3 Tools to Track and Analyze Inbound Links

Part two of this week’s series How to Start a Link-Building Campaign. How to analyze your backlinks and credibility (and that of your competitors!)

On Monday, we talked about discovering your potential external sources for a link-building campaign, and today we will talk a little more about analyzing those sources.

Many of your sources have already begun their own link-building campaigns. But the ones that you should pay the most attention to are your competitors. Finding out where they are receiving their backlinks may be a big help in uncovering sources you may have missed in your initial research.

Backlinks (also called inbound links) are any type of link that is directed back at your site. Next to keyword optimization, the popularity of your site in search engines is a big indication of how many backlinks you have. Not all backlinks are the same, though. Submitting your site to a link-farm index isn’t going to give you much credibility, because search engines can identify these pages and discount your authenticity. Joining into a reciprocal agreement with link-farm pages will also flag you and hurt your search engine status.

Some great free tools for discovering backlinks are:

Also, if you are using Firefox, they have a great plugin called “Search Status” that will display Google PageRank, Alexa rank and Compete.com ranking anywhere in your browser, along with a fast keyword density analyzer, keyword/nofollow highlighting, backward/related links, Alexa info and more.

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However, if you are really doing your research, you may feel cut short since most backlink tracking tools max out around 1,000. If that’s enough to get the job done, then great. If it’s not, you can get your hands dirty by using the “link:” command in Yahoo, Google, and Alta Vista.

For example, if your competitor is Forbes.com, you need only go to Yahoo.com and type in “link:http://www.forbes.com“. The difference with this method next to Yahoo! Site Explorer, is that with this method you are getting all inbound links, whereas with Yahoo! Site Explorer, you are getting the first 1,000 most credible links. Doing it this way, you are getting more results, but they aren’t necessarily in order of credibility to a search engine.

So that’s your assignment for today. Go out and analyze all of your competitors. Take the contact list for your link-building campaign to the next step and fill in the gaps that you missed by finding out who is linking to your competitors. On Friday, we’re going to talk about how to build relationships with those contacts, and how to get your site many more quality backlinks.

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