Best Free Online Tools to Check Backlinks

links text Most people agree that obtaining backlinks is the hardest part of search engine optimization. Especially for new businesses and those with minimal marketing dollars. Not only is it difficult getting other web sites to link to yours, but it’s also crucial that you’re spending your time seeking back links that will actually help your rankings in the search engines.

It’s also getting harder and harder to find good tools, especially free ones, to check yours and your competitor backlinks. The link:domainname.com command has never quite worked right in Google. And Bing currently doesn’t even offer a way to check your own backlinks. Update: On 12/14/10 Bing added a new inbound links feature that allows webmasters and site owners check backlinks to their own website and sites they manage.

If you search the Internet for online backlink checker tools, you’ll likely find a bunch of worthless websites and broken ones. Nearly all of the free web-based programs get their data from Yahoo!. Except for a few of them. You should know there are only a small number of “unique” data sources: Linkscape, Yahoo!, blekko, Google and Majestic-12. Some offer limited details for free, and more advanced details with a paid subscription. Others give you detailed information about your websites, but nothing on your competitors. Never fear, I compare all of those features and provide the most important info in the detailed comparison table below.

Product Comparison Chart

Key Information OSE (free) Yahoo! S.E. Backlink Watch blekko Majestic (free) Google
Overview
Data Source Mozscape Yahoo! Yahoo! ? blekko Majestic-12 Google
Reports unlimited 5000/day 5000/day unlimited 15/mo unlimited
Check Competitors x x x x
Site Comparison 2 4
Registration Required x x x
Report Export csv tsv csv csv
Backlink Reports
Source URLs 1000 1000 1000 x x x
Total Backlinks x x x x x x
Internal Backlink Report x x x
External Backlink Report x x x x x x
Int + Ext Backlink Report x x x
Links to Page x x x x x x
Links to All Pages on Domain x x x x
Total Linking Root Domains x x x x
Top Linked-To Pages x x x x
# of Outbound Links on Source x x
Source Cache x x
Link Analysis Reporting
Nofollow Attribute x x x x
Nofollow Report x x
DoFollow Report x x
Excluded Links x
301 Redirects x x
Anchor Text x x x x x
Images x x x
Additional Metrics
Google PageRank x
SEOmoz Page Authority x
SEOmoz Domain Authority x
SEOmoz mozRank x
blekko Hostrank x
Majestic ACRank x

None of these backlink checkers require you to download any software or install a browser plug-in. They are completely online and free 3rd-party web-based utilitites.

Summaries

Open Site Explorer

open site explorer

OpenSiteExplorer.org

Open Site Explorer is a link analysis tool provided by the folks at SEOmoz. It was released in early 2009. Since it was built by a company that previously provided SEO consulting services, you can expect it provides the most helpful backlink information used search engine optimization purposes. Open Site Explorer is powered by Mozscape, SEOmoz’s web index. There is a limited guest version for unregistered users, a free version for registered users, and multiple subscription levels for paid users. API access is also available.

Pros: Unique data source, easliy identify nofollow links, ranks source pages, check competitor backlinks.

Cons: Smaller web index, limited link analysis data available in free version.

Yahoo! Site Explorer

yahoo site explorer

siteexplorer.search.yahoo.comshut down on 11/21/11

Yahoo! Site Explorer has long been one of the most useful and reliable data sources for checking competitor backlinks. Although it doesn’t immediately offer much of the key information such as whether each contains the nofollow attribute or not, Yahoo! does allow free access to their search index. As a result, there are other websites that correlate the data.

Pros: Large web index, check competitor backlinks, check hyperlinks to individual pages or entire site.

Cons: Limited to 1000 results, doesn’t report nofollow attribute or anchor text.

Backlink Watch

backlink watch

BacklinkWatch.com

This is one of the only free advanced front-ends to Yahoo!’s (?) web index that actually works. It provides important details such as which links have the nofollow attribute, image links and Google PageRank. However, it kind-of works some of the time.

Pros: Identifies the nofollow attribute and Google PageRank, easy to read interface, check competitor backlinks.

Cons: Works sometimes, some anchor-text inaccuracies.

blekko

blekko

blekko.com

First and foremost, blekko is a search engine. However, one of the ways they have set themselves apart from other major search engines is by offering a ton statistical data. Their transparency makes it pretty easy to identify which type of links they likely count and which ones they don’t. Although their tools may seem a bit deranged at first, after getting used to them you will quickly appreciate all they have to offer.

Pros: Advanced link analysis, explore competitor backlinks, identify which links are nofollowed and which links don’t count toward ranking the target page in blekko.

Cons: Small web index, no report export, complicated, freshness.

Mejestic SEO

majestic seo

MajesticSEO.com

Majestic SEO has one of the largest web indexes. Although, it does not cache entire pages, the link data and detail reports provided are outstanding. You’ll need to register for a free account, but once you’ve verified your website you’ll be granted access to substantial hyperlink data for all of your verified websites.

Pros: Huge web index, detailed link analysis, source ACRank, identifies nofollowed and redirected links, intuitive interface.

Cons: Free version is limited to sites you own, 301 & 302 links are reported equally.

Google Webmaster Tools

google webmaster tools

google.com/webmasters

The link data provided in Google Webmaster Tools is extremely basic. But, since Google probably sends you more search traffic then all of the search engines put together, it’s helpful to know which links Google actually sees. You’ll need to register a free account and verify your website to see relevant backlink data.

Pros: Huge index, identify which backlinks Google sees.

Cons: Can’t check competitor back links, minimal features.

As stated above, I’ve only included tools that were 100% free and online, and don’t require you to download any software or install a browser plugin. If you have a favorite web-based utility I’ve missed, please feel free to share it with the rest of us in the comments below.

I hope you find this post useful!

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  • December 12th, 2010 at 11:46 pm Bulk SMS Reseller said:

    I am using this url http://www.webconfs.com to find a backlinks.

  • December 13th, 2010 at 9:38 am Custom Logo Design said:

    backlink watch is best online site where we can check backlinks of any website.
    Thanks for share.

  • December 14th, 2010 at 1:16 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    HI CLD,
    I’m not sure I agree with you, but I really appreciate your comment.

  • December 14th, 2010 at 1:23 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Hi Bulk SMS,
    Which tool specifically?

  • December 14th, 2010 at 1:27 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    @everyone

    sorry if you left a comment and it didn’t make it here. I get thousands of spam comments a day, so I just delete them in bulk because I can’t read through all of them. If you left a link in your comment, then there is a good chance it was automatically marked as spam and I didn’t see it. Fee free to try again..

  • January 15th, 2011 at 11:56 am M T Thomas said:

    I think the yahoo explorer tool is the best stil a good article

  • January 15th, 2011 at 12:10 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    I like Yahoo site explorer too, and use it often. However, it doesn’t show you nofollowed links…

  • January 17th, 2011 at 1:13 pm ????????? ??????????? said:

    backlink watch is down for some days now. Do you know a similar tool?
    thanks

  • January 17th, 2011 at 7:31 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Thanks for the FYI. I listed other useful tools in this post.

  • January 26th, 2011 at 12:22 am Aurelian said:

    take a look at urloz.com! backlinks: google, yahoo, bing, aol, alexa!

  • January 26th, 2011 at 10:30 am Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Shows some interesting data, but in regards to backlinks it just links to the other tools and doesn’t offer anything of its own.

  • February 7th, 2011 at 9:47 am John said:

    I still like Site Explorer minus the bit about no follow not showing

  • February 23rd, 2011 at 8:31 am Oscar Bravo said:

    Thanks for taking the time out to find these sites.

  • February 26th, 2011 at 10:28 am free dropshipping guy said:

    thanks for that!

    I will also recommend WebRank tool on Mozilla Firefox.
    It is a very nice tool

    Your blog has a nice layout

  • March 7th, 2011 at 10:38 pm Four Divisions said:

    Good tools about backlinks checker.. i think yahoo explorer is the best tool to get the back links for a website…

  • March 11th, 2011 at 1:51 am Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Just discovered another good one at AnalyzeBacklinks.com

  • April 15th, 2011 at 11:52 am Gary said:

    Just need ti ask a question…when someone does a back link package for a client, how is the report generated ?
    Are the package makers using on of the aforementioned tools ? And what exactly makes up a good report ? I am envisioning selling high quality packages cheaply to those people like myself who need the links for their endeavors but can’t find links/don’t know how to judge the worthiness of the links received in their packages.

    Please help with all of the info that you can so that I can put the best product on the market for those who need it.

    Thank You,

    Gary

  • April 15th, 2011 at 1:09 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Hi Gary,
    Most people use a combination of link-building tools and their experience. OpenSiteExplorer or MajesticSEO are two good tools for what you are trying to do.

  • April 17th, 2011 at 11:20 pm Jay said:

    Thanks for these tools they will come in very useful that is for sure.

  • May 2nd, 2011 at 7:54 am Ruven said:

    I wanted to check link reports, from people who build links for me, I coded this online tool on my site: http://globalwebandseo.com/qualitylinkcheck/
    I just paste all the links I get from a report and check there quality,
    Thought it can be helpful

  • July 4th, 2011 at 11:14 pm Cinema 4d said:

    Hi thanks for the SEO tools list. It was useful.

  • July 9th, 2011 at 10:49 pm Stallionxl said:

    thanks for the links. really helps with my seo

  • July 16th, 2011 at 3:32 am Cervical Mugus Stages said:

    Thanks for sharing the FREE tools to find backlinks. Much appreciated.

  • August 1st, 2011 at 5:16 am Gaz said:

    I allways use backlinkcheck

  • September 10th, 2011 at 10:34 pm coralee said:

    good thanx for seo list thats what i was finding.

  • September 28th, 2011 at 6:59 am myfreeclasses said:

    Very Nice Websites and Surely it will help my Web Design Tutorial Website Too……
    Thanku

  • October 6th, 2011 at 7:12 pm Pearson Toronto said:

    NIce one, i use this tool to check my website’s backlinks

  • October 15th, 2011 at 1:44 pm diakosmisi said:

    I check my backlinks from yahoo site explorer, I find it very reliable

  • October 20th, 2011 at 2:50 pm Akbar said:

    Good one, But is there alternate solution like yahoo site explorer

    Nancy

  • October 25th, 2011 at 7:50 pm Mary Johnston said:

    Open Site Explorer is very useful for me and my team. I also check for links back on Google and Yahoo. This is a very useful article regarding online tools to check back links!

  • November 5th, 2011 at 11:16 am Kingitused said:

    I haven’t found good tools to find back links. Only fake ones. Does anybody have any suggestions?

  • November 5th, 2011 at 11:23 am Wesley LeFebvre said:

    I’m not sure what you mean, all of them listed above are “good” ones.

  • November 24th, 2011 at 10:11 pm Anima Farway said:

    I am willing to know best online free backlinking tool .
    As i am confusion in finding the accurate numbers of back-links to my website.So guys Please help me finding most accurate backlinking tool.

    Thanx… A lot for helping me.

  • November 25th, 2011 at 12:02 am Kingitused said:

    Yes the ones you have put here work good. But I have stumbled on may fake ones. That only try to trick you to buy their service.

  • November 25th, 2011 at 7:35 am world said:

    from the entire list above (minus yahoo sitexplorer) I think the best is backlinkwatch.

  • November 25th, 2011 at 9:14 pm Anima Farway said:

    Thanx guys….

    But i need somthing free online automatic tool. for mass backlinking .

  • November 28th, 2011 at 1:26 am Market Research Company said:

    Yahoo Site explorer is down…

  • November 28th, 2011 at 6:29 am Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Yep, I already noted it above. Thx.

  • November 28th, 2011 at 11:47 am Ray Creations said:

    Yahoo Site Explorer was good. It is sad it closed down. I wonder what made them do so. It will be difficult to find an alternative really.

  • November 29th, 2011 at 2:06 am Carol Gene said:

    Ah thats why site explorer is not giving me the right result last week. It is good but sad its down now.

  • December 4th, 2011 at 4:59 am napnipnop said:

    Why the best has to shut down? Perhaps this is a way for another site search to ask us our money for complete backlink report.

  • December 19th, 2011 at 8:06 am andre said:

    thanx for seo list thats what i was finding.

  • January 2nd, 2012 at 10:42 am Desenhos para colorir said:

    Thanks a lot for your information, i think google webmasters is still the most powerfull tool.

  • January 12th, 2012 at 2:57 am roadies 9 said:

    google web masters are the best service available on the net to analyse backlinks

  • January 22nd, 2012 at 11:27 am Physics Coaching said:

    Obviously google webmasters is the best service available but still m searching 4 the best tool with accuracy to find back link of my competitor

  • January 23rd, 2012 at 9:17 am Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Well Google Webmasters isn’t my favorite tool. I prefer OpenSiteExplorer or Majestic SEO.

  • February 1st, 2012 at 3:07 am Best Car Loans Perth said:

    None of them works for me.

  • February 2nd, 2012 at 6:22 pm pulsa murah said:

    Good article, i like google/webmaster tools for seo tools…

  • February 11th, 2012 at 4:37 am sachin kundu said:

    Why world best has to shut down !! I m sad. These days i use BW

  • February 14th, 2012 at 5:22 am daif4all said:

    Great info, thanks
    but is there any free download software for seo analysis or reports

  • March 3rd, 2012 at 9:57 am Stephen Colangelo Jr said:

    Did you look at Domain-Pop.com Its the best backlink Checker in the business.

  • March 4th, 2012 at 2:23 am Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Hi Stephen!

    Nope, I checked it out now though.

    It looks decent. Which data source is it using for its link reports?

  • March 11th, 2012 at 9:16 am Stephen Colangelo Jr said:

    Hi Wesley.

    The Data Source we are using is called ( http://ahrefs.com/ )

    Once Yahoo Site Explorer went down we made the move to Ahrefs.

    I am the CEO & Founder of Domain-Pop.com and would love to ad our site to your Blog.

    We work hard to be the best Backlink Checker in the industry.

    Our main competition is Backlink Watch.

    If you type in Free Backlink Checker or Backlink Checker or Check Backlinks you will see we are on Page 1 of the search engines ( Google, Bing, Yahoo )

    We also offer all other kinds of information with our checker like Age, Traffic, Alexa, Page Rank and more so our clients get all there information from one site.

    Our Active informational Blog has also received a 4 star rating.

  • March 12th, 2012 at 3:00 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Hey Stephen,
    Yeah, Ahrefs is pretty cool. I’ve been playing with their tools for a few months now and have been meaning to do a full review on them. Plus add a few more new players such as SEMrush, Link-assistant (now using own datasource), and SearchMetrics. Alexa is worth noting too.

    I just tried domain-pop, but received an error:

    “Error: Could not process the saved backlink report. Please report this error by clicking the bug report link below.”

    I did submit a bug with more info, so I hope that helps you out.

  • March 12th, 2012 at 3:29 pm Don said:

    Wesley,

    Thank you for bringing the issue to our attention. Every now and then the API has a hiccup. For the most part – it’s been very reliable. I went ahead and reran the report for seorankings.com, and the report is live now.

    - Don

  • March 12th, 2012 at 3:31 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Thanks, Don – I’ll check it out.

  • March 15th, 2012 at 9:54 am arthur said:

    This has been most informative.
    Thanks for the suggesstions in the comment too.
    Most helpful alternative places to check serp.

  • March 15th, 2012 at 9:56 am Wesley LeFebvre said:

    No problem, Arthur. Glad to help!

  • March 26th, 2012 at 5:30 am mikro saç kaynak said:

    i was using backlinkcheck, i’m searching better and more detail somethings but i saw that, i’ll use still backlinkcheck… but open site explorer not bad to ;)

  • April 2nd, 2012 at 10:25 am AA said:

    Very helpful, all of the websites you mentioned here are excellent resource to individuals and small businesses.
    Thank you

  • April 7th, 2012 at 8:26 pm easy jobs online said:

    Backlink checker tools online do not work most time. Which one is really good?

  • April 8th, 2012 at 1:35 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    I like OpenSiteExplorer a lot.

  • April 15th, 2012 at 6:11 pm David Flayer said:

    I find google a good option, must say its a great list of free backlink tools.

    thanks,

  • April 15th, 2012 at 10:15 pm sujeet said:

    backlinkwatch gives a better result than google, I don’t why. However both results are unique and you can use both of them for different purposes.

  • April 26th, 2012 at 10:38 pm ruth said:

    To “Stephen Colangelo Jr” and “Don”,

    I have submitted several “bug reports” about the same error message Wesley brought up. The reports are still not live. Do you only fix these issues for someone capable of reviewing and promoting your site? Domain-Pop is fantastic – but this issue is a bit frustrating. Any advise for users?

  • April 27th, 2012 at 1:32 pm Don said:

    @ Ruth,

    We apologize for the delay in our response to the bug reports you’ve sent. We’re currently working on correcting the issue that generated the error for you in the first place, rather than having to continually manually fix reports. We appreciate your patience while we work diligently to improve our free service.

    - Don

  • April 27th, 2012 at 5:54 pm ruth said:

    @ Don,

    Thank you. I appreciate your response and will check back soon.

    -ruth

  • May 26th, 2012 at 4:26 am Hobi Burung Kicau said:

    I’m interested in seo majestic, maybe I’ll try it. Thanks Wesley

  • July 2nd, 2012 at 9:49 am Rafi said:

    I will may also try to seo majestic….

  • July 13th, 2012 at 4:29 am site value said:

    OpenSiteExplorer is the best! i work width this tool everyday

  • July 27th, 2012 at 3:30 am rajeev kumar srivastava said:

    I do not know why the people believe yahoo explore finding backlinks. Please all let us know that how the people can analyze about there competitors backlinks means what keyword they are using on what site. If all of you use yahoo then you can not find how much anchor your competitors using at a time for these back-links so go for backlinkwatch.com

  • August 1st, 2012 at 8:53 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Hi Rajeev,
    Thanks for your recommendations. Yahoo! Site Explorer is no longer available any more, so hopefully not too many people are trying to use it any more..

  • August 6th, 2012 at 4:07 pm Bend Oregon Websites said:

    Has anyone tried companies like Linkfool to help with Backlinks? Are these legit ways of going about it?

  • August 6th, 2012 at 5:01 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    I’ve never heard of it before so I cannot comment on its services.

  • October 27th, 2012 at 6:23 am mobile phones said:

    awesome data do we can have one website which can provide genuine all backlinks as none give the right figures every other differs in total links and linkpages

  • October 27th, 2012 at 8:24 am Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Majestic is the most comprehensive.

  • November 1st, 2012 at 8:13 pm What Is Article Marketing said:

    Hi Wesley,

    I came upon this article in my pursuit to look for a really reliable free backlink checker tool/site to check if the backlinks I’ve been trying very hard to manually build for my newly acquired PR 2 domain name for a domain monetize opportunity…and in my count I’ve so far already done 50+ manual backlink efforts for my domain name, but sadly none of these backlinks were reflected, or tracked, by all the tools you’ve mentioned in your article. I’m just frustrated to continuously work building backlinks without the guarantee that my efforts are really accounted for by search engines.

    Could you kindly give me some helpful advice?

    Pete Silva

  • November 1st, 2012 at 11:41 pm Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Hi Pete,
    Well it definitely takes some time for the new backlinks to get picked up. Some may take days, while others can take several weeks depending on how popular the pages are you’ve acquired them from.

    The best thing to do to see if the search engines have actually picked up your link yet is registering your site with Google and Bing webmaster tools, then viewing your reported backlinks from within there.

    Otherwise, the other tools use third-party databases and even if a link does show up in one of them, that doesn’t mean they’ve been picked up by each of the major search engines yet.

    Of the third-party resources available for checking backlinks, Ahrefs (new) and Majestic SEO are by far the best. Then OpenSiteExplorer next.

  • November 9th, 2012 at 8:48 am What About SEO said:

    Hi Wesley,

    Thank you very much, really appreciate your prompt feedback!

    Pete Silva

  • November 12th, 2012 at 3:31 pm indian recipe king said:

    thanks very usiful tools

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