Backlinks are one of the most important factors that control how much traffic a site receives. They not only refer visitors to your URL, but are also used by search engines to rank websites. It should be no surprise to learn, then, that domains with a high number of backlinks routinely sell for more than their less-networked counterparts.
There are a number of tools out there used to track backlinks. They don’t always give the same number. Some over-count and others under-count. Most simply spit out the number of links found by one or more search engines, usually Yahoo, AltaVista, and/or Bing.
My favorite is Backlink Watch. It is different from other link trackers in that it not only tells you the number of links pointing to your site, but also gives you the URL of the first thousand in addition to the PageRank, anchor text, and more.
This information can be a huge asset when selling a domain or assessing one prior to purchase. A seller might claim his name has 500 links pointing to it. But how many sites are they from and how popular are they? Those links could be from one or two forum signatures, one blog, or possibly a melting pot of authority sites.
Similarly, you might be surprised to find out what backlinks the domains you already own have. I recently bought a name without much scrutiny beforehand to find it had links from sites like CNN, The Huffington Post, and ABC News. The seller didn’t know these link existed, either, and gave me a pretty good deal.