Study Looks At How Well Backlink Tools Work

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Stone Temple Consulting has been releasing a lot of great research in the SEO space throughout 2015. They've provided thoughtful analysis of Google's use of Twitter in light of a deal between the two companies, Mobilegeddon, engagement on Google+, and Wikipedia's Google performance.

The latest, which should interest many businesses, looks at how well backlink tools perform.

Do you find significant value in backlink tools? Let us know in the comments.

"One of the most important pieces of data to SEO professionals is backlinks: not only the information on the sites linking to your own sites pages, but those linking to competitors and others ranking for valued keywords," a spokesperson for Stone Temple tells WebProNews. "The challenge has been to get accurate complete, data."

"Each tool by itself discovered only between 50-60% of all backlinks, but combining the tools in aggregate brings that total to more than 80% of existing links," the spokesperson says. "The upshot? No one tool does a great job by itself of discovering backlinks, but combining the results of multiple tools is much more helpful to support your SEO efforts."

The study specifically analyzed three leading backlink discovery tools: Moz Open Site Explorer, AHREFS Site Explorer, and Majestic SEO.

They picked 20 sites with strong tendency to link out to other web pages in their content, implemented links that aren't NoFollow, and have a "reasonable to high degree of prominence". Specifically, they looked at the following sites: Yahoo.com, WashingtonPost.com, CNET.com, HuffingtonPost.com, Wired.com, BBC.com, TechCrunch.com, TheAtlantic.com, USAToday.com, Slate.com, AdWeek.com, LifeHacker.com, Salon.com, TheDailyBeast.com, SearchEngineLand.com, Newsmax.com, RawStory.com, LifeHack.org, InTheseTimes, and TruthDig.com.

The main takeaways from the research are that all three tools are competitive with one another when it comes to finding links, but none found all links. Using the tools together is the way to go, and there is evidence that the tools bias toward coverage on higher authority sites according to Stone Temple.

Stone Temple's Eric Enge explains the methodology in much more detail here.

When it comes to links, websites are in store for some major shake-up in the new year when Google finally launches its long-awaited and "huge" Penguin update. This will be huge not in size of its initial impact, but in is ongoing impact on Google search as it will update in real time moving forward.

Google recently indicated that the update will most likely hit in January, though you never know. They've been teasing it for a long time.

What do you think of backlink tools? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Images via Stone Temple Consulting

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.