Performing some kind of backlink research is a very common task in internet marketing, affiliate marketing, or website management in general.

The thing is that SEO, whether we like it or now, is and will be one of the main sources of traffic for every website. And if we don’t do our research properly, we can never hope for any worthwhile results.

When it comes to backlink analysis there are two sides of the game: analyzing your own site, and spying on your competition. Here, we’re going to talk about both.

Using Google

The easiest way to do some quick research is to simply use Google. You can use a query like this:

link:yourdomain.com –site:yourdomain.com

This will display some pages linking to yours, except your own internal links.

Now, the results won’t actually be that accurate. The number of results will be huge (more than a million). However, it may be a good place to start your research and then move to other tools.

Backlink Watch

This is a (partially) free tool and it actually provides pretty accurate results.

After you input your domain name, you’ll get presented with the URLs linking to you, the anchor texts, and additional info like the nofollow tag.

The tool provides raw data that’s not ordered in any particular way.

Google Analytics

The team at GA has rolled out a pretty interesting tool recently. It can be found at: Traffic Sources > Social > Landing Pages. Then click on the Activity Stream tab.

activity

And finally on the Events tab.

events

You’ll get presented with the recent backlinks and trackbacks coming from other sites. The data is pretty reliable and can allow you to act fast if necessary.

Paid Tools

There’s a handful of SEO analysis players on the market. They all offer quite similar services and all let you in on great insights. Basically, there’s a reason why those services are paid … they simply provide you with more actionable and accurate data than the free ones.

You can check either of these companies as they all provide some kind of a free or $1 trial:

  • SEOmoz. First month free, then $99/month. Offering a number of great SEO tools (backlink analyzer included; you can track your results as well as spy on others).
  • Raven Tools. First month free, then $99/month. Another complete package of SEO tools (including their Backlink Explorer).
  • SEOprofiler. First month $1, then $19/month (starter package). The cheapest option here, also offering a range of SEO and backlink analysis tools.

In the end, the exact tool you choose is not that important (all three are top quality), what is important is what you’re going to do with the data you get.


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