How to Explore Backlinks Anchor Text

Anchor text is a major ranking factor – it is hard to manipulate (at least it is getting harder now after Google started its anti-paid-links war and got really good at spotting link schemes). Thus by exploring the anchor text of the site backlinks, you will:

  • get an idea of the competitors’ link building strategy;
  • understand what people think of your site;
  • get help with your keyword research (webmasters usually focus on their most important keywords when building links).

As usual, here is a short overview of four backlink checkers followed by the screenshots:

Back Links
Anchor TextY E S
Linking page outbound links+inaccurate+
Nofollow highlightinaccurate++
Firefox Extension++
Sorting options+
Interfacemessed upuser-friendlysimpleuser-frindly
Set Preferences++

1. BacklinkWatch is a bit stuffed with advertisements and slow but it’s free but it will take time visiting each page linking to your site and find the anchor text.


2. Smart backlinks tool offers a handy FireFox extension and viewing options (anchor text on/off; nofollow on/off) speeding up the checking process.

Smart backlinks

3. Analyze Back Links – a very new but promising tool also allowing for a number of useful settings (anchor text being one of them). Some figures however (total backlinks, for examples) seems inaccurate (or I didn’t understand what they stand for).

Analyze Back Links

4. Link Diagnosis tool takes a lot of time but that’s worth it. The utility offers the widest variety of sorting options (anchor text is one of them) enabling you to quickly find any page you need.

Link Diagnosis

Ann Smarty
Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing, tutorials and her guest blogging project,
Ann Smarty

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58 thoughts on “How to Explore Backlinks Anchor Text

  1. Hi Ann
    Link analysis by Joost de Valk used to work well but seems to have stopped working.
    Do you or anybody else know what happened or is it just me!
    In the meantime I’m off to look at Smart Links and Link Diagnosis.
    Thank you for the info…

  2. Sorry Joost – should have emailed you rather than discuss it publicly – my apologies.

    Ann, why didn’t you mention Joost’s fantastic tool in your post?!

  3. Thanks I am bookmarking this to check them out… I have been becoming obsessed over back links as have only just started to understand them. I used to link swap all the time but realized that was not that great.

  4. Great post, Ann! Pulling anchor text is a crucial activity, and I’m curious to see how these four tools perform.

  5. @lorenbaker – couldn’t make it to seattle – always something going on here – this week is

    @annsmarty- start with awall’s backlink analyzer. been looking for one that runs on a mac if you can find one!

  6. Nice post – I appreciate the insight. It’s refreshing to hear a review of 4 less talked about tools. Which tool is your tool of preference? Is it a paid tool or free tool ?

    Thanks again Ann

  7. Ann,
    Would be interested to learn about any non-web based tools too.

    And I did not know about Link Diagnosis so thanks!


  8. I take that back — I just went to bookmark Link diagnosis an low and behold I had it in my favs already. This would indicate either brain damage or too darn many tools :)

  9. Yes Ann, I must have to agreed.
    if we compare back link watch and Linkdiagnosis
    so now linkdiagnosis is better with accuracy, speed and some features with firefox.
    i am always eager to check my back links every week so we can get some ideas about our campaign and quality work.


  10. Great stuff here – as sales manager for LinkWorth, we’re always looking for tools that will help us see what our clients and their competitors have done in the past and what their current link profiles look like. Having that information allows us to craft and launch better text link ad campaigns that produce results time and time again.

  11. Thanks for the references of the tools above. While I certainly cannot disagree with the value of analytics in growing our Internet Marketing dreams; I can say that (for now at least) I’m just focusing on getting highly relevant content and backlinks out to the Internet while giving much less time to analytics.

    Firgures though, as I hated statistics more than any other class in my College days. Again, that’s not to say it isn’t important because it certainly is. However, I do think we can get so bogged down by attempting to figure out where are site is compared to everyone else’s that we lose the valuable time for the art of actually growing our websites.

    What do you think?

  12. Helpful post, thanks. I’ve used Link Diagnosis and it is good and comprehensive but the only problem with it is that it only does site wide links.

    If you have a specific page on your site that you want link information for you can’t get it with Link Diagnosis. Put in a specific URL and it will just default to the entire site.

    If anyone knows of a reliable backlink checker that does allow single pages and exportable results leave a comment as i’m trying to analyise individual pages at the mo on my site… Or if i’ve completely missed this on Link Diagnosis please correct me!

  13. If you have a specific page on your site that you want link information for you can’t get it with Link Diagnosis. Put in a specific URL and it will just default to the entire site.

  14. Great article, love the details. Wondering if you’ve used Jerry West’s custom crafted link finding tool?

    Also, any chance of a follow-up “What Not To Do: Link Building Analytics?”

    If not, I’d love permission to use your article As the Do, and write the Don’ts on the tools listed as well as additional tools.

  15. @Chicago SEO Pro, never heard of the one you mentioned – will be checking it out.

    Of course, do use the post to write yours! (and I will also think about the topic you are suggesting).


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