Making backlinks actionable again

In 2007, we shut off the linkdomain attribute in the advanced query syntax, but promised to make link data available to you as soon as possible. Last fall when we launched the initial beta of the Live Search Webmaster Center, we offered a limited look into backlink data. But we soon realized that for you to be successful, you really need more and better backlink data.

That’s why we’re really excited about the updates that we a have built into the backlinks tool. We’ve significantly enhanced this tool, giving you access to more data about your referring links. This information is useful because backlinks influence the rank of your site. But there are other reasons to look at who is linking to you. For instance, web publishers need to know which sites link to them because these pages discuss the products or services they offer, and identifying them can be a valuable tool for finding sources of promotion or feedback.

Once you know who is linking to you and what pages on your site they are linking to, you can further research those sites to determine the worth of those links, as well as opportunities for promotion. The quality of links is important and knowing who links in to your site can help you determine the value of those links.

Thinking Globally

For example, a popular site here at Microsoft is the community site. In the last few years the team that authors the site has added more international-focused content. As the site owner for, it is valuable for me to understand the sites from the target region that are linking to me. To check what German sites are linking to the community, all you have to do is open the Backlinks tool, add “.de” to the filter, and select include.


The resulting list shows you who is linking from that market, and can provide you insight into the quality of site that is linking in.


Are you social?

One hot topic is the impact of social media on a site’s performance and traffic, but even more important is that social media often lets you hear what people are saying about your business or your content. For example, a large site like MSN’s Money Central site can benefit from the traffic that comes from a Reddit or Digg, but as the site owner I want to know what people are saying about the articles. I can track posts on Reddit by “zooming” in on links from


Looking deeper

There is no shortage of sites that provide insight into financial markets, but quality content may be hard to find. Looking deeper at your backlinks can provide insight on whether your content is being linked to by well-respected institutions in your industry, or if you need to work on promoting your site better or improving your content. For example, as the owner of the MSN Money Central site, I might want to find out if the Wall Street Journal is linking to any of our analysis. Again, by filtering to include only the, I can get a picture of where and when the Wall Street Journal has chosen to link to us.


This data can also be used to start a conversation about promotional opportunities between your site and the industry veteran.

Getting more

In the Wall Street Journal example, there were more than 3000 links from the to MSN Money Central, but we only display the first 20. For large result sets like this, you may need to take the data offline into Excel or some type of database for analysis and collaboration with a client, marketing or engineering partner. To enable that, we’ve provided you the ability to download the first 1000 results to a CSV (comma-separated values) file that can be easily opened with Microsoft Excel or imported into a custom reporting tool.

We hope that Webmasters will find this tool helpful in improving their rank. We’d like to hear from you about how you are using the data, or if you have any feedback on how we can improve this tool in the future, let us know in our forums.

–Jeremiah Andrick, Program Manager, Webmaster Center

Join the conversation

  1. Anonymous

    As always a very informative article.

    Thanks for the great stuff.

  2. rickdej

    Thanks for the feedback!

  3. Anonymous

    Looks like webmaster central is making someprogress. But please give some attention to the indexing of sites. My site exists about 9 months and has almost 2000 pages, with mostly quality pages, also the site has quality-links, but only 85 pages are indexed in Live Search according to the webmaster central.

    Within Google I see a new page indexed almost immediately (around 5-10 posts a day), but the last 3 months Live only added 30 pages in total… why?? this is very frustrating!

  4. Anonymous

    Like the new function.. Well done!

  5. rickdej


    We would love to help understand what you are experiencing with the indexing of your site. If you can post the details of your site at our forums,,  We would be glad to take a look at the issue you are having.

    Jeremiah Andrick

    Live Search

  6. Anonymous

    Interesting to known, Jeremiah, that MSN is regaining lost time. Those filter functions are perfect in any way and your competitors are not offering those. I will have a more closer look at this blog than ever before, because I’d loved to work with MSN in former times and I would be happy to start working with you again.

  7. Anonymous

    Back links are very important for our website, previously I did reciprocal link exchange for my site but google penalized my site, Now I did one way links only, now google didn’t support reciprocal links and for the one way links,  the links should be related to our website , the website should have original content  then only we can get benefit from that links.

  8. Anonymous

    I must take some time to study it.

  9. Anonymous

    Thanks for Back links tool. I’ve been looking for something that would make it easier to track all these things.

  10. Anonymous

    Me got penalise for having reciprocal link too. Now I only focus on one way link. Learn that there is no short cut to gaining ranking. It is better to have great content and get link from great content site. But I always find it tough to get index by msn :)

  11. Anonymous

    Interesting. Why is THAISEO without nofollow and all the others with nofollow?

  12. Anonymous

    Thanks for the tool.  I think I can figure out how to use to.  I’m still a noobie.

  13. Anonymous

    I was looking for info about why the Spanish version of my site is not even indexed by MSN and run into this post. Nice Job Live! I’ll have to come back for more fresh information. Keep it up!

  14. Anonymous

    This message showed up on’s site:

    MSN Live has recently discontinued reporting results for the operator ‘+linkdomain:’.  As such, we have removed MSN results from the reports generated by our Link Popularity tool.  

    I went through this blog to find out if there is a recommended way to get an accurate count of the links I have with MSN.  What is the best way to get this information?

  15. Anonymous

    Very informative – Thanks for the great stuff.

  16. Anonymous

    Thanks to you for your informative

  17. Anonymous

    How can "live search" be shut off.  I do not want it to show up with a suggestion or trying to spell out what I want.

    Thank you,

  18. Anonymous

    This tool has been exceptionally helpful to me. I use it to analyze which sites are discussing about my products and services, and look for opportunities to advertise there.

  19. Anonymous

    thanks alot for sharing

  20. Anonymous

    It is always good when a search engine gives a lot of back link data. This helps site owners to know where people are discussing about their products and services.

  21. Anonymous

    thanks!You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with the backlink???

  22. Anonymous

    Interesting article, i will come back to your blog soon, best regards.Of course, it’s appreciated.

  23. Anonymous

    I was looking for info about why the Spanish version of my site is not even indexed by MSN and run into this postI'm begining and need backlinks to my website.

  24. Anonymous

    I think this tool will help me to manage my links more easier!thanks!

  25. Anonymous

    As always a very informative article.

    Thanks for the great stuff.

    thanks!You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

    Thanks though, i’m glad some people share good stuff like this! It will greatly help me in my SEO activities.

  26. Anonymous

    Quality backlinks will put your site quickly on the map, providd.

  27. Anonymous

    Internet marketing is a great source of making money. You just have to learn some basic link building skills in order to succeed in this online business venture.

  28. Anonymous

    Very informative article.This will help me to manage my site and building links.Thanks for the great post.

  29. m0rad

    I must take some time to study it.



    Are recirpocal links an issue if the receiving site is not based on the information from our site?  If so, how many reciprocal links are too many?

    My site is newly developed and I did the work myself.  Have network engineering background but not much in the way of code or development.  Learning curve has come fast but I am concened about my reciprocal links.  They are only to directory listings that we have appplied to post our company information.

    Thank you,


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