Digital Marketing

How to Find Backlinks with the Operator in Google

How to Find Backlinks with the Operator in Google

I’ve read a few books about SEO and a lot of them suggested using hyperlinks: on Google to search for backlinks from competitors like this:

The world has changed dramatically since I published this blog entry in 2013. When I first tried this link-operating tool on I found only three results in Google:

The year is currently 2018 and there are more search results than in the past, however, the results are more than just external links to our site. In the screenshot below you’ll see that the top four results come coming from

Around 16,300 results were generated by this query. Results 5-10 are genuine backlinks from social media as well as local directories. However when I went to page 2 of the search query, I saw certain results that are not connected to

The results of “MR technique” are not associated with Thus, by using the “link operator” within Google allows you to locate some competitors’ backlinks. However, there is an alternative to this. I knew that if refined my search query by using on Google, I would get all of a website’s pages that are allowed to be indexed by Google.

It struck me! I recalled all the way to my teens when I was using DOS. I remember making use of the wildcard (*) operator when I needed to locate all the files within a directory. If the query site: showed all of the pages on a website that were that were indexed through Google while using the search using the * operator showed all of them I thought I could make use of the following query to locate all of a backlinks of a competitor that were indexable by Google:


When I searched for our competitors I was able to find many websites on which I could obtain some backlinks relevant to our business (e.g. blogs and directories), as well as reviews websites, etc.). Below are the results this query generated for

The search result was refined even further (around 10,000). When I first started writing this blog post, that was all I could go, but then I found out that I could refine the search query to a greater extent. I learned that if you want to exclude all pages from a certain website, you can use to do this. By combining the exclusion portion of the question above I was able to come up using this query to search for backlinks from competitors:


Check out the screenshot below to view the results This backlink-related search has produced for

Most of the results displayed in this image are sites that offer an backlink, however not all the search results shown in the image above include hyperlinks back to The search result only contains the mention of Also, there weren’t 13200 results. I was able to see around 335 results. As with a normal Google search the first results will give the most results.

Simon who is from 122 recommended (in his comments) this query, which yields genuine results:


Check out the screenshot below to see the results the backlink query generated for

While Google claims that there are four37 search results available, I got around 360 results. As with a typical Google search the first results will give the most results.

Give these search terms try. Be sure to put the URL of your competitor’s site instead of mine. I hope this will help. If you’ve tried this for yourself Let me know how the experiment worked for you by leaving your thoughts below. If you’ve come up with any other method to generate backlinks for competitors, please feel free to share your ideas in the comments section as well. Thank you for taking the time to read.

Wilson Conner

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