Explore These URLs

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There are many tools on the Internet to help you identify a Web site’s links. These tools can be used to see which sites are linking to your Web site. But they can also be used to see what sites are linking to your competition. This is a great way to
research where your site could be linked from but isn’t—yet! Let me walk you through a step-by-step process to increase the number of links to your Web site.

When determining which sites you should be linked from, you first have to develop a lengthy list of competitors. A competitor can be any business or site that offers the same or similar products or services as you do or anyone targeting
the same demographic group in your geographic area. Because the Internet creates a level playing field for all businesses, you are competing against large and small companies from around the globe. Someone using a search engine to find information on services that your company can provide might see results from companies from all across the world in the top 10 results.

Once you have developed your extensive list of competitors and have gathered their URLs, you must then find out what sites they are linked from. Tools have been developed to assist you in finding who is linking to your site. I have provided
a list of some of these tools in the next section. For more resources, visit the Resources section of my Web site at http://www.SusanSweeney.com. In most cases, you enter your URL, and then these tools provide a list of sites linking to
it. However, by entering the URL for a competitor’s site, you can just as easily determine which sites are linking to your competition and industry leaders.

The more organized you are for this exercise, the better. I suggest that you:

  1. Gather an extensive list of competitors and their URLs.
  2. Choose the tool(s) from the next section that you are going to use for this exercise.
  3. Enter the first competitor URL to find the sites linking to it.
  4. Copy and paste the results into a Word, Notepad, or other file that you can access later.
  5. Enter the next competitor URL to find the sites linking to it.
  6. Copy and paste the results into the same Word, Notepad, or other file, adding to your list of potential link sites.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have found all the sites linking to your competition. When this is done, you have your potential link sites list.
  8. Now develop a link request (see below for details) and keep it open on your desktop so that you can copy and paste it into an email when you find a site you’d like to have a link from.
  9. Next, visit every one of the potential link sites to determine whether the site is appropriate for you to be linked from. If so, send your link request. If the site is not appropriate for whatever reason, delete it from your list. Also delete duplicates. When you get to the bottom of your list, it has changed from a potential links list to a request links list.
  10. Follow through and follow up. Follow through and provide an appropriate link to those who agree to a reciprocal link. Follow up to make sure that they provide the link to your site as promised, that the link works, and that it is pointing to the correct page on your site.
  11. Submit the Internet address of the page that has provided the link to the popular search engines so that they know it’s there. This will help boost your link popularity scores.