Checking backlinks may be a tough job for businesses with a tight budget. Luckily, Google Webmaster Tools (now Search Console) makes the task available for everyone.
No matter what they say, backlinks are still a major Google ranking factor. I'm sure that you've already implemented all of the following:
That’s great, but your competitors have also done it, so if you want to outrank them you need to stand out.
Though there are many ways, link building is your best racehorse. Success of link building campaigns is measured by number of collected backlinks.
Let me show you how to find backlinks in Google Webmaster Tools.
Firstly, I need to log into Google Search Console and choose the website.
I chose abcknjiga.com, my local blog about books.
Now, in the left side in Search Traffic section, I’ll click Links to Your Site.
It’s the page where Google Search Console shows you your inbound links.
It tells you briefly:
The last thing is actually the list of anchor texts. It's important because it helps you to avoid over-optimizing the text.
It's a theme for itself so I'll write a blog post about it in coming weeks.
Now it’s time to search for your backlinks. In Who links the most section, just click on the anchor text More,
and you will see these three buttons:
The last button is the one we’re looking for.
You can download CSV file directly on your computer and analyze it in Microsoft Excel or you can analyze the data in Google Docs.
I prefer Google Docs so I'm gonna select it:
You’ll get something like this:
Now, you've got yourself the list of your backlinks, but we are not done yet!
Let's see how to create a beautiful chart to see your performance.
Select columns A and B by clicking on them, and then go on Data - Pivot Table. This is my Pivot Table:
Now you need to select the data Rows, Columns and Values:
If this is starting to be a bit confused, please take a look at the photo below:
Basically, we've got the matrix with grand total links per day and we can use it to create beautiful graphs for better backlinks checking.
This is interesting to me because now I can see that on:
Let’s show the data on the chart.
I’ll select the first column (A) and the last column (AR). Notice, that I didn't click the last row (Grand Total).
Now that you selected the data, click on Insert - Chart.
In Chart Editor I had checked Use row 1 as headers and written the title in Customization tab before I clicked on Insert.
You should see something like this:
The chart actually shows us how many inbound links, in average, we acquired.
I can see that, most days when I acquired link, it was ONE inbound link (and that wasn't every day), but also there were days when I acquired two, three and even four inbound links.
Backlinks By Days is useful insight, but I think it would be better to show how backlinks are actually growing over time.
Create a new column. I’ll call it a Growth. The first row of Growth column should be equal to first row of Grand Total column.
Cells in the next row is nothing else than sum of cell from the same row in Grand Total column and cell from the previous row in Growth column.
After that, just fill the rest data automatically. In order to be sure that you have successfully filled it, just make sure that the last Growth value is equal to Grand total.
The process of creating a new chart is the same. Select the data and go to Insert - Chart.
Again, make sure Use row 2 as headers is checked, write the title you want, and then click on Insert. Here’s the graph:
It’s really flexible, so you can expand it or do whatever you want.
Paid tools for checking backlinks such as Ahrefs, SEMrush or Moz give you additional metrics including:
and many more.
However, lots of businesses have tight budget, and in their case Google Webmaster Tools (Search Console) will do the job.