Knowing which sites are sending you the most traffic is important to understanding how people found you on the Web. While your Web traffic reports will often list the top "referrers," or sites that have referred the highest amount of traffic to you, you can also use a simple method to find many of the sites that are linked to your site.
Just go to AltaVista.com and instead of entering a keyword or phrase into the search field, enter the following command:
Of course you'd put your entire URL after the word "link" and the colon. The results page will list sites that are linking to your site, because the AltaVista search software is finding any site with your URL listed in their HTML code.
One great way to use this information is to contact the Web sites that are linked to yours and establish a larger Web relationship, particularly if your traffic reports say they're sending you large amounts of traffic. Perhaps you'd even want to advertise on their site because they're most likely attracting people who are interested in your Web site.
It's fascinating to get an inside look as to what sites have chosen to link to your site and see in what context they've embedded the link. You can then figure out who else to contact for a link if you realize they aren't on the list but would be appropriate referrers.
Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books). She is currently working on her next book and new company.