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Ahrefs vs Moz vs Monitor Backlinks: Which Backlink Tool Will Rule Them All?

The ultimate fight is finally upon us.

It’s time to see which backlink tool reigns supreme in a no-holds-barred, winner-takes-all, triple-threat match:

Ahrefs vs Moz vs Monitor Backlinks.

Who will walk away with the Link Building Federation Championship?

I’ll tackle each tool and asses which one performs best in these three categories:

I’m here to see which one is the easiest, most convenient and useful tool from a link builder’s perspective.

So with the stage set and ready for action, I have just one question:

Are you ready for action?

Then let’s get it on!

Ahrefs vs Moz vs Monitor Backlinks: Which Backlink Tool Will Rule Them All?

Ahrefs

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Ahrefs is an all-in-one marketing solution with a particular focus on SEO and social media. You can perform competitive analysis, keyword and backlink research, as well as rank tracking and web monitoring.

One of the heavy hitters heading into this contest, Ahrefs is arguably the favorite to win as far as link building is concerned.

Let’s see what makes this tool stand out from the pack.

Checking Link Profile

With Ahrefs, you’re able to check your link profile to see if your backlinks are in order. Once you’re logged in, simply click Site Explorer in the navigation menu.

 

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Enter your domain in the search box, then click search. And voilà!

You now have all the information you need to audit your site and link profile.

For starters, Ahrefs gives you the option to audit a specific page or an entire domain. This can be configured by selecting “prefix” or “domain” in the drop-down menu respectively.

 

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But what kind of information does the tool provide?

From what I can see, the tool delivers a comprehensive overview of your domain’s current performance.

Arguably the most useful information you can find on Ahrefs’ Site Explorer is the Domain Rating or DR. This is an aggregated score of different SEO factors as gathered by Ahrefs.

The higher the score, the more authoritative and valuable the domain is as a whole.

The DR is accompanied by the URL Rating or UR, which only takes into consideration the quality of the individual URL.

So, if you enter site.com, the UR shows the SEO score of that particular page. The DR, on the other hand, reveals the score of the domain which includes all its indexed pages.

After looking at the health of your domain and its pages, you’ll also want to check and review your link profile. For a quick overview of the total number of referring domains, you’ll find that info readily available on the main dashboard.

 

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Backlinks tells you all the links pointing to your site, while Referring Domains tells you how many domains link to your site.

Clicking on Backlinks takes you to your link profile.

 

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Aside from the DR and UR of each page with a backlink to your site, you also see:

  • How much traffic the page gets
  • Keywords each page is ranking for
  • The anchor text used to link to your pages

More importantly, you can narrow down the results by using the tool’s powerful filtering features.

You can show certain types of links to your site, platforms, the number of keywords the page is ranking for, and more.

If you use the filters properly, you shouldn’t have a problem unveiling your best backlinks!

And of course, as SEOs, you don’t want to be at the tail-end of spammy links.

Thankfully, Ahrefs can also help with spam monitoring. You can routinely look at anchor text profiles, watch out for sudden spikes in referral traffic, and find spammers through their IP address.

Link Building Competitive Analysis

Being able to look at your backlinks is good.

But seeing your competitor’s is even better.

Ahrefs gives you an insight into what your competition is up to. For example, you can see how others are building their links during a specified time period (30 days, one year or all time).

 

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I also saw a feature that lets you compare two sites side by side. This makes it even easier to see which competitor has a better link building strategy.

Or you can directly compare your pages against your competitor’s pages.

 

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Along the sidebar, you’ll find a list of other useful competitive analysis features such as Referring Domains.

 

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Once clicked, Ahrefs will show you a list of all the referring domains to the URL you entered.

I find this especially useful if you’re looking for link building opportunities. If these domains linked to your competitors, there’s a good chance they can link to your content as well.

 

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There are filters available so you can sort the backlinks how you see fit.

 

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Expanding some of the other properties will give you a detailed view for you to understand where the links are coming from exactly.

 

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By looking at the people who are linking to your competitors, you’ll have the option of building a relationship with them.

Who knows? This could open the door for collaboration at a later time.

As far as inspecting competitor backlinks is concerned, Ahrefs does a really good job of providing relevant information.

Finding Link Building Opportunities

So far, Ahrefs is passing with flying colors. But now it’s time for the real test.

Can Ahrefs provide new link building opportunities?

The short answer: Yes, it can.

For example, you can create alerts so Ahrefs can notify you when you’re mentioned in a news article or blog post.

 

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Inside Alerts, go to the “Mentions” tab then enter a search query. Fill out the rest of the fields and click the “Add” button to finish.

 

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Ahrefs will alert you any time your business or products are mentioned in posts. The idea is to then reach out to those sites that mentioned you and turn any unlinked mentions into backlinks.

It’s also worth noting that these alerts can be customized to flag all sorts of content.

Do you want to find influencers who are talking about your brand or competitors? Do you need to find posts with keywords related to your field of expertise?

You can set up alerts for these as well.

If you prefer going a different route, Ahrefs can also help you find old, low-quality posts that are ripe for link building.

Go to Content Explorer and type in a niche or topic.

 

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You’ll then be presented with results that can be filtered down to refine the options by language, DR, number of referring domains, social shares and more.

 

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Your goal here is to contact webmasters with outdated content (but high search traffic). Offer to update the posts while adding your backlink in the process.

Overall, Ahrefs is proving to be one mighty tool for link building!

Moz

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Every SEO has heard of Moz.

Every. Single. One.

The company, which has been around a long time, is synonymous with SEO at this point.

Their lineup of SEO tools is widely regarded as the best in the business. So how do their link building features stack up?

Checking Link Profile

Moz’s Link Explorer has a simple, unintimidating interface that I’m sure users would love.

 

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As with Ahrefs, the quick overview states the key metrics for your domain such as how many sites are currently linking to you, and Moz’s own Domain Authority (DA) metric.

DA is an aggregate score combining all SEO variables from a site. After Google’s PageRank went out of commission, SEOs have primarily used DA to determine a site’s quality.

The higher the DA, the more authoritative and valuable the website is!

Arguably the biggest factor that sways a site’s DA score is its backlinks, which you can also see here.

There are two options that let you show a site’s backlinks: Linking Domains and Inbound Links.

With Linking Domains, you’ll see a list of the domains with a link back to your site.

 

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You can toggle through the list and determine the quality of each domain according to its DA and Spam Score.

Spam Score refers to the toxicity level of the site. If you have a link from a site with a Spam Score above 60%, then the link might drag your organic search rankings down.

In this case, you’d need to analyze domains with a high Spam Score and consider disavowing links from these sites.

Now, if you want to see all the links pointing to your site regardless of the domain, then check out Inbound Links.

 

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This feature gives you a very good idea of your link profile. From here, you can determine the best sites that link to your site based on their DA, Page Authority (PA) and Spam Score.

If the site where you have a backlink has high DA and PA scores, then you should add them to your Link Tracking List so you can monitor them. The goal here is to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t turn into lost or broken links.

You’ll also find the number of discovered and lost domains by scrolling further down the page.

 

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This lets you track your link building campaign (but note that this feature can only track domains for the last 60 days).

Link Building Competitive Analysis

Moz isn’t backing down as it too has a feature for comparing link profiles between your domain and the competition.

From the Link Explorer dashboard, Compare Link Profiles is easily accessed through the sidebar panel.

 

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Here you can enter two to five domains and pit them against each other.

(Note: Free accounts are limited to two domains.)

As far as the results go, Moz has made an effort to keep the results easy to interpret.

When sites square off against each other, the winning score for every metric is highlighted green. This, for me, is a welcome addition.

 

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If you’d like to keep tabs on your competition, go to Rankings → Competition.

 

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Here you’ll find a graph of your search visibility versus the domain you’re comparing yours to.

 

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You can also track keywords that you and other domains are fighting over.

To me, it’s great being able to see how competitors are ranking for certain keywords. It helps in making an analysis that much faster.

Finding Link Building Opportunities

If you want to find and replicate competitor backlinks using Moz, you’ll have to use Link Intersect.

This feature will show you the sites that are linking to your competitors, which is a useful list of webmasters you could possibly reach out to for backlinks.

 

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To start, all you have to do is enter your domain as well as your competitors. Your search will begin after you click the “Find opportunities” button.

 

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The results will display domains that link to your competitors but not to you.

In the example below, you’ll see the following sites are linking to Nike but not to Adidas.

 

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You’re allowed to enter up to five competitors.

It’s also nice that you’re able to sort the results by DA Score, Spam Score, intersecting sites or referring page.

 

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Keep track of the most interesting backlinks by adding them to a tracking list.

You can do this by ticking the box right next to the domain name, and when you’re finished, you can extract your data as a spreadsheet.

Monitor Backlinks

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Monitor Backlinks may be the underdog in this fight, but you’d be wrong to bet against this horse.

Unlike Moz and Ahrefs, Monitor Backlinks is all about just that—backlinks.

It does link tracking and analysis, competitor checks and keyword rank tracking. It also has a built-in disavow tool and on-demand link checker.

Best of all, the site’s clean interface and ease of use mean users are less likely to get overwhelmed.

Checking Link Profile

As soon as you register, you’ll be asked to enter both your domain and your competitors’ domains. You can also add your target keywords.

Right after, you’ll be brought to the overview where you’ll find your data laid out and ready for analysis.

The initial setup shouldn’t take any longer than three minutes.

 

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(Note: It can take up to 24 hours to gather all the data for your site after the initial setup.)

Right away, you’ll notice the abundance of metrics at your disposal. You have Alexa Rank, Trust Flow and Citation Flow, MozRank, Domain Authority and more.

 

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The graph will show you followed and nofollowed backlinks in a given timeframe.

 

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For a more detailed view of your domain’s backlink information, open the sidebar and click Your Links.

 

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Here you’ll find all the backlinks that are pointing to your domain, and you can filter the sites as you see fit.

What I like the most is the way Monitor Backlinks presents the data. I’m able to find all the information I need at a glance.

By reversing the Citation Flow order, I’m able to see immediately which dubious sites with questionable anchor texts are throwing spam my way.

 

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Ticking the box right next to the URL’s date will allow you to add tags, edit and mark links, as well as disavow bad links right then and there.
 

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There are a lot more filters you can toggle through to get the most out of the results.

Plus, all your backlinks are automatically tracked and updated for you, so you don’t need to manually add them to a list for tracking like with Ahrefs and Moz.

This makes Monitor Backlinks a real contender for the crown.

Link Building Competitive Analysis

On the left sidebar, you’ll find another tool called Competitor Links.

 

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Here you can add the URLs for your competitors. If you already added them during the initial setup, then there’s no need to add them again.

 

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If you’ll notice, the competitor’s total backlinks are displayed along with other metrics you might find useful like number of unique domains, Trust Flow and Citation Flow.

Clicking one of the competitor domains will take you to their backlink profile.

 

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Now you can see not only the linking page of each backlink, but also the anchor text used, whether the link is followed or nofollowed, its IP location and more.

And as I’ve mentioned before, this information can be used to identify sites you can contact as part of your link building outreach.

Finding Link Building Opportunities

Monitor Backlinks also offers a variety of link building opportunities. As shown earlier, you can spy on your rivals and establish a working relationship with those who are linking to them.

You can also filter Your Links to show pages with errors.
 

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This is an easy way to find and fix broken links.

Maybe the webmaster placed the link incorrectly, or maybe there was a typo. Whatever the case, you can contact the webmaster and ask them to correct it so you can regain the backlink.

And finally, Monitor Backlinks also sends you automatic email notifications of new and lost links (for both you and your competitors), which makes it easy to jump on any potential link opportunities as soon as they arise.

Recap and Verdict

So far I’ve taken you through how each backlink tool compares by category.

Now, let’s quickly summarize and determine the winner!

Checking Link Profile

I think it’s fair to say that all three of these tools are easy to use. I didn’t have any issues adding domains to check my link profile.

Now, some may disagree with me, but I found Moz and Ahrefs lacking in this area. Don’t get me wrong, their tools are awesome. But compared to Monitor Backlinks, they just don’t quite cut it as far as backlink monitoring goes.

Monitor Backlinks automatically tracks all your backlinks for you, so you don’t have to type in your domain each time you want to check your link profile.

Plus, it combines data and metrics from heaps of different sources, including Moz, Majestic and more—so you get everything in one place.

I also love the built-in disavow option, which is really handy for me.

So, this round has to go to Monitor Backlinks.

Link Building Competitive Analysis

All three tools stood out in this department.

With Moz, I really like the fact that when you use Compare Link Profiles, the winning metrics are highlighted green. It’s a small touch, but little things like that really do make a huge difference when you’re looking at numbers all day.

Monitor Backlinks’ Competitor Links presents its data clear as day, which I appreciate.

But this round goes to Ahrefs, in my opinion.

Referring Domains is where it’s at. The way you can sort the results coupled with graphs that grant you visual context about what’s happening—it’s everything you need when doing a deep competitor analysis.

Finding Link Building Opportunities

You can find awesome link building opportunities with all three tools.

So in my opinion, all it boils down to is personal preference.

Ahrefs’ Alerts can be powerful if you know how to use it effectively. I also like Moz’s Link Intersect because of its potential.

Monitor Backlinks can do pretty much the same thing as both Ahrefs and Moz.

So in this case, I’d call it a tie between Moz and Monitor Backlinks.

Ahrefs vs Moz vs Monitor Backlinks: Final Thoughts

SEOs have different needs, skill levels, budgets and preferences. So just because I liked one tool over another doesn’t mean it’s not a good choice.

If you’re the type of SEO who likes the nitty-gritty details, then Ahrefs might be better for you.

And Moz is fantastic for anyone looking for a well-rounded SEO solution.

But as great as both of these tools are, their steep pricing can put them out of reach for many small businesses and SEOs on a budget.

That said, Monitor Backlinks was able to meet everything I was looking for, and more. It ticks all the boxes at a much lower price point.

Sign up for a free trial of Monitor Backlinks here to try it out for size!

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