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Finding all inbound links

 5:00 pm on Dec 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Is there any way to find all sites on Google that link to my own site?




 5:16 pm on Dec 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Go to Google and search for "link:" + your domain name.

Example: "link:http://www.yourdomain.com"


 5:16 pm on Dec 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

The may be better ways, but here is an easy way. Enter your domain name in the google search field (mysite.com) and activate the search. There will be several options at the bottom of the search results. Select "Find pages that link to (mysite.com).


 5:17 pm on Dec 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

link:www.domain.com will bring up all sites where the link page is >PR4. Lower PR links do count for your site but are not listed using this search term.

You could also try looking for backlinks in other SEs, e.g. link.all:www.domain.com in alltheweb. AFAIK, they're not screened by PR or any other ranking method.


 5:18 pm on Dec 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

link:www.domain.com will bring up all sites where the link page is >PR4. Lower PR links do count for your site but are not listed using this search term.

You could also try looking for backlinks in other SEs, e.g. link.all:www.domain.com in alltheweb. AFAIK, they're not screened by PR or any other ranking method.


 5:22 pm on Dec 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

I hope there's an easier way than what I do. Our main site is PR<1 (Not 0! We've improved over the past couple of months) and Google doesn't show our backlinks.

Since many sites might link to yours without you knowing you don't know how they listed it. I usually to a few different searches: "mydomain" or "mydomain.com" or, to find sites that have used my recommended title and description, "my site title" or "unique description snippet".

Or, go to Alta Vista and do a link:www.mydomain.com, turn on the Google toolbar and you might be surprised at what you find ("Where the heck did that PR8 link come from?" I gladly exclaimed just yesterday -- and it didn't show up in Google!)

Anybody with an easier way?



 6:42 pm on Dec 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

What is the difference between Alta Vista's link: and the Google Toolbar's Page Info "backward links" in terms of finding links? I notice I get very different results when using the two approaches for a single URL.


 6:53 pm on Dec 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Alta Vista shows different results for my sites too.

When I checked the same link searches on Lycos I found 3-4 times as many links listed versus G or AV. Lycos shows backward links that I have not seen on any other SE. Very reassuring to see so many missing links pop up.


 6:53 pm on Dec 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Alta Vista and most other SEs lists everything it has in the results. Google only lists back links for pages with PR4 or greater -- or sometimes whatever the heck it feels like. And Google also doesn't list *any* back links for low PR sites, such as our PR<1.

You can also do a"+www.mydomain.com" on Google but that will also return all of your own pages.

Wow! Just did a link.all:www.mydomain.com on alltheweb and it lists about 100 more pages than Alta Vista did yesterday. So it looks like atw might be more comprehensive.

Guess I know what I'm doing this afternoon.



 7:08 pm on Dec 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

If you use "link", doesn't google show the total number of links as a number, but then only lets you view the first 25 or so of those?

Or am I sadly mistaken?



 7:19 pm on Dec 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

When you use "link" Google will show show the usual "Results 1 - 10 of about 80." Then, in some cases, at the bottom of the last page after showing only, say, 12 results, you'll see:

"In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 12 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included."

This is normal Google search behaviour. Click on the link and you'll see all 80 results that Google returns.

But remember that this is not all the sites on Google that link to your site, only those with PR4+ or that Google feels like listing at the moment.



 8:51 pm on Dec 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Try using the respective link commands at Google, Wisenut, Alltheweb, and Altavista. You can also try searching for
your domain by "www.widgets.com" and and the title of your main pages, "Widget's World", in the different search engines. The last two may help to pick up some Javascript and dynamic links that don't always show in the backlinks. Try it over a period of weeks, too. The results on altavista and alltheweb can really vary day by day.

If you have a site with hundreds or thousands of links, this is the only way I know to try to find them all. Each of these searches picks up a slightly different set of links. So if you combine the results and weed out the duplicates, you can end up with a master list of all inbound links for a site.


 12:54 am on Dec 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

Some comments:
1. Not ALL links on Google are displayed (I find that about half of the stated links are actually displayed). This can be disappointing if you're trying to track over a thousand links for a client (to only come up with X number via Google). So, for example, if Google states that the results are 200 links, I'll usually be able to access 100 of them (even with the request to repeat the search with omitted results included). I don't believe this is due to the fact that the other half of the inbound links are all <PR4.
2. JimBeetle & Jane_Doe offer great advice re: searching on the domain name (without the .com or TLD) or, (possibly the same thing) doing a search on the business' name. That's another way to turn up possible links to your site where the inbound links are themselves <PR4. I've done this with success in tracking the inbound links from <PR4.

Last, has anyone else noticed FAST (AlltheWeb) sneaking up on Google not only in terms of results, but now, too, in providing access to all the inbound links in its database for a site?


 2:55 am on Dec 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

Alexa.com also has a tool showing links. If you find your site on Alexa, click overview, and scroll down. It shows the number of links to your site, and will list the pages that link to you.

For my site, Google says 338 links, AlltheWeb says 2576, altavists says 1110, and Alexa says 841.

I wonder if the Alexa number has a closer relationship to what Google knows internally, since, doesn't Google power Alexa's search? (Anyone care to offer a more knowledgable explanation?.. I'm just guessing.)


 3:14 am on Dec 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

Doesn't look like there's a correlation between Alexa's link count and Google's. (unless they are using a unique filtering of results)

For WebmasterWorld.com:

Google 9,180
Alexa 801


 3:28 am on Dec 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

Wow, that is a huge difference between the Google and Alexa result. Convincing evidence. As a follow-up question though, does AlltheWeb show considerably more links than Google, for your site Dante?


 6:59 am on Dec 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

ATW shows more links than Google in just about every instance I've ever seen.

Most attribute this to the fact that Google generally shows only those sites which are PR4 and above, even though they do give credit for the lower PR links.


 2:52 pm on Dec 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

One other way to find really obscure inbound links is to check your referrals. I often find a couple of hits each day from small club/interest/area personal type sites that might not show up in the SEs. And these folks are likely to link to specific internal pages for their "More information" type of links.


 7:32 pm on Jan 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

The Google Links are deceptively inflated. Take the links for Webmasterworld.com... 90% are FROM Webmasterworld.com. Useless. Plus Google does a very poor job filtering out mirrors, so the same link is reported over and over again as www1, www2, www3, etcetera.

Use the links from Alexa. They are much cleaner and more accurate.


 9:27 pm on Jan 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is there any way to find all sites on Google that link to my own site?

Well, Google's been covered sufficiently, so I'll add these to the mix.

  • Search Engine Ranking by RankPilot.com.
  • Link Popularity Check - **** Visibility Index - Measure your link popularity.
  • Link Popularity Check.
  • Link Popularity Check.

    Lastly, check your access_log files for those errant referrer links that may, or may not show up in any of the aforementioned sites. That's where I dug these up.

    Ex: [google.com...]

    Ex: [aolsearch.aol.com...]

    Ex: [search.earthlink.net...]

    Ex: [search.yahoo.com...]

    Personally, I look at my raw access_log files several times a day specifically looking for search strings. This way, by pasting the string into my Address bar, I get a handle on:

    1). What keywords folks are using.
    2). How I rank within that query.
    3). Whether or not the requestor actually hits my site.

    That's what we all want to know, right? Keywords, Ranking and Hits.


  • Dante_Maure

     12:23 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

    The Google Links are deceptively inflated. Take the links for Webmasterworld.com... 90% are FROM Webmasterworld.com. Useless.

    Useless? Only if your specific agenda is learning exclusively about external sites linking to you.

    I find the listing of these links invaluable in assessing the effectiveness of my internal link strategy, and that's just one of many ways I've found myself using them.

    Sure, it would be nice if they had an advanced feature that would let you filter the results... but I'd rather have the unfiltered results than have the internal links discounted altogether.


     4:53 pm on Jan 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I also found that AllTheWeb has a huge amount of links compared to Google. When I looked into it, it was mostly because ATW counts every page with a link on it.

    Google tends to ground them into sites.


     2:38 am on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I wonder why nobody mentions the optilink tool as a time-saving alternative for solving this task. It's not only able to retrieve the referrers from several engines but also aggregates the urls into one list. Although this is only one of its features - its a very comfortable way in all cases where you have to do such a research job more than once.


     9:05 am on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I'd be very careful using the link popularity checkers. None of those are authorized by all the engines they check and are 100% against the TOS of Google.
    Google does regularly ban such utilties and sites.


     12:56 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    You may be right, but imho a link-checker is far less aggressive than all this rank-checkers that are used in masses. Though it depends on the user and the configuration he decides to send against the engines. But if the user is moderate, tools like optilink are moderate too. It's no great difference whether the tool makes 10 requests or you in order to get your 100 backlinks from an engine.

    Have you ever used a Google Dance-Tool? Making 3-7 parallel requests against Google just to see whether the dance has started or not. And wouldn't you make several trials in order to check the status? The amount of such requests against Google may be obtrusive too.

    The websites with such google dance tools are currently with vital PageRank and do reside in the Google-Index. And the sum of generated requests is certainly higher than that of some commercial link popularity tools. They don't seem to be the great burden to Google.

    I bet you an euro that the rank-checkers are of another weight class. Would be nice to get statistics from Googleguy concerning the load related to several tools.


     1:03 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    The aggressive tools are getting banned. Especially those ones related to rank or link checking.


     1:08 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I'd be very careful using the link popularity checkers.

    The link checker sites may get banned but the domains being checked wouldn't, would they?

    Otherwise everyone would be entering their competitors in there ;).


     2:12 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Tools are like weapons, the aggressor is the person that uses them ;-)
    So espescially this aggressive persons should get the penalty. If someone uses WPG on 40 keyphrases, with 100 results listed and this on a daily basis, perhaps against 10 different Google-Servers (e.g. native versions and partners like yahoo, aol ...)- that's aggressive. If another person uses WPG on 8 Keyphrases with 30 results once a month against 4 Google-Services, that should be harmless. The first person would generate round about 120.000 requests per month against Googles Servers, the second only 96 requests.

    Compared to the 100 requests Google offers every person per day using the GoogleAPI I would claim that the first person looks as a parasit to google, the second would be unimportant. I like that idea.

    And I would not complain about some small fee in order to make legal/accepted requests to Google. Perhaps it would be a good idea for Google to set up a special server that would just serve such "commercial" requests - for money. Just like the GoogleAPI, 100 request for free, the additional requests for money. The great advantage - the normal service would become cleaner and more performant.


     2:15 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    correction - googleapi allows 1000 requests - sorry.

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