One of the important aspects of any SEO service is link discovery and management, and typically, SEOs have used a special search operator from Google to find these links. This operator used the format of [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][link:www.domain.com].
Although this operator was historically useful, it has become less and less useful for SEOs and webmasters over time. On top of that, Google has said to webmasters on a number of occasions that they should be using the Google Search Console link report for better link discovery because the link operator only shows a “sample” of a site’s links.
It was noticed last week by Bill Hartzer that the link operator stopped functioning for a number of large sites, including [link:www.google.com]. But, it did/does work for other large sites, like [link:www.yahoo.com].
Gary Illyes, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, told everybody on Twitter that the link operator wasn’t removed:
@webrankinfo the short answer is “no”. For the long answer please email [email protected] @Missiz_Z @JohnMu @bhartzer
— Gary Illyes (@methode) February 12, 2016
Check out the following screen shot that shows it not working for a link command on google.com:
Here is what it looks like when a link command works (in this case, for yahoo.com):
At this point, it seems that Google has no more to say on the matter, above what Gary Illyes already said on Twitter.
Source – Barry Schwartz[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]