I’m going to be honest. I wasn’t happy with my previous post “Website Referrals: Who’s Linking to You?“. I wanted to delve much deeper into researching inbound links, but I also wanted a short and snappy post that visitors could read and find useful on the fly. After thinking a while, I decided to settle with adding this extra post with more information and tips which essentially makes this Website Referrals Part 2!
Level: Beginner / Intermediate
Discovering Inbound Links
There have been some fantastic posts about discovering inbound links to websites, including competitive link searches, so I don’t want to simply rewrite what has already been said. Instead I’m going to outline the main methods and provide some starting points.
Arguably the most popular search engine, it seems like the perfect place to start. Wrong. While Google provides a method to discover inbound links to a specific domain, its data is innaccurate at best. So what’s the benefit of using Google at all? If you are optimising specifically for Google, it’s useful to know which websites Google is currently aware of that are linking to you. In the search bar:
- link:www.domain.com or link:domain.com – finds the websites that Google is aware of that are linking to the specified domain
- www.domain.com or domain.com – finds instances of the specified domain being mentioned in text form (not necessarily linked)
Yahoo! has the most accurate data on links and should be your main port of call when finding which websites are linking to you. To get the most out of Yahoo! use SiteExplorer. In the search bar:
- linkdomain:domain.com – site:domain.com or link:http://www.domain.com/ – site:domain.com – find web pages linking to the domain, excluding internal links within the website itself.
MSN isn’t as good as Yahoo! as its data is fairly incomplete, but it is reliable and it’s useful to know which websites MSN is aware of that link to you. In the search bar:
- linkdomain:domain.com -site:domain.com
Website Analytics Software
Using tracking software such as Google Analytics can also help you track websites that are linking to you, but they will only do this once a user has followed the link and not before. However, what the software will tell you is which websites referred the best quality visitors – that is those visitors who interacted the most with your website and converted.