How to Monitor Your Backlinks: A Comprehensive Guide to Link Monitoring in 202313 min read

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How to Monitor Your Backlinks A Comprehensive Guide to Link Monitoring in 2023

If you’re an SEO manager in 2023, you’re probably aware that link building campaigns are a cornerstone of an effective SEO strategy.

But merely acquiring backlinks isn’t enough anymore. SEO leads also need to monitor the backlinks they’ve built, both to make certain that they stay up and to ensure that the links built remain relevant to their employers’ brands, products and services.

If you find yourself buried under the weight of managing your website’s backlinks, you’re not alone. The SEO world is rapidly evolving, and it’s not easy to stay abreast of all the developments without the right tools on your side.

In this concise, no-fluff guide, we’ll take you on a deep dive into the world of link monitoring. Whether you’re a seasoned SEO expert or just getting acquainted with the concept, we’ll give you detailed examples, actionable insights, and best practices. Let’s jump in!


  • Regularly checking your backlink profile alerts you to impactful changes to your site’s authority.
  • Lost links can drastically affect your ranking. Identifying them quickly allows for timely remedial actions.
  • Reclaiming a lost link might involve outreach or finding an alternative quality backlink.
  • Competitor backlink monitoring can uncover new opportunities and give insight into their strategies.
  • It’s essential to focus on the quality and relevance of backlinks over sheer numbers.
  • Best practices for monitoring include setting up regular check intervals and prioritizing high-value links.
  • Tools for backlink monitoring include BacklinkManager, Ahrefs, RankTracker, and SEMrush.
  • BacklinkManager stands out with its real-time notifications and comprehensive analysis.

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Why is Link Monitoring Important?

link monitoring

In the digital world, having a strong backlink profile is a crucial factor in determining your website’s search engine rankings. But a solid link building campaign is only half the battle. Monitoring these website backlinks is equally essential, as it helps preserve a beneficial backlink profile, verify link quality, and recognize lost or broken links that can impact your website’s SEO performance.

Here are 6 reasons why every business needs to monitor backlinks:

1. Ensuring Backlink Quality

Not all website backlinks are created equally. High-quality links from reputable sites can boost your keyword rankings, while spammy backlinks from low-quality sites can actually harm your SEO. Regularly monitoring your backlinks ensures you can take down any dubious links and thereby maintain a healthy link profile.

2. Detecting Lost or Broken Links

Backlinks can disappear for numerous reasons – a page might be deleted, a site could undergo restructuring, or perhaps an external site chose to remove your link. Monitoring helps detect these losses promptly, allowing you to react accordingly, whether by reaching out to the site or by seeking new link opportunities.

3. Mitigating Negative SEO Attacks

Sadly, negative SEO, where competitors or malicious entities build spammy or harmful backlinks to your site in an attempt to damage your rankings, is a reality. Through constant monitoring, you can detect these spammy links and take corrective action, for example by disavowing them in Google Webmaster Tools.

4. Monitoring Anchor Text Distribution

Over-optimized or repetitive anchor texts can be a red flag for search engines. By keeping an eye on the distribution of your anchor texts, you ensure they remain diverse and organic, reducing the risk of penalties.

5. Staying Ahead of Competitors

Monitoring doesn’t just apply to your backlinks; keeping an eye on competitors’ backlink strategies can offer insights into their tactics and reveal new linking opportunities for you.

6. Reacting to Algorithm Changes

Search engines constantly update their algorithms, which can impact the value and relevance of certain backlinks. Through diligent monitoring, you can adapt your strategy to these changes, ensuring your link profile remains optimized.

How to Monitor Your Backlinks Effectively

Effective link monitoring involves more than just tracking the backlinks pointing to your website. By staying on top of your backlink profile and making adjustments as needed, you can ensure your website maintains its authority and search engine rankings.

It’s essential to establish a routine when monitoring your backlinks. Regular monitoring ensures you don’t miss any important changes in your backlink profile while also preventing burnout and being overwhelmed by too much data. Although it’s tempting to become obsessive and check for backlink changes daily, it’s more realistic to conduct weekly or bi-weekly checks.

Setting up alerts can help you stay informed about changes to your backlink profile, allowing you to react quickly to new, lost, or broken links. By configuring the alert settings in your chosen backlinks monitoring tool, you can receive notifications when new backlinks are acquired, when existing backlinks are lost, or when potential issues with your backlinks arise.

Lost link notification

Not all backlinks are of equal value. Look beyond just the number of backlinks to the quality and relevance of those links. Monitor Domain Authority (DA), Domain Reputation (DR), Trust Flow, and Citation Flow to gauge the strength and credibility of the sites linking to you. And then again, just because a link is coming from a reputable website, it doesn’t necessarily mean that website is relevant to your particular business model.

Search engines value organic, varied anchor texts. If a significant number of your backlinks use the exact same anchor text, it may raise flags about unnatural linking patterns. By keeping an eye on this, you can work with your partners or even adjust your own internal linking strategy to ensure a more diverse, natural-looking anchor text spread.

Lost or broken backlinks should always be on your radar. Websites evolve, pages get deleted, and content strategies change. As a result, you might lose some of your backlinks over time. By noticing these changes early on, you can either reach out to the respective webmasters or seek out new, equivalent, or even better linking opportunities.

Handling Lost or Broken Links

Discovering that a valuable backlink has gone missing or become broken can be disheartening. However, in the realm of SEO, such scenarios are inevitable. Rather than wasting time mourning the lost link, it’s better to take proactive measures to remedy the situation.

Here are some concrete strategies that every SEO manager should employ when faced with lost or broken links.

Link Reclamation

Link reclamation begins with understanding the root cause. Sometimes, a link may break due to a website redesign or a URL change. In such cases, you can utilize SEO tools like Google Search Console to identify the origin of the broken link. Once you’ve tracked down the source, it might be as simple as redirecting the old URL to the new one or updating your site structure. If it’s a matter of a third-party site removing your link, then you’re stepping into the realm of outreach.


Link building outreach example

When a valuable backlink goes missing, you can reach out to the relevant website owner or webmaster. Always approach with a polite and understanding tone, as it’s possible they weren’t even aware of the broken or missing link. Offer them a solution: if the link was removed unintentionally, provide them with the most up-to-date URL or suggest an alternate piece of content that might be relevant. If they chose to remove the link for a specific reason, take this as feedback and see if there’s a way to make your content more link-worthy or relevant for their audience.

New content

In some scenarios, it may turn out that reclaiming a lost link isn’t feasible, or the website in question is no longer relevant. In such instances, rather than dwelling on the lost link, divert your energy towards acquiring new, high-quality backlinks. Focus on creating stellar content, collaborating with influencers, or tapping into new audiences. The digital landscape is vast, and you don’t need to lose sleep over just one link.

Monitoring Competitor Backlinks

Understanding where your competitors are getting their backlinks can provide valuable insights and help shape your own link-building strategy. By monitoring your competition’s links, you can identify potential opportunities for your own site and better understand the competitive landscape. Here’s a detailed, step-by-step breakdown of how SEO leads can monitor their competitor’s links:

Step 1: Identify Your Main Competitors

Before diving into backlink analysis, list out your primary competitors. These are the websites or businesses that target a similar audience or offer similar products/services. If you’re unsure who your main competitors are, you can use tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Ubersuggest, which provide competitor data based on shared keywords.

Step 2: Choose a Backlink Analysis Tool

There are several backlink monitoring tools on the market. Popular options include BacklinkManager, Ahrefs and SEMrush (more on this later!). Each tool has its unique features and database, but they all provide insights into where your competitors are getting their links.

Step 3: Input Competitor’s URL

Once you’ve selected a tool, input the competitor’s URL into the search bar. Ensure you’re searching for the entire domain to get a comprehensive overview of their backlink profile.

Step 4: Analyze the Backlink Profile

The tool will generate a report detailing various aspects of the competitor’s backlink profile. Key metrics to focus on include:

  • Total number of backlinks: This gives you an idea of the volume of links your competitor has.
  • Referring domains: This indicates how many unique domains are linking to your competitor. Remember, links from diverse domains often hold more value than multiple links from a single domain.
  • Domain Authority (DA) or Domain Rating (DR): This metric provides an estimate of the quality and authority of the linking domain. Higher DA or DR typically means a more valuable link.

Step 5: Review Anchor Text Distribution

Look at the anchor texts used for the backlinks. This can give you insights into the keywords your competitors are targeting. However, be wary of overly optimized anchor text distributions, as they can signal manipulative link-building practices.

Step 6: Identify High-Quality Linking Domains

From the list of referring domains, identify high-authority or industry-relevant websites linking to your competitors. These are potential targets for your own outreach and link-building efforts.

Step 7: Spot Link Patterns and Opportunities

Look for patterns in your competitor’s backlinks. Are they guest posting on certain blogs? Are they getting featured in industry round-ups or directories? Such patterns can help identify link-building strategies your competitors are using, which you might replicate or adapt for your own site.

Step 8: Monitor Regularly

Competitor link monitoring isn’t a one-time task. Set aside time, either monthly or quarterly, to re-evaluate competitor backlinks. This helps you stay updated with any new strategies they might be employing and allows you to adapt your own tactics accordingly.

Top Link Monitoring Tools

With a myriad of link monitoring tools available, it can be overwhelming to decide which one best suits your needs. In this section, we’ll introduce you to some of the top link monitoring tools on the market.


BacklinkManager dashboard

BacklinkManager allows users to constantly monitor the status of their links, whether they are do-follow, no-follow, or if the server isn’t responding. This real-time monitoring means no surprises and the ability to promptly rectify mislabeled links with vendors.

Gone are the days of relying on slow-loading Google Sheets or intricate Airtables. BacklinkManager employs a robust crawler that offers a two-pronged approach to verify link accuracy. Initially, it assesses the HTML of the targeted page, correlating links within its system. If a link eludes this primary check due to reasons like JavaScript content or HTML-fetch restrictions, the tool mimics a user connection by launching a cloud-based browser. It then renders the website and re-checks for the link’s presence. This meticulous process guarantees that every link you’ve incorporated is crawled with unparalleled precision.

The tool will send you instant in-app or email notifications the moment there’s a change in link status, whether it’s an unexpected removal or a 404 error. Such alerts empower users to hold vendors accountable, ensuring that you get the value you’ve invested in.

As for the investment, BacklinkManager is fairly affordable. With just $49 a month (billed annually), users can manage up to 2,500 backlinks. Plus, if you’re on the fence, there’s an enticing free trial to get you started.


Ahrefs dashboard

Ahrefs is a leading SEO tool, offering unparalleled capabilities in backlink analysis and monitoring. With its robust Site Explorer, users can deep dive into their backlink profile and that of competitors, identifying where high-quality links are being earned.

The Broken Link Checker is invaluable, quickly spotting broken links, giving users the chance to swiftly rectify and maintain site integrity. Real-time link tracking is made effortless with Ahrefs Alerts, sending instant notifications for every new backlink acquired, ensuring users are always in the loop. Moreover, for those keen on proactive link-building, Ahrefs uncovers potential link opportunities with tools like Content Explorer and Link Intersect.

Catering to various budgets, Ahrefs’ plans start at $99/month, making consistent link monitoring accessible for businesses of all sizes.


SEMrush dashboard

SEMrush has an array of link monitoring capabilities designed for precision and insight. The platform’s Backlink Analytics offers a detailed glimpse into a site’s backlink health, reflecting trends and possible profile concerns. Users can proactively detect changes using the “New and Lost Backlinks” feature, ensuring they can capitalize on opportunities or address unexpected link losses.

One notable advantage is the Backlink Gap tool. It pits your profile against competitors’, highlighting sites that might be keen on linking to you. Regular Backlink Audits are essential too, helping you to track keyword rankings and disavow any potentially harmful links.

For those wanting to maintain a continuous pulse on their link health, SEMrush’s alerts are indispensable, promptly notifying of any link gains or losses. Budget-wise, SEMrush offers versatility. Starting at $119.95/month, it ensures that businesses can benefit from its comprehensive link monitoring suite, regardless of their size.


RankTracker dashboard

RankTracker provides a suite of tools specifically tailored for meticulous link monitoring, ensuring users remain informed and responsive to their backlink health. Central to this is the Backlink Checker, offering insights into the quantity, type, and quality of links pointing to your site. Beyond just numbers, the Backlink Monitor gives real-time updates on the status of these links, even diving into details like domain ratings and anchor texts.

RankTracker’s Competitor Analysis tool lets you do precisely that, unveiling the link strategies of rivals and spotlighting untapped link-building avenues. Additionally, the Link Quality Assessment tool evaluates the credibility of your backlinks based on numerous metrics, flagging any potentially detrimental ones. RankTracker’s Historical Data feature captures the evolution of your backlink profile, while Email Alerts ensure immediate awareness of any critical changes, maintaining a vigilant watch over your link landscape.

On the pricing front, RankTracker offers various plans, starting from $29 per month for the Basic package, going up to the comprehensive Professional plan at $149 per month, with an Enterprise option available upon request.


Backlink monitoring is paramount in the digital realm. Not only does it help maintain your website’s authority, but it can also reveal the tactics competitors employ. When you detect a lost backlink, it’s essential to assess the cause—be it a web page removal or a link placement change. Respond proactively: reach out to the webmaster or scout for new link-building opportunities.

Two best practices stand out for link monitoring. Firstly, establish a routine, checking links at consistent intervals to spot trends and anomalies. Secondly, always focus on quality over quantity; a few high-authority backlinks often outweigh numerous low-quality ones.

While numerous tools offer link monitoring, BacklinkManager stands out with its in-depth analysis and actionable insights. Don’t let your backlink profile stagnate. Start your optimizing journey with a free trial of BacklinkManager today!