Does the Google link: Operator Choose the Ordering by Relevance?

Apr 7, 2008 • 9:59 am | comments (4) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

If you were ever to perform a link: query on Google, you'd be presented with a lot of links. But are they ordered in any such way that authoritative links are listed before any other links? Nobody knows for sure, but some people have seen some experience to indicate that the link: operator only shows higher quality links. However, they also note that in the past, Google has changed this policy because it was a great way for competition to try to score some "higher quality" links.

Tedster reports that the link: operator is merely a sampling of what really exists out there. Similarly, you're only seeing a sampling of your links when you do a link analysis on Google Webmaster Tools.

Nobody believes that the results are randomized. One forum member reports that the link: operator shows basically the same results every time. There's some order, but it's hard to say exactly what it is.

Forum discussion continues at WebmasterWorld.

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Michael Martinez

04/07/2008 06:44 pm

Relevance should be a factor in every query result, but it doesn't have to be the primary factor. In a "link:" query, relevance is determined by whether Google considers the listed sites to actually be linking to the URL in question. The link: results are indeed random selections. I have watched them change for sites with large, persistent link profiles across the years. Google knows about more than enough links to just shake up the list and randomly grasp a few different ones every now and then. Most links, however, DO NOT PASS VALUE in Google's index (as best can be determined by third parties). People appear to still not have grasped that aspect of Google's search index. Google has devoted a lot of resources to preventing links from passing value.


04/08/2008 09:00 am

Google may have devoted a lot of time to preventing links from passing value, but it doesn't seem to work. Sites are still ranking from spamming and paid links, which you would think would be the first target of any Google algo. I think they rely on lots of data averaging out results then manual pruning, rather than a very sophisticated engine.

Chris Regan

04/11/2008 12:34 am

Scary thing is that Mark is correct, and I say this great sadness. There is tremendous Black Hatting *and* it seems to be permitted by Google. It they are paying people somewhere on the planet to prune, a la the early Yahoo days, they've not hired enough staff.


05/23/2008 10:35 pm

I would like to knw if there's any secret to getting my website out there.

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