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I can see no difference between the links on these pages and the ones that are actually counting as links to my site. Why don't these pages show up when I use link:www.widgets.com?
Sorry if this question is rather basic, I am new to optimizing my site for Google.
So if Google is registering them but not reporting them (in link: command), do they count towards my position in the SERPs?
Yup, I think that's the general consensus - as long as it's a straight link and not a redirect.
I thought that only the pages in "links to" count towards my site's link popularity.
The sites listed using the "link:" command in google are a "random sample" of your backlinks. IMHO, very little relation to what google counts when determining your PR.
Perhaps I am placing too much emphasis on the link: command and its value to me. I'd be curious to know what other people are doing or using to evaluate their incoming links.