The problem you’ll find when trying to check backlinks these days is that there’s no one definitive source for backlinks.
You would think Google would be able to show you all the backlinks it can find, but unfortunately they don’t want to make it THAT easy for you.
Why check your backlinks? If you’re doing any SEO, then being able to get the backlinks to your site can be very valuable.
You may want to see if your backlinks are being indexed and strengthen them with additional backlinking. Or you may want to reverse engineer your competition’s backlinks and find additional backlink sources to use yourself.
By using these 4 backlink sources below, you should be able to come up with a decent list of backlinks for any site.
1. Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) can provide you lots of interesting data about your sites, including providing you with a subset of your backlinks.
Here’s how to access it.
- First log into your Google Webmaster Tools account and go to ‘Your Site On The Web’ and then Links To Your Site.
- Under Who links the most, click the More >> link
- Scroll down to the bottom of the next page and click Download all links.
- This will save a .csv file to your computer which you can open in Excel.
2. Yahoo Site Explorer
Yahoo Site Explorer (YSE) allows you to save up to 1000 backlinks to your site. While, it may or may not be going away in the future, it’s still a useful source of additional backlinks.
- Visit Yahoo Site Explorer, input your site in the box and press the Explore Url button.
- Click on the Inlinks button
- Then choose Show inlinks ‘Except from this domain’ to ‘Entire site’.
- Click the TSV link to save your links as a tab delimited text file.
3. Pingback Power
Whenever anyone links back to any post on your site, your site will receive a pingback, which contains a link back to the original site. This makes pingbacks another useful and accurate source of backlinks.
Pingback Power makes this extremely easy, by exporting all the pingbacks on your site to a text file with just one click.
While it is the most accurate of the 4 sources, it’s only going to return to you a certain class of links – mainly backlinks from WordPress blogs.
4. Open Site Explorer
Open Site Explorer (OSE) is a tool by SEOMoz that contains some really useful backlink data. Anyone can access the free version, although it does limit you to 200 backlinks.
Visit Open Site Explorer, type in your URL and choose links from External sources only to All Pages on Root Domain.
Then click on Export to CSV to download the full 200 links.
Some Additional Observations
- As you might expect, you will get quite a few duplicate backlinks from these 4 sources. In my tests, GWT had 72% duplicate backlinks as OSE, 27% duplicated by YSE, and 15% of Pingback Power
- Not all the backlinks that you find from GWT, YSE will be useful. You’ll often find root domains that are listed, but no longer contain your posts with backlinks. In general, this is because they have now been pushed off the front page.OSE and Pingback Power are much better at returning deep links that your links are actually on.
- You’ll notice that a certain amount of backlinks are dead for various reasons. I like to run my list of backlinks through a free software like Xenu Link Sleuth, to further clean up my backlink list.