I have written several blog posts and articles on the importance of backlinks as part of your overall search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Your backlinks strategy should include the following:
- You want to know the backlinks you have currently and develop a plan to increase your backlinks which could include releasing PR articles, asking other websites for links to your website, etc.
- You want to monitor and measure your backlinks to determine where traffic is coming from and how those visitors act once they are on your website.
- You want to monitor your competitor’s backlinks.
In addition here is another aspect to consider. Many SEO practioners will argue that backlinks have been reduced in prominence because of increased prominence placed on social recommendations, and I happen to agree, but you should also consider social recommendations as a type of backlink and measure them as well.
So let’s take a look at some tools you can use to monitor your website.
OpenSiteExplorer.org – This is a free tool provided by SEOmoz, and they also offer a paid version with more bells and whistles.
BacklinkWatch.com – This is another free tool that is fairly accurate based on tests I have run.
Google Webmaster Tools – is a free tool, and you just have to add a piece of code to your website to validate you are the website owner. Webmaster Tools provides you with links to your website in addition to Google +1 links.
Blekko – Blekko is a search engine, but it has some interesting SEO tools. Just search for your company website, and click on SEO links under your listing.
MajesticSEO – Another free tool, but like Google Webmaster Tools, you are limited to the websites you own.
Social Marketing Links – There are several tools available to measure your social marketing backlinks. Many of the free analytics tools like Google Analytics will provide you with social marketing backlinks. In addition social link tools like AddThis will provide you with link statistics.
All of these tools are going to provide you with different numbers. The key is to pick 2 or 3, and monitor them on a regular basis so you can follow the backlink strategy I mentioned above.