When devising a strategy for SEO, many webmasters place a huge emphasis on the website itself. They are typically concerned with Meta tags, keyword density, titles and headings. While these aspects of SEO are important (especially with regards to content), they are insignificant when compared with links. SEO practitioners spend their time obsessing over link building while site owners ignore them completely.
Creating an Equilibrium
This is due to the fact that a website is a tangible object that can be seen many millions of visitors. On the other hand, links are a vague concept that does not have associated tools. Therefore, building backlinks is usually secondary. Luckily there are several tools that will create equilibrium of website design and SEO.
Google Webmaster Tools
The first key point to consider is not use search operators to check your links. This method will produce inaccurate results and is commonly regarded as being used for entertainment purposes. Instead, utilize Google Webmaster Tools which provide a wealth of information about what exactly Google knows about your website, how it performs in the search engine rankings and, recently added, +1 statistics.
There are two additional competing independent tools outside of Google Webmaster Tools, SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer (OSE) and Majestic SEO’s Site Explorer. If your run your website through both programs you will find that they conflict with one another. Ironically, neither agrees with Google Webmaster Tools either.
The Collection Process
Although all three programs work by crawling the web, they are programmed differently and discover different links. Each then filters the collected links and remove those they see as spamming or lack relevance. Unfortunately, the three programs follow different criteria to make a judgment. You will also notice the two independent tools provide limited functionality for the free versions.
In the free versions of all three programs you are given two numbers for your sites that will usually differ. Always keep in mind that none of these figures is the absolute number, which would be extremely difficult to determine. Instead these figures should be viewed as representing exactly how other sites link to you. When viewing trends over a long period of time the numbers will begin to paint a picture of how your site is doing.
These three webmaster tools were developed to be more of a guide for focusing on backlinking than a concrete answer. A great way to use these tools is generate a report from each on a monthly basis and chart their change over time. If you see the numbers are increasing then you are on your way to success.