We all know that links are the holy grail of top Google rankings, but how many of you actually track where you’re links are coming from and how they’re changing and performing.
Tracking your backlinks doesn’t have to be a time and resource intensive process thanks to a range of free and fairly cheap backlink analysis tools that are now available.
I’ve detailed my top 5 Free backlink analysis tools which I recommend for tracking and monitor your link building efforts.
- Yahoo! Site Explorer/ Bing Webmaster Tools
With the Yahoo! Site Explorer tool, you can view the links that the Yahoo! Search engine is seeing point to your site, plus more information that Yahoo! has about your site, if you’re site is verified in the Yahoo! system.
As Bing and Yahoo! merge forces, they have confirmed that Yahoo! Site Explorer will be migrated into the Bing webmaster area.
The Yahoo!/Bing Site Explorer historically provides a better profile of your inbound links than Google tools as they tend to include almost all of them whereas Google chooses to filter links out.
Within the Site Explorer tool you’ll be able to see the total links to a site and specific pages and can include or exclude links within a website to get a clear picture of your website’s link profile.
Google’s webmaster center also provides some valuable link profile information. While it’s still not what I consider to be a completely accurate picture of a website’s backlinks, Google has increase the number of links it tracks.
Google’s “Links to Your site” area allows you to drill down to a page level to see the inbound links and it also provides a ranking of the top “Anchor Text” for the links pointing to your website (helps to see if your SEO efforts are on target for the right keywords)
You can also download all Google’s data so you can manipulate it in your favourite spreadsheet program.
A clean well designed free link checking tool that uses a browser plugin to analyse the links to a website. While it doesn’t appear to find all links, it gathers a healthy cross section and even locates sites which have since removed links to your site.
It includes information such as PR, PageRank, Anchor text, outbound links, link strength and link history.
Open Site Explorer comes from the well respected SEOmoz team. Offering similar insights to the Yahoo! site explorer tool (probably a hat tip for the name also), Open Site Explorer also includes some important SEOmoz specific link and authority factors.
The only catch is that you’ll need to go pro for a full review of your link profile, which for the reasonable well priced membership is a good investment in your SEO.
- SEOBook Backlink Analyzer
Another tool from one of the SEO industry’s more respected tool providers – the SEOBook Backlink Analyzer is a desktop tool that provides some valuable insights into your website’s link profile.
It analyzes / grabs anchor text, IP addresses, Alexa data, page title, number of links on page, and number of outbound links on a page. It basically is a big spreadsheet which makes it quick and easy to view linkage data for a paticular site.
There’s many more tools out there, both free and paid, but I’ve found these one’s to offer enough insight for both novice and more experienced SEO needs.
If you use a different tool to track your link building efforts, share them with your fellow readers below.