Backlink is a hyperlink pointing to your domain from other websites. It has a large value as search engines rank the pages with more backlinks in top of the results page. The concept is that when many people like your page content, they will automatically tend to link or refer to your page. This essentially will result in a scenario that a page with many backlinks is more useful than a page with less or no backlinks. Google uses this mechanism called PageRank to evaluate the ranking on the search results.
Though Google formally discontinued assigning a PageRank to a webpage, it still uses number of quality backlinks as one of the ranking factors.
On other hand, you can also get referral traffic from the linked sites for free. In summary, backlinks from quality sources are very good indication of a healthy site. However, it is not an easy task for site owners to find how many links are pointing to your domain or certain pages on your website without external tools.
1. Webmaster Tools or Search Console
Google is the most popular search engine on the web and accommodates billions of searches everyday. In order to helps website owners, Google offers a free set of packaged tools under Google Search Console or Google Webmaster Tools account. You first need to register for a free account using your Gmail account and verify your site ownership before getting detailed data of your website.
After verification, login to your Search Console account and navigate to “Links” section on the sidebar.
The “Links” section will show you the following details:
- Number of external links pointing to your website, here you can see the total count of external links as per Google.
- You can also view each external domain and the linked pages on your site.
- Download the links and domain details and use it for reporting or analyzing purposes.
- Also get the details of internal links within your site.
Similar to Google Search Console, other search engines like Bing also offers Bing Webmaster Tools. You can use this for finding the backlinks pointing to your websites. Login to Bing Webmaster Tools using your Microsoft account and navigate to “Reports & Data > Inbound Links” section. You can see the “Count of Links” as a graphical view as shown below.
As you can see, the backlinks count of Bing and Google are nowhere nearer.
2. SEO Monitoring Tools
There are so many free and paid search engine monitoring tools available on the web. You can use one of these tools to find the number of backlinks to any website. Though the count is not matching with Google Search Console, the advantage here is that you can get the backlink details of any website even if you don’t own the site.
Semrush is one of the most popular search engine monitoring and optimization tools available for webmasters. In order to find the number of links, go to Semrush website. Type your domain name in the text box, select the country and click on “Start now” button.
You will get the overview of the domain and look at the “Backlinks” section. It will show the number of links pointing to your domain including number of domains.
Click on the “Backlinks” section to get more detailed information on the backlinks.
The problem with Semrush is that you need to get the country wise details. However, United State database with Google shows more accurate details. The free version offers limited features and you can upgrade to premium version with special 14 days free trial if required.
3. Traffic Ranking Tools
Well, this is a very simple way. Go to any of the traffic monitoring websites and get the number of backlinks. Again, these free websites are not match to Google. However, you can simply use it as a reference and get the details of any website.
For example, go to Alexa website and search your domain. Scroll down to see the backlinks section and check the details.
Alexa will show the number of backlinks along with the top five domains. You need to upgrade to premium account, if you want to get more details.
As you can see, Alexa result is nowhere nearer to the Search Console and Semrush results. Semrush data though is reliable, it is a paid tool and you may need to upgrade for frequent usage. Since, most of the site owner’s objective is rank high on Google; you can use Google Search Console data as more reliable. You can also verify each link and ensure the correctness randomly. Though Bing is also a free option, it is not reliable as Google Search Console.