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How to find *all* backlinks with Google
It *is* possible, Google tells us how...

 11:32 pm on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Till now, we all kept complaining that we can't find all backlinks to a page using Google. Indeed, a simple link:www.yourpage.com search will return only a limited amount of backlinks, presumably only those above PageRank 4. I was therefore surprised to read in a Slashdot article [slashdot.org] the following instructions on how to find all backlinks to a site using Google - the instructions coming apparently from Google itself:

Thank you for your note. Yes, we do offer this kind of search. To find the pages that link to any given URL (say www.stanford.edu , for instance) go to the Google advanced search page at [google.com...] and do 'link' search. If you do not want to use our advanced page, you can perform a link search directly from the Google search box by typing




This link search, however, may not return a comprehensive set of results. The results show a sample of the links that point to a page, but this list is in no way indicative of the link structure utilized by Google to formulate a page's PageRank.

To obtain a comprehensive list of the links that point to a page, perform a Google search on your URL. From the result page displayed, select the "Find the web pages that contain the term" link and Google will provide you with the web pages that mention the address.


The Google Team

I tried it and it really works! My backlinks thus reported by Google are fewer than those reported by Alltheweb, but more than those of a simple link:www.mydomain.com search.

Checking the query strings that Google uses for this "unabridged" backlinks search, I found them to be:


for all backlinks, including those from mydomain.com, and

"+www.mydomain.com" -site:mydomain.com

for all external backlinks.

For comparison purposes, the query strings for Alltheweb regarding all, or only external backlinks, are



+link.all:www.mydomain.com -site:mydomain.com




 12:21 pm on Aug 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ya, that technique has been mentioned several times in the forum going clear back to the faq I believe. There are so many problems with it, that it isn't as useful as you'd think.


 12:24 pm on Aug 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

as Brett points out, it has its flaws.

especially if you are a PPC advertiser and you see 100s of pages which link to your site via a 3rd party PPC engine.



 1:44 pm on Aug 25, 2003 (gmt 0)


+www.mydomain.com shows Web pages that mention your domain but don't link to you.

It misses links that don't mention your domain (eg. click here [webmasterworld.com]).


 2:54 pm on Aug 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's simply NOT TRUE.

It doesn't even show all pages showing in the 'link:ur;' command. It only shows pages with the url as visible text on the pages, whether they link or not.

Pages that link but don't show the url are NOT included in this search.


 3:07 pm on Aug 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Would be great to have an allinsource: command :)

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