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March 10, 2010

A typical search engine results page

Inbound links, or links that direct people to your site from other sites, are one of the cornerstones of a strong online brand. Not only do they drive traffic directly, they also influence how much weight your site carries with search engines, helping to bolster your online reputation. Many people take a passive approach to inbound links – if they appear, great, if they don’t, they don’t worry. Others work hard at getting new links, but are only aware of the links they directly solicit.

Build Your Link Reputation

Most people don’t realize that by failing to monitor inbound links, you’re actually missing a great opportunity to reach out to supporters, increase traffic to your site and build your Google CV. The internet is built on a model of reciprocity, and many people regularly check their outbound links to see if the link is reciprocated. If it isn’t, they may cull those links to make more room for people who will link back to them. Knowing when a site links to you allows you to decide whether it is a link you want to pursue keeping, and gives you the chance to take the steps necessary to keep it. Knowing when new links come in also gives you the opportunity to reach out to those people and, if necessary, ask them to improve the link text to best help your search engine relevance.

Collect Data About Your Links

There are two main classes of inbound link monitors: standalone software and web services. Both has their merits and flaws, but as both have costs associated with them, most people choose to opt for free web services. Using a web service gives you portability, and ensure you will never have downtime – rather than having to remember to open a program to check your links, it is done for you every day and you receive an email giving you an overview of new links gained and lost.

Develop a Linking Strategy

You can then use this data to develop a weekly strategy. Look at the new links you’ve gained, and visit the sites they came from. Decide whether you think that site has search engine relevance or traffic relevance for you, and if so how valuable it is. Find the context in which your link appears, and see if you think there is anything that could be improved – maybe it should go to a different page on your site, or have different link text. Then find contact information for the site operator and write them an email thanking them for the link to your site, informing them you have put up a reciprocal link (if you felt it was worth it), and if necessary asking them politely if they would mind updating your link information slightly.

You will also be informed when links to your site have disappeared. In these cases, if the inbound link was from a source you cared about, you’ll want to send an email and ask why they removed the link to your site, and whether there is anything you could do to reconcile the situation. If they decide to leave your link removed, you may wish to remove any outbound links you have to their site, as these one-way links may negatively impact your search engine rankings.

Use LookupPage Services

At some point, you may want to hire a team of professionals to manage your link reputation. LookupPage has a team of advanced SEO and linking professionals who know exactly which content to promote and how, greatly improving your link reputation. LookupPage also helps individauls and businesses get first page rankings on major search engines, under unique domain names.To start benefiting from our expertise, upgrade to our plan for professionals and follow these simple steps:

  1. Sign into your account (or create a new one).
  2. Click the "My Account" tab.
  3. Click the "Upgrade / Renew your subscription" link.
  4. Chose the "Pro" package and purchase.

We look forward to helping you manage your online image and reputation to ensure a safer and fully enriched online future.
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