LinkResearchTools (LRT), which begins at $329 per month (paid annually), is a different kind of search engine optimization (SEO) platform from most of the tools in our roundup. In a well-balanced SEO suite, a small to midsize business (SMB) will likely employ a range of tools across ongoing position monitoring, ad hoc keyword research, and crawling. LinkResearchTools, a self-styled “link data platform” and “off-page SEO toolkit” is ostensibly a crawler but its set of domain analysis, link tracking, and site comparison tools are all geared around backlinks.
Backlinks are one of the building blocks of good SEO. Analyzing the quality of your website’s inbound backlinks and how they’re feeding into your domain architecture can give your SEO team insight into everything from your website’s strongest and weakest pages to search visibility on particular keywords against competing brands. LinkResearchTools is a collection of 25 standalone tools that are tied together into a backlink-focused suite that’s not exactly well-integrated but in which each tool can surface valuable data. While it doesn’t have nearly the overall SEO functionality or unified “command center”-type interface of Editors’ Choice tools Moz Pro, SpyFu, and AWR Cloud, the backlink tracking power of LinkResearchTools equals if not eclipses most of the other crawlers we tested.
Pricing and Plans
LinkResearchTools starts at $329 per month billed annually for its Superhero Small Business plan, which gives you access to a maximum of five domains and 200,000 links per domain. You also get five team members and five projects, and up to two concurrent reports running at a time, and all 25 SEO tools and link data sources. LinkResearchTools states that you can use a different number of tools and functions depending on the plan you have, but doesn’t give specific numbers. All plans come with access to the Link Detox Screener, Link Detox Boost, and Competitive Link Detox tools, as well as advanced competitor research.
The entry level plan also comes with email and phone support, and access to online manuals and tutorials, free video training, and the LinkResearchTools Associate Certification and Certified Professional Program.There’s a much deeper tier-by-tier feature breakdown on the pricing page but some of the highlights from each upper pricing tier are broken down as follows:
- Superhero Startup plan: $649 per month. Ten domains with a maximum of 600,000 links per domain, up to 15 team members and 20 projects, three-times more link data sources, 25 domains monitored (up from five), and up to four concurrent reports running at a time.
- Superhero Plus plan: $1,099 per month. Fifteen domains with a maximum of 1.2 million links per domain, up to 25 team members and 50 projects, up to six concurrent reports running at a time, 50 monitored domains, and white glove onboarding.
- Superhero Brand plan: $2,799 per month. Five domains with a maximum of 6 million links per domain, up to 40 team members and 100 projects, up to 8 concurrent reports, 150 monitored domains, free personal SEO training.
There are deeper quotas and limits on each LinkResearchTools product broken down by tier on the pricing page. Overall, LinkResearchTools has substantially increased its pricing from when we initially reviewed the product. At that time, the lowest price was $169 per month and the highest price was $1,999 per month. As such, the platform is now even less affordable for small to midsize businesses (SMBs).
User Experience and Report Configuration
LinkResearchTools is packaged up similarly to Moz Pro and Majestic as a collection of disparate tools rather than a single, easy-to-navigate dashboard tying all of those tools into a unified platform as is the case with SpyFu, SEMrush, and Searchmetrics. The “dashboard” is simply a list of all the available tools across the product’s various categories: Backlink Analysis, Audit & Recovery, Monitoring (alerts and link checking), Competitor Analysis, Quality Checks, Link Prospecting, and, at the bottom, the three free LinkResearchTools browser extensions. Across the top navigation bar, the other tabs take you to the Reports dashboard, Link Alerts, any recurring reports you’ve scheduled, specific URLs you have favorited, and the Help section.
In most respects, LinkResearchTools is similar in functionality to the other crawlers in this roundup, Ahrefs, DeepCrawl, and Majestic. The platform’s focus on backlinks puts it on par with Majestic more than any other tool as they both offer similar features around bulk backlink tracing and comparative link profiling. What’s different about LinkResearchTools is that, rather than a combination of dashboards and crawling tools, it’s made up completely of the latter.
Every tool takes you to a setup page to configure the report you want to run, and then you have to tab over to the Reports dashboard to wait for it to run. There are no pre-populated or configurable dashboards for at-a-glance checks of particular backlink metrics or domain analytics, and each tool is more or less on its own island. Majestic does a better job of creating a natural workflow in which a query that’s run in one tool feeds directly into another. Upon studying some of my completed reports, I did find options to take selected data from one report and run it in another tool—such as selecting keywords in the Competitive Keyword Analysis tool and running the associated URLs in the Bulk Analyzer tool. As such, the backlink-focused SEO reporting in LinkResearchTools is exemplary. But, aside from its link alerts, it’s not really a monitoring tool. LinkResearchTools acts more like an ad hoc research tool similar to KWFinder.com, only for backlinks.
While there is still no unified dashboard pulling the tools into a cohesive command center-type interface, the company has launched a new user management dashboard from which you can invite multiple users to specific teams within the account, and see reports on tool usage by specific team members. LinkResearchTools has tweaked its layout and tool icons, but not the siloed interface itself. Going forward, we’d like to see LinkResearchTools unify its SEO and backlink arsenal in a more cohesive experience in addition to its one-off feature and usability improvements.
Backlink Tracking and Domain Analysis Tools
The LinkResearchTools platform is structured as a collection of tools so, rather than a standard review looking at features in totality, I’m going to tackle the functionality, usability, and execution of some of the major tools offered one-by-one in each of LinkResearchTools’ tooling categories. But first, LinkResearchTools—as with Moz, Majestic, DeepCrawl, Ahrefs, and many other SEO tools out there—publishes its own trademarked custom metrics that need some explanation.
Many of the reports incorporate LinkResearchTools Power, LinkResearchTools Trust, and combined LinkResearchTools PowerTrust metrics. LinkResearchTools Power is LinkResearchTools’ measure for combined link strength on a page, while LinkResearchTools Trust is a measure of the implied “trust” on a page, approximating the patented TrustRank algorithm. They equate pretty well to Majestic’s Citation Flow and Trust Flow metrics, making up the Flow Metrics algorithm, which along with the combined LinkResearchTools PowerTrust metric, serve as a stand-in of sorts for Google’s now-defunct PageRank algorithm. LinkResearchTools Power and LinkResearchTools Trust are only on a 1-10 scale, while PowerTrust—as with all the Majestic metrics—is on a scale of 1-100 and is generated by multiplying LinkResearchTools Power and LinkResearchTools Trust. LinkResearchTools also makes PowerTrust available as a free browser extension in addition to its Link Research SEO Toolbar and Link Redirect Trace extensions.
LinkResearchTools also has the option to pull in metrics from other SEO tools, such as Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) from Moz, as well as ranking keyword metrics from SEMrush. Standard tools like those in the monitoring section are not covered in detail, as they simply contain email-based alerts you can set up for backlinks from different sources and checking for active backlinks.
And now, for the category-by-category breakdown of what LinkResearchTools can do. These tools have been updated with new features since our initial review, noted tool-by-tool:
- Backlink Analysis: Backlink Profiler and Quick Backlinks are the basic backlink and domain analysis tools that LinkResearchTools offers. When setting up a backlink profile report on the PCMag.com domain, I was able to choose specific pages and subfolders or the entire domain and customize the report to whatever metrics I wanted from LinkResearchTools’ long list, including pulling in everything from link ratios and Google indexing to on-page linking analysis and social voting on the links.
The report itself is similar to Majestic in that it starts off with custom metrics. So, for PCMag.com, the domain got an LinkResearchTools Power score of 7 and LinkResearchTools Trust score of 8, multiplied together for a PowerTrust ranking of 56. Below that I found data visualizations breaking down the link profile and anchor text by PowerTrust, and at the bottom, a large table with all of my requested metrics that was completely filterable and customzable, and which let me export the table for further analysis. While Ahrefs and Majestic do a bit more to help non-SEO experts make sense of the data within the platform, LinkResearchTools provided by far the greatest depth of metrics on each backlink. The company has expanded upon this with expanded backlink profiles and data visualizations for deeper link profiling.
- Audit and Recovery: The Link Detox, Link Detox Boost, Link Juice Recovery Tool, and Strongest Sub Pages tools really stand alone in terms of functionality. Majestic, the closest platform in terms of backlink functionality, doesn’t give you anywhere near LinkResearchTools’ target ability with these tools. The Detox and Link Juice tools work similarly to the way DeepCrawl parses a site down to the deepest level to identify flaws and errors, except it’s focused on cleaning up specific backlinks and sub-pages within your domain architecture to help your site recover from a Google penalty or to quickly rebuild a site’s backlinks after a re-launch or move to a new domain.
The company has also added more keyword-focused features to these tools with the addition of automatic keyword classification. During the link auditing process, keywords are automatically classified for all your new backlinks for when you re-run or start a new report for your domain. You can set this up by going into Settings and clicking on Auto Keyword Classification Settings to add the domains for which you want to classify keywords.
The Link Detox and Link Juice Recovery Tools took several hours to run the reports—the longest of any lag time—but, when I checked the completed report later in the day, it had identified several hundred below-average domains that are ranked with LinkResearchTools’ trademarked DTOXRISK metric as either disavowed, very low, below average, average, or high. Each rank also came with corresponding rules the backlinked page had broken, such as being a weak domain or a duplicate page, as you would find on a domain basis in a DeepCrawl scan. This is the most valuable feature in LinkResearchTools, and it can help your business quickly identify and purge SEO liabilities with backlink crawling.
- Competitor Analysis: Tools such as Quick Domain Compare, Competitive Landscape Analyzer, and Competitive Keyword Analyzer allowed me to do head to head or multiple-site domain comparison on the major metrics and backlink profiling LinkResearchTools provides. For instance, in the Quick Domain Compare tool, I found that PCMag’s PowerTrust score of 56 beat out PCWorld’s score of 49, largely because we at the PCMag domain had higher numbers of ranked keyword as well as more backlinks from .EDU and .GOV domains, which boost a site’s backlink profile and trust. The Competitive Landscape Analyzer tool did the same but for multiple domains, so I added several PCMag competitors and the report populated a few interactive charts with the same table layout below, breaking them down by whichever metrics I chose from the list. These features are similar in functionality to Majestic’s Link Fight tool, though Majestic doesn’t reserve the comparison feature for higher tiers.
In the Competitive Keyword Analyzer tool, I found the only ad hoc keyword research capabilities within the platform. Adding my five test keywords—PCMag, IT consultant, online shopping, digital marketing, and small business accounting—the tool gave me a search results page breakdown of the URL in each position along with a full backlink profile and LinkResearchTools custom metrics, instead of the typical average search volume and keyword difficulty metrics you would find in tools like KWFinder.com, SEMrush, and Moz Pro. It’s not quite as effective a way to identify target keywords as is using those dedicated tools. There is basic keyword management in the ability to click the Star icon and add a URL to your Favorites, but not much beyond that.
- Link Prospecting: These tools, including the SERP Research Tool, Contact Finder, Common Backlinks Tool, Missing Link Tool, and Link Juice Thief are interesting backlink-focused tools that are designed for sales and marketing teams. In the SERP tool, I once again added my target keywords and checked off the metrics I wanted in the report builder. Once the report was completed, it gave me a long list of URLs for those keywords as they appear in Google search results, with the same collection of backlink totals and metrics as found in the report tables in other tools.
The Contact Finder is a nifty scan to identify a contact email and webmaster details for any site in order to target that site as a lead, while the Common Links and Missing Links tools were good ways to find backlinks common to your site’s competitors that you may be missing in order to close the SEO gap. These tools can’t quite match the SEO lead management and return-on-investment (ROI) tracking capabilities in more full-featured platforms such as SEMrush and SpyFu, but they certainly set LinkResearchTools apart from the other crawlers when it comes to offering features expressly intended for digital marketing.
A Report-Based SEO Linking Toolkit
LinkResearchTools can go head to head with Majestic when it comes to backlink tracking, and the combination of its audit and recovery tools plus its sales-focused link prospecting tools help it stand apart amongst crawlers. Ahrefs and DeepCrawl can do a bit more in terms of overall crawling capability outside of backlink-specific metrics. Also, LinkResearchTools is priced comparatively higher than most other SMB-focused SEO tools; particularly if you pay for the higher tiers to get access to all 25 tools. In totality, LinkResearchTools is a unique tool that focuses its SEO value on tackling backlink tracking from every possible angle. While it doesn’t provide the platform-wide SEO value of Editors’ Choices Moz Pro, SpyFu, and AWR Cloud across the full range of ongoing position monitoring, keyword research, and crawling, its comprehensive arsenal of backlink tools make it more than worthy of consideration as part of your company’s SEO tool suite.