks.
With each new Google update that comes out, your competition is working even harder.
They’re learning Google’s algorithms and using the information to their advantage.
Right at this moment, your competition is working harder than ever to build better backlinks.
What about you?
You need an edge to compete in backlinking, something that’ll give you the upper hand.
To ensure your own backlinking strategies are working correctly, you need to monitor your backlinks.
Changes Happen Faster Than Ever
Every day, your site is receiving new backlinks or losing old backlinks.
The effects of your backlinking strategies are seen faster than ever before.
But that’s not all.
In September of 2016, Google announced that Penguin is now working in real time. This means that changes are being applied just minutes after a page is recrawled and reindexed.
Because of this, any changes to your site’s backlink profile has an almost immediate effect on your SERP ranking and overall SEO. Thus, spammy backlinks found within your site can be penalized much faster than before.
You need a tool that can monitor backlinks constantly, keeping you updated whenever there’s a change.
So, when looking for a tool to monitor backlinks, what are the core features that tool should offer?
Let’s find out.
Vital Features You Need to Fully Monitor Backlinks
1. Full Backlink Profile Analysis
This is the most basic and vital part of any backlink tool. Before every other task, you must be able to see an overall view of your backlink profile.
This should include the ability to see:
- Spam backlinks
- Your most valuable backlinks
- Where all your backlinks come from
- Which pages or posts have the most backlinks
- Metrics for your backlinks (e.g. Domain Authority and Page Authority, Citation Flow and Trust Flow, etc.)
- Anchor text
- Backlinks status (e.g. dofollow, nofollow, redirect)
- New backlinks
- Backlinks you’ve lost
The more metrics your backlink tool can show you, the better.
2. Change Notifications
When things change within your own backlink profile, you need to be the first to hear about it.
That’s why the best backlink monitoring tools not only allow you to see your current backlinks when you log in.
The best tools will send you notifications or reports whenever you get new backlinks or lose old ones, so that you’re always ahead of the game.
3. Complete Competition Analysis
Along with seeing how your site is doing, it’s very important to be able to check up on the competition.
As we said above, they’re working hard to improve their backlink profile.
And it probably won’t surprise you to know that they’re keeping their eyes on you as well.
By doing a comprehensive analysis of your competition, you can see:
- The content that’s getting them the most backlinks
- Which domains link to them
- Their internal linking strategy (and if it’s working)
- Plus: many of the same metrics we mentioned for your own backlink profile analysis
With this information, you can learn from the successes and failures of your competition by checking their backlink strategies against your own, and gaining insights that will ultimately help you get ahead.
A really good tool will allow you to monitor changes in the backlinks of your competition as well as your own.
4. Disavow Feature
Finally, a good backlink tool should always have a disavow feature.
This is your last resort when you find a spammy backlink directed to your site, but can’t get the site owner to remove the link.
Google allows you to disavow any backlink you deem unworthy, and a good backlink tool will help you in both identifying and disavowing the right backlinks.
So, now that you know what you’re looking for in a tool to monitor backlinks, which tools measure up to these standards?
These are five of the best.
5 Tools to Monitor Backlinks and Get the Edge on Your Competition
This full-blown SEO tool offers plenty of different features and tools for SEO content marketers, including the ability to monitor backlinks.
Ahrefs boasts the largest backlink index with a mind-blowing 12 trillion known links. This index is updated every 15 minutes, which means you’re always getting the most up-to-date information.
- Full backlink profile analysis for your own site and that of your competition
- Metrics for each backlink including Ahrefs’ own URL Rating and Domain Rating, social shares, nofollow/dofollow, anchor text, URL, date discovered, etc.
- Sort and filter keywords for a better view
- A complete list of domains that link to your competitors but don’t link to you
- Best content for backlinks (yours and your competitors’)
- Detailed anchor text analysis
- Essential metrics for your backlinks
- Graphs to see the progress of your backlink strategies
- Customized backlink alerts for any domain that you choose
- Disavow tool
The Lite plan starts at $99 per month, and allows for one user and five tracked websites.
The Agency plan reaches $999 per month for five users and 100 tracked websites.
- Most everything you need for SEO, incorporated into one single tool
- Access to the largest index in the industry, meaning more accurate information
- Visually appealing graphs
- Fully capable of monitoring your competition just as well as it monitors your site
- Very high price point
- You can only get hourly or daily backlink alerts if you’re paying for one of the more expensive plans (otherwise you’ll see monthly or weekly reports)
- Ahrefs doesn’t use industry-standard metrics such as Majestic’s Flow Metrics or Moz’s Domain and Page Authority, but uses its own SEO metrics
This tool is all about automation. If you’re not keen on the idea of constantly checking your backlink profile to see what’s going on, Monitor Backlinks is exactly the tool you need.
It keeps you up-to-date on your own backlink profile, as well as that of your competition.
- Daily updates on your backlink situation
- Analysis and review of your overall backlink progress
- Instantly view new and lost backlinks, as well as status changes in your backlinks
- See new links to your competitors right from the dashboard
- Connect Google Analytics to combine even more powerful information
- For every backlink (yours and your competitors’), see metrics like link status, Moz’s Domain and Page Authority, Moz Spam Score, Majestic Flow Metrics, index status, server country, external link count and more
- Weekly update on your entire SEO profile, including keyword rankings and competitors’ new links
- Detailed anchor text report
- Disavow export feature
- Other SEO features, like rank tracking
For the features it provides, Monitor Backlinks actually has very reasonable pricing.
Plans start at $24.90 per month with one tracked domain and two tracked competitors per domain, and go up to $187.43 per month for 10 tracked domains and four tracked competitors per domain.
You can also create a customized plan to your specific needs.
- Extremely user-friendly design, with plenty of visually appealing graphs to keep you easily informed
- Very good price for what’s included
- Notifications of new and lost backlinks on your own website and your competition’s
- Filter backlink lists to see specific types of backlinks
- All industry-standard metrics visible, including Moz’s Page and Domain Authority and Majestic’s Flow Metrics
- Easily export data for clients
- Real-time reports available
- Relies on other indexes for data, but since the indexes it uses are Majestic and Moz, the information is still very reliable and accurate
Linkody focuses on providing the right data for both newbies and pros.
The system is highly automated, allowing you to see an overview of the most important information in the shortest amount of time.
- For each backlink, see metrics such as Domain Authority, Spam Score, anchor text, URL, link status, number of social shares, country server, external links and more
- Charts and graphs to understand SEO metrics
- Daily email notifications of new and lost backlinks
- Anchor text distribution
- Link locator within source page
- Disavow tool
- Competition tracking
Linkody’s starter plan is only $14.90 per month, allowing one user to track two domains (you can choose to track your own and your competitor’s). However, you can only see 500 links for your own domains.
The top plan is $147.90 per month, allowing five users to track 100 domains with 50,000 monitored links.
- Good amount of metrics for backlinks
- Easy to track your and your competition’s backlink profile
- Very cheap starter plan for those on a tight budget
- Automated process means you don’t need to check backlinks constantly
- Dashboard isn’t very user-friendly, and the information isn’t laid out in a visually appealing way
- Doesn’t include Majestic Flow Metrics
- Limits the number of backlinks you can monitor (even the most expensive plan only allows you to view 500 backlinks per domain, if you divide them evenly)
This new tool from Mangools is part of a set of SEO tools that are extremely user-friendly.
- Focuses on the most important and valuable backlinks, showing you those first
- Get backlink results for any site that you search
- For each backlink result, see metrics like Majestic Flow Metrics, category (blog, forum, etc.), link status, referring site language, external links, Facebook shares, Alexa Rank, anchor text and LinkMiner’s exclusive Link Strength metric
- See a preview of the source page in the dashboard
- Filter and sort backlinks to see only the results you need
- For each domain searched, see Citation and Trust Flow, referring domains and total backlinks
With four SEO tools for the price of one, Mangools offers plans as low as $29.90 per month, which give you 2,000 backlink rows per 24 hours.
The highest plan is $79.90 per month and offers 15,000 backlink rows per 24 hours.
- Easy to use, and very visually appealing design
- Quick results for your own website or that of your competition
- Uses Majestic’s index, so the information is very accurate
- Unique Link Strength metric combines Citation Flow, Trust Flow, dofollow/nofollow and more to show you which links are your most valuable
- Doesn’t allow backlink tracking, only quick research and analysis
This comprehensive set of backlinking tools is full of useful information, and is especially useful for content marketing agencies who deal with many clients.
- Instead of giving you a lot of raw data, Kerboo translates metrics from many reliable link data sources into their unique LinkRisk score
- Mark your favorite links and you’ll be updated daily on those important links
- Kerboo remembers backlinks that you removed, and will alert you if they show up again
- Full competition backlink analysis and tracking, so you’ll always see what your competition is up to
- Detailed anchor text reports
- Disavow tool
- Be alerted when a page that links to you creates a new link to a competitor
- Many other tools vital to your backlinking strategy, such as CRM and link opportunities
The Small Agency plan starts at $349 per month, giving you five users and 25 projects.
The highest plan tops out at $3,500 per month, allowing you 50 team members and 500 projects.
- Very comprehensive backlinking tool for agencies
- Metrics made easier to understand
- Graphs and charts give the dashboard a user-friendly feel
- Customizable alerts for your backlinks and your competition’s
- Price point is extremely high, putting the tool out of reach for many smaller content marketing teams
- While the LinkRisk score is easy to understand, some people would prefer to see the industry standard metrics it’s based off of
Comparing the Top 5 Tools
How do each of these five tools compare? Let’s pit them against each other to see!
Most Features: Ahrefs/Kerboo
Both of these tools are extremely comprehensive. Ahrefs offers many different SEO features, while Kerboo has everything you need to fully implement and monitor your backlinking strategy.
However, both of these tools are in a price range that put them out of reach of small to medium-sized content marketing teams. They’re best suited to agencies or brands with larger budgets.
Best Metrics: Monitor Backlinks
If you want to see all of the relevant, industry-standard metrics for each of your backlinks (and your competition’s backlinks), this tool gives you all the data you need.
None of the other tools on this list give you as much data as Monitor Backlinks, plus it’s presented in a visually appealing and easy-to-understand way.
Best Competition Analysis: Monitor Backlinks/Linkody
Both of these tools offer competition analysis and tracking, allowing you to see exactly what’s going on with your competitors’ backlinks.
However, Monitor Backlinks does more than just list your competitors’ backlinks. It also gives you all of the same metrics for each link that you’d see for your own backlinks, and alerts you when they gain or lose links.
Best Backlink Alerts and Updates: Ahrefs/Monitor Backlinks
Ahrefs actually allows you to get hourly alerts regarding your backlinks. However, this is only available with the most expensive plan. With the cheapest plan, you can only get monthly backlink reports.
Monitor Backlinks gives you daily reports on your backlink situation, no matter which plan you purchase.
Best Price: Linkody/Monitor Backlinks
Linkody is definitely the cheapest tool on our list, but cheaper isn’t always better. As we saw above, it lacks many important features and isn’t very user-friendly.
In comparison with the features it offers, Monitor Backlinks is definitely the best-priced tool on our list, with plans starting at $24.90 per month.
Which Tool Will You Use to Monitor Backlinks?
Obviously, your perfect tool will depend on your budget and how much information you want to see.
For the best all-around tool, I highly recommend Monitor Backlinks.
Offering automated backlink monitoring and rank tracking features, as well as a very reasonable price point, this is definitely one of the best tools to monitor backlinks today.
When you monitor backlinks, you can save your SERP rankings, find new backlinking opportunities and ultimately leave your competition in the dust.
Start monitoring your backlinks today and watch the incredible results you receive!
Hold Up, We Have Something for You!
Did you like the looks of Monitor Backlinks?
Want to see a real increase in keyword rankings, organic traffic and earned, authoritative backlinks?
That’s a whole month of valuable, actionable insights on your keyword rankings, SEO metrics, backlinks and competitor SEO strategies.
It’s similar to what Mangools offers, so you can take advantage of the trial period to compare the two and choose what’s best for you.