Never Run Out of Link Sources with These Advanced Search Operators

Maz representing advanced search

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When it comes to being a good SEO, the very first thing you need to have is a complete understanding of the power and resources at your disposal. Along with more basic queries, Google also provides a number of advanced search operators, allowing you to navigate the vast database that is the Google search engine more easily.

With a few examples of how to use these advanced operators you will soon see the power and potential you have to single out the specific information you are looking for. A full list of Google’s advanced search operators can be found here. What follows is an overview of what are, in my opinion, the most useful operators. These are most useful for finding new link sources as opposed to analysis of your own site.

Site Information

If you do want to get a quick oversight on the search operators that can be used to analyse your site simply type into Google. This will return a number of options for your site including links to a cached version of your website, related websites, sites that link to yours, pages on your site, and other webpages that contain your site URL.

Finding Citations

Finding citations

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One of the first places to start looking for additional links to your site should be those that have already mentioned your website but neglected to leave a link. First of all I have to say that these search commands are not 100% accurate. In particular the link command ( displays notoriously low values for the number of incoming links to your website. However with the addition of the wildcard character (*) you should find yourself getting an ample amount of results. Here is the query that can be used in Google to find these citations:

“” –link:* –

“” will find any other websites that mention your URL. Then we use –link:* to remove any websites that already link to you. The wildcard character (*) should account for links to the www, non-www and subdomains of your website. Finally we remove internal links from this set of result using –

If you are looking to target a particular keyword or keyphrase, and depending on the number of results returned, you can refine the search query using a few more operators. intitle:yourkeyword or inurl:yourkeyword can be used as the name suggests to limit results to just those that have your keyword in the title or URL, allowing you to target your link sources with a greater degree of accuracy.

Finding Directories

Art Deco Directory

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Directories can be a quick and simple way to generate a large quantity of links in a relatively short space of time. Whilst these links are not generally of the highest quality they do contribute towards a varied link profile and can help to increase targeted anchor text for your internal pages. The following search query is a simple way to find relevant directories related to your business or website:

yourkeyword intitle:”submit a link”

As you can imagine it is only really directories that will include the phrase “submit a link” in the title of their pages, so this is a good way to limit your results to directory websites. Including your keyword at the beginning of the search query will allow you to make sure you find either relevant directories or the most relevant page of a directory for your requirements.

Quick Tip: You will now, hopefully, be presented with a large number of relevant directories to submit your website to. But how can you determine which ones will lend the most value to your site without clicking through to each site individually? Enter SEOQuake. SEOQuake is a browser plugin originally for Firefox and now compatible with Chrome and Safari that allows you to get a number of metrics inserted directly into the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). You can use these metrics, such as Google’s PageRank, to reorder your search results and find the directories that will be most useful to you.

SEOQuake will only reorder the results you can see on the page rather than the total number of results returned. Therefore increasing the number of results per page to 100, the maximum, will give you a greater selection of directories to choose from. You can make this change by editing your search settings in Google or by appending &num=100 to the end of the search URL.

Finding Guest Posting Opportunities

Finding guest posting opportunities

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Links derived from guest blogging have the potential to be extremely powerful and it is often worth searching around to find suitable places to post your content. Working on the same principles used to locate targeted and relevant directories you can also define a search query that will locate suitable guest blogs on which to post your content. The following query will assist you when it comes to finding guest blogs related to your keywords:

yourkeyword “guest blog” OR “guest post”

In this example the intitle search operator has not been used as it was in the above directory example. This has been done to expand our results set. Additionally there are very few sites that will mention “guest blog” or “guest post” in their site content without offering the opportunity to contribute. This is something that comes from looking at the results returned with advanced queries of this nature and soon you will also be able to spot these trends and refine your search queries accordingly.

The logical operator OR is being used in this query to further increase the results set and find more guest bogs worth targeting. The other logical operator is of course AND however you do not need to use this as it is the default operator used when searching in Google. Again I would suggest using SEO Quake to order your results by a metric that you feel indicates the most valuable sites.

Once you have found a suitable site it is simply a case of searching the page for a “contribute” or “submit” link to post your content. Failing that, if you have found a site that has guest posts on it, as you should with this query, then simply contact the site owner with a proposal for what you plan to write about. This way, the site owner can receive a tailored piece of content, and if unsuccessful you haven’t wasted time creating content that now needs to be re-positioned.

Final Word

Of course it is not only citations, directories and guest blogs that you can find using some of Google’s advanced search queries. The best search queries will be those that you construct yourself, as they are the most likely to find you unique resources that few people are aware of. Having said that, it can be difficult at times to create these advanced queries. To help with the construction of advanced search queries, I would recommend taking a look the Link Suggestion Tool from SEOBook and the Link Building Query Generator from Ontolo. Both are free to use tools that will really open your eyes to the power of advanced search queries if you have never used them before.