Backlinks & Their Importance

What are backlinks?

Backlinks or “back links” are links from other websites to your site. They’re sometimes known as incoming links, inbound links, or even IBLs.

Links from your site to other sites are forward links, usually described as “links” or hyperlinks.

So links going in the reverse direction are backward links, or backlinks.

Google’s free toolbar shows backward links but the results are confusing.

If you have the toolbar installed on your Internet Explorer browser, you can visit a web site, click on the blue “i” and then click on “Backward links” to see what appears to be the number of links pointing to the site you’re visiting.

However, ONLY SOME of the site’s backlinks are displayed.

How to find backlinks using Google

You can use

For more reliable results, type the following command into the Google search box:

(Remember to type in your actual site, not “”.)

Doing this shows you pages that link to your site, minus the links on pages on your own site.

(You’ll also see sites that just mention your site but don’t actually link to it.)

BEWARE: A Google backlink check teases us. It does NOT show all the backlinks that Google knows about.

How to find more backlinks using Yahoo!

At Yahoo!, type this into the search box:


This search excludes internal links.

(Remember to type in your actual site, not “”.)

Here’s a refinement. For more extensive results, try this search:

The above search includes links to ALL pages on your site, not just the main page.

How to find backlinks to an individual page

At Yahoo!, type this into the search box:


At MSN, use

In Google, it’s not so simple. Try this search:

It doesn’t actually give you “links”. It gives you mentions. However, most mentions tend to be links and it’s more accurate than Google’s “link:” command.

How to find backlinks using MSN

At MSN, do this search:


At MSN can also use: which shows pages that link to ALL pages on your site.

How to find backlinks using Alltheweb

At, do this search:

(Remember to change “example” and you MUST include the “www”.)

How to find backlinks using Hotbot

At Hotbot, type this into the search box:

Search using Hotbot.

Link popularity check

You can check for backlinks by using link popularity sites such as

Why backlinks are important

When ranking sites, search engines such as Google look at the number and quality of sites that link to your site. Ideally, you want backlinks from sites in your industry that have many popular sites linking to them.

How to get backlinks

Common ways to get backlinks include exchanging links with other sites (reciprocal links) and by placing articles you write in article directories and on other sites.

Perhaps the most effective way of all is to create such a useful, fascinating site that other sites voluntarily link to yours.

FREE way to get links to your site

Check out the free Value Exchange for sites in your category that are eager to exchange reciprocal links with other sites. As the Value Exchange’s popularity grows, it is becoming more and more useful.

In some topics, it will locate only a few potential links partners. In other niches, it can find several hundred potential links partners for you. I highly recommend it.

If you want thousands of visitors a day from search engines (and don’t we all!) it’s absolutely essential that you encourage other sites in your field to link to you.

One excellent way to get links to your site is by writing articles for newsletters, which are then published on other people’s sites.

In the book Turn Words Into Traffic Jim and Dallas Edwards give step-by-step instructions showing you how to do it.