One of the most important factors in off-site Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is backlinks. A backlink is simply a link from another website, to your website. Search engines see links as “votes”, so the more links, and quality, relevant links at that – you have pointing to your site, the better. All else being equal, if you can get better backlinks than your competitors, you can outrank them. Given its importance to SEO, it’s frustrating that there isn’t one solidly reliable (free) tool with which to do backlink research. Backlink research can help you :
- Find out what your website’s link profile is looking like, and what progress you’ve made
- Do some competitive analysis in your niche – how well are competitors’ sites performing
- Assess how much better you have to do in order to outrank your competitors.
There are several different tools available, some free and some requiring a paid subscription. You will probably need to consult a couple of sources to get a well-rounded concept of any site’s link profile.
Here’s three of my current favorite, free, tools for this:
You have to set up a free account, but it’s worth the couple of minutes that will take. Blekko provides quite a bit of helpful data on websites’ SEO profiles, including information on inbound links, crawl stats and more.
This is quite an awesome tool for listing backlinks to a site. It will also indicated if a link is ‘nofollow’ and provide the anchor text for each link.
This tool is run by the mighty SEOmoz. As such, over time, the amount of info you can get for free has significantly decreased as they try and push their paid memberships. Still, when used in conjunction with other tools, it can still help flesh out your research.
Do you have any fave SEO tools? Share in the comments!