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:
- Search Queries
- Links to Your Site
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- “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?