There are hundreds of factors that go into Google’s ranking algorithm, but many agree that backlink-related factors count for dozens of those. Simply put, your site won’t rank well without them.

If your page gets inbound links from topical and relevant pages, Google rewards you in turn with authority shown through SERP ranking. Google’s Matt Cutts weighed in on why these links make a difference:

“It turns out backlinks…for the most part are still a really, really big win in terms of quality of search results.”

Alright, so getting quality, relevant backlinks builds your SEO power. The problem is that many people rely on the tactic of looking for their competitor's backlinks and then spending their time chasing those same sites. There's nothing wrong SEO-wise with that approach, but we suggest something that cuts to the chase.

If you want to rank on specific keywords, then your backlinks should be focused on the same goal.

SpyFu's Backlink Builder is not made for audits. It’s made for discovery.

Its purpose is to find the most powerful backlinks that will help you rank on the keywords you target. Other tools assign metrics and help you organize your links, but we suggest you focus on finding the best backlink opportunities that are tied to the keyword itself--not the competitor that ranks for it.

Backlinks by Domain

Skip Tedious Steps: Start with a Keyword

It’s time to end that old routine. Usually, you have to find a few domains on the SERP and roll the dice when you pick out their links one by one. Using the Backlink Builder, you can search for the best backlinks simply by telling us the keyword you want to rank on. We’ll look at the top domains ranking for this keyword and find the strongest backlinks they have in common.

Backlinks by Keyword

If you prefer to search a single domain’s profile, though, you have that option, too. Not only can you find a domain’s Google-indexed inbound links, but you can filter down to the backlinks that rank on your targeted keywords.

In that case, you would enter a domain name and then select "Backlinks" under the SEO Research tab. Keep in mind that this is not for audit purposes. It's intended to help you find the domain's valuable, Google-approved inbound links.

Either approach lets you focus on finding the most valuable ones to help grow your rankings.

Here's how to get the most of out of the Backlink tools for keywords and for domains.

Focus by Filtering

We recognize that finding a competitor’s backlink profile isn’t often the final solution. You’ve got to make sure that these aren’t duplicate links and that they’re actually, well… good quality links. Plus, simply identifying them is just the start. These are potential links to your site, and getting them to send you a link is more work ahead.

We’ve got you covered.

We’re big believers in a great filter. The days are too short to spend picking through a data overload. Even when it’s great data, there’s much more value you can gain from it when you can narrow your focus and work on just the backlinks that come from .gov/.edu sites or just the backlinks that rank on the keywords you’re after.

You’ll find a few different filters in the Backlink Builder that help you find the most fitting links for the project in front of you.

Filter by Keyword

If you started with a domain’s backlink profile, you can look at just the pages that rank on the keyword you’re focusing on. As we mentioned earlier, Google sees these inbound links as signs that you have a topical, quality site.

If you focus on a few related keywords at a time, you can craft a more qualified pitch to those site owners when you’re asking them to link to a particular piece of related content. Overall, that kind of focus is going to help drive your rankings up.

Filter by Page Type

Filter Page by Type

We love this flexible feature for help with a twist on building up your affiliates. It also helps with sorting your links based on which ones will take more (or less) effort.

Some links are easier to get than others, but there’s a link juice trade off. .Gov /.Edu pages are powerful authorities, but tracking down the right person to pitch your site to might be a major task. Not that you should write it off, though. We’ve build contact info for each domain into the backlinks results to help you find the best way to get in touch.

We see the other end of the difficulty scale, too. It’s not too hard to get a forum link, but for that reason alone, forums have lost a lot of Google confidence when it comes to being a quality indicator. Some avoid them altogether. You can check the forum page filter and “x out” the results before you dive in.  Not that forums themselves are harmful. Some people like Dave Davies (Search Engine Watch) turn the anti-forum sentiment on its head. He argues in favor of embracing older (and shunned) methods as part of your greater link profile strategy.


This is a hat tip to a long-time SpyFu user favorite, SpyFu Kombat: by comparing competitor sites and backing out the data from your site, you can uncover the most important and valuable keywords that you’re missing.

We carried that same idea over to the Backlink Builder so that you can zoom in on pages that are ultra-relevant AND they’re not linking to you already. Salute it, because you are looking at Major Opportunity.

Quick example. This adorable* doggie treat bakery “Three Dog Bakery” creates fresh dog food and treats and delivers it to your door. (*They bake doggie treats as their business, so that makes them adorable. Don’t argue with me.)

If they’re trying to capitalize on the backlinks that will help them climb up the SERPs alongside similar businesses, they can start with a search for’s backlinks and add That filters the results so that you see the pages that link to both of those sites. Then, removes itself to ensure that we’re showing them only new pages that they don’t already get links from.

Backlink Kombat

And of course, export and sort.

The results that we show you are listed in an interactive grid. You can sort by stats like “number of ranked keywords” and “number of organic clicks.” All of these details – along with URL and social stats – are included when you export the data so that you can sort it in any custom way that matches the way you work.

Kudos to the one who coined the phrase “bad link neighborhoods” because it captures the idea that you might stumble onto a link that seems harmless up front, but it could be tied to link farms and networks you want no part of. It’s a time-saver (and adds peace of mind) to know that you can add links that you won’t have to spend time dis-avowing down the line.

By showing you inbound links that have already ranked in Google, the Backlink Builder helps you find quality backlinks that you can trust. You avoid the risk of adding junk links that can only backfire.

Where other tools bog you down with metrics and extra steps, SpyFu helps you cut through that and go directly to the very links that will help you rank on the keywords you are aiming for.

We asked Dave Davies of Beanstalk SEO to take the Backlink Builder for a test run.  He shared his thoughts on what sets the Backlink Builder apart:

*“It’s not just another database but a new way of looking at and building backlinks. The seven years of keyword ranking data make this the most powerful tool I know [for] pin-pointing [relevant] sites…and then you get to compare that data with which of those sites link to your competition. –Dave Davies

Most available tools are really good for auditing your site, and we don’t suggest you drop them. Our tool is not a replacement for those “site-checker” tools. Instead, add this to your tool box as the best way to uncover the most powerful backlinks that you’re missing

Follow through here to get started on your own backlink ideas.