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Top Google search commands to discover competitors’ backlinks

(This post has been translated and adapted from its original, in German, published by Dirk Steffes at SEOrie.net).

… and a special note to Googlebot:  please do not interpret my examples below as keyword stuffing, it’s just a bit of harmless self-promotion for lack of better examples :>)

There is no shortage of tools–both free and paid–for discovering content and links around a given niche. But many SEOs overlook a few simple Google search commands that can get you started with a lot of the same info.

General search commands for Google (example commands appear in bold):

SEO nearshoring – Search for ‘SEO’ and ‘Nearshoring’ – (Standard).

SEO + nearshoring – Search for the terms ‘SEO’ and ‘Nearshoring’ (equivalent to the standard search with Google).

SEO OR nearshoring – Either “SEO” or “Nearshoring” should be found on the target page.

“SEO nearshoring” – Google searches for the combined phrase. “Nearshoring IT and SEO,” for example, would not be included.

SEO -nearshoring – Only results with “SEO”, excluding “nearshoring.”

More complex search operators for Google:

allinanchor:SEO nearshoring– Searches pages that have links with link text that include “SEO nearshoring”.

allintext:SEO nearshoring– The term following the colon must appear in the text of the page.

allintitle: SEO nearshoring – Finds pages that have the keywords “SEO” & “nearshoring” in the page title.

cache: www.seonearshoring.com – Shows the last version of the site that Google has in its index. Also displays the date of last crawl.

filetype:pdf seo nearshoring – For PDF files including the keyword phrase.

SEO date:6 – Results only from past 6 months.

info:seonearshoring.com – Search for more information about a specific domain.

inurl:SEO – “SEO” must exist in the URL.

site:seonearshoring.com – Lists all available pages in the Google index for a domain (also works for sub domains).

Putting this all together to discover a competitors recent link-building:

allinanchor:(keyword) competitor.com -site:competitor.com date:12

If you’ve done this right, this should show you all external inbound links to your competitor’s site, acquired within the past 12 months, that contain the keyword in the link’s anchor text. It should give you a nice window into their recent link-building strategy.

Give these a try for your site! And if you have other search commands that you have used, please share them in the comments below.

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Paris's foray into Internet marketing began in 2003, and since then has spanned numerous projects in countries that include U.S., China, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. Paris founded Hop Online in the spring of 2009 with the aim of aggregating the Bulgaria talent potential and establishing a highly qualified search and social marketing outpost in the region. So far, so good.

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