I’ve read multiple books on organic search engine optimization, and they recommended using the link: query in Google like this:
You won’t find very much by using this query. Let’s use my website for example. When I typed link:mrtechnique.com into Google, this is what result I got:
3 backlinks? Seriously?!!! What a joke. I knew there had to be a better Google search query than that to find competitor backlinks. I knew that if used the site: query, I would get all of a website’s pages that are allowed to be indexed by Google.
Then it hit me! I remembered all the way back to my teenage years when I used DOS. I remembered using the * operator when I wanted to find all the files in a directory.
If the site: query showed all of a website’s pages indexed by Google and the * operator showed everything, I figured if I could use the following query to find all of a competitor’s backlinks that were indexed on Google:
When I did this for some of my competitors, I was able to find a lot of websites where I could get some relevant backlinks (e.g. relevant directories, blogs, local listing websites. See below for the results this query produced for my website:
Although this query doesn’t return every backlink, it does give you way more results than using the link: operator. As you can see, some of the Google search results included pages from my own website. Just fish through those. After looking at a few pages, I knew I was on to something whenI saw a message like this on Google:
Give this search query a shot. Remember to use your competitor’s website URL in place of mine. I hope this helps.