By Evan Carmichael on July 21st, 2009
As a part of my ongoing SEO University posts I’m going to begin a series on Link Building Tactics. From its inception Google has weighed links very heavily when deciding where to rank a website in its index. Links count as votes and the more links and higher quality links you have from authority websites, the higher you will rank for your keywords.
The idea is pretty simple. Assuming that you’ve picked your keywords and have done all the possible optimization on your website, how should Google rank you if your competitors have done the exact same thing? The answer is through links. If your competitors have hundreds or thousands of quality links and you’re a brand new site with no links then you are not going to outrank your competitors.
The Quick Way To Find Links To Your Website
If you want to check to see how many links the search engines are picking up for your site, Google offers a number of free tools for webmasters. The first and the easiest is to do a search for link:http://www.YourWebsite.com. If I put it in for EvanCarmichael.com, here is what shows up:
The Real Way To Find How Many Links You Have
According to this result Google is showing that 529 webpages are linking to my site. You should take this number with a huge grain of salt because Google will only show you a fraction of the real links that it actually recognizes.
If you really want to find out how many links Google recognizes you need to go to the Google Webmaster Tools page (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en). If you have not yet claimed your website then it’s time to verify it with Google! It will give you access to tons of free data on how Google sees your website and give you insights into what you need to work on.
If you have already claimed your site and want to find out the number of links you have simply load your Webmaster Tools, click on your domain name and go to Your site on the Web > Links to your site. Here is what it looks like for my site:
According to Google Webmaster Tools I have 25,473 links to my site and 6,788 of them are going to my homepage. If you continue with the report you can see exactly which external website are linking to your homepage as well as all the other pages on your site. With the link:http://www.evancarmichael.com showing only 529 links, Google was only reporting 2% of the actual links that they recognize for my site!
How Do I Use This Information
Two of my favorite ways to use this information are to check for links you think should be there and thank and build relationships with current linkers.
“Finding out who is linking to you can be a great opportunity to connect with the website owner who set up the link, thank them, and potentially build even more links to your site!”
Check Links – Have you recently received a couple of links but you’re not seeing them on Google’s list? Sometimes Google can take months before they pick up new links and they may not find all of them (Google isn’t perfect!). If Google didn’t pick up the new links yet don’t wait and hope for them to find them, tell Google they exist by submitting the link to their add URL tool. I used to use this tool every time I got a link, now I only do it for the high profile ones. I want Google picking up those links as soon as possible! Most people who know about the add URL tool use it to submit their own pages but you should also submit any page that has a link to you that you know about and Google hasn’t picked up yet!
Build Relationships – One of the features I love about Webmaster Tools is that they show you exactly who is linking to you and what pages they are linking to. I’ve found so many links to my site that I didn’t even know existed before! Finding out who is linking to you can be a great opportunity to connect with the website owner who set up the link, thank them, and potentially build even more links to your site! It’s a great way to build relationships and people are usually surprised that you cared enough to write to them!
Over the coming weeks I’ll continue this series on link building and will share with you some beginner and then more advanced tactics on how you can generate more links to your site and boost your Google rankings!
What have you done to build links to your webpage?
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