What is a Backlink?

A hyperlink placed on other websites or web pages linking back to a target website. The number of quality backlinks that a website has is an important factor in determining the website’s search engine ranking, relevance, and popularity.

Role in Determining Search Engine Rankings

There are multiple backlink factors that can influence a websites search engine rankings including:

  • The amount of backlinks
  • The authority of the linking source
  • The anchor text

Although these factors can be individually influential, a natural combination of them is most powerful for SEO purposes. Search engines use algorithms to evaluate backlinks in order to provide searchers with relevant and important content.

How to Check for Backlinks?

There are many tools that can help you discover the types of backlinks to your site. The two that are commonly used are Google Webmaster Tools and Open Site Explorer.

1. Google Webmaster Tools

Everyone should set up a Google Webmaster Tools account for their website. Not only is it free but it can provide you with an enormous amount of data, including backlinks.

Step 1

Login to Google Webmaster Tools (

Step 2

If you have more than one website, select which website you want to examine.

Step 3

Once you are in the main interface, click on “Your site on the web” in the left menu. Then click on “links to your site“.

Step 4

After clicking on “links to your site” you should see the following:

From that screen you can see the backlinks to your website.

2. Open Site Explorer

Step 1

Visit type in your URL and hit search.

Step 2

Then choose “links from external sources” and “pages on this root domain”. Hit filter and then export to CSV for your results.

Backlink Resources

Guide to Competitive Backlink Analysis
The Professional Guide to Link Building
101 Ways to Build Link Popularity