getButterfly Logo getButterfly code wrangling since 2005

When using these operators, keep in mind that the syntax, or form, is xxx:URL, where xxx is the operator and URL is the domain name, also known as the web page’s URL. For example, a search for links to one of my favorite web pages is Note that you do not need and should not include the “http://” portion of a web address.


I mentioned links operator in the previous post. You may recall that the Links advanced search feature allows you to find web pages that link to the web page you specify in the query box. The format for a link: query is just like that for cache:, [].

Let’s see what we get if we perform a link: query on (Yahoo’s home page).

The search results page of a link search appears exactly as any other search result page. Note the links to a cached page and similar pages. Here is a secret. Google does not say anything about placing words after the link: query. For the record, I tested [ campus]. Two things (both good) happened. The search engine excluded any web pages without the word, and it highlighted the word in the search results page but not in the web page. If you try this, note that the words placed after the domain name must be separated by a space. The search results that I observed after a few trials showed that the Google search engine treats all words after the domain name as if they are connected via the + (plus) symbol. That is, only links to web pages containing all of the words were returned in the search results page.

I imagine that you can use other operators as part of a link: query and modify your search accordingly. Things to remember about a link: query:

  • A link: query works in any Google query/search box.
  • You can use search words in a link: query if you place them after the domain name, separated by spaces.
  • A link: query tells you how many web pages (not necessarily web sites) are linked to the domain name used in the query. The number of “hits,” or search results, provides this information.
  • If you have a business arrangement with web sites to link to your site, you can easily verify those links.

Subscribe to getButterfly Blog

Once a week or so we send an email with our best content. We never bug you, we just send you our latest piece of content.

If you found any value in this post, agree, disagree, or have anything to add - please do. I use comments as my #1 signal for what to write about. Read our comment policy before commenting! Comments such as "Thank you!", "Awesome!", "You're the man!" are either marked as spam or stripped from URL.

Leave a reply

Love programming?

Learn about the most amazing things. Get smarter everyday!