Unmask Who’s Linking to You

Do you know who’s linked to your website?

Are you wondering how your visitors are finding you?  Or if all that work you’ve been doing to build links is paying off?

Knowing which site are linking to you and which links are driving traffic is important so you can focus your efforts on the most effective traffic sources for you.

Luckily, you can “unmask” those referrers and find out who has linked to you and how much traffic is coming from the links.

A Website Stats Tracker:

You should be tracking your website statistics.  There are lots of options to choose from.

  • AwStats – This is probably already installed on your hosting space, especially if you’re on a cPanel host.  With AwStats you can see not only how much traffic you’re getting but where it’s coming from.  Very detailed stats.
  • Google Analytics – A free option from Google that reveals great information including traffic, link referrers, bounce rate and more.
  • WordPress.com Stats – Also free, this plugin for WordPress sites will shows recent links to your site, what links visitors clicked to get to you, and general traffic stats.

Snooping Tools:

To see who’s already linking to you try these.

  • Google Search – Search for link:www.yoursite.com and Google will show some of the websites they know are linked to you.  It won’t show all of them.  I guess Google likes to keep secrets.   You can also do link:www.yoursite.com -site:www.yoursite.com which will show you which sites include your URL and many are linking to you.
  • AltaVista Search – Search for link:www.yoursite.com for a more accurate list of who’s linked to your website.
  • Alexa – Check your site’s profile on Alexa.com and you’ll see an option to view sites linking to you.
  • WhoLinksToMe.com – This site offers free and paid options to track links.
  • WhoLinks2Me.com – A free service that will show you who’s linking to you.
  • SEO Logic’s Backlink Tool – They’ll send you a free email report monthly.

And if you want to monitor who’s mentioning you or your business online, you’ll find this post helpful: Who’s Talking About You?

Photo Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/torli

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  1. Hi Michelle
    I’m a Google Analytics man.
    As you say, it reveals so much information:

    Refering sites, bounce rate, what browsers people are using and even what screen resolution.

    For link sources and number of links I use Google Webmaster tools.
    One good thing about GWT is that it tells you how fast your pages are loading compared to the rest of the web.
    Google uses page load time as one of its metrics for SEO – so you need a fast site.
    Wordpress is not so good at page speed!

    BTW – Michelle I’m just getting into Genesis – starting to look at simple edits plugin and things like that.
    Good forum but steep learning curve.

    One good thing about Genesis is… sites are fast.
    Keith Davis recently posted… Keep it short- keep it sharpMy Profile

    1. Oh, good suggestion! I don’t use webmaster tools as often as I should. It does have a wealth of information.

      I love the Genesis framework. It’s an adjustment if you’re used to just tweaking regular themes, though.

  2. Sorry for second comment Michelle but I meant to ask:
    How did you add the footer section to the bottom of your site?
    And, if you did, how did you widgetise it?
    Keith Davis recently posted… Keep it short- keep it sharpMy Profile

    1. I used the Simple Hooks plugin and the genesis_before_footer spot for my footer. It’s not widgetized, I just coded it and stuck the code in that box. :)

      1. Thanks Michelle
        Just what I needed to know.
        Keith Davis recently posted… Keep it short- keep it sharpMy Profile

  3. I love checking my stats, maybe a little too much. :) I use WP stats for day-to-day peaks, Google Analytics for my monthly spreadsheet, and AWStats for getting a good look at the “big picture” and long-term differences.

    Those unsolicited backlinks are something I watch, as well. Oftentimes I wouldn’t know unless I was looking.
    Angie recently posted… Help! My Affiliate Application Was Declined- and I NEED ThatMy Profile

    1. Hi Angie

      “Those unsolicited backlinks are something I watch, as well. Oftentimes I wouldn’t know unless I was looking.”

      Could you expand on that?
      Is there anything you can do about unwanted links?
      Keith Davis recently posted… Keep it short- keep it sharpMy Profile

    2. I check mine daily too, since they’re on my WP Dashboard. :) I use Google and AwStats the same way you do, Angie.

      1. Angie,

        This sounds like a good plan. I have been so busy that my attention has not been on my stats…bad huh? But this looks like plan i could follow easily.
        Sheila Atwood recently posted… 2 Web Tools You Will Fall For- Hook Line and SinkerMy Profile

  4. Hey,

    I loved this. I am totally into Google Analytics but didn’t know any of the rest (besides Google of course!) Off to check out my “stats”!

  5. Totally rely on google analytics and alexa. I check stats once a week. That’s enough for me. What I like about stats? They don’t lie! If you think people are coming to your site one way but the analytics shows another, you have to believe it! There’s no guesswork :)

    1. Hi Martha
      Agree with you on not lying.
      The bounce rate is the bounce rate, end of story.

      One great thing is that you can see the top refering sites – not always the sites you think send you the most traffic.
      Keith Davis recently posted… Keep it short- keep it sharpMy Profile

      1. Yes! That info is so helpful. I’ve been surprised before which articles or blogs are sending traffic my way and it helps me know where I need to be sure to continue showing up with content, guest posts, etc.

  6. Lots of very useful information here, Michelle. It is so important to measure results so that we can find out what works and how to do things even better.

    1. Exactly! Once we know what’s working and what’s not we can keep focused and get better results. :)

  7. Michele,

    Great post! I mostly use Google Analytics. Do you have a recommendation if one has many sites to keep track of?


    Elaine Evans Wilson recently posted… Email Marketing Tips for Your Online BusinessMy Profile

    1. For tracking stats or keeping track of stats? Wait, did that make sense? :)

      If you’re wanting to track stats across multiple sites using something like Google Analytics and setting them all up under one Google user is the simplest way I know of to keep them all in one spot for access. Or if they’re all on one hosting account, AwStats would keep track of all of them there.

      If you’re keeping track of your stats, I’d use an Excel spreadsheet (or Google docs spreadsheet) like Angie mentioned and just enter in my numbers with each site as it’s own row. But there’s probably a better way to do it.

  8. you didn’t say anything about yahoo site explorer. these is the number one source of backlink checking now… then opensiteexplorer from seomoz, and majestic seo… this is my list:D hope it helps
    Hausboot recently posted… Yachtcharter AmsterdamMy Profile

    1. Thank you for sharing those, Hausboot. I hadn’t used Yahoo’s site explorer before but it’s got great info! For anyone curious, you can find it here: http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/

  9. […] “Unmask Who’s Linking to You,” this post, by fellow Solo-E Expert Michelle Schaeffer gives an overview of some of the […]

  10. Nice!! Its like being a secret agent!!! Can’t wait to find out how popular I am in the blogosphere!!! LOL
    Samantha recently posted… Dehydrated Goodies……My Profile

    1. *insert spy movie theme music here*

  11. whoa! that wholinks2me site was really nice, found some very interesting statistics. Kudos for posting this Michelle!
    Phil recently posted… Yacht Charter Kastela – The Starting Point for your Croatian Sailing TripMy Profile

    1. Glad it was helpful, Phil. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Hi Michelle!

    In addition to WP stats and Goggle Analytics I use Clicky (getclicky.com). It’s not free, I pay around $30/yr but it’s the best web analytics service I’ve ever used. There are some excellent tools here. You can take a look at Clicky vs. the Other Guys (side by side comparison chart) on their home page. Worth checking out!

    I’m really enjoying your blog Michelle. I will thank Melanie Kissell for a wonderful referral!

    Theresa Bradley-Banta recently posted… Weekday Remix- Ready To Discover Some New BloggersMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Theresa! I’m glad Melanie sent you over this way. I’ll have to check out getclicky.com

  13. […] Unmask Who’s Linking to You […]

  14. […] There are some cool tools you can use to see who’s linking to you. […]

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