Google describes the command link: saying she displays some of the pages (one sample) with links to the specified address.
Here is the command applied to the home page of directory-info.
The method used to determine the list of pages that appear in the sample is kept secret by Google. The fact is that this is a very small preview of all pages containing the link provided. It is, in any case, not a selection of pages based on their importance in the Google algorithms.
link: Google, a useless gadget?
By refusing to disclose its criteria for determining whether a page is part of this sample, Google strongly reduces the interest of the command link:.
The results of this command are still obscured by the fact that the list of sites that are part of the sample is updated very irregularly. Time-to-date ranging from slightly less than a month to several months.
Because of these delays, it is not uncommon that when you see this command, some links to your site no longer exists.
List of backlinks in Google “Webmaster Tools”
Recall that backlink is the English word for “page that links to a given address.” A list of backlinks is what we hoped to get with the link command:.
The Google Webmaster Tools offer you a dashboard for the listing of all your sites. Through the Links menu, you have access to backlinks two lists: “Pages with external links” and “Pages with internal links”. These lists are much more extensive than the list provided by link:.
Other lists of backlinks
Given the limitations of the command link: and as the “Webmaster Tools” can only be used for its own websites, looking for a way to determine the backlinks of a site that we do not control.
A roundabout way, but effective, to find pages with a link to a site, is to look for pages containing the exact name of the site. For example, for book-info, we can do the next search.
Notice the quotes around the address of the domain name.
This research gives satisfactory results as it will display a list of pages comprising the site name. A feature of this method is that it displays links to an entire site or to a domain, rather than links to a specific page.
You can combine this command with cleverly and obtain other interesting results. Example:
Google will display a list of external backlinks.
A disadvantage of this technique is that the presence of the name of the site is obviously not a guarantee for the presence of a link. Of course, links with no mention of the name of the site may also exist.