Attention: This is a fairly basic post about SEO

When trying to find the number of backlinks that are pointing to your site, it is important note that search engines don’t tell you exactly which links are pointing to your site. This means, that many search engines won’t tell you every link that points to your site — even though these unknown links hold value.

Below, is a summary of the top three search engines (Clicking “Query” will automatically check for incoming links):

  • Google: Excludes many links.
    Query: link:http://example.com -site:example.com
  • Yahoo: Shows all links and nofollow links.
    Query: http://example.com (in Yahoo! Site Explorer)
  • MSN: Excludes many links.
    Query: +link:http://example.com -site:example.com

There are also many tools that check all of the above at once:

A lot of these tools tend to not be very reliable.

Hopefully, I’ll write on more advanced techniques at a later date. I’m planning on writing a post about measuring and decreasing bounce rate, eventually ;) .

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13 thoughts on “How to Find the Number of Incoming Links/Backlinks

  1. I am always confused with the unreliability of those Link counters which vary so greatly from day to day.

    I know links can come and go daily depending on what is going on, but I wish there was a more consistent and accurate way to keep track.

  2. Yeah, I know.

    There are some tools that currently check Yahoo and then subtract the nofollow links, but they are usually inaccurate.

  3. yea, i tried using a checker once and it told me i had just three incoming links. i almost fainted. Glad your post has clarified my thoughts that it must have been wrong.

  4. @Mike,

    Okay, fair enough, so it did.
    However, do you think its even remotely reliable? I just did a backlink check for the most highly ranked site in my niche (millions of results, billions of dollars made every year in it) – and it only showed 14 backlinks.

    Sorry, didn’t mean to come off like a smart a$$.

  5. @Chris F.: Hey, no problem.

    I agree that these metrics are not very accurate. The best way I’ve found is that you need to write a program to “scrape” Yahoo’s backlink checker (with Yahoo’s API of course ;) ) and then automatically remove the sites from the list that use the “nofollow” attribute.

    IMO, the more tools we are able to use, the closer accuracy we should be able to achieve.

  6. First off, great website, alot of million dollar info here. I’d like to suggest this free tool that I’ve found to be very, very reliable in only the trial mode, Makes me wonder if you were to upgrade the bells and whistles that you would get, all of the functions have a video help screen so you can download and dive right in. I love this tool, not because it’s free but because the tremendous data that it compiles.

    The tool is called Traffictravis you can google it and download and install, Im sure yoll love it also.

  7. This is a great post and have kept it in my bookmarks. Will continue to read it as i’m very new to a lot of the points you mention!

    Thanks though, i’m glad some people share good stuff like this!

  8. @Buy Backlink: Wait. You’re “new” to this, and you make your name “buy backlink” and link to an online advertising site.

    Yeah, right.

  9. I agree. Finding number of backlinks seems hopeless.
    every method used yields widely different results.Google says one thing, Yahoo something else.Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to play the link game!

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