“Free backlinks checker,” and other search phrases related to finding backlinks (sometimes called inbound links) to your website, are searched nearly 2 million times per month!
So, I’m not alone in saying it has taken me many years of signing-up for free 30-day trials (not free), paying monthly subscriptions up to sometimes $150/month (definitely not free!) and using so-called “free” tools a few times only to find out I have to pay because I’ve searched for backlinks “more than 3 times” (still not free).
The biggest pisser is when I’m lured to a free backlink checker that only shows me 10 backlinks results. If I want to see more than 10, I have to pay.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m completely supportive of backlinks search tools developers and SEO tools companies charging for their software. And, there are many web-based tools that I do gleefully pay for. When it comes to SEO tools, however, I simply find myself only subscribing to them so that I can check my own backlinks as well as spy on backlinks acquired by my competition.
As a result, I’ve always been on the lookout for a truly free backlinks checker. And, I finally FINALLY found one!
Alright, let’s step back for a minute. I just read those first two paragraphs and realize I’m saying a bunch of techy geeky SEO speak here. Let’s start from the beginning.
What is a Backlink?
When someone likes your website enough that they want to tell others about it, they will mention your website in a blog post or on a resources page. They’ll add a live link to your website. To that website owner posting the link, it is called an “outbound” or “external” link because the link is pointing to a location that is outside of, or external to, their website. If that link brings people to your website when it’s clicked, voila, you have a “backlink.”
A Brief History of Backlinks
The whole foundation for the Internet was based originally on linking. When I got started on the Internet in 1995, clicking on links to other websites was the primary way to discover new websites. In fact, the term “surfing the web” originated from website visitors clicking on links to other websites.
Google made link building a business! When they created their search algorithm, the ingredients that determines in what order websites appear on its search results, backlinks to a website were one of the most important components. A website with no backlinks had a snowball’s chance in hell of gaining top positions in search results on Google.
Over the years, SEO companies developed organized methods for building thousands of backlinks for its clients. Google caught on to their black-hat schemes as a means of gaming the system and started penalizing website owners by removing their websites entirely from Google search or pushing their search results so low that no one would find them. Suddenly, website owners were afraid to get backlinks at all for fear of being removed from Google search.
Are Backlinks Still Important?
Google, specifically Matt Cutts, Google’s lead guy in charge of the direction of search, will tell you from stage, video, and blog that Google is “gradually reducing the importance of backlinks.”
I’ve been hearing this claim for years. The truth is, I believe links will always be important in search engine results positions (SERPs). The key is to acquire high quality links. So, not only have I been looking for a free backlink checker, but one that provides a ranking for the quality of links.
Let’s take another look at the picture I used to capture your attention to this post. But, this time, I’ll remove my words so you can see the actual backlink report from this tool I discovered.
- Authority Link Rating – Notice (next to the big red number 1 on the left column of the image) how each backlink is given a ranking? The developers of the tool call it an “authority link rating.” What’s kind of goofy about link ratings is that they are a bit unpredictable as to how much any particular backlink will help, not help, or even hurt your actual SERPs on Google. Some SEO pros even suggest you purposely acquire links of varying degrees of link authority. My point: Websites I’ve worked with that have had the hardest time getting higher search positions always seem to come back to having either no backlinks at all or ten or less with “0” authority link ratings.
- Links on Related Industry Websites are Still Best – The location of this particular link (as shown with the red #2 in the image), is on a website called FitSmallBusiness.com.
The website is in the same industry as Here Next Year, where my primary market is serving owners of small businesses.
- Use of Keywords in Anchor Text – Matt Cutts (of Google) will also tell you to never allow other websites owners to use anchor text with keywords in the links they provide to your website…And, that we should ask those with websites providing backlinks to our websites to REMOVE those keywords from the anchor text and use generic words instead to link to our websites. Well, I’ll tell ya somethin’: That sounds like a lot of work! And, I question how important it is to go to that length of trouble.
I’ve had the top 1 or 2 position for the high traffic search phrase “why wordpress” for about seven years now. If anchor text was such a problem, I would have already seen it! Let people use what phrases they want to in their links to your website. But, you should periodically be checking the anchor text of your backlinks to make sure your link providers are not using negative words, which could definitely impact your search results.
- Follow Versus No Follow Links – I love this tool because it shows me which links are “follow” versus “no follow” links. The “no follow” link signifies a link that is just that…a link. The value (sometimes called link juice) of a backlink provider’s website is not passed through to your website because they’ve added a small piece of code to the link’s HTML. If the no-follow code is not added to a link, you will receive partial benefit from that website’s value.
You’re already thinking, then why wouldn’t I just go out and get all “follow” links then? Well, because Google would possibly see that and see it as unnatural. You could be accused of trying to game the system and find your website reduced in SERPs. So, as you actively build links to your website, use my recommended free backlinks checker tool to assure you have a mix of follow and no follow links.
I wasn’t planning on going into so much depth about backlinks, but it’s a bit hard to give all that preliminary content and then not explain how links work or the significance of them in today’s Internet marketing world. So, there you have it!
Bonus Backlink Tip
Once you have a quality free backlink checker, you’re going to want to spy on your competition and see if you can get backlinks at some of the websites they have a link. That’s fine, but be sure to spread out your link acquiring over time. You won’t benefit from getting 2,000 links tomorrow. They need to be acquired one-by-one, consistently over time. One or two backlinks per week for a year is far better than 300 links in one week.
Start Using the Free Backlinks Checker Now!
I’ve used and recommended 14 (I think) SEO monitoring tools over the past five years or so. My recommendation could change at any day or any moment. Google itself has suspended SEO tool companies for their use of Google data. So, who knows how long this particular recommendation will last? Instead of providing the name here, I have added it to the Lifetime FREE level of my Here Next Year Web Marketing Club membership.
That way, I don’t have to worry about changing this blog post or any other I make in the future related to SEO or link building. I can just change the link in one spot in my members area. So, to find the free backlinks checker tool described in this article, sign-up now for your Lifetime FREE membership where you’ll have access to tons of other web-based tools I use every day.
– – – – –
Marty Dickinson is the Here Next Year Web Marketing Club manager and author of Lions Always Win: How to Spot What You Want in Business and Life…and Get it Too!. Without knowing what you truly want, and the tools to get you there, your business is guaranteed to fail.