What Is a Linkback?

An Introduction to Linkbacks on the Web

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Photo © Malte Mueller / Getty Images

A linkback is a term that's commonly used to refer to the mention of a website or blog on another website or blog, along with adding a hyperlink to its home page or a specific page so that users can click on it to visit it directly.

Webmasters and bloggers use it when quoting part of a blog entry or news article as a way of attributing the quote. Because linkbacks help drive traffic to a blog or website and help their ranking in search engines, linkbacks are often thought of as being extremely valuable.

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How to Know When Your Website or Blog Content Gets a Linkback

Finding out whether your website or blog is being linked to by other websites or blogs isn't difficult if you have the right tools set up. Here are three easy ways to do it.

Backlink Watch: This is a free tool that allows you to plug any URL into the field to see a list of website pages that are currently linking to it. You can even get a glimpse of the quality of the link (which may be helpful for SEO purposes) including the anchor text, PageRank, total outbound links, and no-follow flags for any of your inbound links.

WordPress Pingbacks: If you use the WordPress platform to host your website or blog, you can take advantage of pingbacks -- a feature that generates comment notifications any time another WordPress site links to one of your posts or pages (as long as their site has pingbacks enabled).

Google Analytics: To get an idea of who's visiting your site or blog, you really should have Google Analytics set up. It involves copying and pasting a bit of code into your site. Once you've got it all setup, you'll be able to navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals to see a list of sites that have linked to your site.

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How to Get More Linkbacks

Not only do linkbacks bring you more traffic from users who simply click, they also send signals to Google saying that your content is important and deserves to be ranked higher in search results. If your intention is to generate traffic on your site or blog, then linkbacks should be important to you.

Don't be tempted to spam other sites, blogs, forums, social media, and other online platforms with links to your site or blog. Instead, focus on doing these things:

Provide high-quality content that's worth sharing: Other webmasters and bloggers will automatically want to link to your stuff if it's that good.

Leave great comments on other related blogs: You can insert your website or blog link into most comment forms on other blogs. If your comment is good, other visitors may take notice and be encouraged to check out your site or blog.

Network with influential people on social media: Get involved in conversations that are relevant to your site or blog, ideally with people who are well established in your niche. Focus on relationships over constant promotion, and influencers will naturally want to start sharing your content.

Share your content on social media at the right time: Posting your own blog updates and other pieces of content on social media is great for getting the word out. Check out the best time of day to post on Facebook, the best time of day to post on Instagram and the best time of day to post on Twitter to maximize your exposure.

Updated by: Elise Moreau