How To Track Inbound Links

Link ReportsLink building is the exercise of SEO.  With a good link building campaign you can improve the rankings of your website and bring new, more competitive keywords into reach.  Links strengthen your website.  So, it’s important to know how many inbound links you have pointing to your website and what pages / keywords may need some more targeting.

There are two things that you track regarding inbound links.

  1. The overall number of inbound links to your site and to specific pages.
  2. The specific links you are getting from your various link building strategies.

Total Links
It’s important to know how many links you have pointing to your website and even to specific pages to gauge your the strength of your site and pages as well as see the overall effectiveness of your link building campaigns.  There are currently three good places to find information about your total inbound links:

Google Webmaster Tools is, unfortunately, suspect in their figures.  Google has never been one to give out their information, so it’s no surprise that their linking data isn’t the most accurate.  Yahoo Site Explorer is good, but we’ll see how it works once it’s Bing Webmaster Tools.  Then there’s Majestic SEO.  On the plus side, Majestic SEO exists specifically to give you as much link data as they can.  On the down side they have their own web crawlers and their own database, so the links they find are not necessarily the same links Google or Bing will find, but it should be pretty close.

Specific Links:
Link BuildingIn addition to getting an overall picture of your link building, you will most likely want to track the specific links of your link building campaigns.  There are several ways to do this depending on the link building strategy you are using.

Some Examples:

  • If your link building strategy involves getting links on specific pages (possibly because you are contacting webmasters for links or you are doing directory registration), then you can use software like Internet Business Promoter.  IBP has a feature which allows you to enter URLs and it will help you keep track of whether they are linking to your site or not.  Their software is also helpful in finding possibly linking sources.
  • If you are doing article marketing and want to find websites that are adding your articles to their sites, then you can setup a Google Alert for the specific title of your article or some other unique part of the article.  Google will alert you whenever it finds a page with that unique text (i.e. your article).
  • If you are blogging, turn on ping back notifications.  This will let you know when someone links back to your blog post.

These are just some of the ways that you can track the links for the specific link building strategies you are using to see how each is performing individually.  There isn’t enough time to mention all the different tracking methods for all the different link building strategies, but the point here is that it’s a good idea to track the links.  This will tell you which strategies are working and which aren’t.  With some, like article marketing, this can even tell you if certain tactics (like specific kinds of articles) are more effective within a strategy thus helping you to optimize that strategy.

Photos by Erik J. Gustafson and Gatis Gribusts

In our next article we’ll look at tracking the traffic to your website through website analytics.

What do you think?

What is your favorite site/tool for tracking inbound links to your website?


About the author

Kurt Steinbrueck


  • Thanks for this review, very valuable info for link builders as myself. Personally I prefer to use Open Site Explorer tool to get all the information about my backlinks. It provides me with detailed information and helps to create link building reports

  • Thanks a lot for sharing this, Kurt. One problem though, I don't think Keywords Selection is as important anymore when Hummingbird (Google's latest search engine algorithm update) arrived. You see, with Hummingbird, the results are no longer directly coupled to individual keywords, but rather to the sequence of the queries. The linking of a sequence of queries is makes it possible to determine the intent of a search query without the need for ‘caveman’ terms.

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