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There's a pretty good thread on a similar topic here:
I know the Google rep thought it was a really good idea that would help smaller sites that might not have high PR links, so they passed on DaveN's suggestion. If you see the link: command start to return a wider spectrum of backlinks instead of high PR links only, you can thank a WebmasterWorld member for the suggestion!
It might be a pretty awful idea too. Showing a "random sample" of backlinks is ridiculous. Either show them or don't. Have some criteria that makes logical sense instead of "random".
Dumb idea, very bad news for webmasters, and for webmasterworld too as the number of "why don't my good links show up" posts are going to go through the roof.
On the other hand, good news for Google competitors as they will be able to deliver at least one thing more accurately.
(And frankly GG it's sad to see this anti-webmaster idea promoted as something having value.)
Note to the Googleplex: You guys run a search engine. What people want from you for *any* search is relevant results, with the most relevant results weighted first, and the least put last -- and in any case, the most relevant ones at least somewhere. Random results, for *any* search, is just plain incompetent.
I worked in a niche of a medical field, where the strongest player who was primary in that niche was a PR5, the next layer was a handful of PR4s, and everybody else was below.
Since the only links available that were close to pure for the niche were low relative PR, it would have been nice to see them as backlinks. It didn't make sense to get links from higher PR sites because they were by nature not relevant to the niche or the niche keyword search.
The PR algorithm encouraged spamming, since high PR sites (which had a strong general presence in the major field) got all the attention for the niche keywords, despite the fact that their websites didn't serve the searchers well.
Once I figured this out, I have pretty much considered the link: command to be for entertainment value only. We get to watch people worrying about something that is almost meaningless.
Almost imperceptibly, but there's definitely a shift in his interests...
This surely needs factoring into the equation.
If the point is... wider spectrum along the same lines as currently, in other words, more backlinks shown, then of course that would be awesome.
But if the point is fundamentally changing backlinks displayed so that some randomization occurs and many important links (PR-wise or otherwise) are not shown, this is a diminishment of Google as a search engine. Backlinks are one of the best ways to find quality related sites, much more so than the related sites displayed in the results. Downplaying that, presumably to confuse aggressive seo's wondering about effectivenes off purchasing pagerank, would be a great shame.
GG, my comments were also motivated by the other comment about updating backlinks quarterly. That too is a pro-spammer, anti-user, anti-webmaster concept. I shudder to think of the bandwidth the rogue bots the mega link spammers would suck up trolling the Internet if they had to work harder to find the data.
I've yet to come across a non-webmaster who used links: to find quality related sites, Steve. It's primarily useful for webmasters and SEOs to check backlinks for their own link-hunting campaigns.
It's also used by some to locate high PR purchase opportunities. And I seriously doubt that providing SEOs with more useful and profitable tools is very high on Google engineers' list of priorities.
Finding high PR pages is easy, with or without the links command. Showing an accurate number of links isnt going to make a difference when it comes to gaming the system because it doesnt tell you anything other than the number of links.
For instance, it wouldnt tell you whether or not the link passes PR. It doesnt tell you whether or not google gives credit to just one link or multiple links from the samer page, or for that matter, from the same website.
Like BigDave, I thought it already was somewhat random. I have links from PR6+ pages that dont show as backlinks, whereas other sites have links from these same pages that do show as backlinks. Isnt that random?
I could care less about whether a link shows up on backlinks to my site, but when my site was young, checking out who linked to similar pages led me to sites that would also be interested into linking to a site like mine.
That use doesn't require that google show all the links to be of value.
Backlink results in google go through couple of filters as we found out and one filter is sites with less than Pr4 wont show,
People noticing sites with lesser than PR4 in google backlinks are all dynamic links, As we all know Toolbar Pagerank messes with dynamic links, So I recommand dont believe what the toolbar say for dynamic links, I have seen the toolbar showing PR6 for my hotmail Indox which is a password protected area, I have seen the toolbar show PR5 for Yahoo SERPSs, We all know Yahoo SERPs are blocked from crawling through the robots file, Like this I have seen many messed up dynamic links showing some random PR, I have seen many brand new forum dynamic links having a PR3, so dont believe the toolbar for dynamic links,
Regarding dynamic links ill tell you those links which show up in the backlinks do possess a Google pagerank of 4 and above( not the toolbar PR), To find this out we analyzed around 1000 links, we traced the origin and the backlinks of the low toolbar Pr dynamic links showing in the backlink, Most of those pages originate from High PR pages and those links which power the dynamic link did possess good Pagerank, So according to our findings it is clear that those low toolbar PR dynamic links which show up in the backlink check do possess a real PR of 4 and above,
Googleguy I always thought you are a person who is in high position in google, I always respect your words, But I doubt your truthfullness from your answer in this thread, Dont misguide anyone, If you dont want to give a clear answer dont answer it, We are not idiots to listen to your stories, Till now i have not seen any low PR backlinks showing up, if it starts showing up ill let you know, May be ill agree it was a suggestion by DaveN, But right now it will be good if you dont Misguide us, Keep up your Good work in this forum, I am always an admirer of you and always expect clear cut answers not anything misguiding,
I have never seen a pr3 backlink show up in the link: command
powerofeyes i don't thing GG actually discounted the the PR4 theory he said
" If you see the link: command start to return a wider spectrum of backlinks instead of high PR links only "
and the biggie here is ** IF **, i have seen Google change things like this very quickly in the past, the guestbooks.htm and html pages, sites going missing and re appearing very quickly, Dupe content in certain keyword areas ;).
jcoronella : I did say no backlinks at all, but went back on this a little later I also said TB pagerank updates once a year like a christmas present but then went to Qtr updates,
GG have you had a report from the google rep that starts with "T" we sank a few beers with the Yahoo Boys, those guys can drink, Stuart, Tim and of course Mr Andy Williams ;)
Stuart - Yahoo's Sweeper and all round good guy made me laugh so much
Andy - Head of Uk searches
TIm - the programmer
and now i will get shouted at for making off topic posts lol
so can you just state for the record that there is a PR threshold when using the link: command in google.
Regarding marcia's question I guess the answer is No Not yes,
When a low PR backlink shows up it simply means that link is a dynamic URL, Toolbar cannot parse original Pagerank for that dynamic link URL properly and cannot show what pagerank that link exactly possess, Toolbar is too messy with dynamic URLs,
We found when a link shows up on a backlink check with Pagerank lesser than 4, It simply means that link is a dynamic URL link and it possess a Original Pagerank( Which google knows not Toolbar PR) of 4 and above,
As Googleguy said may be Google might follow DaveN's Suggestion showing random links in future but right now it is not happening,
The PR3 links I remember seeing were not dynamic, nor did they rise to PR4+ the next update. They were real pages with real assigned Toolbar PR.
Seeing these links is very uncommon, so running a few tests is not going to be able to force them to show up.
I do believe that Google filters on several factors when makingup the list of links, but I have come to conclude that PR is *probably not* one of these things. It is just coincidence that the higher PR pages will have more of the prerequisites to make it into the list.