Which Is The Best Backlink Checker? – The Million Domain Case Study

Update #1: Ahrefs official response (Sept 10th 11:42am CST)

Update #2: SEMRush data investigation (Sept 11th 08:12am CST – developing situation)

Update #3: Moz calls SEMRush out (Sept 11th 09:36am CST)

[CRITICAL] Update #4: SEMRush To Provide Updated Data… (Sept 12th 09:19am CST)

best backlink checkerTo find out which is the best backlink checker, I devised a real test.

I decided to:

  • Take the 5x best backlink checkers on the market
  • Use them to collect data for the same 1x million links

To see who had the biggest – and bestest – database out there.

The result? Well…

backlink checker results

 There’s a new KING in town.

Find out who below…

The Competitors – The Old Guard Face A New Test

Ahrefs

Ahrefs has spent years as the KING of backlink checkers. They’ve won all of my testing historically.

ahrefs homepage

This time round they were up against some fierce competition.

And, as you read in the intro there is a NEW king in town. But, who took the throne?

Read on to find out…

SEMRush

SEMRush has always played second fiddle to Ahrefs.

Because they’ve always aimed to be a complete digital marketing tool, some of their specific SEO tools – like their backlink checker – have just never been as good.

SEMrush homepage

They invested a lot of resources and added some exceptional new features. But:

 Is it enough to finally make them the best-of-the-best?

Moz Pro

Moz Pro is the original backlink checker. Their Moz Link Explorer (previously Open Site Explorer) was one of the first backlink checkers available.

So, they’ve been at this much longer than anyone else.

mozpro homepage

Has age and experiencd helped them make a real challenge for the title?

Or, are they a washed-up prizefighter who needs to hang up their gloves?

Majestic

Majestic is a seasoned veteran that makes some big claims about the size of their link database (even though we have proven it not to be true many times before)

majestic homepage

Can their tool match their sales pitch? History says no.

SEO Spyglass

SEO Spyglass started life as an ultra-slow desktop SEO Tool. Never much of contender.

seo spyglass

But now they are back with a RAPID upgrade and new database. Is it enough?

Let’s take a look…

5x Million Data Points: How The Backlink Checkers Were Tested

Before I reveal the winner I want to talk you through this test’s methodology.

The domains for this test were pulled from the Majestic Million.

majestic million screenshot

These are the top 1x million websites based on their number of referring IPs and Subnets according to Majestic.

As such:

  1. Each of these sites should have a TON of data
  2. Each of these sites should have consistent numbers across all 5x tools

The 1x million domains were run through each the 5x tools. I then looked at which tool showed:

  • The most referring IPs
  • The most referring Subnets

These are more reliable than counting a vague “link”. (More on that here.)

That gave me  5x million rows of data Yay! – to work with.

You can download all of that data right here.

Which Is The Best Backlink Checker?

The next 3x graphics show the results of each test. The winner is underlined in pink.

Total Wins By IP – SEMRush

Total Wins by IP

Total Wins By Subnet – SEMRush

Total Wins by Subnet

Whilst you are digesting that, it’s important to note that the graphs show the number of “wins” and not absolute numbers.

So, they do not fully represent database size. Let me explain…

Let’s say all 5x tools look at the same site. They each report:

  • Ahrefs: 100 referring IPs
  • SEMrush: 101 referring IPs
  • Moz Pro: 99 referring IPs
  • Majestic: 100 referring IPs
  • SEO Spyglass: 100 referring IPs

SEMRush would receive the “point” for their “win”. That is added to their tally. Wash, rinse and repeat for each of the tests.

So the graph only represents the number of times each tool beat its opponents.

Which shows us that it is rare for other backlink checkers to have more data than SEMRush does.

Another simple way to look at the size of the database is to look at the average number of:

  • IPs
  • Subnets

That were found across the dataset-

Average Number Of IPs & Subnets Found Per Domain

Average IPs and Subnets Found

But what does that mean?

It means that on average SEMRush finds more IP’s per domain than any other tool.

But it also means that SEO Spyglass finds more subnets than any other tool.

That is super important to point out because-

SEO Spyglass is a $124.75 one time fee for the first year. Then it’s only $4.17/month after that.

The cost of ownership couldn’t be any further apart!

So with that said…

A New Backlink Checking King Is Crowned

Now there are a couple of flaws with my testing that I’ll discuss below.

And previously Ahrefs dominated all of my testing with the same flaws. They were untouchable. But this time..

 biggest backlink database

They have rightly earned their place as the best backlink checker on the market right now in terms of database size.

But:

It’s important you keep on reading because there are some flaws and other things to consider when looking at backlink checkers.

A Few Potential Flaws With This Experiment

I’ll be the first to admit…

My methodology for this test is far from perfect. So I wanted to highlight some of the potential flaws.

Flaw #1: Moz Only Provided Estimated Data

Moz asked to be included in this test a long time ago. But:

For some reason, they don’t track IPs or Subnets in their tool which I found bizarre.

Here is what they had to say about their estimated data (edited for ease of reading):

“Moz doesn’t collect IPs or Subnets. We had to build a unique model for this test. This was done by running a regression against our log of Root Linking Domains and against the percent of domains with unique IPs and Subnets.

Because these models have limited predictive power I added some constraints to the top and bottom level of predictions. For example; if the model predicted a number of Subnets that was more than 2s standard deviations from the mean, it defaulted to +/- 2x standard deviations of the mean.

The two regression models are…

IPS Y = -0.05x + 0.8599
SUBS Y = -0.1437x + 1.045

X is the log of the number of root linking domains. Y is the percent by which we need to multiply the RLDs to get the predicted number of IPs or Subnets.

The calculations should, therefore, be taken with a grain of salt.”

Flaw #2 – Each Tool Picks Up Different Links

Each tool has its own index. That’s 5x unique databases.

Not all databases share the same links. What appears in Ahrefs may not in SEMRush.

Let me offer an example.

If Ahrefs and Majestic are comparing the same site they may find the same number of links. But these links may not be from the same sources:

inconsistent links

See what I mean?

If you wanted a full picture you would need to buy all 5x tools and cross-reference.

(I don’t recommend you do this. Keep it simple.)

Keep In Mind: Size Isn’t Everything

People always think that bigger is better, but as the old saying goes:

It’s not how big it is, it’s how you use it.

wink

…sorry, I couldn’t resist…

But what’s more important than database size, is how you can use that data to increase your search traffic – because that’s the point of buying any SEO tool right?

This is often a personal decision and will require some time playing with different interfaces and features yourself.

Ahrefs has my favourite interface, for example.

ahrefs interface

It’s pretty intuitive and doesn’t take a lot of time to get used to. You can run searches and retrieve old data. It’s all there in the dashboard waiting for you.

They provide you with a lot of 1x click filters to help you find the information you need.

For example, you can filter by link type…

Or by platform:

links by platform

They also generate lots of handy reports, like their best by links report:

incoming links report

Or their best by links’ growth one:

links by growth

SEMRush operates the same intuitive dashboard-based system and easy to understand reports:

semrush dashboard

But it also has fewer filters and the ones they do have are not always useful.

See for yourself:

semrush filters

 Thankfully you can get around this by using my FREE intelligent Google sheets

If neither of these seems right for you, you should also check out the much more budget friendly SEO Spyglass.

seo spyglass

A lot of people like the overhauled version because it is-

  • Customisable
  • Rapid

You have by far the most options to generate and filter reports of any tool on this list.

You can also import backlink data from third-party tools like Google Search Console and SEMRush.

Take some time to play around and find the right tool for you.

Wrapping It Up

The results of the 5x million domain test are in:

best backlink checker infographic 
No other test has used a dataset this large to compare backlink checkers ever!

But after reviewing the data and spending time using each of the tools, I can say with absolute confidence that-

most usable data
 
Thanks to all of the backlink checking tools that took part in the test!

I look forward to repeating it again in the future because I never expected these results – but for now, the data has spoken.

Which is the best backlink checker for you? Let me know in the comments (but subscribe to my YouTube channel first)…

click here now

UPDATE #1: Ahrefs Official Response (Sept 10th 11:42am CST)

Here at Ahrefs we have 3 backlink indexes that vary in size and freshness:

  1. LIVE index. As the name suggests, this contains only live backlinks (to the best of our ability).
  2. HISTORICAL index. This contains every link we’ve seen since March 2013. Some are still live, some aren’t.
  3. RECENT index. This one is something in between the two. If we recrawl a page and see that the link was lost, we will keep it in this index for 90 days, because some links tend to reappear.

In this study, Matthew used the data that we provided to him from our LIVE index. Which led to the results that you’ve seen. We double-checked them too:

But if we use data from Ahrefs’ RECENT index, the number of “wins by Ahrefs” will grow rather significantly:

Both LIVE and RECENT Ahrefs’ indexes are designed to be (relatively) small, for the sake of containing a high percentage of links that are live.

While, to the best of our knowledge, our competitors don’t prioritise the freshness of their link indexes as much as we do (see this small study that compares freshness of different backlink indexes):

  • SEMRush’s Fresh index: According to SEMRush, their Fresh index contains “backlinks that their bot saw in the last 6 months of crawling the Internet.”
  • Majestic’s Fresh index: According to Majestic, their Fresh index now contains “120 days [~4 months] of crawl coverage.”

We don’t know the exact numbers for Moz, but this tweet from Russ Jones states that they don’t focus on freshness of their index rather explicitly:

Matthew Edit: When I spoke to Moz on the phone, they confirmed they would perfom badly in a freshness test. They also provided estimated data so take that with a pinch.

For that reason, we don’t think it’s fair to compare data from Ahrefs’ LIVE index to data from these indexes.

And the underlying message of this comment is to explain that Ahrefs doesn’t have a goal of showing big numbers via its LIVE and RECENT indexes. We have HISTORICAL index for flexing the “size” muscle, which neither Moz nor SEMrush have.

In other words, we might argue that the “Biggest Backlink Database” badge should probably be a battle between “Ahrefs HISTORICAL index” VS “Majestic HISTORIC index” as they are the two largest backlink indexes in the industry, with the biggest total coverage.

Another important factor to keep in mind when comparing data from different providers is the actual quality of that data. For example: Ahrefs tends to remove duplicate pages from our index and limits the number of pages we crawl from obviously spammy websites to increase signal/noise levels.

And finally (and this is what Matthew has mentioned himself), what also matters for a backlink tool is how usable the data is. And I’m happy to see that Matthew is choosing Ahrefs a winner in terms of actionable ways to research and apply our backlink data. :)

My Comments On Ahrefs Response

Tim makes a great point – every backlink database defines what is Live/Fresh/Historic differently and in this sense it is hard to compare the databases.

However the Ahrefs team were perfectly aware of the parameters of the testing and they supplied the data they wanted to be used in the test. But it has to be said, each tool defines what is fresh and historic data differently.

When reviewing the performance of the Live & Fresh databases of Ahrefs, they still lagged behind SEMRush-

But Ahrefs are right to call for a test of Majestic Historic vs Ahrefs Historic.

That is a test I happen to have ran last year

Total Wins - Majestic Historic vs Ahrefs Historic

As you can see based on historical data, Majestic absolutely destroyed Ahrefs but that was from last year and a lot can change! I am definitely intrigued to see how they shape up.

I also think there is a big problem with Ahrefs actively limiting the number of pages they crawl from spammy websites because those are precisely the links you want to know about if you are facing a manual link penalty.

With that said:

What is important is which tool helps you to build more links and increase your search traffic.

For one reason or another, anytime a conversation comes up about backlink checkers it always ends up being a conversation about size and it’s also a point that is widely used to market and sell a tool.

But the point of the tools is to help build links and neither “size of database” or “freshness of data” correlate to that.

At the moment no body dissects the data better than Ahrefs does.

They far exceed the competition when it comes to connecting the data to real life use cases which is why they won “most useful data” and will continue to be my “go to” tool for that reason.

I happen to know the product teams of their competitors are in absolute awe and amazement at how Ahrefs dissect the data and I don’t think Ahrefs stressed that enough in their response.

The battle continues!


UPDATE #2: SEMRush Data Investigation (Sept 11th 08:12am CST)

Each of the backlink checker tools provided the data for this test, which was then manually spot-checked to verify it’s accuracy.

We asked for a list of the total number of referring IP’s and referring subnets for each domain in the majestic million.

What we didn’t ask for – was the number of domains each tool counts for reasons explained here.

However Russell Jones from Moz called me this morning and pointed out that if you lookup a domain like Grepwords.com in SEMRush-

SEMRush reports that is has more referring IP’s than domains – which isn’t possible.

And because we didn’t collect referring domain data we didn’t see that either!

Russell has a pretty good idea of why this might be happening (Round Robin DNS) but I’m waiting to speak directly with the SEMRush team to get an official line.

Running through some manual checks this morning it is hard to find examples where there are more referring IP’s than domains so I dont think it’s a widespread issue, but it is an issue you should be aware of none the less.

This is a developing situation, I will update with more information as it comes.

UPDATE #3: Moz Challenges SEMRush’s Data (Sept 11th 09:36am CST)

Russell Jones has published an analysis of SEMRush’s data this morning which you really need to read

SEMRush IP Link Data Bizaree, Misleading.

In essence he believes SEMRush collects IP data at the link level instead of the domain level which is why you can find examples of sites having more referring IP’s than domains-

I am still awaiting an update from the SEMRush team.

UPDATE #4: SEMRush To Provide Updated Data Soon… (Sept 12th 09:19am CST)

SEMRush have acknowledged the issue and are going to provide an updated data set that only counts 1 IP address per domain.

They say that data will be ready in the next 4-5 days.

So until that happens…

I have striked out the entire post top to bottom because it could have a drastic impact on the results.

52 Responses

  1. Olga Andrienko
    9.16.2019

    Dear Matthew,
    Thank you for all the effort you’ve put in this analysis and we appreciate that you have included SEMrush.

    I know that my team has told you personally that we are collecting data for your updated research. I wanted to reassure you we’re still on it. We had to pull our development team from the deploy and it’s not as easy as it seems, since the data recollection wasn’t in the sprint. We’ll send it to you this week.

    What has caused this situation in the first place
    When we got a request for data from you, my team provided you exactly the data you needed for the research. Unfortunately, we had no knowledge of the companies you’d include, and we didn’t have a thorough understanding of the methodology.
    We provided exactly what we show on the dashboards as we’re 100% for transparency. We would have been happy to provide the data for 1 domain = 1 IP if that was specified. Sadly, it was a misunderstanding from both sides. We didn’t have enough information and you assumed that data collection was more or less similar.
    As we have assured you multiple times, we’re recalculating data and it will be sent to you this week.

    More on data collection that we have in our Backlink analytics
    We have collected multiple IPs for one domain since day one of our Backlink Analytics existence. There were specific requests from users that wanted to identify both spammy and valuable backlinks. We added this more than 6 years ago. Since that time we’ve had only 3 questions about why we collect multiple IPs and clients were all happy with the explanation that we have provided.

    Since it’s been there for over 6 years, I can’t see how we intentionally used this info to our advantage in your research. Once you have published the post and the discussion has started around the methodology, we saw that our initial dataset wasn’t quite suitable, and agreed to provide a new one.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 17th, 2019 at 7:01 am

      Hi Olga,

      I’ll be covering all of this and more in the update and misunderstandings like this is one of the reasons I had an hour long conversation with 3 members of SEMRush that never mentioned any of this, despite knowing the methodology and parameters of the test.

      Claiming your weren’t aware of that is a lie. Don’t continue that lie unless you want me to explore it further.

      Now this doesn’t mean you cheated. It’s more likely that the team don’t understand how the product works but don’t kid yourself, SEMRush were perfectly aware of the parameters, the methodology and all competitors of the test and did not to mention any of this for whatever reason.

      And while I appreciate you supplying updated data, it’s not something you should be celebrating because you didn’t volunteer it freely, I had to force your hand because you were very resistant to providing updated data for a fair test.

      So stop with all that – let’s just focus on correcting the mistake with the updated data and testing. I’m really not interested in anything outside of the data.

      • Olga Andrienko
        September 17th, 2019 at 10:58 am

        Hi Matthew,
        I have asked my team to forward me all the communication regarding the study. Turns out a lot was discussed over the phone, which leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding.

        We have always been as transparent as possible in our communication, and if there is something that we stick to is never falsifying the results of any study we made or data we’ve provided. And we’re very transparent when it comes to dashboards and the data we store. Users can view this data by clicking on the backlink column in the Referring IPs report.

        Maybe SEMrush team didn’t really think of differences in data collection. We certainly know how we collect data but since we were presented with a very specific request for IPs and Subnets, we haven’t dug deeper. I don’t think it’s fair to put 100% of the blame on SEMrush though. We were not the ones conducting the study, checking the numbers and publishing the study.

        We have huge respect for thought leaders who invest their time in unbiased studies. And we always support such initiatives. So when you have asked for new data. we’ve started the recalculation process. Considering that we store data differently, this is a time consuming and costly process.

        Once we provide the numbers though, I’d ask you to reconsider the methodology and compare real data with real data. Not real data and formulas. To me, as a reader, it’s confusing to see providers who collect data being compared with a provider that had to come up with a formula to estimate the results. With the logic that this study is being built, Moz shouldn’t have even been considered.

        • Matthew Woodward
          September 17th, 2019 at 11:37 am

          I mean we discussed the strengths of the backlink checker, the negatives of the backlink checker, the freshness of the database, how quickly you crawl, where it has limitations, where it exceeds and so forth along with the test being based on IP’s and Subnets.

          I do accept the problem is more than likely down to human error rather than human intent and I’m really only interested in the data and will only respond to debate if I have to.

          You are correct about Moz’s estimated data, this was discussed at length with Russell. In the end we agreed to publish it is to be taken with a huge grain of salt and if Moz came out on top we would not declare them the winner.

          I will make sure this is made clear on the updated graphics because we only mentioned it in the post and the video but not in the results graphics themselves.

  2. Hamza Khurshid
    9.16.2019

    Ahrefs was behind? This was something new for me. But, let’s stick to its usability

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 17th, 2019 at 1:18 am

      Yeah I was surprised – and yes I will still be using Ahrefs too!

  3. Manish
    9.13.2019

    But what for the bloggers who want to check real competition of keywords and competitors data. Do you think any other free tool than paid tool like Ahrefs will provide accurate data..Please reply..

  4. Manoj Kumar
    9.13.2019

    Great article! So well written – I really appreciated your post.Thanks For Shearing…..

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 17th, 2019 at 1:27 am

      No problem Manoj

  5. michael duvall
    9.11.2019

    Thanks for the info… If anyone would and could give me any Advice to do Backlinks for my Site below , Cost effective.. I would Love it.. I am stupid when it comes to this. But, I have to Learn it. Thank You

  6. Elena Smith
    9.11.2019

    I read your articles this is very fantastic, I am sharing your articles is very helpful services.
    Thanks and write again interesting topic and share.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 12th, 2019 at 1:32 am

      Thanks Elena!

  7. Aashish
    9.10.2019

    Hey Matt,

    So the wait was finally over . I too was getting semrush showing more backlinks than ahref, and here your experiment too supported that i was right.

    Cheers mate.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 12th, 2019 at 1:35 am

      No problem Aashish

  8. Adrian
    9.10.2019

    Are you sure about seo spyglass pricing as it looks to be either £149 or £349 per year on the live site not as stated in your article. Or am I looking at the wrong 5hing

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 19th, 2019 at 8:38 am

      You’re looking at British pricing

  9. BM
    9.10.2019

    I’ve always used SEMRush because of its simplicity and it’s reporting feature – which is excellent. I do subscribe to Ahref once a while to analyse competitors backlinks. However, SEMrush had a database growth sometime last month or so and ever since that I believe they are equally as competent or better than Ahrefs. Just last week I had subscribed to Ahrefs for a test to analyse backlinks and to my surprise SEMRush was definitely the clear winner!

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 12th, 2019 at 1:45 am

      Well I guess this experiment backs up that theory.

  10. Edward
    9.10.2019

    This test came at the right moment for me. I was just trying to figure if I would invest in Ahrefs or Semrush. Your test showed me that it will be Ahrefs. Simply because of the friendly user interface and, as you mentioned, the more usable data.
    Thanks for this comparison and helping me made up my mind.
    Edward

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 12th, 2019 at 1:46 am

      No problem Edward! Ahrefs is still one of my go-to tools

  11. Mohamad Zidani
    9.10.2019

    What about SEO Profiler?

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 11:57 am

      I didn’t consider them to be strong enough to compete

  12. Angel
    9.10.2019

    Matthew, did you use Ahrefs live index for your test? It seems so. Sorry, but this makes the comparison… well, useless. Ahrefs is showing live index by default while Semrush is giving you ALL the data they ever had by default. If you switch Ahrefs to historical would see that they in fact have at least 70% more than Semrush, 50% more than Moz and at least 30-40% more than Majestic.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      Hi,

      I used both Ahrefs live and recent in the testing.

      The ahrefs historic vs semrush historic is not a fair test because there isn’t really a “historic” database in the way that Ahrefs defines it.

      One of the problems with the comparison is different tools define what is “live” “fresh” and “historic” differently

  13. DK Fynn
    9.10.2019

    I’m not too big into SEO right now–at least, not as much as I was in the past, but I did use SEMRush for a few weeks, and I liked it. With SEMRush being the new king of backlink checkers, it only makes it that much more comprehensive for data research.

    I will say that one thing I like about your experiments is that they provide an example of how experiments should be run. Though I’m not an expert experimenter, I know that one critical key to a good experiment is trying to make sure all applicable variables are measured equally, and that there are no unseen (or unmeasured) causes that can skew results.

    I also like how you mentioned any potential flaws you saw in your experiment.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks glad you enjoyed it!

  14. Muhammad Ammar
    9.10.2019

    Thanks for sharing this great info with us. I’ve been using ahrefs for almost 3 years now and lately I started to notice that it doesn’t pick link as fast as it used to before. I think I’ll try Semrush for a while and see what happens. Thanks again Matthew.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      Let me know how you get on from a user experience perspective

  15. Santos Jaimes
    9.10.2019

    I think 1 million or 1 billion links is not equivalent to good backlinks.

    Back in 2004, 05, 06 Google and Yahoo used to compete and brag about their index size by including the number of pages they had crawled, all over the world wide web, on their homepage. Google would say 5 billion pages and Yahoo would say 5.6 billion pages or something like that. However, when SEOs and other marketers complained about showing off quantity and disregarding quality, they both quickly removed the reference to the number of indexed pages.

    I think the same applies to backlink databases. What am I going to do with 1 million links? If I add ten filters and get rid off 90% of the links, I am still stuck with 100,000 links. Is the team of 5 people in the SEO company going to read 20,000 links each to find the best linking option? Am I gonna read through each of them? If I keep adding filters, I am gonna get the most fructiferous part of the fruit, the part that is the most difficult to eat (the seed), and when speaking about backlinks, we would get stuck with sites like Adobe.com or Facebook.com or in other words sites with great authority and that the majority of SEOs want to trust and get a link from, but it is not possible.

    So, in sum, when it comes to backlinks quality is vital because SEOs might be wasting precious time that could be used to write articles instead of trying to analyze a 1 million link databases.

    FYI, I have been using SEO PowerSuite (SEO SpyGlass and their other products) since 2008, and I highly recommend them to any small marketing companies, independent marketer, entrepreneur or freelancer. It is less expensive than the Majestic, SEMRush, and othe tools, and it gets you the same results.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:02 pm

      Yes I agree – I dont believe size of database nor freshness of database can hold a candle to “usefulness of data” because the point of buying any tool like this is to build more links right?

  16. Ravi Gupta
    9.10.2019

    Great! Thanks for sharing this information

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:02 pm

      No problem Ravi!

  17. Fran
    9.10.2019

    What do you think of the mangools tool?

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:02 pm

      I haven’t used it enough to comment

  18. Blazho Gjorgiev
    9.10.2019

    Matthew I like your article a lot ,but must say you miss the point.Sorry but as you are many years in seo business as me,more than 20 ;) all practitioners of seo tools knows that each tool is just giving you one segment of what you need to know.So basically combination of your experience and using ahref,semrush and majestic data with data from Google Search Console is best seo tool what exist at all.I must point that even Google is not reveiling the most powerfull links which we have on our projects.Maybe in future can write on that which I consider quite interesting topic.
    Regards from SGM.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      Yes I’ve been recommending that since the first test in 2013 however from a business perspective it’s not a practical solution and most people only have the budget for one tool.

  19. Lasse Kristiansen
    9.10.2019

    Mate, those graphs and your method gives a completely wrong idea of how they compare. If SEMrush reports 1 more link (100 compared to 101) or IP in 3000 tests, showing them as 3000 times better is not fair, falsy and absolutely bonkers

    I’m a SEMrush customer about to switch to Ahrefs, because their interface and keyword research tools are far superior to the horror SEMrush offers. Massively failed UX.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      Yes that was highlighted in the post which is why I produced the 3rd graph

  20. Mike
    9.10.2019

    There was me thinking it will be ahrefs!
    Is Ubersuggest worth considering?

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      Run some manual comparisons and see for yourself!

  21. Shivam
    9.10.2019

    Amazingly done!

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      No problem Shivam!

  22. Md Kawsar Alam Khan
    9.10.2019

    Thanks for sharing us. I was also trying for the best backlink checker for my website and also my competitor

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 9:10 am

      No problem!

  23. Pranav
    9.9.2019

    Do you by any chance have a graph showing the count of the total/average number of unique backlinking domains for each of the tools?

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 9:10 am

      I don’t sorry nor do I have the data to produce that graph =/

    • Asif
      September 10th, 2019 at 11:04 am

      Thanks for such article

  24. Shahed Parvej
    9.9.2019

    For me it will be Ahrefs. Because when I build links ahrefs shows them within 3 days but in semrush after 5-7 days they show the links but in half numbers what I actually build. Ahrefs gives almost 80% data in 2-3 days. But I like semrush for traffic analysis and simple dashboard.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2019 at 9:12 am

      Its funny I had the opposite experience when generating my lorem ipsum test beds, the SEMRush bot always shows up!

      Can’t figure out how because they are HTML pages generated behind a passworded admin area, but one way or another – SEMRush always finds them.

      I’m going to publish something about GoogleBot tracking in the near future which will discuss the SEMRush bot in more detail because it’s always showing up in places it shouldn’t be!

      • Shah
        September 13th, 2019 at 9:15 am

        that will be grate to know, please share link
        here too..
        im eagerly waiting, Thaks

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