Competitive Link Tracking Using MSN Search
Rand Fishkin was playing around with the MSN Search ‘linkdomain:’ operators and stumbled upon a quite useful competitive intelligence linking system, which Rand declared “the Holy Grail of Link Searches.”
By using this formula in linkdomain searches (seeing what sites link to domains) one can pinpoint the sites giving link love to two or more competitors, but not to the site you represent.
Rand gives this example:
(linkdomain:kennedyfunding.com linkdomain:hardmoneyfunding.com) (-linkdomain:avatarfinancial.com)
This search is showing only those pages that link to both kennedyfunding.com and hardmoneyfunding.com but do not link to avatarfinancial.com. You can actually use this to find co-citation linkers that currently exclude your domain and link to your competitors.
So, in essence MSN tracks the sites which link to domain A and domain B, but not to domain C.
(linkdomain:domain A linkdomain:domain B) (-linkdomain:domain C)
If you have more competitors, you can narrow the amount of results to more authoritative and link friendly sites by adding more domains:
(linkdomain:domain A linkdomain:domain B linkdomain:domain C linkdomain:domain D) (-linkdomain:domain E)
So, I tried doing a search for sites which link to SERoundtable, SE Watch Blog, SE Blog, and SE Lowdown, but not Search Engine Journal.
The first result led to Aaron Wall’s SEO Blogs and Search Engine Blogs post from SEOBook. At first I was going to pick up the phone and give Mr. Wall a piece of my mind, then I noticed that Aaron does link to SEJ, but https://www.searchenginejournal.com and not https://www.searchenginejournal.com.
MSN Search is treating these like two different sites in its linkdomain operator, something which you should keep in mind before approaching sites which MSN Search says are not linking to you by performing both www and non-www domain searches.
Aaron’s not off the hook yet as he writes “It is led by Lauren Baker” in the description. It’s Loren, not Lauren. But thanks for the link anyway Mr. Airin’ Heil 🙂
After some initial tests for clients and sites of friends, the MSN Search comparative exclusion linkdomain queries are proving quite useful. At the end of his post Rand adds an update : “Yahoo! appears to provide accurate data on these searches too. More research coming soon.”
Looking forward to the update Mr. Fishkin.
And I do hope Aaron is crunching away at not only changing the spelling of my name from the girly to the manly version, but also coding a kick-butt link tracking tool using these MSN Search linkdomain operators.