Inbound Link Tracking – Some Surprising Inconcistencies Depending on What Tracking Tool You Choose

The basic “link:” search technique is quick, but may not be the best way to track a Website’s Link Popularity in Google and Yahoo.

Flickr image by p373 / Pete Welsch

While it may be simple, using the link:yourdomain.com technique to trace backlinks does not provide anywhere near as much data as you need to make informed decisions. (Note there can be no space between the “link:” and the web page URL.) I know there are tons of inbound links to my own DesignWise.net domain but only 6 inbound links are reported when I use this basic method.

I get a bit more detail using Alexa as a next step in researching my Website’s popularity with other sites. You can also use Alexa to learn about your competitors’ link popularity. The basic Alexa tools are free and simple to use.

Google Tools

To see a much larger sampling of links and other reports, you should always set up and verify your Website in Google’s Webmaster Tools. Then, on your Webmaster Tools Home page, you can select the verified site you want and expand the sidebar link to Your site on the web and click on Links to your site. If there is no data you might need to set up a sitemap in the Google Analytics section of Webmaster Tools. This is a little more complicated, but once you have it up and running you will then have access to even more detail in the Analytics reports on Traffic Sources. In this case, Referring Sites are your inbound links.

Yahoo! Tools

Yahoo! Site Explorer is a popular, free tool for analyzing and tracking inbound links but you must have a Yahoo account and again verify  the site first. And the results are worth the effort! Yahoo reports 205 Pages and 389 InLinks to this DesignWise.net Website.

Eric Miraglia created Page Inlink Analyzer using Yahoo’s API and Delicious’ bookmarks to analyze the pagelinks to your site and rate their relative “Link Value.”

Why do the two following tools work even better at tracking backlinks than Google or Yahoo?

Majestic SEO will provide a quick and detailed analysis of backlinks, but requires verification to get the details. Nonetheless, it reports finding more than 3,000 backlinks to DesignWise.net.

Open Site Explorer’s Linkscape is quick, requires no registration and finds a total of 740 incoming links! The free reports are tabulated and rich with details.

I don’t have the time and the knowledge to analyze the whys regarding the vast  differences in the results from the various methods used to track incoming links. If anyone else knows wht, please post a comment… I am just glad to have discovered a couple of superior ways to get accurate inbound link data that I need and I hope this quest helps you as well.

Why is it important to track your link popularity? Because its one important factor that search engines use to rank your Website. The more authentic incoming links, the better.

Definitions:

Link Popularity is a general tally of the total number of Web pages which link to a Website (or a specific Web page). Most major search engines support finding them with the “link:” operator.

Google’s New Sidewiki, One of 6 Reasons Why Every Small Business Must Now Have a Gmail Account

Since its launch on September 23, 2009, Google’s Sidewiki has been a cause of concern to many Web site owners. It’s no longer a question of “if” you open a Gmail account, it’s a matter of “when.”

That’s because it allows the public to post comments on any Web site. Many people think its dangerous to open up so much opportunity for the 2% who misbehave… and some people are finding some very nice Google alternatives: Google: It’s not me, it’s you.

Nonetheless, Google is not going away, so you may as well face the fact that it is now imperative that you register for a Gmail account and participate in the shaping of your own Web presence (before someone else starts doing it for you) for the following 5 reasons:

  • Google Maps provides any registered business owner whose operations are located at an actual  physical address, with the right to securely claim their Google map listing and then add content to the listing. You can write your own description, add and modify your hours of operation, payment options and  include as many as 10 photographs. You can even add in a coupon to your 100% free Google map listing.
  • Google Local gives businesses listing administrators a free dashboard akin to what Websites get for free with Google Analytics.
  • Google Analytics allows you to see where your Website visitors are coming from, what they are looking at and where they go after they leave. You can start tracking goals in Google Analytics simply by telling Google which of your site pages indicate that a goal (or conversion) has been met. Click for the missing Google Analytics Manual.
  • Google Profiles are the electronic equivalent of a business card – one that allows you to claim and control a key portion of the results of a Google name search associated with you or your business.
  • Google Webmaster Tools require you to verify ownership of your Website by adding a file that Google specifies or an HTML meta tag. Once you have completed either of those methods of proving direct ownership, then you can log into Google Webmaster Tools and click on “verify”.
  • Google Sidewiki, a new add-on to the Google Toolbar, that allows anyone with a Gmail account to make comments on any Website. Those comments can be seen by anyone who is also using the Toolbar. As the registered Website owner, your introductory commentary will always appear at the top of the comments. Note: Sidewiki does not work on secure sites.

Gmail now provides users with more than 7 gigs of free storage – and if that’s not enough you can buy 20 gigs more space for $5 a year. Since your free storage is shared between Gmail and any of your Picasa Web Albums, and if you you take lots of photos, you can buy up to 16 terabytes of storage space.

When you open your new Gmail account…

You can click the “Settings” link in the upper right corner and get to work under the “Accounts and Import” tab easily importing all of your mail and contacts from Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL, or other webmail or POP3 accounts. At the bottom of that same page you can begin working on your business listing by clicking on the “Google Account settings” link. On the page that opens, look for the “Local Business Center‘ and get to work claiming and enhancing your business’ Google Map Listings.

Google is a rolling ball… one that keeps on improving and expanding with a ton of free cloud features like Google docs, calendar and offline synchronization using Google Gears. Here are 5 Gmail tricks everyone should know.

LINKS:

Some Google search results include a set of links below them to pages within the site. They are called called Sitelinks and Google provides the following information on how they generate these links. Here’s a complete analysis on how to get Google Sitelinks.

You can keep track of all the latest Google developments by checking in on…