It seems as though the very broken link: operator in the Google search results is now missing in action. Doing link: queries now do not return any results. And Google has also removed it from their support page which lists all of Google’s search operators.
Here is the Google support page from January 16th which still showed the link: operator as an option for searchers.
But 9 days later, on January 25th, it had been removed.
Now, doing a search with the link: operator, no results are returned.
The fact this is not working now and has been removed from the search operator list is no surprise to many SEOs. It has been mostly broken for years, and many had already stopped using it as a useful tool, or would occasionally use it just to see if anything unusual popped up when doing link audits or disavowing. Google would only show a very small percentage of sites under the link: operator.
If you are looking for link information, you are best using the data within Google Search Console or with one of the many third party link tools – although do take into account that many sites are blocking third party bots from crawling their sites for links, so the most accurate will be Google Search Console.
There could be more to the story about the removal based on a tweet by Gary Illyes.
— Gary Illyes (@methode) February 12, 2016
H/T Bill Hartzer
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