• Posted on: 16 April 2009
  • By: Brian Gilley

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.

Comments

Brian, these are awesome!!

I will definitely be linking to this and building out from some of your ideas!

I can only add a couple searches to the pot, in the form of urls:

http://searchengineland.com/getting-links-from-known-quality-linkers-14356
http://www.garrettfrench.com/eric-ward-in-search-marketing-standard-maga...

Now... if only there were some way to rank these high-potential link opportunities based on relevance and value... ;D

G

It would be interesting to rank these types of queries according to relevance/value. All along it's been a manual process thus far, but at least it tends to get slightly easier if we can drop specific keyword phrases within the search operator, like on one or two of the ones I added above.

These few above are also the tip of the iceburg. I have so many of these that I need to gather them together all in one place.

This is a very good post. I like the idea of using such specific google queries to find pages for backlinks. I can't believe you actually have 300 types of those queries... I would be very interested to access them :-)

although blog comment spam is ill advised, if i can find some sites with genuinely interesting content on which to comment on then ill give these a go :D

@Philippe -- I'd like to share more, so I'll wait to see just how popular this post gets, or at least gauge the interest. The 300+ we have compiled have come from several years of work. There are some very nice gems within that list. I don't think I'd share all of them, but perhaps 40 or 50 ;-)

@Mahesh -- You're welcome!

@mark rushworth -- I totally agree. We prefer to use a combination of keyword phrases within any of our advanced search queries to find relevant posts that we'd like to contribute to or websites to join, such as Elgg-powered websites mentioned above. I often find that after just a short time we can see direct traffic from the sites we post to because the comment is on-topic and people click through to our client's website(s).

What you have suggested here are just the peak powerful moves to strengthen your SEO campaign. THis is just a good read.

@Brian.
I understand you don't want to give away all your queries! You actually did a lot here already. I guess we should all be a little creative now, and follow the same logic.
I worked on some queries myself since I read your post, and I came up with I think some good ones:

"powered by phpbb" "keyword"
"keyword" blog site:.edu
"keyword" forum site:.edu
"keyword" blog site:.gov
"keyword" forum site:.gov

I realized that possibilities are endless with search operators. I found a specific query as well which trigger exclusively wordpress blogs using KeywordLuv (dofollow blogs).
I also found this page which show the most popular CMS/Blogging platform on the web. It's a great asset to create new search operators using "powered by ...".
I'm not entirely sure which ones have dofollow links comments though. I assumed only Wordpress was nofollow until I found out that comment links from nucleus platform were also Nofollow. Based on the list, do you know which platform dofollow or Nofollow links comment?

@Philippe -- Nice! Thanks for the additions. We've used a good number of those before but I'm sure that visitors will find those useful as well. I really like getting into the more specific CMS/forum/bloging platforms and seeing which ones allow followed links. I think there is value there, especially if targeting keywords within the query versus a more broad approach.

We dissected CMSmatrix.org websites and I would recommend sifting through that huge list and finding ones that allow followed links. We spent many, many hours doing this but I think it's paid off.

Thanks again!

Thanks for the url CMSmatrix.org Brian. I will definitely spent some time on this and make a proper list of CMS which follow.

You have revealed one of my favorite link finding techniques. But you have some great twists on it thanks for sharing this valuable information.

@Brian
I went through CMS matrix.org, but could not find cms or blogging software which dofollow comments :-(
Even the one you actually gave us on your post. I realised that most of the people are still adding nofollow on their comments (the vast majority).

Thanks for sharing - I had a little poke around using some of your ideas and there's lots of potential out there.

Cheers

Wow... i thank you so much for the tips... it gives me more spirit to build back links

This is a good share...would like to see your list of 300 though ;)

These are great steps to find do follow backlinks. thanxs for the info and hope we dont spam much to keep them clean

Webmasters, try BackLinkStat.com - Get detailed backlinks report of your site for FREE!

I just want to add that there is amazing software called comment kahuna. Try this and you can almost automate making backlinks.

Its a huge list of over 300 of queries. I think your doe a great job. I am looking for some more post.

"powered by Mephisto" comment
"powered by subtext"
"Powered by s9y" comment

These are some good ones. I believe they are all dofollow by default. They would be particularly good for Rails, ASP and PHP developers respectively as most/a lot of the sites on those platforms are about those languages.

Thanks David,
Those are pretty nice ones. I have a couple of clients in the Rails development industry. I'll try a few of those out ;-)

had a realyl good look into to this and i think its going to work well for what i need it for optimisation for small business and local areas many thanks.

Thanks for sharing this kinf of searching backlinks. I was simply using Yahoo backlinks module. But it is very useful information. I found your blog by "drupal 2009 inurl: comment" query
Buy Ultram online

these seem to be just the power moves of strong area optimisation and not really into depth for good national phases.

Great ideas. If you really want to build backlinks, though, you should learn how to get it done on autopilot. That's really the only way to get a successful launch. Check out my lens on squidoo to read a report on how to get it done.

i came across few sites last couple of week the sites are only few months old but have over 90k links - is there a software that automatically post anchor text links?

Brain, Thanks a lot. I was thinking to buy backlinks but i found that many spams were their. Using this method i can find quality pages and get quality backlinks. This will boost my SERP and pagerank. Once again many many thanks.
I have bookmarked the blog. This information worth more than $1000. I never got this information in paid ebooks also.

Regards
BABA

Hello,

I've been trying for months to get Google backlinks by posting to high PR blogs that are relevant to my site. So far I've had no success at all. I'll give your links a try.

Thanks very much for sharing this information.

Best regards, Stu Engelman

Can you please suggest some queries related to real estate and real estate software sites? As i have to do back linking for these sites and i have used some queries but still cant find relevant links for back linking. Your advices will be beneficial for me.

Do these backlink scouters perform better that independent softwares like SEO Elite, Market Samurai and Traffic Kahuna?

Is this your primary way for actively seaching backlinks?

It's a known fact that Google doesn't show the complete picture of backlinks a website has due to monetary reasons. In my opinion Yahoo does a better job at showing backlink portfolio. What's your opinion on this?

Thanks,
Cristian

Great content, love your site.

This was some great information on using search operators. Some of these I've seen, but many I hadn't, like the "Powered by Elgg."

I think you may enjoy this article too. I was pretty floored to see how these guys were using search operators.
http://searchengineland.com/21-link-builders-share-advanced-link-buildin...

This is great, I'm usually looking for backlinks from blogengine and SMF, you give me more choices here, thanks :)

thanks for sharing,, this is give me a little bit knowledge in SEO,,,

Brian everybody else,

Finally I had time to work on finding crafty backlinks, here are my findings:

http://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=010363265520675485990:xjmxcyokkls - dofollow blog search

http://www.dofellow.com/ - this software is great and automated, you can submit hundreds of comments a day

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/321 - this firefox addon shows if a link in a site is follow or nofollow, no need to check the page source

And a couple of search queries:

"KEYWORD HERE" "powered by wordpress" "leave a comment" -"no comments"

“KEYWORD HERE” "Remember my personal information" "Notify me of follow-up comments"

In Yahoo: linkdomain:wordpress.org site:edu student blog

I hope it will open up the gates to more queries of Brian's list... Also, I am willing to share more wisdom if I see reciprocity...

Regards,
Thomas

I tried this for a while searching for sites, forums, blogs that I could post backlinks, and it's harder then it seems. Why don't you get more credit for what you do? It seems like you would have to have a high tolerance of patience. Trying to find places that match your keywords and trying to post a link there. Is there a repository or list of sites that you know are open to add links? Half the time you register for a site and realize there are nofollow or HTML has been turned off or they require 10 or more posts before allowing a link. This job is not for the faint of heart. When you first started what were you averaging a day or hour?

you have said to find site is http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=%22Your+URL+will+be+displa... . If I want to search for specific keyword like "iPhone 4GS" what will be the Google query? Please help me in this regards.

The most natural back-links once your site ranks for the keywords your after. Because people will search for the keyword, see your site, and then blog about your website or something along those lines. But, you will also be building natural back-links from people stumbling onto your website the whole time.

The best what we can find there are Wordpress blogs in .edu and .gov domains. If you can leave a comment there it's great as Google loves these domains. And if the url has a high PR that's even better :)

I heard of scrape box that can do the work more easily. Has anyone used it here. please advise.

@ Brian :

Relevance : understood... but what do you mean by ranking by value?

Do you mean page rank? Kindly explain.

Whoa..This is great and with URL ,just amazing. I will definitely look forward to that and will find some quality links.

This is a very good post. I like the idea of using such specific google queries to find pages for backlinks. I can't believe you actually have 300 types of those queries.

Half the time you register for a site and realize there are nofollow or HTML has been turned off or they require 10 or more posts before allowing a link. This job is not for the faint of heart. When you first started what were you averaging a day or hour?

For my money, SEO is about education.

Whilst the debate will rage on forever more about which is better, I advise my consultants to comment on Nofollow blogs as readily and as seriously as they would comment on a Dofollow blog. Why? Because we want our comments to ADD VALUE and we want our linkbuilding to appear natural to the search engines. We also want the administrator of the blog to (1) authorise the comment and (2) maybe even visit the linked site, BECAUSE IT COULD BE OF INTEREST to them !! Maybe in future they will even provide a link without asking!!

Always go Nofollow whilst getting the crucial Dofollows. Go for BOTH !!

DeltaSEO out !

Another useful advanced search operator is the cache command, this command can be accessed by typing the word cache, followed by a colon, followed by the URL of the page in question. This operator will give you an indication on when the page in question was last cached by Google (it's important to remember here that Google's cache can sometimes take upwards of five days to update). This operator is particularly useful when it comes to looking at your website's crawl rate and whether some of your deeper pages are being given enough attention by the Googlebot. It is also useful when it comes to link building, you can use this operator to get a gauge on how quickly your links may be crawled and subsequently start contributing value to your website.

Attracting relevent backlinks is the hard thing. I have certainly discovered a few new things about creating forced links. However, the whole process can be very time consuming. I sometimes feel my time would be better served creating content rather than looking for places to backlink from.

However, the whole process can be very time consuming. Another useful advanced search operator is the cache command, this command can be accessed by typing the word cache, followed by a colon, followed by the URL of the page in question.

When you first started what were you averaging a day or hour? Half the time you register for a site and realize there are nofollow or HTML has been turned off or they require 10 or more posts before allowing a link. This job is not for the faint of heart.

We have a simple website where we have:
1. Made sure we have good descriptions in meta description and keywords.
2. Created a descriptive title for each page.
3. Created descriptive alt= text.
Are there any other tips for ensuring we get the best attention from the crawlers?[url=http://brandvois.com/]Brand Reputation Management[/url]

It would be interesting to rank these types of queries according to relevance/value. All along it's been a manual process thus far, but at least it tends to get slightly easier if we can drop specific keyword phrases within the search operator, like on one or two of the ones I added above.

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