Google Expands Backlink Tracking
The link is the currency of the web and one of the defining factors to determine your rank on search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. Typically, you can check the number of incoming links (or "backlinks"), by using little tools like "link: URL" when using Google or by using Yahoo! Site Explorer.
This week, Google launched a more comprehensive look into backlinks via their Webmaster Tools. If you haven't utilized these tools to this point, the backlinks feature will be a perfect time to learn about Sitemaps and other great Google webmaster tools.
Matt Cutts, the well known Google guru employee, wrote about the expanded backlink feature:
- In particular, for my site I was easily able to see more than 10x more links in this new tool than the link: command gave me. The link: command has always returned a small fraction of the backlinks that Google knows about, mainly for historical reasons (e.g. limited disk space on the machines that served up “link:” data).
- Do not assume just because you see a backlink that it’s carrying weight. I’m going to say that again: Do not assume just because you see a backlink that it’s carrying weight.
Backlinks isn't a game changer because it's just showing data previously unavailable to you. But it is helpful in better understanding your referrers and referral traffic. So, head over to Google's Webmaster Tools and give it a try.