Comparison of the top 5 backlink checkers. Find out which one is the best!
mat t hewwoodward.co.uk
Which Is The Best Backlink Checker? Top 5 Backlink Checkers
IMPORTANT UPDATE: I compared the backlinks of 1 million domains with Ahref s and Majestic SEO. One of
them is clearly the dominant f orce – Click here to f ind out which.
To f ind out which is the best backlink checker I decided to setup a Ahref s vs SEOMoz vs Majestic SEO vs
Raven Tools vs SEO Spyglass test.
Downloading your competitors backlink prof ile used to be easy when Yahoo Site Explorer was up and running.
It really is a shame they closed it down because replicating your competitors backlink prof iles is a great way to
rank sites in any niche.
Since then a f ew other players have beef ed up their of f ering including Ahref s, Majestic SEO, SEOMoz (Open
Site Explorer), Raven Tools & SEO Spyglass.
All of these are web based services except f or SEO Spyglass which is a desktop application and part of the
SEO Powersuite package.
I will also be testing these against Google Webmaster Tools which allows you to download a sample of your
backlinks. However this is only usef ul to people that own the site they are trying to download the backlinks f or.
If you are trying to discover how your competitors are ranking and want to replicate their link prof iles you
cannot use Google Webmaster Tools to achieve this.
Which Is The Best Backlink Checker?
To f ind out which is the best tool I decided to see how many links each service reported f or 3 dif f erent
The 3 sites are my own so I know the history of them very well-
Site 1 – One of my oldest sites with 1000+ pages
Site 2 – A couple of years old with about 300 pages
Site 3 – Just under a year old – still a nurtured baby with ~40 pages
This will give us a balanced mix of results and test each backlink checking service f rom a variety of angles.
Google Webmaster Tools reports the total number of links it Google has f ound f or
your site under Traffic > Links To Your Site which you can see in the image to the right.
I will be using this number as the benchmark f or the services to compare against,
including the total number of sample links Google allow us to download f rom that
A Quick Look At The Tools
Bef ore I get into the nitty gritty of testing I wanted to give you a quick tour of the tools we’ll be looking at.
Download a f ree trial of SEO Spyglass
This is a unique of f ering in the f act that it is a desktop application available on its own or as part of SEO
It downloads your backlinks f rom a number of sources and they even have their own database of links similar
to the services above the sof tware accesses directly.
It will also f etch live / real time data on the status of links, the page rank, anchor text used and so on. All of
which can be exported into highly customisable PDF reports!
Unlike the monthly f ee based services below this sof tware is available f or a one time f ee of $99.75 (or $249 as
part of SEO Powersuite).
Download the Free SEO Spyglass Trial
I will tell you now Ahref s.com is a personal f avourite of mine. They show some f antastic data and break it down
in pretty much every way imaginable.
How many links you have, f rom how many IPs, linking to which pages with which anchor text.
They breakdown the links by types and provide all sorts of graphs and visualisation options.
The only real drawback with Ahref s.com is pricing – starting at $79 a month upto $499 a month although the
smallest package will suit most.
The f ree account will let you pull a f ew reports per day but are limited to 500 results.
Raven Tools also has a completely f ree f ully f unctional 30 day trial.
In a way Raven Tools is like SEOMoz as it provides a suite of tools f or managing your online campaigns.
However it isn’t quite as developed as the SEOMoz of f ering and I f ind it lacking in a lot of places. The back end
design is really poor and a big let down f rom the impressive f ront end.
You can import your backlink prof ile and it will monitor upto 50,000 of them f or $99 per month but there are
much better solutions to do this that are a lot cheaper.
It is still worth taking out the trial to download some backlinks and have a snoop around though!
Get Your Raven Tools 30 Day Free Trial
SEOMoz / Open Site Explorer
SEOMoz has a completely f ree f ully f unctional 30 day trial f or you to take advantage of .
What separates this f rom the pack is the huge range of tools you get f or your money.
Open Site Explorer is just a small part of the SEOMoz of f ering which also includes rank tracking, weekly crawls
alerting you to onsite SEO issues, on page recommendations, social media statistics and competitive analysis
to see how you stack up against the competition.
It also includes a whole bunch of other tools, webinars, training videos and an expert community.
Af ter the 30 day trial it costs $99 per month which is a bargain f or what you get!
Claim Your Free 30 Day SEOMoz Trial
I really don’t like how Majestic SEO present their data it really does leave a lot to be desired. However when you
drill down into the data it does provide everything you need to know.
It is very similar to Ahref s in a lot of ways but in my opinion Ahref s does a much better job all round – we’ll see
what the test results say about that though!
Prices start f rom around $50 (€39 EUR) to $400 (€299.99 EUR) per month. However there is a f ree account
that lets you run more detailed reports f or websites you own.
Putting Them To The Test
The real test though is how many links does each service return f or the 3 sites I mentioned earlier?
Site 1 – 498,947 Total Links
Google reports a total of 498,947 links f or this site. Here is the data each tool returned-
Backlink Checker # Found % Found
Webmaster Tools Sample 98,831 19.81%
Ahref s 41,985 8.41%
Majestic SEO 30,412 6.10%
SEOMoz 31,999 6.41%
Raven Tools 27,081 5.43%
SEO Spyglass 14,402 2.89%
As you can see Ahref s takes the top spot f inding a total of 41,985 links which is 8.41% of the total reported
links f rom Google.
SEO Spyglass brings up the rear f inding only 14,402 / 2.89% of the total links.
Site 2 – 17,390 Total Links
Google reports a total of 17,390 links f or this site. Here is the data each tool returned-
Backlink Checker # Found % Found
Webmaster Tools Sample 8,802 50.62%
Ahref s 6,535 37.58%
Majestic SEO 6,414 36.88%
SEOMoz 7,345 42.24%
Raven Tools 7,073 40.67%
SEO Spyglass 4,619 26.56%
This time SEOMoz takes lead f inding 42.24% of the total link count with Raven Tools coming just behind with
SEO Spyglass still f inds itself lagging in the bottom spot though.
Site 3 – 434 Total Links
Google reports a total of 434 links f or this site. Here is the data each tool returned-
Backlink Checker # Found % Found
Webmaster Tools Sample 283 65.21%
Ahref s 99 22.81%
Majestic SEO 85 19.59%
SEOMoz 67 15.44%
Raven Tools 52 11.98%
SEO Spyglass 74 17.05%
The f inal test brings Ahref s to the top of the pack again f inding a toal of 99 / 22.81% of the links.
At least SEO Spyglass managed to move its way up f rom the bottom spot this time though!
A Complete Look At The Data
First of all lets take a look at the % of links found for each site and service side by side.
Backlink Checker Site 1 Site 2 Site 3
Ahref s 8.41% 37.58% 22.81%
Majestic SEO 6.10% 36.88% 19.59%
SEOMoz 6.41% 42.24% 15.44%
Raven Tools 5.43% 40.67% 11.98%
SEO Spyglass 2.89% 26.56% 17.05%
Looking at that you can see that although Ahref s doesn’t always win, it does edge ahead over the others.
But what about if we look at it f rom a total perspective and compare the total amount of links available to f ind
across the 3 sites with the total amount each service f ound?
Across the 3 sites there are a total of 516,771 backlinks to be found-
Backlink Checker # Total Found % Total Found
Ahref s 48,619 9.41%
Majestic SEO 36,911 7.14%
SEOMoz 39,411 7.63%
Raven Tools 34,206 6.62%
SEO Spyglass 19,095 3.70%
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And The Best Backlink Checker Is…
If you are purely af ter a backlink checker then Ahref s.com is the one to go f or clearly.
I place a greater value on number of links returned because I personally take all of my competitors links and
load them into Inspyder Backlink Monitor which provides the most advanced analysis of the links once you have
However f or not much more money per month you can get access to SEOMoz which although returned 9,000
less backlinks then Ahref s does of f er an impressive suite of tools that will support your wider SEO campaigns.
I was surprised to see that SEO Spyglass didn’t perf orm better as it does have it’s own links database to pull
data f rom in an ef f ort to make up f or the loss of Yahoo Site Explorer which it heavily relied on.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: – Viktar Khamianok (Link-Assistant CEO) published this response to how SEO
SpyGlass perf ormed in this test – be sure to check it out!
Hats of f to him f or addressing the issue on the f ront line in the trenches!
The Problem With Them All
Every backlink checker suf f ers f rom the same problem though and that is that no single one of them can
provide a complete overview of your link prof ile.
At best you might f ind 1/10th of your entire link prof ile using Ahref s but what about the other 90% of links
pointing to a site? These make a big a dif f erence.
The solution is to grab reports f rom each service/tool and then combine them into one big master list of links
to get the most complete overview of the link prof ile as possible.
Now obviously it is f ar to expensive to subscribe to every service but you can take advantage of the SEOMoz,
Raven Tools and SEO Spyglass f ree trials to get you started and then use the limited f ree reports f rom Ahref s
and Majestic SEO as well.
Share Reports With Each Other & Save Money!
If you have access to one of these tools and would be willing to create reports f or others in exchange f or
reports f rom other services?
Jump over to this f orum thread and get involved with the community behind the site.