SEO Question: Is it safe to check a sites backlinks daily or would you recommend once a week, my understanding is that using API's for the same site to often a no no as the search engines can easily track this.
SEO Answer: For most webmasters it probably does not matter what is being tracked. There are thousands and thousands of webmasters out there marketing their websites, so I don't think that search engines probably flag linkdomain: searches via APIs as being a bad thing because the main thing frequent research typically indicates is that others want to know how someone got to the top of the search results.
As far as checking the backlinks for a site daily, so long as you are manually publishing content and manually acquiring quality links I don't think you are going to acquire them too quickly per say.
I typically only use tools to research how competitive a market is or to look at the best links pointing at a competing website. I think if you are checking your backlinks daily you are probably wasting time that could be spent creating more content or getting more links.
A couple SEO blogs have recently pointed out Greg Boser's Tattler, which is lightning quick and works with the Yahoo! Site Explorer. It is a bit light on features but easy to export and fast as can be. Great for free!
If you are worried about people stealing content or use content syndication you can check out how many pages a unique article or post wind up on by searching for a unique text string of 8 or so words with them surrounded in quotes. Many of the places that legitimately syndicate articles also link back to the source document or link location in the credits box.
I also typically recommend avoiding bulk link exchanges as I don't see it as an effective forward looking SEO strategy for most webmasters, although here is a free script for checking reciprocal links, and you can also do the same in a bit more automated fashion using tools like Backlink Analyzer.
If you run a blog type site I think it is more important to see how quickly your blog is growing compared to related channels and similar publishing formats in the same field. There will always be ups and downs, so don't think everything will go up and to the right forever.
Also note what percent of your new links are legitimate. If most of your new links are spammy and your posts are not getting any new legitimate citations it might be time to think about taking a bit of a break or change what and how you are posting (at least if distribution is a large goal with your site). I find reading a few books and exercising a bit tends to get me inspired and maybe a bit more creative with a new perspective.
I do vanity searches for things like "Aaron Wall", Seobook and "Seo Book" about once or twice a week. By seeing who is talking about you and why they are talking about you it makes it easier to write posts in the future that more people would be willing to talk about.
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