Tool Review: Monitor Backlinks

Doing search engine optimisation is much harder without good SEO tools. While there are many tools available, not all of them will be suitable for everyone.

Back in 2014 I reviewed a new tool called Monitor Backlinks. It’s been a while since then and the tool has expanded significantly, so it’s time to revisit the tool and see what’s been added and changed. Rather than point out the differences, I’ll go through every aspect of Monitor Backlinks to give you a full overview of the tool’s current features and possibilities.

As the name suggests, Monitor Backlinks helps you monitor your site’s backlinks, but that’s not all it can do. You can also use Monitor Backlinks to keep track of your keyword rankings in Google, spy competitors and create a disavow report with your bad links.

How to start using it

Monitor Backlinks comes with a 30 day free trial. After registering your account, you’ll be asked to add your domain. You have the option to connect it to Google Analytics, which will give you more insights about your website, so it’s worth doing.

Monitor Backlinks add domain with Google Analytics

The core feature of Monitor Backlinks is that it automatically identifies your site’s new backlinks and sends email alerts when you earn them. In this day and age of virality as well as the threat of negative SEO, knowing when your site earns new links is crucial to stay on top of your SEO efforts.

Aside from identifying new backlinks, the tool also verifies the status of your existing links. For example, if one of your links goes from dofollow to nofollow – a constant possibility when you do blogger outreach – you’ll be notified.

The Dashboard

Monitor Backlinks dashboard

On the main dashboard, you’ll see a range of metrics for your site, such as: Social signals, number of pages indexed in Google, total number of links, unique referring domains, Google Page Speed, MozRank, Spam Score, Trust Flow, and other metrics of varying usefulness. There’s also a module showing if it detects your website has been hacked. These metrics are automatically updated on a monthly basis.

Also on the dashboard, if you’ve connected your domain with Google Analytics, you’ll see a graphic with your organic traffic, the average keyword position, the dates when you got new links, overlaid with dates of know major Google algorithm updates.

You can see at a glance when you got new backlinks and how it helped you increase your average keyword position in Google.

Monitor Backlinks link graph

Backlinks Overview

The backlinks table is where the fun happens. All your discovered backlinks are shown here, but you also have the option to add your own links, if need be. Each backlink comes with a range of metrics, so you can easily analyse and compare their value.

Monitor Backlinks backlinks table

For some of your links, you’ll see a warning sign on the left side of the row. That indicates the backlink has some questionable metrics, and it’s recommended to manually review it.

If, after a manual review, you decide to keep the link, you can ignore the warning. Alternately, you can click on button “disavow domain” and you’ll add the link to your disavow list. Hold your mouse over the warning sign to see why the backlink has been flagged as potentially harmful.

Monitor Backlinks low quality warning

The huge variety of metrics provided for each link is what makes Monitor Backlink very useful for those that want to quickly analyze the quality of their inbound links.

A backlink can have various status codes, which is why the tool has a dedicated column showing the link’s status. Aside from regular dofollow and nofollow, links can also suffer from redirects or errors like 302, 301, 404, 500, 403, 522, 503, etc.

Below the backlink status, you’ll find a Google icon that indicates if the page or domain the link resides on is indexed by Google. When the icon is green, it means both the domain and page are indexed. When it’s yellow, the domain is indexed, but the page isn’t – which can happen with fresh blog posts for example. If the icon is red, it means that both the domain and page are not indexed, meaning it’s likely the site was penalised by Google.

Monitor Backlinks link status

Monitor Backlinks makes use of APIs from other SEO tools to expand their platform’s usefulness. Therefore, for each of your links you’ll see Trust & Citation Flow, MozRank, Spam Score, and Domain & Page Authority. Other metrics include: TLD/IP location, social signals, number of external links, and referring traffic for each link (if you’ve connected it to Google Analytics).  

You also have the option to sort your backlinks using the filters located on the right side of the table. Multiple filters can be applied at once. If you want to learn more about filtering links to find good and bad ones, you can check this video tutorial from the team at Monitor Backlinks:

You can also tag your links or add notes to easily identify them in the future. For example, if you’ve done some guest blogging campaigns, you might want to tag your links as “guest posts”. This will help you easily group your links. To add a note or tag a link, click on the settings icon located on the left side of each row and then on “Edit”.

Monitor Backlinks tagging links

Reporting on links

Monitor Backlinks can also generate reports about your site’s inbound links. Using the same filters available for the backlinks page, you can generate custom reports with their TLD, IP location, top Anchor text, backlinks status, most linked pages, Majestic metrics, Moz metrics, and most shared backlinks distribution.

Monitor Backlinks report graphs

Spying on competitors with Monitor Backlinks

The tool’s competitors feature is very straightforward, and quite useful. You simply add your main competitors and Monitor Backlinks will automatically verify all the links they are getting, every 10 days. If new links are detected, you’ll get an email showing you these links. It’s an easy way to keep up with your competitors’ link building campaigns.

Using the metrics provided, you can decide which backlinks are worthy of being replicated. The domains from where your site already has links will be highlighted in green.

Monitor Backlinks competitor monitoring

Keyword rank tracker

To add to the tool’s already all-round usefulness, it also includes a keyword rank tracker. You can keep track of rankings in Google and get a side by side comparison with your competitors. Monitor Backlinks checks the rankings on top 150 results for each keyword and shows average search volume, AdWords competition and CPC.

Monitor Backlinks keyword rank tracker

All keywords are checked weekly and included in the weekly SEO progress reports you receive via email every Wednesday.

The tool supports rank checking on various international Google versions, making it useful for international SEOs. And you also get nice graphs to visualise your progress and include in management reports.

Monitor Backlinks rank tracking reports

The Disavow Tool

The disavow feature is quite handy. It works directly in conjunction with the backlinks page. Once you identify a bad link, you can add it to the disavow list. To export the disavow report, you have to go to the disavow page, and then click on “Export”.

Monitor Backlinks disavow feature

The report generated by Monitor Backlinks matches the format Google requires for disavow files. All that’s left for the you is to upload the report to Google’s Disavow Tool.

Conclusion

Monitor Backlinks is a good all-round SEO tool with a specific focus on link analysis and monitoring, making it a key weapon in every SEO’s arsenal. Unlike other tools which only give you data on demand, with Monitor Backlinks most of the reporting is automated.

I especially like the numerous metrics you are given for each link, negating the need to go to multiple tools to gather all this data. I also found the ease with which you can identify and disavow bad links to be very useful.

With the 30-day trial Monitor Backlinks provides you can’t really go wrong, so give it a try and let me know your thoughts.

SEO, Tools

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