February 28


Backlink Analysis Tools: The Hidden Misunderstanding

By Brian Petersen

February 28, 2021

Backlink Analysis, backlinks, SEO Audit

Backlink Analysis is still highly relevant for SEO

I am a member of different digital marketing forums and Facebook SEO groups, and a lot of times, I encounter debates about which backlink analysis tools are best.


People go back and forward praising or rating one SEO tool over other listings’ pros and cons about which link analysis tool is best and why.


The SEO tools that are mentioned are the most popular, like Ahrefs, SEMRush, Moz, and Majestic – all good tools with different features and metrics.


However, even those often heated debates are interesting to follow, it shows me that the users are missing one key element when it comes down to link analysis: Are the links indexed in Google or not?

If a link is not indexed in Google, it is not passing any authority to your website – in other words. It is completely useless for your ranking efforts.

Backlinks Analysis And Comparing Apples With Bananas

What is a backlink? A backlink is when one website linking to another website and showing a relationship/connection between the two sites.

Backlink analysis is fundamental when you work with SEO. It is mandatory to analyze how many backlinks your main competitor have to point to their content compared to you.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when running those kinds of backlink analyses.

Remember, no matter what tool you are using,
these tools are not Google – and they are not working like Google!.

No one else has access to Google bots data and cannot crawl the Internet the way Google does.

Yes, Ahrefs and SEM Rush, and others have sophisticated web crawlers that can crawl almost any corner of the World Wide Web to find all backlinks to your competitors.

But no matter how many millions of websites they are crawling and how many backlinks they might discover, it is their data – not Google’s data!

Just because they have discovered a link or link patterns, it is not a guarantee that Google has found (or indeed that sort of link) and count it into consideration when determining how to rank a competitor.

SEO: When Is A Backlink Valuable And Passing Link Juice to Your Site 

A backlink only provides value if it is being indexed in Google. Just because a tool like Ahrefs, Majestic, or SEM Rush has found it does not mean that it is a link that is passing any real value.

You find a link from a forum profile to one of your competitors, but if you discover that the link is not indexed in Google, why waste your time trying to get a link creating a similar profile?

Are Tools Like Majestic SEO, Ahrefs, And SEMRush Useless For SEO?

Those are all great research tools for your SEO backlinks analysis, but once again, it would be interesting to check the links those tools find and examine if they are also indexed in Google.

Focus on the links with the highest authority that are indexed in Google – those are the kind of links you need to beat.

Backlink Checker Or Onsite Optimization?

Based on some of my case study discoverings here in 2021, I would pay the biggest attention to onsite optimization.

I optimized a piece of content based on keywords, LSI keywords, and TF-IDF combined with Schema markup. 

Result: I was able to outrank my competitors without a single backlink to the content, and I even got a featured snippet.

Is Backlink Analysis Tools Still Needed?


A backlink analysis tool is still highly relevant – especially if your website cannot rank after SEO optimized your content.

If your competitors outrank, you need to analyze what kind of referring authority backlinks they have (and if Google indexes them).

Once you have rated your competitor’s link profile, then you should learn to obtain similar backlinks distribution to your website.

What Are Influencer Links And How Do you Get Them?

The most powerful backlinks you can get are contextual links from influencer websites, preferably in the same niche as your site.

Links from media sites are usually also with very high authority so that a press release can pass some extra link juice to your domain.

You can reach out to influencers within your niche, and you can try guest blogging, where you provide a quality article that is tailored for their target audience, and in return, you get a text link to a landing page on your domain.

Link-Assistant is a great piece of software that helps you search for suitable domains. It helps build a link profile with diversity and authority and keep track of the entire outreach process.

You enter your primary keyword, and the software shows you which authority sites you can target.


You can read my Link-Assistant review here. 

Broken Backlinks And Toxic Links

A Backlink Analysis can help you discover toxic backlinks

Another reason to use a link checker is to discover broken links pointing at your domain.


A link that ends on a 404 page does not bring any value to your website, so if you discover broken links, make sure to set up a 301 redirect and point the broken link to the right content or closes category.


You might find that your website suffers from a penalty because of toxic links (negative SEO) in rare cases.


If you face a link penalty, a strategy can be using a tool like LinkResearchTools to examine your link profile and identify any harmful links pointing to your domain.


Once those toxic backlinks are identified, you can notify Google by using their free disavow tool. 

What About Links From Social Media Sites?

Social media sites and profiles are often not indexed in Google, so just because a competitor has a social media site link doesn’t mean that it is indexed.


Most link checker tools cannot crawl links on social sites, so in any case, your primary focus should be on analyzing contextual links from authority sites and pages.


You should not completely ignore social sites- social networks can help drive a lot of traffic but from a backlink perspective.


You would often face that no matter how well you SEO optimize your content, it doesn’t show up in Google.

Typically it is because your competitor’s domain authority and link profile are stronger than yours.

In 2021 I think it is safe to conclude that using a backlink analysis tool is still mandatory if you want to improve your rankings results.

Backlink research should be a part of your SEO checker routines – at least monthly.

Of course, it doesn’t do any good to see a nice-looking linkgraph – the output is that you need to take action!.

The next step is to examine your competitor’s backlink profiles and do backlink analysis.

You can start by signing up for a
Free Trial Of SEMrush Here or a Free Trial Of SEO Powersuite Here.


Q: What is link analysis?
A: A link analysis is when you examine your competitor’s backlinks and compare them with your own link profile

Q: Why link analysis?
A: You would often experience that no matter how good your content is SEO optimized, your competitors beat you. Usually, it is because they have a stronger link profile than you.

Q: How does link analysis work?
A: You use a link analysis tool that can crawl the link profile of your competitors, so you can determine where they got their links from.

Q: What is a link diagram?
A: A link diagram is a diagram that shows you how your competitors use backlinks to point to different content on their website

Q: How do I find the internal links on my website?
A: Use a web crawler like Scrapebox, Screaming Frog or Sitebulb

Q: What is a backlink checker?
A: This is a service or software that can crawl the web and discover backlinks to your competitor or your own website.

Q: How do you measure backlinks?
A: You measure backlinks by the domain authority that provides the link: the higher the domain authority, the more positive your SEO impact. 

Q: How do you check if a backlink is indexed?
A: You make a site operator search in Google (site:domain.com/url). If the URL you search for shows up as number one on page one in Google, the link is indexed. 

All the best,


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