I’ve read multiple books on organic search engine optimization, and they recommended using the link: query in Google like this:

link:yourcompetitor.com

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:

Google Link Operator Query

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:

site:* yourcompetitor.com

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:

Backlink Search Query

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:

Google CAPTCHA

This isn’t the only method I use to find backlinks on my competitors. I use Alexa and Backlink Watch  for finding backlinks as well.

Give this search query a shot. Remember to use your competitor’s website URL in place of mine.  I hope this helps.

About Tom Nguyen

Tom Nguyen is the president of Mr. Technique, an Atlanta based company that focuses on Web Design and Local SEO for small businesses in the Atlanta area.

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