Building links to your website is a huge contributor to whether or not it will get found online. Links (and social media sharing) from reputable sources help boost your website’s trustworthiness and authority within the search engines’ “eyes”, making it easier for your site to rank for relevant keywords. Just because you got a link though, doesn’t mean you can just forget about it.
There are a number of reasons you’ll want to monitor and know who is linking to you:
- Reputation Management – if a customer is complaining about you on their blog, you’ll want to know about it and respond as quickly as possible. Turning an influential detractor can do wonders for your reputation online.
- Branding Management – if you’ve recently gone through a rebranding process, you’ll want to monitor the web for all old mentions of your brand to ensure they are up-to-date. You can find old logos, mottos, and more to help to get them changed to create a more cohesive brand presentation online.
- SEO and Benchmarking – as mentioned above, links are a major part of search engine optimization (SEO). The more high-quality links you have, the more traffic you should be seeing. Knowing who is linking to you will help you benchmark for any future campaigns. It will also let you know if you’re losing links to your site.
There are a number of great ways to find out who is linking to you from their website:
- Open Site Explorer - the most comprehensive, but also expensive option, Open Site Explorer was built by an industry leader in online marketing and tells you everything you need to know about your links. You can also track your competitors and the tool includes great historical data.
- Backlink Watch - the quickest and cheapest option, Backlink Watch shows you some solid info about your existing links and is great for benchmarking.
- Ahrefs - falling somewhere between the two above options, Ahrefs (named after the HTML tag used in hyperlinks) offers a number of great tools and tells you when you gain or lose a link quicker than anybody else.
- Google – You can check your referral traffic from Google Analytics to see which sites link to you and drive traffic your way. Google Webmaster Tools includes a backlink report within its wide array of data about your website. You can also set up Google Alerts on mentions of your URL and company name online to have emails sent to you whenever Google finds a mention of your company.
Here are a few examples from our backlink profile of more than 50,000 links. These are quick and easy targets to help improve the presence of your website. We’ve reached out to these sites, but sometimes requests may go unheard. Be persistent, and eventually you can control the way you’re mentioned online.
- This site uses a version of our logo that does not match our current version.
- This site mentions our company using an incorrect variation of our name.
Once you find these sites, you can kindly reach out to them to see if they’ll make your requested changes. Once you know you have their attention as well, you can also make other requests to improve the value of their links for SEO:
- If the site is linking to you using an image file, have them add your top keywords to the “alt text” behind the image. It’s a three second change for them to make, so it shouldn’t be much trouble for them.
- If the site is linking to you using text, make sure they are linking to your name correctly, and also see if they can add your top keyword to the text in the hyperlink.
Link building is by far the hardest part of SEO, so track it using all the tools you can! Learn more about linkbuilding for photographers from our previous articles.