As part of my ongoing blog series about useful aspects of Google Webmaster Tools for SEO, I will discuss its benefits for one of the most important aspects of SEO; link building:
1. From your dashboard page, go to “Your Site on the Web>>Links to your site” to get a quick “snapshot” of your inbound link data and the total amount of inbound links to your site:
This is beneficial because simply using the “link:” command in Google only yields a small sampling of a site’s inbound links (Google does this for privacy reasons).
2. The “Who links the most” section will give you a clear idea of which websites link to you the most and which pages they are linking to. You can use this to see if there are too many coming from dubious or irrelevant sources. Ongoing monitoring of the types of websites that are linking to your content is imperative as Google consistently monitors this and will use this information while assigning relevancy to a page for specific search terms.
3. Use the “Your most linked content” section to assess your inbound link distribution. Are there too many links going to one page over another? Is it time to refocus link building efforts to a certain area of the site?
4. “How your data is linked” tells you what the anchor text the linking site is using. Is the anchor text too generic and not keyword rich enough? While this section only tells you the anchor text and not the actual site that is linking to you, it is still useful if you are looking to refocus linking efforts.
Of course, the best way to garner links to your site is to get them naturally by creating great content. However, for those proactive SEO folks who wish to build links in an intelligent way, Webmaster Tools is a perfect place to start.