When you first start to look at a domain and its link profile the temptation is often to go and look at whatever tool you have and accept that as reality.
By doing so you are only ever seeing an incomplete picture of your link profile. Only by combining link data sources do you stand a chance of seeing a more complete picture.
Let me show you some proof of how this typically works: -
This is a project created within Opphive.
As you create the project, you have the option to upload various link data sources, and the system works out what it already knows about and what is new from each upload.
- We started with Ahrefs, who reported that the domain had 911 referring domains.
- Next, we added Majestic, and the system detected they had 157 additional domains we didn't know about from the Ahrefs upload.
- Finally, we added GSC, and that added an extra 302 domains that neither Ahrefs nor Majestic had provided.
If you just glanced at that you'd think that the dataset from GSC must be the biggest, followed by Majestic and then Ahrefs, but… that's not the case.
- The Ahrefs file had 911 referring domains in it
- Majestic had 725 referring domains in it
- GSC had 866 referring domains in it
So you can see that whilst the datasets are all of similar size, each one contained its own unique mix of domains that the others didn't know about.
But why is this?
Crawling and indexing the web is a complicated process, it's beyond even the most well-resourced tool to have a complete index. All of the main link data providers also only maintain a few months of link data, if it wasnt crawled within that period then it drops out of the main index we see.
Google only shows what it wants to show
It's true that Google probably knows about almost all of the links that the likes of Majestic, Ahrefs, Moz or SEMrush know, they just dont choose to show us everything they are aware of.
Combine your link data into a tool like Opphive to get the most complete view of the profile possible. Accept that you will probably have to add to and refresh this data periodically to maintain a complete view.
It's also useful to have a tool that does not forget a linking domain is its not been seen for a while, Opphive never forgets.