I received a email yesterday asking why the “Incoming Links” section of the WordPress dashboard is empty even after creating several back-links to his site. After some quick research I found the sad truth.
The WordPress “Incoming Links” area is broken and has been for about a year. It was supposed to go out to Google and search for your back links. I can go to Google and do the same search and get results, but the code inside WordPress just doesn’t work. I saw some comments that this as been broken since version 2.7, but the developer team just hasn’t addressed it. My recommendation? Use Screen Options in the upper right corner to turn it off.
You can find your backlinks by using site:yourwebaddress.com on Google. For example, to find links pointing to my main site dcj21.net, I would use site:dcj21.net. I see 769 listings for dcj21.net that way.
In Market Samurai, the Rank Tracker filters the back links to show only links for that specific URL. This section also uses Yahoo’s Site Explorer instead of Google. Inside Market Samurai, click on Show Domain Details to see back link counts from Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Google’s Webmaster Tools also shows your links. But I get a different count here (245) than in Google’s main search engine.
So, we have lots of tools to show out back links and they are all showing different data. So what would the trust? Most SEO experts recommend Yahoo Site Explorer. But the key is to pick one and watch how it grows over time.
But the real question is how to do better in Google’s index. Backlinks help, but make sure your pages are optimized for SEO. I”m now using the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin to do this easily for me. Read his great article on The Definitive Guide To Higher Rankings For Your Blog