What The Allinanchor Command Is Really For

I remember about 3 years ago when you could actually use the allinanchor search command on Google as an SEO tool.

The allinanchor command basically shows you the search results according to links only, so content is not a factor. 3 years ago you could do a regular search and then do an allinanchor and work out things like this website isn’t ranking as high as it should do because it hasn’t got enough anchor text links or it hasn’t got the right keywords in the content.

Unfortunately at sometime around February 2006 the command seemed to stop working. Now I don’t believe Google actually disabled the tool, because if they did I think it just wouldn’t do anything. Allinanchor searches on Google will still bring up results, it is just the vast majority of the time they are no different to the regular results.

I believe the command stopped working because the algorithm changed, on page factors are no where near as important as they used to be and lets face it most of the time when people get a lot of links on something they are optimised on page for it.

So what can you use the allinanchor search command for?

OK so here it is, the allinanchor command is a Google Sandbox detection tool. If you want to get a rough estimate of where a sandboxed site should be ranking according to the links it has then use the allinanchor command.

Here is an example, one of the brand new sites that I am working on KoshCreative.co.uk is currently ranking nowhere in the 1st few hundred results for its main phrase design agency even though it has lots of links with that anchor text. If I do a allinanchor search on Google UK for design agency, I can see the site coming up on page 6 – Link

I believe that the position result is roughly where the site would be ranking according to the links it has if it were not in the sandbox.

With a little testing I think you could make a pretty good Google sandbox detection tool by using this command. If any of you know anyone who could make something like this up for me I might be willing to pay to try it out.

Posted in Search Engine News By David Eaves a UK search engine optimisation specialist.

6 thoughts on “What The Allinanchor Command Is Really For

  1. Interesting, comforting and frustrating!
    Taking one of our keywords ‘IPCCTV’ and applying what you have just taught me, we move from page 3 on Google UK to page1 – comforting.
    We’ve been adding content for over a year and not really seeing any great leaps. We will keep working away at it. But how long does Google’s age deflation apply!? Frustrating.
    Check out the site that holds slot 2 – this keyword as a domain name – it has been a holding page wit an ‘Under Construction’ page for over a year! The cached page was from just a few days ago, so doesn’t really prove much to you. But, assuming that it once earned that slot for any reason other than blagging a good url, how stale does a site need to get before it falls? Interesting.
    By the way, not saying that we’ve done a top job of SEO, nor that we’ve finished – we’ll never be Finished!
    One positive thing for professional SEOs; anybody joining the game now will need to persist for a long time to see top-of-google results, many will fall before they do …
    Thanks for the top tips.

  2. Hi Phil,


    You mentioned IPCCTV as one word, if that is an important phrase for you then you should perhaps find a way to include it in your homepage title tag, if you do that and then get a couple of article or directory links using that anchor text you might be able to get a better draw on it and much sooner.


    Google does put far too much weight on exact match domains, I don’t even think it should be a ranking factor, text in or not in the domain or URL is as far as they need to go IMO. The reason that page is ranking is because it probably has a few really old links. Keep going with the blogging, try and get links from wherever you can social networking profiles, directories, article sites etc. not linkfarms and stuff obviously and you will get there.


    The sandbox generally starts when you 1st build a few links, like a good 10, 20 or so – Just because you started your site a year ago that does not mean you have been sandboxed for a year.


    If you haven’t done it yet a http://botw.org or http://dir.yahoo.com listing might just tip the scales in your favour and get you out of the sandbox.

  3. There could be another use for the all in anchor.

    You can use it to find if you have received a penalty from Google. I found one of my 230 sites was ranking well below where I expected.

    I first did an all in anchor and found my site on page 1 for a highly competative term when in natural results I was unable to find it at all. I then found a tool that checked if you had a penalty and lo and behold I had been given a penalty.


  4. I’ve more or less came to the same conclusion for my site http://www.jefffservice.co.uk although at that (this was about 3 years ago) it appeared to be called the Google Delay so maybe Sandbox is one and the same thing, for a new site anyway.

    I thought it was about 9 months before it seemed to ratchet up from nowhere through SERP’s like its backside was on fire. Now its page 1 and position between 1 and 6 for all my keyprases, although admittedly longtail ones for the past 3 years now.


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