Getting Crafty – Advanced Search Operators to Find the Best Backlinks

I keep seeing virtually the same articles posted on SEO sites that describe using advanced Google search operators to find backlinks, but none get down to actually showing useful examples. Finding backlinks by advanced search operator is something I’ve been using for the past 5+ years and I can say that it undoubtedly works, especially when consistently acquired over time.

advanced search operators for backlinks

My team and I have built up a list of over 300 of these queries that come in very handy in our quest for links. Below I’ll share just a few of these searches that are very specific to link building from popular CMS/blogging platforms and that provide good to moderately good results. Maybe these few will help you find even more crafty variations of your own. You can also read a similar post on building backlinks in social media websites we wote months back:

Elgg Social Networking Websites

Here are a few advanced search operators that can be used to find Elgg-powered websites. Most Elgg social networking websites offer an “About Me” type section that allows contextual links within the paragraph(s). This first method helps finding Elgg-powered sites in Google using the “inurl:” operator and a specific text phrase chunk found on most Elgg password pages:

  • Copy everything in bold and search within Google: inurl:forgotten_password.php “We will send the address of a unique verification page to you via email click”

Direct Google search and Google Image search for “Powered by Elgg” or Elgg badges found on websites. This is a more tedious way to search for Elgg-powered websites but still a worthy method:

Drupal Powered Websites (most allow comments links and/or dofollow)

Targeting Drupal sites with the keyword phrase “home mortgages” with comments turned on and that allow HTML <a> links to be added and are almost always followed:

Want to get more specific and search for the keyword in the title. Try the “intitle:” search operator on for size:

Want to get freaky with it and go the broad route and not including Drupal websites or any specific CMS platform? Just search for sites allowing the <a> HTML tag, which usually means a followed link and brings up endless possibilites:

Laconica – The Open Source Microblogging Tool – You know, like Twitter!

Here is a broader search for non-Laconica websites that is similar to the above query and that have “register” in the URL and also ask for the URL of your website while registering:

b2evolution-Powered Websites

Many b2evolution-powered websites dofollow comment URLs. This snippet below will search for specific snippets of text in the comments section of b2evolution websites:

JobberBase-Powered Websites

If you have a legitimate job posting and want to get the benefit of a good anchor text within the job posting page that’s followed, try posting to some JobberBase websites:

If you want a more basic read, you can visit this older pages on finding backlinks with search operators. I’d like to share more within this post, but don’t want to give away the farm, so to speak. If you have any crafty methods of scouring for backlinks, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. Depending on the popularity of this post, I might post another 10, 15, or 30 other search operators that we’ve been building over the years. If you want the real deal in link building for your website, then inquire about our link building services.


Great list, thanks a lot!

Great list, thanks a lot!


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