How Many Sites Link to Yours?

Let Google tell you.

We all know that Google’s bots index our sites regularly. They collect all kinds of information for Google’s excellent search features. But while they’re indexing, they also collect information about links. And while they’re checking my site, they’re also checking other sites — and building a database of the sites that link to mine.

All this information is available to Webmasters in Google’s Webmaster tools. I gave it a try today and discovered, to my pleasure and surprise, that there are currently over 4,300 links to pages on aneclecticmind.com. Not too shabby.

External Links listed in Webmaster Tools

To use this and other Webmaster Tools features, you need a Google account. Oddly enough, it can’t be the same as your AdSense account (if you have one) — at least I couldn’t use mine for that. My AdWords account info did work, however, so I used that. If you don’t have a Google or Gmail account, you’ll have to create one. You’ll be prompted to do so if you need to.

Once on the main Webmaster Tools page, you’ll be prompted to specify a URL for your site. You can enter as many Home Page URLS as you like, one at a time.

But before you can see information about links to your Web site, you’ll need to go through a verification process to prove that it’s yours. There are two ways to do this: insert a META tag on your site’s home page or upload an HTML file to your site. I choose the META tag method, inserted the tag, saved the modified home page file, and clicked a verify button. In seconds, Google checked the page and completed the verification process. I could then view the stats for my site.

The Webmaster tools stats include a wealth of information about your site, links to it, and how Google indexes it. Although I think there’s room for improvement, this free tool from a search engine giant is plenty useful. If you’re a Webmaster or blogger, I highly recommend checking it out.

You can learn more about the links feature of Google’s Webmaster tools in “Discover Your Links” on the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog.

What do you think?