How to Find All Backlinks to Your Website

Evaluating the number and quality of websites linking to your website’s pages is one of the most crucial SEO activities.

Analyzing your website’s backlinks allows you to identify low-quality or spammy backlinks that you might want to disavow, reclaim lost links, and find broken backlinks worth fixing.

Additionally, backlink analysis offers you the opportunity to understand why people are linking to your website and how.

The good news is that you don’t need an SEO agency or expensive SEO tools to discover all external links pointing to your website’s pages. You can find all the links to your website for free.

1. The “Links” section of Google Search Console

The “Links” section in Google Search Console provides a quick, albeit basic, overview of your backlink profile.

Within this section, you’ll find the following reports:

  • Top linked pages
  • Top linking sites
  • Top linking text

Each report allows you to access a more detailed view for every row in the table, e.g. get a list of pages on a website that link to one of your pages.

Additionally, you have the option to export the results directly into Google Sheets, which is very convenient.

The links data in Google Search Console has quite a few limitations:

  1. As the names of these reports suggest, Google does not claim to show ALL links it knows of, but rather provides a “sampling” of the links.
  2. You can only obtain a list of referring pages for one target URL at a time. There’s no option to view all backlinks for the domain in one view.
  3. The report does not distinguish between “dofollow” and “nofollow” links.
  4. The results are not qualified by any metrics.

2. Backlinks in Bing Webmaster Tools

Similarly to GSC, Bing’s Webmaster Tools have the “Backlinks” section showing the external links to your website. And just like with GSC, it is “a representative set of links from different domains, using different anchor texts; it is not a complete backlinks profile.Source.

Inside, you get reports for:

  • Referring domains
  • Referring pages
  • Anchor texts

And again, there are drawbacks:

  • Only a sampling of links is shown, and Bing does not disclose which links qualify to be included in this report.
  • The results are shown for the entire domain. You cannot see backlinks to individual pages.
  • There is not a single metric provided for any estimations.

However, there is one specific feature in Bing Webmaster Tools that more than compensates for these drawbacks:

See backlinks to ANY SITE in Bing Webmaster Tools

The “Backlink to any site” tab allows you to compare and analyze your website’s backlink profile with those of up to two other sites. Just add any website to the “Add a site to compare” field.


What you’ll get is a very basic Link Intersect feature, which is typically available only in some premium SEO tools.


Apply the filter “Show domains not linking to my site,” and you’ll get a list of the referring domains for any website, excluding those that link to yours.


The details show all linking pages on those referring domains.

This, of course, represents only a fraction of the data you can obtain with a premium backlink checker such as Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. However, it is:
a) free;
b) unlimited.

To be honest, I wasn’t even aware of this functionality within Bing Webmaster Tools before writing this guide. It will be very handy for those just starting out with SEO and link-building for their smaller websites.

However, if you have a larger website and require more detailed and actionable data, you’ll need a backlink checker tool.

You’re likely aware that there are premium SEO tools, such as Ahrefs, that enable you to view the backlinks for any website. However, you might not know that Ahrefs offers a free account option called Ahrefs Webmaster Tools.

3. Checking backlinks in Ahrefs Webmaster Tools

Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT) provides free access to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and Site Audit tools for the websites that you own.

Just like the Webmaster tools from Google and Bing, it only functions for websites where you can verify your ownership.

Once verification is successful, you can delve into every aspect of your website’s backlink profile, including individual pages.

Overview

The top section of the Site Explorer Overview displays the number of backlinks a website has, the number of websites linking to it, and the website’s Domain Rating (DR), which represents the overall strength of its backlink profile.

The “Backlink Profile” tab provides a comprehensive overview of the website’s backlink profile with several key insights:

  • A graph displaying the number of referring domains over time
  • A graph illustrating the gain and loss of referring domains
  • The distribution of backlinks by attributes (such as followed, nofollow, UGC, sponsored)
  • And more

This information reveals the rate at which the site has been acquiring backlinks, allows for the identification of sudden spikes or drops in the number of referring domains, and offers a snapshot of the strength and quality of the backlink profile.

Backlinks

This report displays all pages that link to the target, which can be an individual page or the entire domain.

Ahrefs’ Site Explorer distinguishes itself with the most extensive range of filters and sorting options among backlink research tools, enabling a detailed analysis of backlinks in every conceivable manner.

The results are presented in a table, accompanied by some very important SEO attributes and metrics of these pages, such as:

  • Organic search traffic
  • The number of external links on them
  • The number of domains linked from the page
  • And even the author of the page(!)

Referring domains

This report is similar to the Backlinks report, but instead of showing referring pages, it lists unique websites that link to yours.

Just like the Backlinks report, it displays a variety of metrics for the results and allows for extensive filtering options.

My personal favorite metric in this report is the “Dofollow linked domains” count. A link from a website that links to a very small number of other websites is much more valuable than one from a site that eagerly links to many websites.

Anchors

This report displays the anchor texts of the backlinks.

Anchor text analysis is arguably the quickest method to identify spammy or potentially harmful links to a website by examining the relevance of the anchor text.

Now you can see why the backlink reports in Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools are subpar compared to the capabilities of Ahrefs Webmaster Tools.

But there’s more to AWT than just backlink analysis capabilities!

With Ahrefs Webmaster Tools, you can also check and monitor your website for over 140 potential SEO issues.

And all this comes at no cost.

Final Words

With Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, and Ahrefs Webmaster Tools, you will get a very detailed view of the backlinks for the websites that you own. Bing Webmaster Tools even allows you to compare your link profile with that of your competitors.

If you need to find backlinks to other websites on a large scale, use Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. And for those of you who are just starting with SEO, the Free Backlink Checker from Ahrefs will prove invaluable.

Nick is a product marketer and a seasoned SEO specialist at Ahrefs. He is also a regular contributor to the Ahrefs Blog, dedicating his remaining time to enhancing the Ahrefs SEO Toolbar.