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SEARCH ENGINE TRICKS

Which search engines use link popularity as a factor in ranking pages?
By: Developer Shed
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    2003-08-09

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    Which search engines use link popularity as a factor in ranking pages?

    Well, that question has become pretty moot these days. Just about every spider based search engine uses link popularity as a factor. So, how do you find out how much link popularity your site has? And how do you know which sites are actually linking to you? In this article, I'll tell you how you can find out the link popularity of your site in some of the major search engines.

    1. AltaVista

    In order to find out the number of sites linking to the domain mysite.com in AltaVista, you would type in link:mysite.com in AltaVista's search box. If you wish to exclude links from pages within the mysite.com domain, you would type in link:mysite.com -url:mysite.com.

    If you want to find out how many sites are linking to a particular page (say mypage.html) in the mysite.com domain, you would type in link:mysite.com/mypage.html. Again, in order to exclude links from pages within the mysite.com domain, you would type in link:mysite.com/mypage.html -url:mysite.com.

    Note that you should not type in the "www" or the "http://" prefixes.

    2. AOL

    AOL is a directory based engine. It takes its results from the Open Directory. Hence, the concept of link popularity is not very meaningful in AOL.

    3. Direct Hit

    There is no way you can find out the link popularity of your site in Direct Hit. This is because Direct Hit does not return the number of sites which match the search criterion.

    4. Excite

    There is no way you can find out the link popularity of your site in Excite. This is because Excite does not have a special command to measure the link popularity of your site.

    5. Fast (http://www.alltheweb.com)

    In order to find out the number of web sites linking to the domain mysite.com in Fast, click on the Advanced Search link. In the "Word Filters" section of the Advanced Search page, select "Must Include" from the first combo box. In the text box besides the first combo box, type in mysite.com. In the combo box to the right of the text box, select "in the link name". If you want to exclude links from pages within the mysite.com domain, type in mysite.com in the "Exclude" text box in the "Domain Filters" section. Then, click on the "FAST Search" button.

    In order to find the number of links to mypage.html in the mysite.com domain, you would type in mysite.com/mypage.html in the text box besides the first combo box. Again, in order to exclude links from within the mysite.com domain, type in mysite.com in the "Exclude" text box.

    Note that you should not type in the "www" or the "http://" prefixes.

    6. Google

    In order to find out the number of sites linking to mysite.com in Google, you would type in link:mysite.com.

    If you want to find out how many sites are linking to the page mypage.html in the mysite.com domain, you would type in link:mysite.com/mypage.html.

    However, there is no way you can exclude links from pages within the mysite.com domain from being counted.

    Google considers www.mysite.com to be different from mysite.com. This means that typing in link:mysite.com will not include the links to www.mysite.com. If you want to find out the number of links to www.mysite.com, you have to type in link:www.mysite.com. And typing in link:www.mysite.com will not include the links to mysite.com either.

    This is in contrast to AltaVista which includes links to the www.mysite.com domain when you try to find the number of links to mysite.com.

    7. HotBot

    There are two methods of measuring link popularity in Hotbot.

    In the first case, in order to find out the number of sites linking to mysite.com, you can type in linkdomain:mysite.com. In order to exclude links from pages within the mysite.com domain, you can use linkdomain:mysite.com -domain:mysite.com.

    Make sure that you do not use the "www" or "http://" prefixes when you use this method.

    However, this method cannot be used to find out the number of links to specific pages in your site, i.e. you cannot use this method to find out the links to the page mypage.html in the domain mysite.com.

    In order to find out the number of links to specific pages, choose "links to this URL" from the "Look for:" drop-down combo box and then type in the complete URL (i.e. http://www.mysite.com/mypage.html) in the search box. In order to exclude links from within the mysite.com domain, type http://www.mysite.com/mypage.html -domain:mysite.com in the search box after choosing "links to this URL" from the combo box. Note that for the second method, you need to use the "http://" prefix.

    Lastly, you should note that in the second method, typing http://www.mysite.com will only find links to the home page of the www.mysite.com domain. If there are some sites which have linked to some of the internal pages in your site rather than your home page, this will not be included in the link popularity count.

    8. IWon

    The method of measuring link popularity in IWon is the same as the first method in HotBot. However, unlike HotBot, IWon does not have an alternative method which can be used to measure the number of links to specific pages in a domain.

    9. Lycos

    In order to measure link popularity in Lycos, first click on the Advanced Search link to the right of the search box. To find out the number of sites linking to mysite.com in Lycos, you would type in ml:mysite.com in the search box. If you wish to exclude links from pages within the mysite.com domain, you would type in ml:mysite.com -h:mysite.com.

    If you want to find out how many sites are linking to a particular page (say mypage.html) in the mysite.com domain, you would type in ml:mysite.com/mypage.html. Again, in order to exclude links from pages within the mysite.com domain, you would type in ml:mysite.com/mypage.html -h:mysite.com.

    Note that you should not type in the "www" or the "http://" prefixes.

    10. MSN

    The method of measuring link popularity in MSN is almost the same as that in Hotbot. The first method is exactly the same. For the second method, click on the More Options tab, type in the complete URL in the "Search the web for:" text box and choose "links to URL" from the "Find:" drop-down combo box. However, unlike Hotbot, you cannot eliminate links from pages within the same domain using the second method.

    Note that the More Options tab is displayed only after you search for something in MSN. It is not displayed in MSN's home page.

    11. Netscape

    Netscape is a directory based engine. It takes its results from the Open Directory. If no results are found in the Open Directory, it takes its results from Google. Since it is a directory based engine, the concept of measuring link popularity is not all that meaningful. You can type in link:mysite.com to measure the number of links to the domain mysite.com. In this case, Netscape will simply take its results from Google.

    12. Northern Light

    There is no special command for measuring link popularity in Northern Light. To get a very approximate idea of the number of sites linking to the domain mysite.com, you can type in mysite.com. In order to eliminate the references to the mysite.com domain from within the domain, you can type in mysite.com -url:mysite.com.

    To get an approximate measure of the number of links to the page mypage.html in the domain mysite.com, you can type in mysite.com/mypage.html in the search box. Again, to eliminate the references to the page from within the mysite.com domain, you would type mysite.com/mypage.html -url:mysite.com

    Don't type in the "http://" or "www" prefixes.

    13. Webcrawler

    There is no way you can find out the link popularity of your site in Webcrawler. This is because, like Excite, Webcrawler has no special command for measuring link popularity.

    Sumantra Roy, author of this article, is one of the most respected search engine positioning specialists on the Internet. To have Sumantra's company place your site at the top of the search engines, go to 1stSearchRanking. For more advice on how you can take your web site to the top of the search engines, subscribe to his FREE Newsletter.

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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