How to search for links to your site

Google, Livesearch and yahoo

February 2007

Google, yahoo and MSN (or Live) search all have ways to show you which sites link to any given other site. 

Google

Google uses the same format as MSN does on the public site. It only accepts the link: command. Google is notorious for only listing a fraction of the links to your site. Webmasters are often worried that google only sees the links they list. This is not necessary. Google probably sees all the links MSN and Yahoo see, but they just don't want to make it easy on webmasters and SEOs.

link:http://www.katinkahesselink.net/

The way to use google for SEO is to login to their 'google sitemap' service. It can be used for all kinds of useful things, like finding out what keywords your site is found for, in google. In the beginning of February they added the option to find out what links you have to your site. The information is organized by URL. So for each URL in your site you can find out what links point to that web-adres. This is highly preferable to MSN and Yahoo, for the simple reason that google is the most used search engine.

MSN search or Live search

In MSN you can use the link: command. It will show which pages link to the page you give if you use it like this:

link:http://www.katinkahesselink.net/

The alternative is the linkdomain: option. This will give you the links to your domain. For instance:

linkdomain:katinkahesselink.net

In both cases they don't list every link per domain that links to you. For instance I have a signature link on DP (a great forum by the way), and they only give two of those links and then move on to the rest. They also give the option to look specifically at that domain to see which pages link to your site, but you can also easily move on to sites you did not yet know about. This is quite convenient. 

MSN, like yahoo, does make it possible to research your competition as well as your own site.