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Thursday, September 08, 2005

 
Link search with Yahoo! and Google is a very useful overview of how to use the syntax correctly to get an accurate result. There are lots of times and reasons for seeing who (and how many!) is linking to your site.

Yahoo has two ways of doing this - linkdomain and link. Link finds all pages that link to the exact page, so link:http://www.philb.com tells me that there are 2,150 links to my home page. (NOTE: you have to put in the http:// or you get zero results, which is a pain.) However, if I want to check to see how many pages link to any page on my site, I need to do linkdomain:www.philb.com which gives me 18,100. (NOTE: you have to leave out the http:// for this search, which is even more of a pain!) However, we still need to go a step further, which is to delete any links that *I* have on my site to other pages on my site. This is where it gets complicated with:
linkdomain:philb.com -link:http://philb.com -link:http://www.philb.com -site:philb.com

I'm not however entirely convinced that this is correct however, since I'd be surprised if I have 6,000 links to myself from my site.

What can I do with Google? link:http://www.philb.com gives me 162 links (remember that Google doesn't count all links, just those ones that it thinks are important.) This doesn't give me an indication of who is linking to individual pages. I can get a slightly better figure by searching for link:http://www.philb.com/ * (you need a space before the trailing * or you get zero hits). Now, that's all well and good, but how do I get rid of hits from my own site? The best I can come up with is a search for:

link:http://www.philb.com -site:http://www.philb.com/


which makes use of the Google site: function. This gives me a total of 208 hits, which is more than I had originally! Clearly more work needs to be done by both search engines to sort this out, because it's a mess, however you look at it.

How does MSN work here? a search for link:http://www.philb.com gives me 2,125 results, as does link:www.philb.com so at least MSN has some consistency here. Until... I put a trailing slash at the end. link:http://www.philb.com/ gives me 2,134 results, while link:www.philb.com/ gives me 2,137 hits. Now lets try and get rid of my own references.
link:www.philb.com/ -http://www.philb.com/ gives me 918 results.
link:http://www.philb.com/ -http://www.philb.com gives me 909 results. Just to make it really messy, if we then search for
link:www.philb.com/ -www.philb.com we get 733 results.

Isn't it wonderful how something so simple gets so complicated and messy so quickly?

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