Inbound links are such an important part of a linking strategy that some organizations find them-
selves caught up in the process of learning who is linking back to them. It’s not a bad thing to want
to know where your links are coming from. And one of the places you can gather that information
is from your web-analytics application. Some analytics programs will show you at least the top-
performing links to your site. These reports are usually part of the marketing element of the
You can also perform a search at Google for the term
. This returns search
results for all the web sites that Google considers relevant links to your web site. A similar search on
Yahoo! will result in a more complete list of incoming links. This is a good way to figure out who’s
linking to you unless there are hundreds of links. If there are more than a dozen or so, you could
find yourself surfing the results of this search for far more time than you have to spend examining
your inbound links.
That’s why there’s also link management software that will track your links for you. LinkMachine is
one link management software (
). Link management software
allows you to track and manage your links and linking strategies. It takes away some of the time-
consuming manual tracking tasks.
Creating outbound links
If controversy were an SEO strategy, everyone would be at the top of their SEO game. Unfortunately,
it’s not. All controversy does is muddy the waters. And that’s exactly what the controversy over
whether or not you should have outbound links on your site is good for — making life difficult.
The subject of outbound links has often been debated. There are some who worry about leaking
PageRank — what (supposedly) happens when you link out to other sites. The fear behind leaking
is two-fold: when you lead people away from your site they may not come back (hence your visi-
tors “leak” away), and when you link out to other pages, you’re reducing the value of each “vote”
because the value of an outbound link is divided by the total number of outbound links.
No one knows for sure exactly what mix of elements is considered when your page is ranked by a
search engine. However, it’s safe to say that if you have only inbound links and no outbound links,
it can’t look good for your site. And especially these days when social marketing is becoming more
and more of a factor for search engine results. The best plan of action is to have a balanced mix of
inbound and outbound links. Your site visitors will expect to see some links leading to other sites
on the Web, whether those links are simple resources to help them find what they need or some-
Outbound links also help to establish your expertise in a particular area. Yes, inbound links help
with that as well, but it’s not enough just to have people pointing to you. You should also have some
favorites out there that you find helpful and that you think others will find helpful. When your visi-
tors click through these links and find that you do know what they’re looking for, the loyalty points
will be awarded to you.
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