When starting a link building campaign (or continuing one), you want to be able to check your progress and see if you are indeed building any backlinks to your site. You want to be able to see if any of the links are “nofollow”, what anchor text is being used for the links, and what quality of site the links are on. Since I have gotten into link building, I have been steadily compiling a list of sites that allow you to check your backlinks. You may have heard of searching Google with “link: yourwebsite.com.” While this does work, it discourages many new (and even some experienced) webmasters because Google doesn’t include all of the links they have listed to your site. Sometimes, they don’t show any. Move beyond using this tool, and try out some of the websites below.

Not all of these sites are created equal, and I don’t think any of them can give you a definite 100% list of the amount of links that you have online pointing back to your site. That being said, some are definitely better than others. I am going to give you a summary of each one. Try them all out, and find out which ones work best for your needs, and for your specific sites.

WARNING: Do not use all of the sites listed. This will be a waste of your time that could be used for building links. Instead, find the few that work best for your site, and don’t compare the stats between the sites. Instead, start a spreadsheet and weekly check and log the amount of backlinks listed on each of the resources, and compare the number to the amount listed on the SAME resource a week ago. That will give you a much better idea of your progress.

SEO Pro’s Link CheckerMy Recommendation!
http://seopro.com.au/free-seo-tools/link-checker/
This is a very fantastic backlink checking service. Although it takes a little while (not too long) to populate the list of URL’s, this is one of the few tools in this whole list that actually shows the true pagerank of the pages your URL is on. It also tell you how many links are on that page, whether or not the link uses “nofollow”, the anchor text for the link. You also have the ability to check the number of backlinks for all of the pages on your site, or just the top domain. If you are going to just use one backlink checker, then use this one!

SubmitEdge’s PageRank Checker Tool + Alexa Tool + Link Checker Tool http://www.submitedge.com/pr.html
This tool will just give you stats, and that’s about it. No list of links, no link PR breakdown, nothing… just a few basic stats about your website. Great, for a nice quick check and then getting back to content creation or linkbuilding. It will list your PR, your Alexa ranking, whether or not you are listed in DMOZ, and how many backlinks you have listed on Google, Yahoo!, AltaVista and AllTheWeb. (The “backlinks from Google” used the “link: yourwebsite.com” method to search, therefore you’ll get the same wack results I mentioned in the first paragraph.)

RankAlert’s Backlink Watch Tool
http://rankalert.net/backlink-watch.php
This is a pretty nice tool if all you’re interested in is the number of backlinks, what page the links are on, and the pagerank for those pages. This tool will give you the results for the first 1000 links. It will tell you the number of total links (even if it’s above 1000) and it will show you the URL of the pages that the link is on, and the PageRank of that site.

iWebTool’s Backlink Checker
http://www.iwebtool.com/backlink_checker
This is a pretty basic tool. It just shows you the total number of links, the pages that the links are listed on, and PageRank (note, that the PageRank tool was showing up “zero” for every single page as of this writing. Hopefully they fix it in the future.) The benefit of this site is that it is fast loading. Other tools in this list take a while when they actually list the URLs your page is being linked from, but this is a very fast loading tool.

Smart PageRank’s BackLink PageRank Check
http://www.smartpagerank.com/pagerank-backlinks.php
This is a pretty good site, because it is fairly fast loading, even if you choose the options that they say will make it slower. This site will show you the URL, the PageRank (not, it shows “zero” for sites that have verified page rank), and it can show the anchor text and whether or not it’s a “nofollow” link. You can choose how many URLs are listed on each page, which is a feature I really like.

Backlink Watch’s Backlinks Checker Tool
http://www.backlinkwatch.com/index.php
This is a pretty good tool for checking every 2 months or so. They cache your results, and you’ll get the same results for about the next 2 months or so. I was stuck at “915” backlinks for one of my new niche sites for a long time, until I realized that they use a cached result. All of that aside, it’s a good tool for seeing all of your links, and some information about those links you’ve gotten while link building. The problem is that it is slow. If you have any amount about 200 or so, you will be waiting for a very long time to see all of the results. But, they do breakdown the anchor text of the link, the URL it is found at, and any “flagged” links such as those with “nofollow.”

Professional Link Building’s Free Website Valuation
http://www.professionallinkbuilding.com/websitevaluation.aspx

You need to sign up to their site for free to use this feature now….This is a very quick tool. It gives you your page rank, the number of backlinks you have, and your Alexa ranking. WARNING: The number of backlinks listed for your site from this tool will be way higher than all of your other tools. It is an inflated average of all of the links found in Google, Yahoo, MSN, Live, and others combined. I still use this tool to see how much I’ve grown by comparing it to this tool’s stats from each week, but comparing this number to all of the other tools will only make you feel better artificially. They also have a little “How much is my site worth?” type of algorithm at the end.

WARNING: Do not use this site’s “Free Link Building” on the left hand side of the bar. This will not get you quality links and make google find a lot of 404’s when crawling your site. It is not worth it.

I hope these tools helps you in all of your regular and one way link building campaigns. My welcome post for this blog spoke a lot about setting and reaching goals, and these tools will help you gauge whether or not you’ve met some goals with each link building campaign you embark on.