About 6 months ago I noticed one of my competitors getting a ton of backlinks from an authority site in our industry. I couldn't find where this site was listed there, so I just thought that maybe they stopped the advertising, which is why I no longer saw the link.
Fast forward 6 months later. I did the check again and noticed this competitor was still getting the same backlinks. I looked at the cache of the page and noticed that all the pages that were counted as backlinks had his link as an Adsense link on the authority site.
Is this an error on the side of Google? How can this happen?
As well as link checking tools I also recently started doing the search "www.domain.com" -site:domain.com" and I've seen Google returning pages with AdSense in them for this query i.e. it is indexing the urls in the ads.
Whether this means they are counted is anyone's guess.
If you use the term "www.example.com" all this is doing is returning pages that contain the exact term within the page. If the site is crawled and the ad is shown then this will be what appears in the index. This in its self brings up another point. Why is google showing impresions to Googlebot?
If you are using link:www.exanple.com then this is very different. It is also hard to understand how Google could count these links as backlinks when you concider the sort of url an adsense click is sent through. The url doesn't point to the final destination page it goes via Googles tracking applications.
I was using the query to look for citations of a url rather than links.