Are you looking for the best backlink checker tools? I’ve got you covered.
Gone are the days when a single tool was able to rule supreme. There are now plenty of backlink checkers with huge databases of backlinks.
In this post, we’ll be comparing the best tools to help you analyze and find backlinks on the web.
Let’s get started:
Note: This post is not a study into who has the largest index of links. Depending on how the data is carved up, several tools could claim victory.
So, while database size is a strong factor, for this best backlink checker tools post I’ve considered other factors such as value for money (for teams & individuals), additional tools, UX, reliability, support, etc.
Ultimately, the best backlink checker tool depends exactly on your needs. Features that are important to me may not be important to you and vice versa. This is why I recommend trying a few different tools so you can run your own tests. Most tools offer free trials or have limited free versions.
You may find that some backlink checkers find more links depending on your industry sector.
The best tools to check backlinks – summary
- Semrush – Best backlink checker tool overall. The entry-level plan is higher than others but it offers a lot for the money & usage limits are very generous. The swiss army knife of SEO tools. Add-ons available which include a traffic analytics tool comparable to SimilarWeb.
- SE Ranking – Some people still believe this tool is just rank tracking software but it’s so much more. It’s a complete SEO toolkit with one of the largest backlink indexes around. It’s also an affordable option for agencies and freelancers thanks to the way they price projects & user accounts. And their report builder is fantastic. For some of my searches, they found more referring domains than any other tool. It’s worth noting that their keyword database is huge as well.
- Ahrefs – Their link database is huge and they have a fantastic UI but the tool is let down by technical issues and dubious pricing tactics. Their new pricing structure offers far less value than any other tool on this list and they charge overages automatically. Some backlink functionality is locked away behind higher tier plans and reporting limits do not increase on higher plans. You get 500 monthly reports compared to 3000/day on the lowest Semrush plan.
- SEO SpyGlass by SEO PowerSuite – This downloadable SEO software provides access to Webmeup’s backlink index. The backlink index is one of the largest I’ve found so far. What stands out is the price. There’s a free version that will be enough for some users. Or you can opt for the paid version to increase those limits and unlock extra features.
- Serpstat – This tool has made a significant amount of progress in a short time. Their link index is smaller than others on this list but they have data visualizations other tools don’t have. This is definitely one to watch. They’re one of the best all-in-one SEO tools I’ve tested, particularly in terms of their balance of features and affordability.
- Moz Pro – As one of the old guard, I used Moz a lot in my SEO agency days. Back then, the link index was quite small but they’ve made huge improvements in recent years. While the link index is substantial, tools like Semrush offer better value for money & more features.
- Majestic – One of the only dedicated backlink checker tools on the market. They’ve stayed true to their core purpose and they have two significant link indexes (fresh + historic), as well as proprietary metrics. However, their interface is quite dated and link database is smaller than the likes of Semrush, and Moz.
- BuzzSumo – This is not your typical backlink checker tool and it would be unfair to judge it as a direct alternative to the likes of Ahrefs or Semrush. BuzzSumo excels at content research and incorporates backlink data into its tool. It’s a neat option for content marketers and PR pros.
- Raven Tools – Raven does not have their own link index, its index is powered by other tools. But this is a good option for those who need a reporting solution that pulls together metrics from tools like Majestic and Moz.
- Ubersuggest – One of the newer SEO tools on this list, the link index is surprisingly good but I suspect that it’s powered by Moz’s API since a lot of sites I checked delivered identical numbers of links & referring domains. There’s a lot to like about this tool but backlink filtering is a lot weaker than other tools. And there’s no way to hide Neil Patel’s face from some parts of the tool.
#1 – Semrush
Semrush is my top pick in this best backlink checker tools list.
Historically, Semrush has lived in Ahrefs’ shadow. Because it’s focused on being a complete digital marketing toolkit with a broader feature set, its backlink checker has always been a little underwhelming. But that’s not true anymore.
A few years ago, they completely renovated their backlink database and overhauled their data-gathering process.
And now? They claim to have the largest backlink database amongst their competitors. There are over 43 trillion backlinks in Semrush’s database, compared to just over 30.3 trillion on Ahrefs.
And it’s lightning-fast too. Semrush was able to discover new backlinks more quickly than its competitors in our tests, so you’ll be the first to know about changes to your backlink profile (or your competitors’).
Of course, the backlink checker tool isn’t all Semrush has to offer. It’s a full suite of online marketing tools that gives you everything you need for SEO, PPC, content, and competitor research in one place.
You can use it for keyword research, on-page optimization, rank tracking, social media management, link building, content distribution, PPC analysis, website monetization… I could go on, but I won’t.
If you want to get a full picture of everything it has to offer, your best bet is to try it out for yourself. Thankfully, Semrush lets you do just that with a free account or free trial subscription.
Pros and cons
|Huge backlink database||May appear expensive on the surface but you get a lot of value for money|
|Rapid link discovery||The UI can feel ‘messy’ and bloated with too many features|
|All-in-one digital marketing platform|
|Free version and trial available|
|Unique add-on features other tools don’t have. Includes Traffic Analytics which is their answer to SimilarWeb|
Semrush offers several plans starting from $99.95/month when billed annually. You can get started with a limited free account or free trial.
Read our Semrush review.
#2 – SE Ranking
SE Ranking is best known as a rank tracking solution but in reality, it’s an all-in-one SEO solution that offers a 360-degree view of your site. That includes a powerful backlink checker and backlink monitoring tool.
SE Ranking has 2.7 trillion links in its backlink database. This isn’t quite as high as Semrush, but it’s not far off—and it still managed to find more referring domains than Ahrefs for some of my test searches (plus 100k more keywords).
It comes with two tools to help you analyze backlinks: the Backlink Checker and the Backlink Monitor.
The Backlink Checker lets you pull up backlink data for any website. It gives you all the metrics you need to evaluate the strength of the site’s backlink profile and referring domains, including total referring domains, backlinks, dofollow/nofollow ratio, Alexa rank, first seen/last seen date, etc. Its proprietary Domain Trust and Page Trust metrics help you better understand the authority of a site based on its backlink profile and other factors.
You can also analyze anchor text distribution across your backlinks to get a better idea of the words and phrases links are placed on. This can help you to determine the overall health of your backlink profile and make sure you’ve got the right balance of branded, exact-match, and partial-match anchor text.
When you discover a backlink that you want to keep an eye on in the Backlink Checker, you can add it to the Backlink Monitor tool. Once you do that, SE Ranking will automatically track its status daily and notify you of any changes. You can also import backlinks to the Backlinks Monitoring tool manually or from Google Search Console.
SE Ranking’s real-time backlink status checker is another neat feature worth mentioning. For an additional fee, you can click Check all parameters on any link to pull up additional metrics in real-time. For example, you can check in real-time if a particular backlink is still there at that present moment, and find out whether links are UGC/Sponsored.
Like Semrush, SE Ranking comes with plenty of other SEO tools to help you with other aspects of your marketing campaigns.
It’s also great value for money for agencies and freelancers due to its flexible pricing system, ability to set up user accounts with custom access permissions, and powerful report builder.
Pros and cons
|Large backlink index||The pricing system isn’t straightforward|
|Provides deep insights into a site’s link profile||Learning curve|
|Monitor backlinks with daily updates|
|Great for agencies thanks to report builder and affordable pricing of projects|
|Great value for money and well priced introductory plans|
SE Ranking has opted for usage-based pricing. The amount you’ll pay will depend on how often you need to check rankings, how many keywords you want to track, and your subscription period. Plans start at $23.52/month.
Read our SE Ranking review.
#3 – Ahrefs
Ahrefs has dominated the SEO toolkit market for a long time. It’s long been considered to be the best backlink tool around, with a huge database and the most active crawler after Google itself.
There’s a reason it’s long been considered the gold standard when it comes to backlink analysis. It offers incredibly accurate and up-to-date data and has one of the best interfaces we’ve seen.
Its database is updated every 15 minutes, and links are grouped into three categories based on when they were found: Live (all active links), Recent (All active links and those lost in the last 3 months), and Historical (All links ever found for the target).
This is one of the ways in which it still beats competitors like Semrush. Semrush only has one database of links crawled in the last 6 months so it can be tough to know how ‘fresh’ a given link is.
Ahrefs also provides a wealth of domain and page-level metrics that can help you to judge the backlink strength and authority of any target site, including Ahrefs’ proprietary Domain Rating (DR), URL Rating (UR), and Ahrefs Rank.
You can dig deep into the reports with filters and find a detailed breakdown of everything you need to know to plan link-building campaigns that drive results.
Aside from checking backlinks, you can also use Ahrefs to discover keywords, audit your website, track your rankings, analyze content, and much more.
Despite all the above, they offer the worst value for money of any SEO tool we’ve tested. And unless you set limits in your account, they’ll automatically charge you when you exceed your plan limits.
Pros and cons
|Huge database||Overages are billed automatically|
|Frequent database updates||Terrible value-for-money|
|Deep insights||No free trial|
|Great UI||Core backlink analysis functionality is locked behind higher tier plans|
Plans start at $83/month if you pay annually. If you exceed your plan limits, you may be charged extra (see their automatic charges policy). 500 reports per month regardless of which plan you are on.
#4 – SEO SpyGlass by SEO PowerSuite
SEO SpyGlass is one of the four main toolkits that make up SEO PowerSuite—an all-in-one SEO software solution.
Unlike the other tools we’ve looked at so far, SEO PowerSuite isn’t a cloud-based platform. It’s actually a desktop-based tool that you download and run on your device as an app (though some of its services still run in the cloud).
This is its USP and the reason it’s such great value for money. SEO PowerSuite offers a super-generous free plan, and its premium licenses (which come with increased limits) are a fraction of the cost of a yearly subscription of a tool like Ahrefs.
Despite being so affordable, its built-in backlink tool is still up there with the best. It pulls data from Webmeup’s backlink index, which is one of the largest and most up-to-date I’ve found.
SEO SpyGlass crawls 7.1 billion web pages daily and claims to find new backlinks ‘faster than any other backlink checker’.
Just search for a target website to get a comprehensive overview of its entire link profile. You can instantly see all the important stuff, like quantity and quality of referring domains, total backlinks, top linking countries, anchor text distribution, IP & C-block analysis, etc.
We also really like the Penalty Risk metric. It enables you to quickly identify toxic backlinks that risk landing you a Google penalty, which you can then disavow using the integrated Disavow File Generator tool.
Pros and cons
|Rapid backlink discovery||Requires download to use|
|Fantastic value for money (great free plan)|
You can download and use the complete SEO PowerSuite toolkit, including SpyGlass, for free.
#5 – Serpstat
Serpstat is another toolkit that’s come a long way in the last few years. Its link index isn’t quite as big as some of the other platforms we’ve looked at so far, but what it lacks in database volume, it makes up for in other ways.
In particular, we really like Serpstat’s data visualizations. Look up any domain in their Backlink Analysis tool and you’ll see a bunch of graphs that clearly display things like the number of referring pages over time, new and lost backlinks, etc.
As an all-in-one tool, it also comes with plenty of other features. Other built-in SEO tools include a rank tracker, keyword research, site audit, and competitor research tool.
Pros and cons
|Good balance of features and affordability||Link index isn’t as big as competitors|
Paid plans start at $69/month and discounts are offered when you sign up for longer than one month and scale up. For example, a 20% discount is offered on yearly plans. You can sign up for a free account first to try it out with daily credits.
#6 – Moz Pro
Moz Pro is one of the oldest backlink analysis tools on the market. It’s been around for a long time, but it’s come a long way since it first started out.
Back then, its database was pretty small but in recent years, the company has refocused its efforts and expanded it significantly. Its index still isn’t as large as some other tools, but it’s getting there.
In terms of features, though, we really like what Moz Pro has to offer. The Link Intersect feature is one of our favorites and really helps with link building.
You can use it to compare your backlink profile against your competitors. Just enter your domain alongside up to 5 of your biggest rival sites, and Moz will check all your backlinks. Then, it’ll let you know the referring domains that link to your competitors, but don’t link to you (yet).
You can use this information to reverse engineer your competitors’ backlink strategies and find high-quality prospects to target in your next outreach campaign.
Pros and cons
|Easy to use||Index not as large as competitors|
|Broad feature set||Less generous usage limits than other tools|
|Deep backlink insights|
|Large link database|
#7 – Majestic
Majestic is a dedicated link building toolset. Unlike the other platforms on this list, it doesn’t try to be a jack-of-all-trades (and master of none). It’s built entirely around one specific use case: backlink checking and link building—and it does that really, really well.
In fact, Majestic is one of the only dedicated backlink checker tools we’ve come across. Because it’s focused exclusively on this aspect of SEO, it comes with significantly more advanced and sophisticated features than others and offers a deeper level of insight.
Majestic also has a bunch of its own proprietary metrics that help you to better understand its link intelligence data. These metrics include trust Flow, Citation Flow, Visibility Flow, Topical Trust Flow, and Flow Metric Scores. All are useful and have their place in your strategy.
The Link Context feature is our favorite thing about Majestic. It’s exclusive to the platform and lets you audit backlinks based on the context in which they appear. For example, you can find out whether links are editorial or in a directory, see where in the page they occur, find out what the surrounding content looks like, etc.
Pros and cons
|Advanced, sophisticated features||Dated interface|
|Useful proprietary metrics||No other SEO tools|
|Contextual link analysis|
Plans start at $41.67/month if you pay annually. You can sign up for free to get started.
#8 – BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo isn’t a backlink checker tool—it’s a complete content marketing platform. However, it incorporates backlink data into its content research tools. It’s the best choice for content marketers.
BuzzSumo’s backlink feature lets you see the pages and domains linking to a site. You can use it to identify ‘likely sharers’ to target in your link-building campaigns and better understand what type of content attracts the most links. Plus, find influencers you might want to work with to promote your content to a wider audience (and get even more links).
But where BuzzSumo really stands out is when it comes to content discovery and planning. You can use it to find the top-performing content in your niche and generate tons of ideas for your next blog post.
Pros and cons
|Ideal for content marketers and PR pros||Not a dedicated backlink tracking tool|
|Powerful content discovery engine||Content discovery features might be overkill depending on your needs|
|Find bloggers and influencers to target in your link building campaigns|
|Track and analyze backlinks|
You can sign up for BuzzSumo for free and get access to 10 free searches per month. Paid plans start at $99/month.
Read our BuzzSumo review.
#9 – Raven Tools
Raven is another one of the best backlink checker tools around. It doesn’t maintain its own index (it’s powered by other services), but it still gives you access to tons of data.
It’s a great option if you want a reporting solution to pull together metrics from other platforms like Moz and Majestic in one place.
Raven is also a complete SEO platform so aside from backlink research, it can also help with things like rank tracking and site auditing. It comes with white-label reporting capabilities and integrates with Google Analytics and Search Console for even more metrics.
Pros and cons
|Compiles data from other places||Doesn’t have its own index|
|Lots of metrics|
|White label capabilities|
Plans start at $39/month billed annually. You can get started with a 7-day free trial.
#10 – Ubersuggest
Ubersuggest is one of the newer SEO tools to make this list. It’s primarily a keyword research tool, but the built-in Backlink Discovery tool means it’s also great for checking and analyzing your link profile.
Its link index is surprisingly good, and the Backlink Opportunities feature (which gives you a report showing you who links to your competitors and doesn’t link to you) comes in very useful.
There’s a lot to like about Ubersuggest, but it has its downsides. It’s pretty limited in terms of how many keywords and projects you can track, and there aren’t any proprietary metrics. For example, Moz’s DA metric is used within the tool.
And it’s heavily branded around Neil Patel, which some users may find annoying.
Note: I suspect that Ubersuggest’s backlink tool is actually powered by Moz’s API. All of the domains I searched on the two platforms gave back identical numbers.
Pros and cons
|Powerful keyword research||No proprietary metrics – uses Moz DA metric.|
|Great for link building||Limited keywords and projects|
|All-purpose SEO toolkit||Limited backlink filtering options|
|Significantly sized database|
Plans start at $29/month. A 7-day trial is available.
Backlink checker tools – FAQ
What are backlink checkers?
Backlink checkers monitor backlinks pointing to any of your pages on your website. They help you build and understand your backlink profile by highlighting problematic spammy links, checking which posts or pages are gaining quality backlinks, and helping you take advantage of link building opportunities.
Backlink checkers will also allow you to check your competitors’ backlinks which will help you improve your link building strategies by seeing the types of content that have the most links, as well as the types of websites that link to it.
Is there a free backlink checker tool?
If you’re on a budget and are looking for free backlink checker tools you have a few options.
Semrush has a limited free plan. With it you can:
- Check your competitors backlinks and referring domains
- Audit your site’s backlinks and check for low-quality links
- Backlink analytics to compare and evaluate link profiles
You have 10 credits per day, and each action is classed as one credit.
SEO Powersuite has a free backlink checker tool – SpyGlass which can be downloaded for free. The free plan allows you to analyze up to 1,100 backlinks per website, check your competitors’ backlinks, and compare up to 2 of your competitors.
Serpstat has a free plan which works in a similar way to Semrush – daily credits. This gives you basic access to test out the platform.
The majority of backlink checkers have a free trial where you can test the tool.
Choosing the best backlink checker tool for your needs
That concludes our comparison of the 10 best backlink checker tools available this year. They’re all great options, but if you’re not sure which to choose, here’s a recap of our top three:
- Semrush is the best backlink checker tool overall, bar none. It offers one of the largest link databases, generous usage limits, and provides more tools in one place than any of its competitors.
- SE Ranking is another fantastic SEO toolkit with a large backlink database. It’s perfect for agencies due to its pricing system and white label feature.
- Ahrefs is worth considering if you can justify the high cost. It’s still one of the best backlink checker tools due to its active crawler and huge database, but it falls short in terms of value for money. If you go with Ahrefs, just make sure you choose the right plan and don’t get caught out by their automatic charges for overuse. They allow you to set usage caps within your account but it’s up to you to set those limits.
While you’re here, check out our roundup of SEO statistics to learn more about the state of SEO and how to dominate the search results this year.
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