Because Google is a tricky, sneaky little so and so, that’s why.
Okay that’s not really the answer. To get to that answer, we have to look at the two ways you’re most likely to find linking pointing back to your site using Google.
The first method is to use Google’s advanced search operators, particularly the info: search. When you put in your site, you’ll find a page that looks like this:
As a quick and dirty method of finding out what Google knows about your site, this isn’t a bad method. But it has one major flaw. Google has shared in recent years that when you click on “links” on this page, it isn’t showing you ALL links. As you can imagine, clicking on something that says “Find pages that link to” and not seeing ALL pages that link to the item in question is kind of confusing.
Another option is using Google Webmaster Tools to discover your links. Google now has a whole blog that will tell you more about its resources for webmasters, including updates about inbound links and other link information.
The drawback of Google Webmaster Tools is that you have to enter your information into Google and verify your site. Not really a drawback if you ask me, but not everyone wants to share more information with Google in order to get data they feel they’re entitled to, out of Google.
For more information about the links pointing to your site, try these resources;
- SEOMoz’s Professional’s Guide to Advanced Search Operators
- SEOMoz also has Open Site Explorer, which rocks, and is set to fill the gap that will be left when Yahoo Site Exploreris retired in a few monthsWarning: Yahoo’s login is buggy on some browsers and will not let you log in even if you have the right password. Note that you do NOT have to log in if you aren’t submitting your site, just use the Explore URL option at the top.
- Backlink Watch is a low, tech, sometimes buggy tool, but for a quick glance at your top links and anchor text, you don’t have to log in to use it.
- Matt Cutt’s blog – head of the web spam team. Whole section on Google and SEO.
- Google’s Webmaster Central – don’t gloss over the blog and video channel, they’re quite helpful