Finding sites that link to yours

Thanks to a blog post by Janine Adams, I realized not everyone is aware of the various operators you can use in Google. She points out a handy one:

"link:www.yoururl.com"

This will return a list of sites that link back you yours. However, keep in mind that the list is pretty incomplete. It’s obvious to me, because I almost always include a link to my site in the footer of sites I build, and many are missing from the returned results. For a more complete list, you have a couple of options.

Yahoo! Site Explorer

Yahoo! Site Explorer is a tool from Yahoo! That gives you much more complete results. Just type your url in to the top search box and click “Explore URL”, then click the “Inlinks” button to view pages that link to yours. You can adjust the results by excluding links from your own domain (that’s you linking to your own site) or confining it to the specific url you searched on (versus any url in your domain).

Yahoo! Site Explorer filters

Filter options on Yahoo! Site Explorer

You can even export the list to use in Excel or other spreadsheet.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is another Google service that provides a number of tools for webmasters, including more detailed reports on sites that link to yours. Similar to Yahoo!‘s service, you can filter to only include external links. You can also easily see which pages are linked to. I’m happy to export this list for you, or I can set you up with access to your site in Google Webmaster Tools.

Further research

Using either of these tools, you can easily check out specific pages on your site as well—your about page, a specific blog post, etc. With Yahoo!‘s tool, you can also check out your top competitors. You can see what sites are linking to them, and perhaps discover a new forum to post on or a new place to advertise.

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2 comments so far…

Janine Adams Jun 07 2009

Nora, love the new look of your blog! Thanks for these tools. The yahoo link was fantastic. I’d love to see a blog post from you about using Google Webmaster Tools. You’ve set me up with it but I get the feeling I’m only scratching the service of what it offers. For instance, I couldn’t find the external links report there. The interface just doesn’t mesh with how I think.

Nora Brown Jun 09 2009

Thanks for the comment Janine! I will certainly do a write-up on using Google Webmaster tools. Maybe a screencast is in order…

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