Backlink Reports in Google Analytics Social Reporting

What was one of the things that missed out when you log in to your Google analytics? Don’t answer, I’m sure there are tons of things we would like there or in Google Webmaster Tools, but Google thought that the best thing to add is a backlink report section.

backlinks in analytics

Yesterday Google announced a new feature to backlink tracking in Social Reports[1] section. According to their announcement the backlinks tracked and shown in Google Analytics are only trackbacks and social, which is what we found out first hand once we managed to find the hidden backlink section. So for now there are no full backlink reports from websites that Google knows are linking to you, but just from social sites like social networks, bookmarks and websites that have trackback functionality.

The first complaint, aside from the limited functionality of the reports and the data shown, is that it’s almost impossible to find. Let’s go there step by step, once you select the website you want from the main dashboard panel click “Traffic Sources-“social-“pages” as shown on the image below:

Pages   Google Analytics

You will see a graph of visits through social referrals and underneath a graph with total number of visits, below which is a list of URLs arranged by number of visits. Click on the link you would like to check social engagement and backlinks.

Pages   Google Analytics URL

Once you select the URL you will load a new page with a social referral graph for that URL and total number of visits, underneath the graphs is the list of all social networks that brought traffic to that page. Above the graphs are two tabs, the active one when you land on the page is “social referral”, next to it is “activity stream” tab, click on it.

activity stream

When you land on the “activity stream” tab scroll down and you will see a list of conversations on social networks that talked about the specific URL you chose.

URL conversations

Next to the “conversation” tab is “events” tab, click on it and you are finally there.


Now this is what you see, a list of links from social networks, bookmarks and trackbacks.

backlinks in google analytics

Needless to say that this is overcomplicated and buried too deep, hope that Google engineers will fix this soon and give it an easy access from the sidebar menu. Also, including other backlinks as well wouldn’t hurt at all.



Zac is a link building specialist and a seasoned SEO professional. He manages a team of link builders and actively promotes some of Australia's biggest brands. Zac is an active blogger and also maintains Dejan SEO's news and updates section.

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