Backlinks are the ranking system of the internet.
A strong backlink profile means strong online authority, and gets you Google’s seal of approval.
If you’re not actively building backlinks to your website—and keeping track of your efforts—you’ll find it very difficult to rank well on SERPs.
Monitor Backlinks has set out to make this easy.
This comprehensive backlink monitoring tool gives you everything you need to monitor your link profile (as well as your competitors’ link profiles) and launch backlink campaigns that’ll lead your website to the top.
And as it turns out, Monitor Backlinks makes understanding how your backlinks work not only possible, but actually pretty easy.
The rest of this review will go into detail about the features and tools that you get with Monitor Backlinks, and show you how you can use the platform to better understand your backlinks and inform successful link building strategies.
What Is Monitor Backlinks?
Monitor Backlinks was developed and founded in 2011. The objective was to make link tracking as simple as possible, with tools that aren’t just easy to use, but also easy to understand.
And they succeeded.
There are many reasons why Monitor Backlinks is a great tool to help you understand and remedy your backlink problems, but these are my three favorite things about it:
The dashboard and user interface are well organized and easy to use.
This is the very first thing that all users will notice, and the first thing that’s going to affect your ability to benefit from using this tool. Therefore, it’s helpful and efficient that Monitor Backlinks has prioritized their user interface to maximize usability and ensure user success.
One of the biggest selling points of Monitor Backlinks is their automation of the entire service.
Once you set up your account and add your domains, you never have to manually track backlinks again.
The tool constantly keeps tabs on your website and your competitors’ websites, and sends you email notifications whenever anything changes in your backlink profiles, like if you were to gain a new link, or lose one.
That means that nothing is going to escape your notice, even if you’re not regularly checking your dashboard for updates.
Google Analytics Integration
Another very important and helpful aspect of Monitor Backlinks is their integration with the already powerful tools of Google Analytics.
This puts all your data in one place, essentially becoming a one-stop shop for all your website managing needs.
Monitor Backlinks Review: Track, Analyze and Automate with the Tool That Does It All
The overview screen of the Monitor Backlinks interface is essentially the dashboard, or control center.
It gives you a real-time snapshot of how your website is doing, showing you important data like your average keyword position, your new backlinks, total number of backlinks, website speed and how many unique domains link to your site, among other things.
While the overview page is very well organized, I would’ve personally loved to have seen a bit more information on this screen itself, which I feel would help website owners be able to diagnose more at a glance. It’s not that the information isn’t there, it just takes some clicking to find it.
The three main components of the overview screen are the average keyword position, the new backlinks and the organic traffic from search engines tabs (seen in orange, purple and blue in the screenshot above and below). You can click on any of these data points to access graphs that show your progress.
Average Keyword Position
Average keyword position shows you exactly where you stand on Google, and how the new backlinks that you add over time affect that ranking. This is one of the most important data points that you can look at because it shows you how likely people are to find your website when they’re searching.
If you scroll down past the graph, you can see a snapshot of the actual keywords that are rising or falling in the rankings.
The new backlinks tab shows you how many new backlinks have been added over the last month by default. It also shows you how many backlinks come from websites that Google doesn’t count in their ranking system, but that might still help increase traffic if people are visiting those other websites.
Scrolling down past the graph again, you can see a list of the actual backlinks you’ve recently acquired, as well as your competitors’ most recent links.
Organic Traffic from Search Engines
The organic traffic from search engines tab simply shows you how your traffic directly from search engines is increasing or decreasing depending on the number of links that you’re adding.
This allows you to gauge your process, which helps you understand what you’re doing right and that which you might want to change.
II. Monitor Your Website’s Backlinks
Given the name “Monitor Backlinks,” it makes sense that monitoring website backlinks is going to be one of the main and most important tools offered on the site.
There are, however, several different aspects to the backlink monitoring that make it more dynamic than simply telling you how many backlinks you have at any given time.
Monitor Backlinks scours the internet for new backlinks to your website in real time every single day, puts that in a report and sends it to you. That new information is immediately available from the Backlinks tab, which shows you your complete, current backlink profile, ordered by most recently acquired.
For each backlink, you’re given key information and metrics including:
- The URL, so you can go check out the link for yourself
- Follow or no-follow status
- Whether it’s been indexed by Google
- Moz Rank
- Domain Authority
- Page Authority
- Spam Score
- Trust Flow
- Citation Flow
- Topical Trust Flow
- How many external links are on the site
That’s a lot of information, especially if you’re new to link building and SEO. But Monitor Backlinks makes it easy to learn about all these different features and data points—if you hover your mouse over anything you don’t understand, you’ll see a helpful explanation about what it means.
That means you can always make informed decisions with the data they give you, and you’ll always be in control of your backlinks rather than left wondering if you have good backlinks or bad ones.
All things considered, the ability to monitor backlinks is invaluable, but Monitor Backlinks takes that ability about 10 steps forward. They provide you with all the metrics that you could ever need, but they don’t leave you behind, making sure that you can always use the information they provide to further your business.
III. Create Custom Reports
Creating custom reports is another fantastic feature of Monitor Backlinks because it allows you to look quickly and easily at the information that’s important to you.
There are tons of different areas that you can generate your custom reports on, which makes this an extremely comprehensive method of taking a snapshot of your website’s backlinks.
The TLD distribution report gives you data on what type of domain each of your backlinks come from. That just means that you’ll be able to see if your backlinks come from a web address with .com, .org, .io, etc.
In addition to telling you what type of domain the links come from, Monitor Backlinks also tells you how many of each are followed by Google, not followed, and how many are disavowed (we’ll talk about that later).
This gives you one additional way to break down your success. For example, if you’re targeting universities, you’ll probably hope to see your .edu stats rise over time.
IP Location Distribution
IP location distribution is a tech way of saying what country the websites are based in. So with this metric, you’re looking at where in the world your website is receiving most of its links from. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to expand your influence into other countries.
If, for example, you were launching a new product in Latin America, you’d hope to see a rise in your links from those countries.
Just as with the other metrics provided in the custom reports, you can see how many of those links are followed, not followed, and how many are disavowed. By hovering over the graph, you can see even more detailed information to help you track your progress over time and with your backlink efforts.
Top Anchor Text
The top anchor text report tells you exactly what people are setting as their anchor text when they link over to your website. This can be important to understand why exactly people are linking to your site.
Essentially, the anchor text affects your SEO rating. So the more people who use high-value keywords in their anchor text, the higher your website’s SEO rating will go, and the more competitive you’ll be in your field.
The top anchor text report allows you to know where you can focus your efforts on getting new anchor tags with higher value keywords.
Followed vs Not-Followed
The followed vs not-followed report is not quite as simple as showing you which of your backlinks are followed and which aren’t. This graph is broken down into many different categories of followed and not-followed links that all give you different information about how valuable each link is for your SEO value.
Each section of the graph shows you information for a slightly different type of followed or not-followed link. This includes information about the current status of the website, how many you have disavowed, and how many links are currently unavailable due to website movement.
This information is extremely valuable for helping you understand exactly where your links are coming from. If 80% of your graph, for example, is gray—meaning your links come from not-followed websites—you’d need to focus on getting more followed websites to link to you so your SEO score would be positively affected by those backlinks.
Top Linked Pages
The top linked pages report breaks down your backlinks by which page on your website they link to.
This is valuable information for anyone who’s wanting to know more about which pages are being shared and talked about, and what type of content is the most valuable for their customers.
In addition to knowing what type of content to continue producing, you can also know how to better balance your backlink campaigns by understanding which pages are the most valuable to which customers. This information can help you tailor your website experience for users, while also understanding the same information about your competitors.
Majestic is the world’s largest database of link index information and is another method of analysis that allows you to categorize your backlinks by very specific criteria that give you a more comprehensive view of their origins and their value.
It breaks the links down into categories of followed, not-followed and disavowed, and further breaks these categories down into Citation Flow (CF) score and Trust Flow (TF) score. With all of these categories, you can get important details at a glance.
You can also customize the graph to not include certain categories to allow you to focus on the categories that are more important to you.
This is, admittedly, very similar to the followed vs. not-followed graph, but it does provide slightly different information about the breakdown of the sites and what categories they fall into. While experienced website owners may be able to utilize this graph, I think it’s lacking explanation on the site and would’ve loved to see more instructions about how to really benefit from this report.
Moz is another incredibly invaluable scoring system that makes sure that you can understand each of your links and optimize your search engine performance with their data.
On your Reports dashboard, you can access the Moz graph, which breaks down your backlinks into their followed, not-followed, and disavowed statuses while also providing you with data about rank.
This, again, is very similar to the Majestic and follow vs. not followed graphs, but does provide a useful slant on the information as far as how many of your backlinks fall into each category.
Using all of three of these similar reports in conjunction with one another—or individually as you see fit—is a comprehensive and invaluable tool for improving your own SEO and beating your competitors. As mentioned previously, however, there’s overlap in some of these reports and a lack of explanation could render less experienced website owners a little confused.
IV. Spy on Your Competitors
There’s one aspect of SEO that’s just as important as knowing your own business, and that’s knowing your competitors just as well.
If you don’t understand and follow every move that your competitors make, it’s simply so easy to fall behind.
With Monitor Backlinks, it’s easier to understand your competitors and beat them by out-smarting and out-planning them.
View Your Competitors’ Metrics
It’s no coincidence that your competitor’s backlinks page looks almost identical to your own backlinks page—it’s actually much of the same information and metrics, but for your competitor.
That means that whatever you know about your own business, you’ll also know about your competitors.
You’re shown individual metrics about each of your competitor’s links, including:
- Trust Flow
- Citation Flow
- Anchor text
- Number of external links
- Follow status
If a backlink is highlighted in green (you can see some in the screenshot above), then that website links to you as well as to your competitor.
Keep Up with Their New Backlinks
Just like with your own website, Monitor Backlinks is constantly monitoring your competitors’ link profile and sending you data on how they’re doing.
If one of your competitors gets a new backlink or loses one, you’ll get an email with that information.
By staying completely up-to-date with Monitor Backlinks and their automated system, you’ll be able to understand where your competitors are getting their backlinks from, while staying one step ahead and even outperforming their backlink efforts.
V. Track Your Rankings in Google
Raising your ranking in Google is the ultimate goal of building backlinks and doing SEO, because a higher ranking means higher traffic.
For each of the keywords you’ve optimized your website for, you can use Monitor Backlinks to track how it’s ranking in Google SERPs and consequently how much traffic it helps bring to your website. You can also see how many of your keywords are helping you get to the first page on Google.
Additionally, you can easily compare this information with your competitors and see how your keywords stack up against theirs.
By using this information to keep up with your competitors and track the progress of your own keywords, you can help your SEO ranking by focusing your efforts on high-value keywords that’ll boost your ranking ahead of your competitors.
You can also track specific keywords and see its current ranking position, the best ranking position its had, search volume, competition and more.
Knowing which keywords are bringing more traffic to your page will be the key to knowing how to beat your competitors in SEO ranking.
VI. Disavow Bad Backlinks
To help website owners combat spammy and low-quality links in their backlink profile, you have the option to disavow links, which essentially tells Google not to take them into account when ranking your website. This gives you power over which links affect your ranking.
To do this, you need to upload a disavow file to Google (which is basically just a list of the backlinks you want to disavow, set up in a certain format) so that they won’t negatively affect your SEO rating and you can keep your website traffic up.
Monitor Backlinks makes this easy, and you can do it all from within the tool.
From the Backlinks tab, you can select the individual backlinks that you want to disavow as you find them in your reports. This makes disavowing links so much easier than scouring all your links trying to find the bad ones, and then manually entering the disavow rules.
All you have to do is choose the bad backlinks you want to get rid of, and select Disavow. This will automatically add all the bad backlinks to a disavow file, which you can later export from the Disavow tab.
Disavowed links will show up as red in your backlink profile.
If you make a mistake, you can remove the disavow rule by selecting the backlink again, clicking on the gear icon and choosing Remove Disavow.
All these features make it really easy to add new disavow rules and keep your web traffic up, without having to juggle a bunch of different tools.
When your disavow file is ready, just export it from the Disavow tab. Then all you have to do is upload it to Google Webmaster Tools—the disavow file comes pre-formatted to match the required upload format—and you’re done!
Extra SEO Tools
Monitor Backlinks also offers other valuable SEO tools to supplement your use of their service.
First, there’s the Free Backlink Checker.
This tool allows you to type in any domain and check the backlinks pointing to that domain. It’ll show you the top 300 backlinks plus a range of important metrics including the domain’s total number of backlinks, Citation Flow and Trust Flow, as well as individual backlink metrics such as ACRank, follow status and anchor text.
The HTTP Header Status Checker allows you to check the status of all the links on a page.
This is valuable because it makes sure all the links are properly redirecting, and that you’re not getting any 404 error messages.
Finally, the Unique Domains CSV Extractor gives you a list of the unique domains in your backlinks list.
This is particularly useful when you’re doing backlink audits and have a lot of links to analyze. You simply upload a .csv file of your backlinks and this tool will return a list of the unique domains that are linking to your page, so you don’t have to spend time going through duplicates.
Monitor Backlinks is very reasonably priced, and there are multiple pricing options depending on how many websites you need to track.
The Startup plan is $21 per month and lets you monitor one domain and two competitor domains.
The next plan up, Freelancer, is $40 per month, and with it you can monitor two domains and four competitor domains.
The Small Business plan comes in at $75 per month for monitoring four domains and four competitor domains.
And then there’s the Agency plan at $120 per month, which lets you monitor seven domains and four competitor domains.
Monitor Backlinks is a pretty incredible tool, but there are a few alternatives that many people opt to use for their backlink monitoring and SEO.
Majestic, for example, has a more comprehensive backlink index and more unique data points, which is helpful if you like to use raw data.
Both these tools, however, have a much higher price point than Monitor Backlinks. Moz starts at $99 per month and Majestic starts at $49.99 per month, which may be out of reach for many freelancers and startups.
At the end of the day, I simply recommend that you look at all the tools available and take the free trials for a spin to see which fits your personal preferences better.
An Affordable, All-around Solution
Monitor Backlinks is the perfect middle ground, giving you the ability to manage your backlinks and increase your SEO rating at a very affordable price.
It’s worth your time to head over there and give it a try—you can sign up for a 30-day free trial of the tool, no credit card required.