Article Archive by Author

January 11 2013

How to Find out who is Linking to Your Website

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It is a well known fact by most of those who own or operate a website that having links to your website on other companies or people’s websites is beneficial for a few reasons:

  • They can provide relevant traffic to your website, if for example a news article is written about your company.
  • They can provide great PR; the more visibility that your company can achieve the better.
  • They can benefit you in regard to Search Engine Optimization, as long as they are high quality.

But many people wonder, “How do I find out who is linking to my website?” Google provides a tool to see when your website has been linked to, what websites are linking to yours, and what pages on your website people linking to.

All of this data and more can be found in your Google Webmaster Tools account. If you are unsure if you have an account, check with your webmaster or IT team in order to verify that you have access. If you do not, it is very simple to set up. Have your webmaster or IT professional visit this link to the help article from Google about how to verify your website with Google’s Webmaster Tools.

Now let’s go over how to find out who is linking to your website. Once you have verified your website with Webmaster Tools, visit www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ to log in to your account dashboard. If you are managing multiple sites, they will all be listed in your home dashboard once you log in.

Next, select the website that you wish to collect your data from and you will see a more detailed dashboard than the previous one. This dashboard is specific to the website that you have just selected.

The next step is to click the option that reads “Traffic” on the top left side navigation of the page. This option will be the third possible choice below “Messages.” A drop down menu will appear that gives you the following 3 options:

  1. Search Queries
  2. Links to Your Site
  3. Internal Links

*Note: They will not be numbered in your webmaster tools account.

Select “Links to Your site” and you will see 4 separate sections of data.

  1. The first is “Total Links” which will be located near the top of the page. This includes the current total number of links that Google has found on other websites that point to yours. Not all links to your site may be listed; however this is the most accurate source available.
  2. The second is “Who Links the Most.” This data includes the list of domains that contain links to your website. It is also sorted in order from domains that contain the most links to your website, to domains that contain the least number of links to your website.
  3. The third is “Your Most Linked Content.” This section displays the specific pages on your website that have the most inbound links pointed toward them.
  4. Finally, the last section is “How Your Data is linked.” This section displays the anchor text found within the inbound links to your website. Put plainly, anchor text is the visible text that a person can see when clicking on a link. For example the proverbial “click here” text.

Lastly, the data for numbers 2, 3, and 4 above can be downloaded to a .CSV or Google Docs file. This is done by clicking the “More »” link beneath any of the sections then selecting “Download this Table” near the top of the page.

You also have the option to:

  • “Download More Sample Links” which will download the data from Google about specific pages on other websites that contain links to your website, and will not sort them in any specific order.

Or

  • “Download Latest Links” which will download the data from Google about what links have been recently found that point to your website along with the date that Google discovered the link.

Now, take this data and make use of it. What pages on your website have been more popular than others? Is everyone only linking to your homepage, and not specific internal pages? Are there websites linking to yours that would make a good partnership?

November 29 2012

SEO Best Practices for Tablet Devices

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With the holiday season in full swing, many people are buying or receiving tablet devices. This raises important questions for businesses that want to abide by search engine optimization best practices in relation to tablet devices.

Google was able to provide some tips on the matter and offer some insight on what they expect to see for websites viewed on a tablet. More information from the Google blog post covering this topic can be found here. The key point they made was that users are expecting to see the desktop version of a website when using a tablet device, not the mobile version. If your website has a mobile version, they would rather have the desktop version be returned to users on tablet devices.

The best practice from a search engine optimization perspective is to develop a responsive website, which will allow seamless transition across all devices. More information on using responsive design can be found in this blog post. The key benefits as mentioned in the previous blog post are:

  • Maintaining one URL for your website, regardless of whether it’s being viewed on mobile devices or a desktop, makes it easier for users to respond to calls-to-action on your site, such as a user sharing one of your product pages on their own Facebook page or linking to an article on your website from their own website.
  • By eliminating the need for redirects, responsive design enables users to easily navigate back and forth between pages on your site, with minimal load time.
  • Googlebot user agents only need to crawl your responsive web design pages once to retrieve your content.

Google also made the point that if your website is using redirects to send mobile device users to a mobile version, they don’t want to see tablet device users being redirected to the mobile version. As always, it is important to follow general SEO best practices as these will ensure your best results from search engine optimization.

October 1 2012

Kicking Pagination Problems

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Quite a few websites make use of pagination to distribute products or content evenly across multiple pages. Pagination is essentially the distribution of on page content across multiple pages. This can provide good user experience on many sites which might include blog or product categories. If these category pages have too much content to realistically fit on one page, spreading them across multiple pages can be a smart choice.

There can be serious SEO issues with this however. For one, ranking and indexing signals such as inbound links might be diluted across all pages instead of accumulating on the most important page in the series. This can keep the main page from ranking as well as it should be. Second, if you have some static content such as a descriptive paragraph on every page, pagination can cause duplicate content issues.

These problems have been run into across many websites, and Google has created some solutions. First, if your website or blog has an article which is broken up across multiple pages, the recommended solution is to implement rel=prev and rel=next tags on each page. These will inform search engines that the pages are in a series and should be grouped together. More from Google about this action can be found here.

The next example would be if you have a blog with categories, and you have so many posts within each category that they cover many pages. If your blog appends a parameter to the URL on each page such as page=1, page=2, page=3, then you might run into issues where links become created to pages with no content. This could be seen as page=133 when you only have 10 pages. If this is a problem with one category, it is very possible that this will happen to multiple categories and it is important to address early. The best solution is twofold; however it is important to be very careful with this solution. If you are not technically knowledgeable then it is recommended to contact your webmaster or an expert.

First, create and verify a Google Webmaster Tools account if you do not have one already. Next, go to “parameter handling” under the “configuration” tab and click on “configure URL parameters.” This will lead you through the steps necessary to keep Google from crawling your paginated pages. Make sure that you know exactly what parameters are being appended to your website’s URLs which are causing the pagination issues. Finally, it is also recommended to implement the rel=canonical element on each page which is not the first page in the series. Each canonical element should point to the first page in the series. More on parameter handling from Google can be found here.

Once again, it is very important to make sure you have the technical knowledge to implement either of these suggestions. If you incorrectly implement parameter handling, it can keep Google from crawling and indexing important pages. If you implement correctly, it can save Google from crawling unimportant pages and serve them only the pages you wish do well in the search engines.

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