• Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Backlink Analysis

Backlink Monitoring: The Unsung Hero of SEO Success

  • Nikola Baldikov
  • 10 min read
Backlink Monitoring: The Unsung Hero of SEO Success


Every SEO professional knows that search engines take into account a host of factors to evaluate and rank millions of sites, every day. However, no one knows for sure (except the search engines themselves) how exactly their algorithm works. However, practice shows that backlinks are a major ranking factor. Backlink monitoring is

In this post, we'll introduce you to the most effective strategies for monitoring your backlinks. We'll also tell you what you can gain from it, how to improve your methods, how to align them with other SEO activities, and much more.

Backlink checker

Backlink checker by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Pix4free

Backlink monitoring is indeed the unsung hero of SEO success.

If you are wondering why, then let’s explain the basics first:

  • The term “backlink profile” describes how many and what links point to your site. Google pays special attention to this data as it helps it understand what your website is, who your friends are, and which content of yours provides value.
  • The backlink profile of your site may contain poor-quality links that negatively affect optimization. Spam links and links from so-called link networks are perfect examples of bad links.
  • If you control your link profile and remove unwanted links, this will have a very good effect on your website’s SEO performance Google will "like" you better and reward you with a higher rank in SERPs.

Every website should strive to keep its backlink profile in top shape. There is no better way to do this than frequent backlink monitoring.

Monitoring Your Backlinks

Giulia Forsythe, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Link building is only half the way to SEO success. Backlink monitoring is the next mandatory step to take. Here are the main benefits it could bring to you:

Monitoring your backlinks pre­sents opportunities for link building, including:

  • Finding unlinked brand mentions
  • Discovering sites that link to your competitors but not to you
  • Finding websites linking to outdated or broke­n resources, where­ you can offer updated or superior conte­nt
  • Exploring high-authority and relevant sites in your niche­ that could potentially become you partne­rs or influencers

Once the­se opportunities are ide­ntified, you should reach out to the re­spective site owne­rs or editors. Ask them to include a link to your website­ or provide something of value in exchange for a backlink. This proactive approach helps enhance the visibility and authority of your website­ within the online landscape.

Not all backlinks are of equal value; certain backlinks hold more significance­ based on various factors such as:

  • Authority and trustworthiness of the linking site
  • Relevance and quality of the linking site's content and audience
  • Diversity and relevance of the anchor text
  • Location and context of the link on the page
  • Number and quality of other links on the page

When prope­rly executed, monitoring your backlinks he­lps assess their contribution to your site's SEO he­alth. It allows you to identify the best-pe­rforming links and explore ways to replicate­ or improve upon them.

When it comes to backlinks, the rule is that quality dominates quantity. Remember that a link from an authoritative site "weighs" much more than, let's say 100 poor-quality links. Some backlinks can even hurt your site's reputation or performance. You’d better turn down link requests from those types of sites:

  • Links from low-quality or spammy sites with no relevance or authority in your niche
  • Links from sites that have been penalized or banned by Google
  • Links from sites that use manipulative or deceptive SEO practices
  • Links from sites that have a high number of outbound links or a low number of inbound links
  • Links from sites that have negative or malicious content or intent

If you are not equipped with sufficient SEO knowledge, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of partnering with low-quality websites. They may have a beautiful design and look legit, but a quick check at Ahrefs will show you their DR is 0, for example. Not to mention that your website might be about cars and the other one promotes a flower shop. Nothing in common, right? As much as you like this website, you shouldn’t link to it.

So, if you’ve found non-reliable websites that link to yours, you should immediately remove or disavow these backlinks. Contact the site owner or editor, and ask them politely to delete the link. Disavowing a link means telling Google not to count the link when evaluating your site. Use Google Search Console to submit a list of links that you want to disavow.

Monitoring backlinks is only about your website. It's also about your competitors' sites. That’s a clever way to unveil their strategies and tactics and, thus, learn from their successes and failures.

Some of the things you can learn from your competitors' backlinks are:

  • Their keywords they target and rank for
  • The type of content they produce and promote
  • The sites they link to
  • The anchor texts they use
  • The metrics they track and optimize

Competitor analysis helps you spot their strengths and weaknesses, and use them to your advantage. For instance, you can try to secure the same or similar authority backlinks as your competitors did. What is more, if you notice any broken or lost links, you can reach out to the site owners and request to replace these links with yours.

When you monitor your backlinks, there are certain metrics you should pay close attention to. Check them out here:

This shows how popular and authoritative your site is compared to other websites. The more backlinks you have, the better. Your chance to rank higher in search engines and therefore, attract more organic traffic, is bigger. However, quantity is not everything. You also need to consider the quality of your backlinks.

Authority and trustworthiness of the linking sites

This measure shows the credibility and impact of the websites that connect to your site. Reliable websites transfer more value to yours. You can assess this value by considering factors such, as domain authority (DA), page authority (PA), trust flow (TF), and citation flow (CF), among others.

Diversity and relevance of the anchor texts

Anchor texts are the words or phrases that contain a hyperlink. They offer context and insight into your site's matter and targeted keywords. The ideal scenario is to have a range of anchor texts that align with your site's topic and keywords but are not keyword-stuffed.

The location of your links should not be underestimated. Good places for your links are the main content, lists, headings, or subheadings on the partner’s site. On the other hand, links placed in footers, sidebars, and ads are less valuable as they get less attention from both users and search engines.

Now, we’ve come to the main point: how to monitor your backlinks effectively? There is a plethora of techniques, which can complement each other.

We’ll cover everything you need to know about them—starting from the most laborious methods going all the way to automated solutions that save time and effort.

Keep on reading.

  1. Manual backlink monitoring

There are some simple ways to monitor your backlinks that involve manual work. However, they are worth a try, to say the least.

Set Up Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a free service from Google that allows you to monitor the web for any mentions of your brand, keywords, or topics of interest. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Open https://www.google.com/alerts
  2. Enter the term that you want to monitor in the search box. That could be your domain or brand name, main keyword, etc.
  3. Choose the options that suit your needs (e.g., sources, language, region, frequency, etc.)
  4. Type your email address where you want to receive the alerts
  5. Click on "Create Alert"

Once you set this up, you’ll receive an email notification whenever Google finds a new mention of your term on the web. You can use this information to check your new backlinks, vet them, and take action accordingly.

Use Google Search Operators

The use of Google search operators is uncommon as not many people know about them. These are special commands that you can type in the Google search box to get specific results.

For example, if you want to find all the pages that link to your site, use the operator "link:yourdomain.com". This will instantly show you all the indexed pages that contain a link to your site. If necessary, use the operator "site:" to narrow down the results to a specific domain, or "inurl:" to find pages that contain a particular word in their URL.

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When you are done with collecting your backlink data from various sources, it’s time to to organize and store it for further analysis. Here is where simple spreadsheets or dashboards come to the fore. Add to them all the relevant information about your backlinks, such as:

  • URL of the linking page
  • URL of the linked page
  • Anchor text of the link
  • Date of securing the backlink
  • Authority and trustworthiness of the linking site
  • Location and context of the link on the page
  • Impact of the link on your keyword rankings and traffic
  • The status of the link (active or broken)

Well, it doesn’t end here. It’s a good idea to use various formulas, filters, or graphs to visualize and analyze your data. Last but not least—don’t forget to make regular checkups on the gathered information and update your spreadsheet or dashboard.

  1. Leverage free or paid backlink monitoring tools

We move on to the more advanced ways to monitor your backlinks—through free or paid tools. They can be accessed through most web browsers, including Chrome and Chrome alternatives, making it convenient to keep a close watch on the performance and quality of your backlink profile.

Here are the top three web services we would recommend:

Google Search Console

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is free of charge and can meticulously inform you of your site’s presence in Google search results. When it comes to backlinks, it can show you how many you have, where they come from, what anchor texts have been used, and more. As mentioned earlier, you can also use Google Search Console to disavow links that you don't want Google to consider.



Although there is a free backlink checker, its abilities are limited. Generally, its paid version is better. Ahrefs offers a suite of features for SEO analysis and optimization. It’s unsurpassed in checking your site’s and competitors’ backlink profiles, transforming the information into the tangible metric DR (domain rating).

In addition, Ahrefs notifies you about new or lost links, web mentions, etc. This tool aids in finding new link opportunities, analyzing the quality and value of your links, tracking your link-building progress, counting referral traffic, and more.



It’s a popular paid tool that provides various SEO solutions and insights. There is a free seven-day trial for everyone who wants to test it first. Ranktracker evaluates the authority and trustworthiness of the target page’s link profile, using the measure UR (URL rating). The website’s DR (domain rating) indicates how strong its backlink profile is in comparison to other sites in its database. The option for backlink monitoring lets you set up everything with a few clicks.

Backlink Manager

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BacklinkManager is one of the top link management tools for simplifying your link-building efforts. Share targets with partners via sharable sheets easily You can send link requests directly from specific pages on partner sites and get real-time updates on link exchanges. The tool also enables you to keep score with each partner, considering both link quantity and quality.

Backlink monitoring is not a one-time act. It is an ongoing process that requires regular in-depth attention. To improve your backlink monitoring practices, you should do the following:

As mentioned earlier, updating your backlink reports and analysis is crucial. You’d better do it at least once a month or whenever there is a significant change in your backlink profile. This will help you keep track of your progress and identify any issues or opportunities that need to be addressed.

Performing periodic link audits and cleanups is the best way to ensure your backlink profile is in its best condition. This means checking and fixing any broken links, removing or disavowing any spammy or low-quality links, reclaiming any lost or stolen links, etc.

Link building is an SEO evergreen. When done right, it brings nothing but positives to your website. So, planning and executing a proactive link-building campaign should always be on your agenda. This way you ensure your backlink profile grows and improves.

But how to do that? There are three essential steps to focus on:

  • Creating and promoting high-quality content that attracts and earns natural links from relevant and authoritative websites
  • Reaching out and building relationships with influencers and webmasters in your niche
  • Leveraging social media and other platforms to amplify your reach and visibility, etc.

Since SEO is a complex matter, it’s only natural to conclude that link building is tied to other SEO activities, which are no less important.

Let us talk about it a bit more.

The main goal of backlink monitoring is to see how your backlinks affect your keyword rankings and traffic. You want to know which backlinks are helping you rank higher for your target keywords, and which ones are driving qualified visitors to your site. Luckily, there is a wide variety of tools that can track both your backlinks and your keywords.

Another aspect of backlink monitoring is to measure how your backlinks impact your site performance and user experience (UX). You want to make sure that your backlinks are not hurting your site's speed, security, or usability. Nowadays, Google prioritizes websites with high speed. You need to use a tool that can measure your site performance and UX metrics, such as Google PageSpeed Insights.If you lack the in-house expertise to address issues with your site's performance and UX, consider building a dedicated development team to continually optimize these critical factors.

Optimize your content and pages

Creating content that attracts and engages both users and search engines is of utmost importance. What is more, it should match the intent and expectations of your backlink sources. To optimize your content and pages for SEO, make use of online tools, such as Neuronwriter or the Chrome extension HARPA AI.

Reach out and build relationships with other sites

You want to establish yourself as an authority in your field and connect with other influencers and webmasters who can vouch for your content and site. To do this, it’s best to rely on a tool that can help you find and contact potential link partners, such as BuzzStream.


Backlink monitoring is an indispensable part of SEO. It contributes to boosting your site's ranking, traffic, and reputation. However, backlink monitoring can also be a challenging and time-consuming task that requires constant attention and analysis.

To make backlink monitoring easier and more effective, you should use dedicated software or tools, automate your tasks and alerts, track the right metrics, and improve your practices. By doing so, you can optimize your backlink profile and ultimately achieve your SEO goals.

Nikola Baldikov

Nikola Baldikov

SEO specialist and founder, InBound Blogging

Nikola Baldikov is a SEO specialist and founder of InBound Blogging, specializing in content and outreach strategies. Besides his passion for SEO, Nikola is an avid fan of football and he loves to dance.

Link: InBound Blogging

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