Do you want to know who links to your website or one of your rivals’? Follow this simple instruction.
If you want to rank in search engines, backlinks are essential.
To determine how backlinks from distinctive websites connect with organic traffic, we investigated almost a billion web pages.
Relationship between backlinks and organic traffic
In general, a page performs better in search engines the more unique websites that connect to it.
This investigation explores correlations. It cannot establish causation. Additionally, the quality of the links is just as important as their quantity.
In this article, I’ll explain how to identify the websites that link to yours, the pages that they link to, and what you should do next to boost your SEO.
I’ll go over two methods for determining who linked to you here.
Click here to skip to the second approach if you want to find out who links to a website that you do not own.
1. Google Search Console
For the majority of individuals, Google Search Console is the ideal entry point because it is free.
Not yet joined up? Register for free.
visit to find out who has linked to your website:
This report shows the top 1,000 websites linking to your site plus the number of:
Linking pages (how many of their pages link to your website)
Target pages (how many of your web pages they’re linking to)
NOTE: Although it is by default arranged by connecting links, you may instead sort by target pages.
To see the specific web pages that each website in the list links to, along with how often they do so, simply click on any of them.
To view the referring pages from which the target website links, click on any of these pages.
In Search Console, there is still another report that displays your top connected pages.
This report’s default sorting is Incoming links. You can see which pages have the most backlinks from there.
To determine which pages have the most links from distinct websites, sort by linking sites.
That is a lot more wise.
To view the top websites that link to a specific page as well as the amount of backlinks coming from each, click any web page.
Any of these reports can be downloaded and saved. Simply click the download button.
Now let’s talk about the downsides of using Google Search Console data:
All reports are limited to the top 1,000 pages. That makes them somewhat pointless if you have more than 1,000 pages on your website, or if you have links from more than 1,000 unique domains.
No link context. There’s no way to see the anchor text of a specific link, the surrounding text, or whether or not it’s nofollowed, etc.
No quality metrics. When Google says “top linking sites,” they’re not referring to the quality of said websites but simply the number of times they link to you. There’s no way to tell how good or bad any of the linking sites are, or whether they’re helpful or harmful when it comes to SEO.
To fill in the gaps, we’ll need to resort to another tool.
You may also find out some details about links pointing to your website in Bing Webmaster Tools. Signing up is cost-free.
2. Ahrefs Site Explorer
The largest index of live backlinks is available on Ahrefs.
Every 15 to 30 minutes, as our robots constantly explore and recrawl the whole web, it is updated with new information.
Use Ahrefs Site Explorer to enter any website, subdomain, or web page to find out how many backlinks and referring domains (links from different websites) it has.
If you don’t already use Ahrefs, check out our free backlink analyzer.
You can see that Nerdwallet’s budgeting guide has 1,910 hyperlinks from 558 referring domains, which brings me to a very important point: You are not restricted to using Site Explorer to look for information about your own web properties.
Despite the fact that I’m not affiliated with nerdwallet.com, I can still access its link information.
Go to the Referring Domains report to see every website that links to the destination you’ve selected.
This report is similar to the Google Search Console’s Top Linking Sites report, but far more powerful.
Like Search Console, it shows the linking websites and the number of backlinks from each. But it also shows additional SEO metrics like:
Domain Rating (DR)
Estimated organic traffic to each linking domain
First seen (i.e., when we first saw each site linking to the target)
Press the caret to view the actual backlinks from each connected website.
We display the connecting page, the link text that surrounds it, the target URL (the page that the backlink goes to), and a variety of other helpful SEO data for each backlink in this report.
You will only see unique backlinks because the report by default combines related backlinks together.
You can alter this so that you only see one link per website or all backlinks.
Similar to the referring domains report, this one contains a ton of useful filters.
In a bit, I’ll expand a little more on these. Let’s simply state for the time being that they’re helpful for finding out more about particular backlinks and linked websites.
What to do next
In actuality, simply knowing who links to your website isn’t all that enlightening or beneficial.
Comparable to viewing someone’s Facebook friends You will only receive a list of hundreds or thousands of individuals. Their “friends” that they have never actually met in person are indistinguishable from their true buddies. There isn’t enough context.
I’m going to assume that you ended up finding and reading this article because:
You heard that links matter for SEO.
You wanted to know how many links you already have, and who they’re from.
You ultimately want more links to boost your site’s performance in the search engines and get more traffic.
Close this tab if I’m way off, then carry on with your day. No ill will exists.
Let’s instead discuss a few practical methods you may use link data to raise your SEO and increase organic traffic.
1. Build and nurture relationships with serial linkers
Those who repeatedly link to your website are referred to as serial linkers.
These are folks you probably already get along well with. Go to the top linked sites report in Google Search Console and arrange the target pages from high to low to find out who they are.
Avoid social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, forums like Reddit, and other websites where any links are likely to be generated by user-generated content.
The key is to continue to build relationships with the owners of these websites since they’ll probably link to you again in the future.
But here’s how you can put this concept into practice:
Establish connections with the serial linkers of your rivals as well!
Enter a competitive domain into Ahrefs Site Explorer, then select the Referring domains report.
Look for links from well-known websites or blogs that look to be in your sector.
To learn more about each website’s backlinks and conduct further research, click the caret.
discovered a website that is suitable? Find out if that website already links to you by searching for it in the referring domains report for your website. It would be worthwhile to pursue a relationship with them if there are no links or just a few from that website.
People connect with others they like and know. Develop connections with the serial linkers of your company and its rivals.
2. Learn from your most linked content
When you have content that people truly want to connect to, link building is most effective.
However, infographics don’t necessarily generate more links than blog posts, studies, interactive quizzes, or any other kind of material. Different niches typically appreciate various content formats.
The greatest way to start learning what works and what doesn’t in your niche is by examining the similarities between the pages that are most frequently linked to.
Having content that people truly want to link to is the key to successful link building.
Contrary to popular belief, infographics do not always generate more links than blog articles, research, interactive quizzes, or any other kind of content. The preferred content types vary between niches.
Finding commonalities amongst your most connected pages is the best place to start when trying to discover what works and what doesn’t in your niche.
Discover the content types that generate links in your niche, then produce more of those.
3. Reclaim the value from links you already have
Have you ever pressed a dead link? It resembles this in several ways.
Broken pages are detrimental to both user experience and SEO. Additionally, they hurt SEO.
Effectively, backlinks provide your website strength, some of which then filters through internal links to your other pages. Broken pages don’t have any internal connections because they don’t technically exist.
In conclusion, it is advisable to fix broken pages because they might negatively affect how well your site performs in search engines.
The Coverage report in Google Search Console notifies you of broken pages.
Search for 4XX mistakes such as the one above. If you click on the problem, you can see which pages are impacted.
Unfortunately, you cannot determine whether any of the affected pages have backlinks from this report in Search Console. You must search for the broken page on the Top Linked Pages report to learn that.
However, you will only see results from this “hack” when two things are true:
The dead page is in the top 1,000 most linked pages on your site.
The dead page has at least one backlink.
Even then, you have to take each damaged page and manually fix it. #hassle
Not interested in that? Use our free broken link checker or Ahrefs Site Explorer’s Best by Links report.
The defunct pages on your website with the most links are displayed in this report.
To view every broken backlink to a page, click the caret and select the Backlinks report.
There are three main ways to fix such issues:
Reinstate the dead page.
Redirect the dead page to a relevant working page.
Ask linkers to link to a working page instead.
You can also leave the page as a soft 404, assuming it has no valuable backlinks.
Your website’s broken pages can be found and fixed using backlinks.
4. Replicate competitors’ links
The link profiles of any two websites or web pages are unique.
Although you do have some backlinks that your rivals do not, it is more vital to note that they do. In other words, start by copying the links of your rivals if you want to get more backlinks.
There are numerous reasons why links form, and the process is not straightforward.
In order to keep things simple for now, let’s talk about two quick techniques to steal competitors’ links. The first is by “healing” their broken links.
Simply follow the steps outlined in strategy #3, but this time for a website that is a competitor.
If we do this for Backlinko, a blog that competes with Ahrefs’, it appears that the first website on the list once discussed avoiding Google penalties but is no longer in existence.
We’re fortunate to already have a functional handbook on that subject. #lucky
Therefore, we might contact the twenty-nine websites that are linked to Backlinko’s faulty guide and ask them to replace the broken link with our active one.
If there wasn’t a similar piece of content we could use, we could always make one.
Search for backlinks with referring URLs that resemble author profiles, such as /author/blogger-name/.
Reach out and pitch a guest post to these sites. It’s likely that they’ll say yes, as you already know two things are true:
They accept guest posts
They’ve already accepted at least one post from a business like yours
Find guest posts from rivals’ websites, then submit your own. Find competitors’ broken pages that have backlinks, then take control of those connections.
5. Show your content to “likely linkers”
You’ll frequently start to see commonalities when you look at the backlinks pointing to any given web page.
Make sure Site Explorer is in the URL mode.
It doesn’t take long to browse through this unfiltered report and realize that we are receiving a significant number of connections from content marketing guides. Now here’s the crucial part: If we look for backlinks where the word “content marketing” exists in the referring website’s URL.
There are many other content marketing manuals available; however, we do not yet have links to any of them. The number? Let’s check Content Explorer first.
You can use Content Explorer to search a database of more than a billion online pages for any occurrence of a particular word or phrase.
Let’s look for websites in English that have the phrase “content marketing” in the title.
There are more than 52,000 outcomes.
Let’s focus on pages that additionally contain the term “keyword research” anywhere in the content to further refine this. A filter will be added so that just one article per domain is displayed.
It’s likely that if we reached out to the writers of these pages and showed them our content, they would at the very least be curious to take a look. Many others might even connect to it.
If you want your efforts to be successful, just make sure you write an effective outreach email.
Look for patterns in the links you already have, identify prospects who are similar (also known as “likely linkers”), and then present them your material.
Rankings and organic traffic are positively correlated with backlinks.
To stand a chance of ranking, you may need hundreds or thousands of backlinks from distinct websites if you’re pursuing a competitive topic.
Consider the subject of “best credit cards.”
Without links from at least 100–200 different websites, no one will likely make the top five.
It’s not just about the sheer amount of referring domains you have; both quantity and quality matter.
It might make more sense, therefore, to target less competitive themes and keywords. The ones where you have a chance to rank without having a ton of backlinks, in other words.
There are several methods for locating such topics.
In Keywords Explorer, you may do keyword searches and filter results for terms with a low Keyword Difficulty score.
WHY KEYWORD DIFFICULTY?
The single source of the statistic known as “Term Difficulty” (KD), which rates the “difficulty” of ranking for a keyword on a scale of 100, is the number of backlinks pointing to the current top-ranked pages.
For example, if the current top ranking pages for a keyword look like this:
Page #1: 365 backlinks from unique websites (referring domains)
Page #2: 213 backlinks from unique websites (referring domains)
Page #3: 199 backlinks from unique websites (referring domains)
Then the Keyword Difficulty score for that keyword is going to be higher than if the top ranking pages looked like this:
Page #1: 21 backlinks from unique websites (referring domains)
Page #2: 13 backlinks from unique websites (referring domains)
Page #3: 2 backlinks from unique websites (referring domains)
To be more specific, we’re looking for keywords with a low KD score because we probably won’t need as many backlinks to rank for them.
You can filter for pages with organic traffic but few referring domains by searching in Content Explorer for a word or phrase associated with the subject of your website.
Those figures are a little arbitrary. Please feel free to modify as needed.
Pages with a good level of organic traffic and minimal links are the end result.
Alternatively stated: non-competitive themes.
To view the keywords that each page ranks for, click the Details caret and select the Organic keywords tab.
Instead of focusing on terms with high competition, choose and target less competitive themes and keywords.
Finding out who links to your website is a good place to start, but simply knowing this information won’t help your SEO. Knowing how you stack up against your rivals and, more crucially, seeing those who are succeeding in SEO, is essential.
For the majority of websites, that is the quickest path to higher ranks.