The quantity and quality of links to your website is still the most important factor that determines your site’s rankings in Google and Bing. If you are putting in a lot of effort and resources in gaining these precious links, you will want to keep track of the progress you are making. Tracking your links can be as simple as entering the links that you have won in an Excel spreadsheet or Google spreadsheet. I like to keep a list of links in Google Docs in order of the date they were won with additional information like authority metrics of the linking site. It can be very rewarding to see this list grow substantially over time into a much bigger list.
1. Look at Referring Traffic From Google Analytics
If you are getting traffic from other sites then they must be linking to you. You can periodically check your Google Analytics for all the sites that are sending you visitors. Then scan the list for sites that you didn’t know were linking to you.
2. Use Multiple Third Party Link Tools like Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer
SEO tools that index the Internet’s links are very helpful in finding the sites that link to you. SEOMoz and Majestic SEO index billions of webpages and provide significantly more link data than Google provides. These are both paid tools, although Majestic SEO allows you to check your own site’s links for free if you sign up for a free account. It is a good idea to use both because each tool can find links that the other tool has missed.
3. Look in Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools allows users to see a portion of your inbound links that it knows about. Additionally, Bing Webmaster Tools recently released a beta version of their link tool called Link Explorer. It shows a list of links to your site and can also show a list of links to other websites as well.
4. Search in Google for your URL
Although this doesn’t work perfectly, if you search in Google for your URL the search results will include webpages with a link to your site. You can narrow your search to within the last week or month by clicking on “Show Search Tools” on the left side of the search results page.
Then look for webpages that show up. Some of these pages (often a good portion) will have a link to your site. You can also check the source code to see if they have your URL on the page by right clicking and selecting view page source and then using Control+F to search for your URL.