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:
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:
*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.
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:
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?
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.
For those keeping up with the “Google +1 Button” hype, you may have realized by now that you can access its associated data via Google Webmaster Tools:
From your dashboard, click to expand the “+1 Metrics” section; this will reveal sections on Search Impact, Activity and Audience. In this section, you will see:
The Search Impact report: Will show you the impressions (how many times have pages with the +1 button shown in search results). Will also display the clickthrough rate (how many people actually selected this page in search results). Important because you’ll want to be able to distinguish the effectiveness of using the +1 button on certain pages compared to others.
The Activity report: Allows webmasters to view how many times a page has been “+1’d” from a specific page or from search results.
The Audience report: Displays demographic data for the +1’s such as age location and gender.
As with much of the specific numbers in all of the metrics in Webmaster Tools, much of it is an “average” or an “aggregate” number. For instance, the data you are able to view in the categories above is only displayed if a certain number of people have clicked on your +1 button.
Learn all about it from a recent Google Webmaster Central Blog post: