Which Is The Best Backlink Checker? – The Million Domain Case Study

CRITICAL UPDATE: This case study was originally published on September 10th 2019 but there was an conflict with how SEMRush choose to count IP data which led to them being falsely declared the winner. SEMRush have provided an updated dataset & I’ve updated the case study as of the 23rd September 2019.

best backlink checkerTo find out which is the best backlink checker, I devised a real test.

I decided to:

  • Take the 4x top backlink checkers on the market
  • Use them to collect data for the same 1x million links

To see who really is the best quality backlink checker once and for all.

Because I’m sure you’ve seen all the other studies that use either 4 domains, 100 domains or 1,000 domains to compare database sizes.

So I decided to cut to the chase with a sample size of 1 million domains.

And the results are in…

Introducing You To The Competitors

Competitor 1 – Ahrefs

Ahrefs has spent years as the KING of backlink checkers. They’ve won all of my testing historically.

ahrefs homepage

But this time round they were up against some fierce competition especially after SEMRush raised $40 million to expand last year.

Competitor 2 – SEMRush

SEMRush has always played second fiddle to Ahrefs.

Because they’ve always aimed to be a complete SEO digital marketing tool, some of their specific SEO tools – like their backlink checker – have just never been as good.

SEMrush homepage

They invested a lot of resources and added some exceptional new features.

Plus… they’ve really being bragging about their upgraded backlink database recently.

Competitor 3 – Majestic

Majestic is a seasoned veteran that makes some big claims about the size of their link database (even though we have proven it not to be true time and time again).

majestic homepage

Can their backlink tool match their sales pitch this time?

History says no.

Competitor 4 – SEO Spyglass

SEO Spyglass started life as an ultra-slow desktop SEO Tool. Never much of contender.

seo spyglass

But now they are back with a RAPID upgrade and new database. Is it enough?

Let’s take a look…

4x Million Data Points: How The Backlink Checkers Were Tested

Before I reveal the winner I want to talk you through this test’s methodology.

The domains for this test were pulled from the Majestic Million as I’ve always done.

majestic million screenshot

These are the top 1x million domains based on their number of referring IPs and Subnets according to Majestic.

As such:

  1. Each of these domains should have a TON of data
  2. Each of these domains should have consistent numbers across all 4x tools

The 1x million domains were run through each the 4x tools. I then looked at which tool showed:

  • The most referring IPs
  • The most referring Subnets

These are more reliable than counting a vague “link”. (More on that here.)

That gave me  4x million rows of backlink data Yay! – to work with.

You can download all of that data right here.

Here Is How I Collected This Data

I got in touch with a number of backlink checker tools and asked if they wanted to take part in the testing.

I had a phone call with each tool to discuss the test and each tool supplied their own data set to be used in the comparison.

The IP & subnet numbers provided were then manually verified against their user interfaces and then sent to an independent 3rd party to create this analysis.

Which Is The Best Backlink Checker On The Market?

So after crunching all of the information from each SEO backlink tool…

…a clear winner emerged-

Results – Total Wins By IP – Ahrefs

backlink checker wins by IP address

Results – Total Wins By Subnet – Ahrefs

backlink checker wins by subnet

And The Best Backlink Checker Award Goes To…

The greatest SEO backlink checker that money can buy right now is Ahrefs.

ahrefs is the best backlink checker

They have-

  • The biggest backlink database
  • The most usable data (more on that below)

And not to mention it’s the tool I use every single day to complete a range of SEO tasks and analysis.

Ahrefs have rightly earned their place as the greatest backlink checker on the market right now (and best overall SEO tool in my opinion).

But:

It’s important you keep on reading because there are some flaws and other things to consider when looking at backlink checkers.

There Were A Few Potential Flaws With This Experiment

I’ll be the first to admit…

My methodology for this backlink test and analysis is far from perfect. So I wanted to highlight some of the potential flaws.

Flaw #1: Wins vs Absolute Numbers

It’s important to note that the graphs show the number of “wins” and not absolute numbers. Let me explain…

Let’s say all 5x backlink tools look at the same site. They each report:

  • Ahrefs: 100 referring IPs
  • SEMrush: 101 referring IPs
  • Majestic: 99 referring IPs
  • SEO Spyglass: 100 referring IPs

SEMRush would receive the “point” for their “win”. That is added to their tally. Wash, rinse and repeat for each of the tests.

So the test only represents the number of times each backlink tool beat its opponents.

And the results are showing us that it is unlikely for other backlink checker tools to have more data than the Ahrefs tool does.

Flaw #2 – Each Tool Picks Up Different Links

Each tool has its own index. That’s 4x unique databases.

Not all databases share the same links. What appears in Ahrefs may not in SEMRush.

Let me offer an example.

If Ahrefs and Majestic are comparing the same domain they may find the same number of links. But these links may not be from the same sources:

inconsistent links

See what I mean?

If you wanted a full picture you would need to buy all 4x backlink tools and cross-reference.

(I don’t recommend you do this. Keep it simple.)

Flaw #3 – Not All Backlink Databases Are Equal

Every tool takes a different approach to how they find, store and count data which means you are not always making an apples to apples comparison.

For example Ahrefs has 3 different databases, Majestic have 2 and SEMRush has 1 which are all defined differently-

  • Ahrefs
    • Live – All links that are currently live
    • Recent – All links in the live index PLUS all lost links in the past 3 months
    • Historical – All links ever seen in history
  • Majestic
    • Fresh = All links that were seen as live during the past 3 months
    • Historic = All links ever seen in history
  • SEMRush
    • Fresh = All links crawled & live in the last 6 months

As you can see there are huge differences in how those datasets are defined.

Ahrefs and Majestic both offer a 3-month database which makes comparison easy, but SEMRush only offers a single database of 6 months.

And because SEMRush do not offer a historic database, the closest to a “fair” test we could get was to compare-

  • Ahrefs Recent (3 months)
  • Majestic Fresh (3 months)
  • SEMRush Fresh (6 months)

Which still isn’t really fair!

On top of that problem is the fact that tools count data differently.

You see most backlink checkers only count the most recent IP they found for a domain meaning that 1 domain = 1 IP.

But SEMRush records every IP they have found for a domain in the last 6 months which can mean that 1 domain = 30 IP’s.

That is because they count the data differently than any other backlink checker.

And because we didn’t collect referring domain information we didn’t see that either because the IP & Subnet information SEMRush provided did check out 100%!

But the way they count all IP’s found for a domain in the last 6 months, led to inflated IP and Subnet counts. That was corrected with an updated dataset from SEMRush on September 19th 2019 to allows us to make a fair comparison.

But When It Comes To Backlink Checkers Size Isn’t Everything!

The “size of the database” has been the defining point of “top backlink checkers” for years and its a claim that is widely used across the marketing material of many tools.

People always think that bigger is better, but as the old saying goes:

It’s not how big it is, it’s how you use it.

wink

The point of buying any SEO tool is to increase your search traffic right?

So it really doesn’t matter how the big the database is if the presentation of that data does not connect to the goal of increasing your search traffic.

And depending what questions you’re asking, might mean what is the right backlink checker for me – isn’t the right backlink checker for you and won’t be as helpful with your traffic.

Why Ahrefs Is Great And My Recommended Tool

Ahrefs is my go to tool and has my favourite interface, for example.

ahrefs interface

It’s pretty intuitive and doesn’t take a lot of time to get used to. You can run searches and retrieve old data. It’s all there in the dashboard waiting for you and it’s rapid fast!

They provide you with a lot of 1x click filters to help you find the information or report you need quickly. Whether that’s anchor text or the best backlinks.

For example, you can filter by link type…

Or by platform:

links by platform

They also generate lots of handy reports, like their best by links report:

incoming links report

Or their best by links’ growth one:

links by growth

Which you just can’t complete in any other tool, no matter how big their database is.

But you can’t import links from other tools into Ahrefs which doesn’t make it the right backlink checker if you’re facing a manual link penalty.

Why SEMRush Is Great

SEMRush has an easy to understand dashboard as well-

semrush dashboard

But it also has fewer filters and the ones they do have are not always useful for analysis.

See for yourself:

semrush filters

 Thankfully you can get around this by using my FREE intelligent Google sheets

But:

If you want a budget friendly tool with highly customizable reporting, you might want to check out SEO Spyglass.

Why SEO Spyglass Is Great

And if you haven’t checked it out for a while I suggest you do because they had a huge update recently which totally transformed the user-friendliness-

seo spyglass

A lot of people like the overhauled version because it is-

  • Super customisable
  • Rapid fast

No other tool can compare with it’s customization & advanced reporting features.

You can also import backlink data from third-party tools like Google Search Console, Ahrefs and SEMRush to get complete coverage of your link profile.

And those are both things that you can’t do that in any other tool!

So take some time to play around to find which is the correct backlink checker for you.

Because it really depends on what questions you are asking of the data.

But for me personally:

Ahrefs has the biggest database and THEY KNOW how to use it!

The Cost of Ownership For These Backlink Checker Tools

You also need to pay close attention to the overall cost of ownership of each tool because this can get really expensive quickly if you are not actively using them-

SEO Spyglass is a $124.75 one time fee for the first year. Then it’s only $4.17/month after that.

The cost of ownership couldn’t be any further apart and that might be a defining point of deciding which is the best backlink checker for you.

Because after 12 months of owning Ahrefs, it would have cost you nearly $1,200 versus a cost of $124.75 to own SEO Spyglass.

After 3 years that is the difference between $3,600 and $224.83 so don’t overlook the cost of ownership when deciding which is the right backlink checker for you.

Wrapping It Up

The results of the 1x million domain backlink checker test are in:

The best backlink checker infographic

No other test has used a dataset this large to compare backlink checkers ever!

But after reviewing the results report and spending time using each of the tools, I can say with absolute confidence that-

Which Is The Best Backlink Checker?

If we had to crown one winner, the top backlink checker on the market right now is Ahrefs. Based on my testing Ahrefs have the biggest database of links and the most usable, quality data! But they are also the most expensive tool which might not make them the best backlink tool for you.

Thanks to all of the backlink checking competitors that took part in the test!

I look forward to doing a complete analysis of these tools again in the future, but for now – the links have spoken.

Which is the backlink checker for you? Let me know in the comments…

Further Reading On Backlink Checkers

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I check backlinks to my site?

You can easily check backlinks to your site by using a tool like Ahrefs. To do this just:

  1. Log in, create an account or sign up to their trial
  2. Enter the URL of the page you want to check
  3. Click ‘Backlinks’ on the left hand side menu
  4. Review the backlinks and export the data if required
What is a backlink checker?

A backlink checker is a tool which uncovers and tracks any backlinks that are pointing to a given URL. They can be extremely useful when you want to steal and replicate your competitors best links.

How do I find my competitors backlinks?

I find competitor backlinks by using the backlink checker tool Ahrefs. Just enter in your competitors URL and click ‘Backlinks’. Then you can see a list of every website that is linking to that URL.

How do you check for bad backlinks?

A natural looking link profile with a range of backlinks is important to get your website ranked highly. This also means identifying and removing (where possible) any bad backlinks. Use a tool like Ahrefs to do this.

98 Responses

  1. webrootcomsafeonline
    11.15.2019

    Nice post from you. I just bookmarked your blog after reading this post.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 16th, 2019 at 3:22 am

      Thanks for the bookmark

  2. techpprinter
    11.8.2019

    Sharing this. I was finding backlinks to help my website for a long time.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 8th, 2019 at 11:11 pm

      Thanks for the share :)

  3. shivam
    11.7.2019

    I always looked for a way to allow guest post on my blogs so I find your list very helpful..thank you

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 8th, 2019 at 11:11 pm

      No problem Shivam

  4. Nowdigitaleasy
    11.7.2019

    Thanks for sharing the innovative blog.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 8th, 2019 at 11:05 pm

      No problem at all – happy to help :)

  5. Petter Williams
    11.7.2019

    Hey, your blog is a very informative, really amazing post,

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 8th, 2019 at 11:08 pm

      Thanks Petter – hope it helps you make a more informed decision on which backlink tool is right for you.

  6. George
    11.1.2019

    Ahrefs no doubt works, but I have to give my vote to SemRush. Been using it for 3 years, and hasn’t let me down once.

    I appreciate the list though, good article Matthew.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 3rd, 2019 at 1:56 am

      You should try out the Ahrefs trial and compare the two.

  7. Duo Diyet
    10.31.2019

    Great list, thank.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 3rd, 2019 at 2:00 am

      No problem hope you have figured out the right quality tool for your backlink analysis!

  8. Đạt Tín
    10.29.2019

    Ahrefs is a great tool for backlink testing I’ve used and am very satisfied.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 29th, 2019 at 2:57 am

      Glad to hear it

    • Sonali Mittal
      October 31st, 2019 at 6:50 am

      Agree

  9. Hansika Motwani
    10.23.2019

    nice posting

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 24th, 2019 at 4:20 am

      Hope this report was useful Hansika. Ahrefs is my go-to quality tool for many marketing and traffic generation strategies and they have come out on top this time too. Where backlinks are concerned, you can’t beat em.

  10. umzug transport basel
    10.22.2019

    It’s a really helpful blog. Thank you so much for sharing this blog.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 25th, 2019 at 11:42 pm

      Glad I could be helpful.

  11. Sarah Jessica
    10.20.2019

    Very Informative!! I would love to have updates from your blog. Thank you

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 22nd, 2019 at 7:39 am

      Just subscribe to my blog and you’ll get all my new content sent to your email inbox. Including any articles regarding backlinks, marketing, traffic generation and SEO complete with links back to my domain.

  12. /seo/tools/best-backlink-checker/
    10.18.2019

    It’s not my first time to pay a visit this website, i am visiting this website dailly
    and take good facts from here every day.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 18th, 2019 at 10:51 pm

      Glad to hear it, hope you found this report to be of top quality and don’t hesitate to visit my domain time and time again :)

  13. Erik Heyl
    10.17.2019

    I thought as much. Though the nice thing with Ahrefs is that you can always pick up the subscription again at any time, so it needn’t be an ongoing cost. And I love (and own) the entire SEO PowerSuite. The update cost is very much budget-friendly and they really listen to feedback and are fast at implementing. I just wish they’d overhaul Link-Assistant and Buzz Bundle.

    It ill be a very sad day should you ever decide to stop publishing content like this. Thanks Matt!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 18th, 2019 at 10:59 pm

      Haha thanks Erik! Yeah Ahrefs is a great tool with good ethics.

  14. Pablo
    10.14.2019

    Very interesting article. Apparently Ahref remains the king

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 15th, 2019 at 1:47 am

      It appears so according to the analysis. Ahrefs still beat out their competitors :)

  15. world uz
    10.11.2019

    Thanks for this post dear i am also looking for some good backlink checker and now i have a complete list thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 11th, 2019 at 3:19 am

      No probs! Easy to do some domain and backlink analysis when you have the right tools to do a quality job.

  16. Yunus Emre
    10.2.2019

    I think ahrefs better than others

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 4th, 2019 at 11:02 am

      What do you like best about them?

      And yes I agree, they beat their competitors and the SEO tool has lots of different features which can help with anything related to backlinks, keywords, seo audits. You can view anchor text, complete quality analysis and report. It really is a top quality tool that beats out it’s competitors every time.

  17. Akhilesh Barne
    9.28.2019

    Great article.. Now I’ll Use these tools for my website.. Thanks For sharing such great article

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 29th, 2019 at 3:58 am

      Great news Akhilesh

  18. Bandar Poker Terlengkap
    9.27.2019

    Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I
    guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing.

    Do you have any tips and hints for inexperienced blog writers?
    I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  19. Peter Fish
    9.25.2019

    Hi Matthew, a great analysis. I think I will subscribe to Ahrefs for a month and grab the data for the competitors. One question, I did notice one famous company’s tool wasn’t in the analysis and then read the SEMRush exchange which suggested it was. Is the tool in question not trustworthy enough and so results have now been omitted?

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 27th, 2019 at 12:51 pm

      Hey Peter – not at all. They are completely trustworthy but after reviewing how they collected data (which was very different from the other tools) we decided it wasn’t really fair to include them in the results.

  20. Shahed Parvej
    9.24.2019

    I was wondering and disappointed with the results when you first published your case study. Because I loved to use ahrefs. Now ahrefs is the winner, it’s so relaxing for me.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 27th, 2019 at 12:57 pm

      Haha yes the AHrefs tool is back on top again. I guess when it comes to backlinks they seem to beat out their competitors every time.

  21. Jibran Qazi
    9.24.2019

    That’s better :)

    Yeah I was pretty shocked (In a good way) that I don’t have to use AHREFS anymore and just stick with one SEO tool.

    Guess not :( – Thx for the update Matt.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 24th, 2019 at 11:12 am

      It did pain me to publish the original report

  22. Apostolis
    9.24.2019

    So, in terms of client link building report what do you suggest?
    Picking 1 tool and work (only) with that? (Btw, do you suggest manually checking referring domains of a website?) Thanks for the article Matthew!

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 24th, 2019 at 11:15 am

      I suggest choosing what works for you

  23. Rudraksha Barthwal
    9.24.2019

    Thank you for posting this blog Matthew. It was extremely helpful for me as I am a beginner in the industry of Digital Marketing and SEO, this was was one of the most helpful SEO blogs that I came across ever since I started my SEO journey. I am going to start using SEO Spyglass very soon.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 24th, 2019 at 11:16 am

      Welcome! Make sure you pay more attention to building a site that people (and Google) loves than you do on link building though if you are just starting! Google values user experience so you need a quality domain that will bring quality traffic before focusing on the links.

  24. Hannes
    9.24.2019

    Amazing Article! Always a fan of Ahrefs, but i understand that the pricing is abit of a concern for Not-agencies…

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 24th, 2019 at 11:13 am

      Yes and SEO Spyglass can provide enough data for most people that are just getting started and want to build links using a tool and bring traffic to their domain through backlinks.

  25. Olga Andrienko
    9.16.2019

    Dear Matthew,
    Thank you for all the effort you’ve put in this analysis and we appreciate that you have included SEMrush.

    I know that my team has told you personally that we are collecting data for your updated research. I wanted to reassure you we’re still on it. We had to pull our development team from the deploy and it’s not as easy as it seems, since the data recollection wasn’t in the sprint. We’ll send it to you this week.

    What has caused this situation in the first place
    When we got a request for data from you, my team provided you exactly the data you needed for the research. Unfortunately, we had no knowledge of the companies you’d include, and we didn’t have a thorough understanding of the methodology.
    We provided exactly what we show on the dashboards as we’re 100% for transparency. We would have been happy to provide the data for 1 domain = 1 IP if that was specified. Sadly, it was a misunderstanding from both sides. We didn’t have enough information and you assumed that data collection was more or less similar.
    As we have assured you multiple times, we’re recalculating data and it will be sent to you this week.

    More on data collection that we have in our Backlink analytics
    We have collected multiple IPs for one domain since day one of our Backlink Analytics existence. There were specific requests from users that wanted to identify both spammy and valuable backlinks. We added this more than 6 years ago. Since that time we’ve had only 3 questions about why we collect multiple IPs and clients were all happy with the explanation that we have provided.

    Since it’s been there for over 6 years, I can’t see how we intentionally used this info to our advantage in your research. Once you have published the post and the discussion has started around the methodology, we saw that our initial dataset wasn’t quite suitable, and agreed to provide a new one.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 17th, 2019 at 7:01 am

      Hi Olga,

      I’ll be covering all of this and more in the update and misunderstandings like this is one of the reasons I had an hour long conversation with 3 members of SEMRush that never mentioned any of this, despite knowing the methodology and parameters of the test.

      Claiming your weren’t aware of that is a lie. Don’t continue that lie unless you want me to explore it further.

      Now this doesn’t mean you cheated. It’s more likely that the team don’t understand how the product works but don’t kid yourself, SEMRush were perfectly aware of the parameters, the methodology and all competitors of the test and did not to mention any of this for whatever reason.

      And while I appreciate you supplying updated data, it’s not something you should be celebrating because you didn’t volunteer it freely, I had to force your hand because you were very resistant to providing updated data for a fair test.

      So stop with all that – let’s just focus on correcting the mistake with the updated data and testing. I’m really not interested in anything outside of the data.

      • Olga Andrienko
        September 17th, 2019 at 10:58 am

        Hi Matthew,
        I have asked my team to forward me all the communication regarding the study. Turns out a lot was discussed over the phone, which leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding.

        We have always been as transparent as possible in our communication, and if there is something that we stick to is never falsifying the results of any study we made or data we’ve provided. And we’re very transparent when it comes to dashboards and the data we store. Users can view this data by clicking on the backlink column in the Referring IPs report.

        Maybe SEMrush team didn’t really think of differences in data collection. We certainly know how we collect data but since we were presented with a very specific request for IPs and Subnets, we haven’t dug deeper. I don’t think it’s fair to put 100% of the blame on SEMrush though. We were not the ones conducting the study, checking the numbers and publishing the study.

        We have huge respect for thought leaders who invest their time in unbiased studies. And we always support such initiatives. So when you have asked for new data. we’ve started the recalculation process. Considering that we store data differently, this is a time consuming and costly process.

        Once we provide the numbers though, I’d ask you to reconsider the methodology and compare real data with real data. Not real data and formulas. To me, as a reader, it’s confusing to see providers who collect data being compared with a provider that had to come up with a formula to estimate the results. With the logic that this study is being built, Moz shouldn’t have even been considered.

        • Matthew Woodward
          September 17th, 2019 at 11:37 am

          I mean we discussed the strengths of the backlink checker, the negatives of the backlink checker, the freshness of the database, how quickly you crawl, where it has limitations, where it exceeds and so forth along with the test being based on IP’s and Subnets.

          I do accept the problem is more than likely down to human error rather than human intent and I’m really only interested in the data and will only respond to debate if I have to.

          You are correct about Moz’s estimated data, this was discussed at length with Russell. In the end we agreed to publish it is to be taken with a huge grain of salt and if Moz came out on top we would not declare them the winner.

          I will make sure this is made clear on the updated graphics because we only mentioned it in the post and the video but not in the results graphics themselves.

  26. amin hashemy
    9.15.2019

    wow
    such a wonderful content
    really thanks

    can i translate your article to Persian and use it then link to you as a reference?

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 24th, 2019 at 11:16 am

      Yes of course, that would be great to reach a wider SEO audience and they can benefit from this report and then use the tools to build awesome backlinks to their domains.

  27. Manish
    9.13.2019

    But what for the bloggers who want to check real competition of keywords and competitors data. Do you think any other free tool than paid tool like Ahrefs will provide accurate data..Please reply..

  28. Abhay Gautam
    9.13.2019

    Hi Matthew,

    Great Post! Thank you so much for sharing this valuable post on backlink checkers. I really like Ahrefs and semrush SEO suite because of the features they provide.
    In Ahrefs I really like Live index feature for backlinks and referring domain.
    Keep up the Good Work… Keep Sharing…

    Cheers,
    Abhay

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 24th, 2019 at 11:13 am

      Yes I love how Ahrefs “blend” different datasets together (backlinks/keywords/traffic)

  29. Manoj Kumar
    9.13.2019

    Great article! So well written – I really appreciated your post.Thanks For Shearing…..

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 17th, 2019 at 1:27 am

      No problem Manoj. Hope you find the report useful when it comes to choosing your tools for building backlinks.

  30. Digital Layout
    9.13.2019

    In My opinion, For paid one Ahrefs is the best and for the Free one Ubersuggest is good. I have used a lot of free and paid tools and find only these two good tools for backlink checker with the competitor.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 24th, 2019 at 11:17 am

      How do the numbers compare?

  31. michael duvall
    9.11.2019

    Thanks for the info… If anyone would and could give me any Advice to do Backlinks for my Site below , Cost effective.. I would Love it.. I am stupid when it comes to this. But, I have to Learn it. Thank You

  32. Julius Rosen
    9.11.2019

    Relevant backlinks vs non relevant no matter what rank is what I need to know . my competitor . had 200000 to 5 million link’s.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 24th, 2019 at 11:17 am

      Yes you need to be able to filter out the awesome links vs the ones that might hurt you later.

  33. Elena Smith
    9.11.2019

    I read your articles this is very fantastic, I am sharing your articles is very helpful services.
    Thanks and write again interesting topic and share.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 12th, 2019 at 1:32 am

      Thanks Elena! If you subscribe you’ll get all my SEO posts direct into your email.

  34. Patrick King'ori
    9.11.2019

    I always consider your evaluation gold and an eye-opener. Today, that trust is gone with this article. I have both Ahref and Semrush, but I cannot even compare both with consideration to links update and reparts. Man, Semrush is a big joke. Alltogether, it is important with keyword analysis but has been outdone by Ahref’s geolocation or local keywords analysis.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 24th, 2019 at 11:14 am

      Well on the flip side, if you were to look at Ahrefs keyword competitiveness calculation vs SEMRush’s you’ll see big differences.

  35. Nick Othen
    9.11.2019

    Interesting results, Spyglass for the price is great but a little disappointing.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 24th, 2019 at 11:15 am

      It is suitable for most people though because the database is still huge.

      I did a link audit on the weekend combining info from all tools/competitors and SEO Spyglass added an extra 20% of links the other tools didn’t have.

  36. Pietro
    9.10.2019

    Great study as always, thanks!

    Some months ago I made a similar study (but much smaller!!) with 12 websites and the following 8 tools:
    GSC (Google)
    LTP
    MOZ
    AHREFS
    MAJESTIC
    SEMRUSH
    COGNITIVE SEO
    LINKMINER (tool of KWFINDER)

    Well, I think the number of websites is too much small to evaluate the tools, anyway for some websites I’ve got more backlinks from GSC, for other from Ahrefs (historic), and for (MANY) other from LTP.
    Usually I use all them, download the excel lists, merge them, dedup and finally I have the maximum quantity possible of links! :-)

    Anyway now I will check and try to use again Semrush, thanks for the tip! :-)

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 24th, 2019 at 11:15 am

      Do you have a link to that? I’ll be happy to add it to the post

  37. Adrian
    9.10.2019

    Are you sure about seo spyglass pricing as it looks to be either £149 or £349 per year on the live site not as stated in your article. Or am I looking at the wrong 5hing

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 19th, 2019 at 8:38 am

      You’re looking at British pricing

  38. Edward
    9.10.2019

    This test came at the right moment for me. I was just trying to figure if I would invest in Ahrefs or Semrush. Your test showed me that it will be Ahrefs. Simply because of the friendly user interface and, as you mentioned, the more usable data.
    Thanks for this comparison and helping me made up my mind.
    Edward

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 12th, 2019 at 1:46 am

      No problem Edward! Ahrefs is still one of my go-to tools when it comes to backlinks, anchor text etc.. every time!

  39. Mohamad Zidani
    9.10.2019

    What about SEO Profiler?

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 11:57 am

      I didn’t consider them to be strong enough to compete

  40. Santos Jaimes
    9.10.2019

    I think 1 million or 1 billion links is not equivalent to good backlinks.

    Back in 2004, 05, 06 Google and Yahoo used to compete and brag about their index size by including the number of pages they had crawled, all over the world wide web, on their homepage. Google would say 5 billion pages and Yahoo would say 5.6 billion pages or something like that. However, when SEOs and other marketers complained about showing off quantity and disregarding quality, they both quickly removed the reference to the number of indexed pages.

    I think the same applies to backlink databases. What am I going to do with 1 million links? If I add ten filters and get rid off 90% of the links, I am still stuck with 100,000 links. Is the team of 5 people in the SEO company going to read 20,000 links each to find the best linking option? Am I gonna read through each of them? If I keep adding filters, I am gonna get the most fructiferous part of the fruit, the part that is the most difficult to eat (the seed), and when speaking about backlinks, we would get stuck with sites like Adobe.com or Facebook.com or in other words sites with great authority and that the majority of SEOs want to trust and get a link from, but it is not possible.

    So, in sum, when it comes to backlinks quality is vital because SEOs might be wasting precious time that could be used to write articles instead of trying to analyze a 1 million link databases.

    FYI, I have been using SEO PowerSuite (SEO SpyGlass and their other products) since 2008, and I highly recommend them to any small marketing companies, independent marketer, entrepreneur or freelancer. It is less expensive than the Majestic, SEMRush, and othe tools, and it gets you the same results.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:02 pm

      Yes I agree – I dont believe size of database nor freshness of database can hold a candle to “usefulness of data” because the point of buying any tool like this is to build more links right?

  41. Ravi Gupta
    9.10.2019

    Great! Thanks for sharing this information

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:02 pm

      No problem Ravi! Hope you can now pick the right tool for your backlink SEO.

  42. Fran
    9.10.2019

    What do you think of the mangools tool?

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:02 pm

      I haven’t used it enough to comment

  43. Blazho Gjorgiev
    9.10.2019

    Matthew I like your article a lot ,but must say you miss the point.Sorry but as you are many years in seo business as me,more than 20 ;) all practitioners of seo tools knows that each tool is just giving you one segment of what you need to know.So basically combination of your experience and using ahref,semrush and majestic data with data from Google Search Console is best seo tool what exist at all.I must point that even Google is not reveiling the most powerfull links which we have on our projects.Maybe in future can write on that which I consider quite interesting topic.
    Regards from SGM.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      Yes I’ve been recommending that since the first test in 2013 however from a business perspective it’s not a practical solution and most people only have the budget for one tool.

  44. Mike
    9.10.2019

    There was me thinking it will be ahrefs!
    Is Ubersuggest worth considering?

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      Run some manual comparisons and see for yourself!

  45. Shivam
    9.10.2019

    Amazingly done!

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      No problem Shivam! Hope you found this report helpful to make complete backlink and anchor analysis decisions.

  46. Md Kawsar Alam Khan
    9.10.2019

    Thanks for sharing us. I was also trying for the backlink checker for my website and also my competitor

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 9:10 am

      No problem! Hope this helps improve your backlink analysis.

  47. Shahed Parvej
    9.9.2019

    For me it will be Ahrefs. Because when I build links ahrefs shows them within 3 days but in semrush after 5-7 days they show the links but in half numbers what I actually build. Ahrefs gives almost 80% data in 2-3 days. But I like semrush for traffic analysis and simple dashboard.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 9:12 am

      Its funny I had the opposite experience when generating my lorem ipsum test beds, the SEMRush bot always shows up!

      Can’t figure out how because they are HTML pages generated behind a passworded admin area, but one way or another – the SEMRush tool always finds them.

      I’m going to publish something about GoogleBot tracking in the near future which will discuss the SEMRush bot in more detail because it’s always showing up in places it shouldn’t be! It should hit your email when complete.

      • Shah
        September 13th, 2019 at 9:15 am

        that will be grate to know, please share link
        here too..
        im eagerly waiting, Thaks

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