Bloggers are always interested in discovering new sites that are quoting them. While Technorati Cosmos or Blog Search Engines like Ask or Google are great for finding sites linking to you, they have certain limitations like they only index sites that provide feeds and they do not index user comments.

For instance, take a look at the following five queries and try to think how will you find this data using search queries on Google or Yahoo ? [hint: use search operators] Don't read the answers immediately

  » Q1: How may stories on Digg.com link to Google.com ?

  » Q2: Which stories on your blog cite lifehacker.com as the source ?

  » Q3: Which stories on lifehacker.com link to your website ?

  » Q4: What pages on Wikipedia mention cnn.com as References ?

  » Q5: How many pages on Techcrunch.com are linking to Digg.com ?

I am sure most of you would have found queries to get the results. If they are different from the solutions below, please do share them in the comments section.

Now for folks who are finding it tough to crack the above queries. First - which Google search operators hit your mind ? site: Or link: Or inurl: ?

While these Google operators are useful, the only issue with them is they cannot be used as a combination. Ands that's one big area where Yahoo search excels Google - you can use two search operators together in a Yahoo query.

So let's ditch Google and head over to Yahoo search. Just remember that the equivalent of Google link: operator is known as linkdomain: in Yahoo.

Here are the results [How close did you get ?]

  » Q1: How may stories on Digg.com link to Google.com ?
  » A1: linkdomain:google.com site:digg.com

  » Q2: Which stories on your blog cite lifehacker.com as the source ?
  » A2: linkdomain:lifehacker.com site:labnol.blogspot.com [live query]

  » Q3: Which stories on lifehacker.com link to your website ?
  » A3: linkdomain:labnol.blogspot.com site:lifehacker.com

  » Q4: What pages on Wikipedia mention cnn.com as References ?
  » A4: linkdomain:cnn.com site:wikipedia.org

  » Q5: How many pages on Techcrunch.com are linking to Digg.com ?
  » A4: linkdomain:digg.com site:techcrunch.com

How it really works ?

site:xyz.com operator will find all pages from xyz.com that are indexed by Yahoo
linkdomain:abc.com operator will find all pages linking to site abc.com

Using the two operators together finds the overlapping results like a Venn Diagram.

Another Tip: Use the Yahoo Advanced search page to further refine your search to languages or geographic region.

If you are aware of better techniques, do share them here. The only drawback with this approach is that the pages must be indexed by Yahoo. But if the site is fairly popular, I won't worry about indexing at all.