Top 5 Ways to Monitor Backlinks in 2023

You can’t create a solid link building strategy if you don’t monitor backlinks. That goes for both your own and your competitors’ links, as their backlink profiles can help you gain useful insights, too – such as where to build your links next.

This guide will help you understand what you need to monitor and how. Keep reading and become a link-monitoring pro in under 10 minutes.

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Why Monitor Backlinks?

An obvious reason why you should monitor backlinks is to know when someone links to your site. This can be especially useful if you’re paying for links and want to check if and when you actually received them. 

But even if you aren’t paying for backlinks, it’s still useful to know when someone links to you in case you want to thank them or check what they’re saying about you. 

Additionally, link monitoring also has three less obvious benefits. It will help you:

  1. Catch spammy links faster.
  2. Replace lost links faster. 
  3. Steal your competitors’ backlinks.

Let’s discuss these benefits in more depth. 

1. Catch Spammy Links Faster

Spammy backlinks, also called toxic links, are links that are low in quality, irrelevant to your site, and/or come from untrusted sources such as link farms, directories, and otherwise spammy websites. 

  • For example, links from low-quality sites about health and wellness to a site about finance could be deemed spammy. 
  • Links from sites that openly sell links or link to a multitude of irrelevant sites could be considered spammy, too. 

Google can penalize sites with spammy backlinks, as they violate the search engine’s quality guidelines. That’s why SEO experts recommend regularly checking your backlink profile for toxic links and disavowing them asap.

Now for the full disclosure: there’s an ongoing debate about whether spammy backlinks negatively impact SEO. Google has come out multiple times saying there’s “no such thing as toxic links,” and that they don’t penalize sites that have them.

On the other hand, many companies conducted their own studies and unequivocally showed that toxic links do indeed hurt search engine optimization (SEO). For example, SEMRush’s analysis shows that Google penalizes unnatural inbound links, especially:

  • Sponsored or paid links
  • Guest posts and press releases
  • Links coming from PBNs and public networks

So, what’s the real truth? Does Google penalize sites with spammy links?

The most likely scenario is that Google doesn’t penalize sites with a limited number of spammy backlinks but does take action against sites with heaps of such backlinks. That’s why it’s recommended you continuously check your backlink profile and prevent a buildup of toxic links.  

2. Replace Lost Links Faster

There are many reasons why you could lose backlinks over time. Some of the most common reasons are as follows:

  • The referring domain no longer works. 
  • Webmasters removed your links from their sites.
  • The referring page is deleted.
  • The referring website was redesigned. 
  • 500 error (internal server error) occurred on your referring domain. 

The faster you realize you’ve lost backlinks, the faster you can recover them. Monitoring your website backlinks can help you with this and, consequently, help you reduce the number of backlinks you lose without noticing.

3. Steal Your Competitors’ Backlinks

When trying to “steal” your competitors’ backlinks, you won’t be monitoring your own but rather your competitors’ backlink profiles. This is often called competitor analysis and can be the backbone of your next link building campaign. 

Competitor analysis helps you identify sites that are highly likely to link to you as they’ve already shown interest in your niche by linking to your competitors. This means that analyzing your competitors can help you identify easy link building opportunities.

The key here is to regularly monitor your competitors’ backlinks, so you can identify their new links as soon as they’re created. We’ll discuss which tools you can use for this purpose in a minute.

What To Monitor

You always want to monitor two things: the number and quality of backlinks. 

The former is straightforward. You generally want to have as many backlinks as possible. If you notice your numbers are dropping, you should work on recovering lost backlinks or building new ones. 

The latter, however, is slightly more complicated. Sure; you always want to shoot for the highest-quality backlinks, as the quality directly impacts your keyword rankings. But how do you assess link quality? 

To do so, we propose analyzing these three link aspects: 

  • Nofollow vs dofollow tag: Dofollow links are higher quality and thus have more link juice than nofollow links. They show that the source site trusts the target site and, consequently, have a bigger impact on the target site’s rankings and visibility.
  • Anchor text: Descriptive anchor texts give search engines context about the linked page and help them understand what it’s about. In contrast, non-descriptive anchor texts like “click here” provide little to no useful context, which reduces their impact on how the linked page ranks.
  • Referring domain authority: Links from high-authority domains are more valuable than links from low-authority domains, as they have more credibility with search engines.

The highest-quality links would, then, be tagged as dofollow, have descriptive anchors, and come from domains with high authority. If the majority of your links meet at least some of these requirements, you have a high-quality backlink profile. On the other hand, if most of your links don’t fulfill these criteria, create a strategy that will let you build higher-quality links.

5 Ways To Monitor Backlinks In 2023

You can monitor backlinks using all-in-one SEO tools, like Moz, or more specialized backlink monitoring tools called backlink checkers. We’ll suggest the best tools from both categories below.

1. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is often the most accurate source of information about your site. Besides other relevant insights, it can give you a solid overview of your internal and external links. Plus, unlike other backlink tools on this list, it’s free.

To find information about your backlinks within Console, click “Links” in the right-hand menu:

Google Search Console screenshot with the Links page highlighted

This will open a new page with link-related information about your site:

  • External links: Top linked pages — A list of pages with the highest number of links from external sources (other sites).
  • Internal links: Top linked pages — A list of pages with the highest number of links from internal sources (other pages on your site).
  • Top linking sites — A list of sites that are linking to you.
  • Top linking text — A list of anchor texts used on your referring websites. 

You can see other data, like the total number of external links or the number of pages targeted by external websites, by selecting one of these lists. Console also lets you disavow spammy backlinks if you go to this page.

Disavow links Google Search Console page


  • Free
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Disavow tool 


  • Limited data
  • No competitor analysis available

2. Linkody

Linkody is a specialized backlink tool packed with useful link-related features. Let’s review them by quickly glancing at the main menu.

Linkody menu tab 

We’ll only describe the most important pages here:

  • Links shows you a list of all your backlinks and gives you an in-depth overview of the main link features, such as source links, the Moz DA score for the source domain, anchor text, and target page
  • Disavow lets you select spammy links you want to disavow and easily create a disavow file you’ll need to upload to Console (NOTE: the actual disavowment can only be done through the console)
  • Competitors shows you all your competitors’ links along with other link features, like the Moz DA score, anchor text, and target page


  • In-depth data
  • Cost-effective
  • Useful competitive insights


  • Outdated interface

3. Link Explorer by MOZ

Moz is a comprehensive all-in-one SEO tool with a multitude of useful link monitoring features, which may justify its pricing starting at $99/month. We’ll only review a few below. 

Moz main dashboard
  • Inbound Links shows you all your backlinks, their anchor texts and spam scores, the DA of the linking domain, and other link features
  • Link Intersect lets you compare your domain to your competitors’ domains and find websites that are linking to them but not to you 
  • Discovered and Lost lets you see the links you’ve lost and recently gained at a glance


  • Reliable data
  • Good discovered and lost links overview 
  • Great competitive insights


  • No disavow tools
  • High-priced

4. Serpstat

Serpstat is a robust SEO software suite with powerful features for many visibility-boosting tasks, such as keyword research, PPC research, and link monitoring.

Serpstat main dashboard‍
  • Backlinks gives you an overview of all your links, together with details like link type and the date when a link was first discovered by Serpstat bots
  • Anchors is a unique feature that allows you to see all your anchors in one place and identify how many referring domains use each identified anchor
  • Link intersect lets you compare your backlink profile to that of your competitors and find easy link building opportunities


  • In-depth anchor data
  • Great competitive insights


  • Somewhat inaccurate data
  • No disavow tools

5. MonitorBacklinks

MonitorBacklinks is a specialized link building tool with a number of useful link monitoring features.

Monitorbacklinks main dashboard
  • Your links gives you an overview of your backlink profile, with insights such as the trustworthiness of a linking site and its impact on search engines
  • Link analysis lets you see a number of link-related metrics at a glance, like your top anchors, the ratio of your nofollow vs dofollow links, and your top link pages
  • Competitor links gives you an overview of the links linking to competitor sites


  • Robust competitive insights
  • Disavow tool
  • Data visualization


  • Can be slow

Build Links With Expert Help 

Don’t forget the most important aspect of every link building strategy: actually building your links. 

If doing so yourself is too challenging or time-consuming, you may be interested in working with our link building agency. Set up a meeting to browse through our list of partner sites before deciding if you want to work with us, or order your first batch of links now.

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Written by
Dina Šoštarec

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