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Over time, if you're consistently putting out good, quality content, promoting it, and working through link outreach opportunities, other websites will start linking to you. Being able to clearly see what's happening to your link portfolio can tell you how you're doing in your quest to show the search engines just how trustworthy and authoritative your website is. There are two exceptional tools for analyzing backlink metrics, Open Site Explorer by SEOmoz, and Majestic SEO. You can use these tools to analyze links for any website, not just your own, and as we saw earlier in this course, looking at your competitors' backlinks can be a great way to discover new link opportunities.
When you're analyzing your own backlinks however, we'll want to take a look at some metrics that can tell you how your link building efforts are going. Using Open Site Explorer, you can produce a report on domain and page metrics for any URL, and you'll also see a list of the pages that link back to that website. Let's take a look at lynda.com by typing in the URL and clicking Search. Along the top, we have different metrics that tell as various things about the website. The Domain and Page Metrics give you an idea of just how authoritative your domain, and the specific page you are looking at, are.
In this case, we've typed in just the domain, which means the page we're analyzing is actually the homepage. We can also see the total number of links coming into this page, as well as the unique number of domains that these links are coming from. You can see some public social metrics as well, though they do have some limitations based on how this data is collected. What we're really looking to do here is make a habit of checking in on these numbers over time, and our goal here is continual improvement. The higher your site's domain authority, the stronger and more able your domain is to influence rankings, and as your link portfolio grows, you should expect to see your authority scores rising as well.
By filtering down to just the backlinks coming from external pages, you can look through each of the links that you have coming back to your site and identify any areas for action. For example, you might find that a blogger that you have a relationship with has linked to you, but you'd like them to use different anchor text in that link that reflects a keyword that you need some help with. You might also find opportunities for guest authorship, or you may find links that you don't want to be a part of. In any of these situations, knowing who's linking to you and how, can help you manage and expand your link building efforts.
If you want to automate the process of monitoring Domain, Page, and Link Metrics, you can do this using SEOmoz's Campaign tracking feature. Once you've created a Campaign within the tool, you can navigate to the History report in the Link Analysis section. And you'll be able to see how your site compares with the websites you've added as competitors over a period of time. You'll see graphs for things like Domain Authority, total number of links, and specific types of links that can help you gauge how your link building efforts are going.
There's lots more data and reports you can explore within the tools of SEOmoz, but let's switch over to Majestic SEO now and look at the Backlink History reports. The Backlink History shows you the number of links you've acquired on either a monthly, cumulative, or normalized basis, and you can use it to get a sense of how your link portfolio has grown since your website launched. You can also define up to four other competitors to compare yourself against, and this can help you see how you're stacking up to the sites that you're trying to beat out in the search results.
The two sections you'll see are the Backlinks discovery Graph, which provides the total number of links out there pointing to your website, and the Referring domains discovery graph, which lets you know how many different domains have links pointing to your site. By consistently growing your link portfolio, you're building a strong trust with search engines, and as a result, your pages will be better positioned to rank higher in the search results. Using tools like these to help manage this process can provide feedback as to how your efforts are working, and keep you on the right track as you continue to move forward.
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