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Backward Links - Who links to my website?

How do you know if there are any websites linking to yours? 

Well, you have to ask the search engines.  And some are better to ask than others.

GOOGLE 

Google will show you some of the websites that link to yours, but it is definately not the best source.  Still, it's good to see what they have.  So, go to http://www.google.com and in the search bar type in this:

link:http://www.yourwebsitename.com  

OK, obviously, you insert your domain name in there.  For instance, if I am looking for backward links on my folk's bed and breakfast site, I would type in,

link:http://www.dreamsofyesteryear.com

Google finds 15 links, which are web pages which link to www.dreamsofyesteryear.com, many of which have 0 page rank (a value Google gives to sites showing their importance).  Some of them are familiar to me because they are directories we list the site in, or some of our sites that we link to hers with, or her blog, etc. 

YAHOO

Now let's try going to http://www.yahoo.com and in the search bar type this:

links:www.yourwebsitename.com

I am going to enter the Dreams of Yesteryear Bed and Breakfast site in again here.  This time I get 102 results, way more than Google gave me.  Here we find some newspaper websites that wrote an article about the bed and breakfast, the Yahoo Directory link, several other directories, personal websites of guests who stayed in the bed and breakfast and either blogged or made a web page about it (very nice of them eh), a website we made to advertise a bike package she does with another B&B, a link from Promotion Web Design, various local lodging websites, etc. etc.  Of couse there are a number of useless links here, some familiar as among the hundreds of link exchange requests she receives (and doesn't reciprocate... these haven't been helpful and there are way too many to try to establish worthwhile link relationships with them). As you can tell, Yahoo has a much more comprehensive list.  It is much more what you'd expect from a site that's been online since 1998.

There appears to be a similar function provided by Yahoo at https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/mysites

MSN - LIVE 

Huh, you can't use them anymore for getting your back links apparently.

But here is a nice tool you can use to check for your own links and compare to your competition's websites: http://www.marketleap.com/publinkpop/

It is a little more complicated than just looking at the results from Google and Yahoo, but interesting to compare.

What does all this mean?  Well, nothing specific.  By doing this you can get an overall feel for the popularity of your website.  Each link coming into your site is a "vote" for your site that the search engines take into consideration when deciding if your page should show up on page 1 of their search results, or on page 20 or page no-where-to-be-found.  Incoming links, in general, are a good thing and you want them. Quality links are what you are going for.  Again this is only speaking generally!  But your typical link exchange (someone e-mails you and says they'll put your link on their site if you link to them from yours) is not usually very helpful.  Much better are natural links that develop because people like your site and they write a little something about you in their blog or in an article, or something like a press release, or an article you write to have placed on someone else's website, etc. Links that come from pages about a topic related to yours (anything travel related, for instance, in the case of the bed and breakfast) are more helpful than links from unrelated sites.  But don't be too picky.  Ultimately, links are links and links are good.  This does include, by the way, links on your own site that link to your home page.  Always remember to link to your home page. 

If you do your backlink check and find out you have very few or no links coming in to your site, you need to get going on a link building campaign.  Write more pages for your own site.  Write articles  which include your URL and have your friends upload them to their sites.  Do an online press release (a topic for another day), etc.  Or you could always hire someone to help SEO (search engine optimize) your site.  There are companies that do that kind of work ahem ahem. Laughing

 

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