I know about backlinks – also known as incoming links, inlinks and inbound links or inward links – and why they are important in terms of your blog’s ranking. Positively and negatively.

I understand that knowing more about my backlinks and their quality is an important part of any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

But I know also that I don’t know nearly as much as I should. And what is more problematic is that I don’t know what I don’t know.

Which says to me that my sites might be missing out on an improved ranking, just because I’m not paying attention and taking appropriate action.

One reason I know that understanding the whole backlink thing is that my China-based friend and colleague, Lonnie B. Hodge, who is a search specialist, refers often to backlinks and their importance.

And as I’m scheduled to record a conversation with Lonnie this afternoon, I thought it would be timely to do some checking in my own backyard, starting with my Des Walsh dot Com site on WordPress.

I discovered some interesting information and had a couple of surprises.

My checking used three types of tools:

  • the list of backlinks you see when you log in to the admin section of your WordPress site
  • the list provided by Technorati on your page there
  • various automatic backlink checkers you can find with a Google search.

In this post I’m focusing on what I learned from the WordPress site.

When you go log in to the admin section of your WordPress site, it should open at the Dashboard. You see a column of recent comments on the left and a column of Incoming Links on the right as in the screenshot below.

What I found today, as the screenshot shows, were:

  • a link from the Disaboom site where my friend Glenda Watson Hyatt, a.k.a. The Left Thumb Blogger mentions me – and links to Des Walsh dot Com – in the context of talking about going to Las Vegas for BlogWorld & New Media Expo
  • a link from my partner Suzie’s Abundance Highway site, where she is recounting a conversation she and I had and linking to the Des Walsh dot Com site
  • a link from a site which has evidently copied, without attribution, a post which Suzie had sent to our colleague Liz Strauss for her Successful Blog site and which had a link in it to Des Walsh dot Com
  • a link from the typepad Hacks site of John T. Unger who posted about speaking at BlogWorld & New Media Expo and specifically about the panel he and I are on
  • a link from the mybloglog page of “Tangos”, who had left a comment on Des Walsh dot Com

How have I used this information today?

  • I left a comment on Glenda’s post: this was a good thing to do, first because I wanted to publicly acknowledge my friend’s mention of me and secondly because it is about conversation and I coach people to spend time commenting on other’s posts so as to be part of the conversation
  • I mentioned the apparently unauthorized copying discovery to Suzie, who sent a message to Liz Strauss: interestingly, the person who owned the site had left an easy trail back to his Facebook page!
  • I decided to check out my backlinks on Technorati – with somewhat more startling and disturbing links. To be revealed in the next post in this series!
  • also I used a few of the freely available online backlink checkers – that will be a third post.

What’s your strategy or practice with managing your backlinks?

What am I missing that would make me more effective in this department, if you wouldn’t mind sharing?

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