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Just noticed - did Google remove the (value of) links to my site?
ScubaAddict




msg:4322346
 1:29 am on Jun 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

We got hit bad by Panda. I just realized that Google has removed listings for links to my site. I started by checking links from my sites to my main site:

link:mymainsite.com site:myothersites.com

This used to produce multiple listings in google. Now: "No listings found".

I've been watching this for a while, and as I continually get hit more and more as time goes on (panda 2, 2.1 etc) I notice google no longer is listing OTHER sites linking to me.

I have some very, very large (pr8-pr9 world renouned) and reputable sites linking to me. The search below used to list those links:

site:HugeReputableSite.com link:mymainsite.com

This now produces the "no results found".

WTF? Google has decided that a massive site that links to my content is no longer a 'good' link?

This has happened for many (hundreds, maybe thousands of) sites that link to me. I have found that 'some' are still showing links in SERPs.

Could this be the cause of my losses from Panda? Any insights? Am I wrong in my assumptions about using the search terms above (has google essentially said they no longer value links to me from other sites?)

 

tedster




msg:4322355
 2:04 am on Jun 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'd say you are wrong - wrong to base any conclusions on the link: operator. It has never given anywhere near a complete listing, only a sampling at best - and that is by design, not accident.

Crystal Pegasus




msg:4322360
 2:44 am on Jun 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Indeed... last time we tried it, it returned only 6 links to our site, while results from another source differed greatly. So, definitely not an accurate picture.

ScubaAddict




msg:4322375
 3:41 am on Jun 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

For years I've checked using that to make sure my biggest referrers were still linking to our site. I guess it is just a coincidence that google suddenly loses all references when we lose all our traffic.

Thought I found the source. Guess I am grasping at straws. Sorry.

tedster




msg:4322377
 4:22 am on Jun 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Webmaster Tools gives a much more complete picture of the backlinks Google has indexed for your site (whether they are actually being "counted" or not!) However, that report is also subject to some nasty bugs at various periods, so you can't really count on it 100%, either.

McMohan




msg:4322378
 4:51 am on Jun 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

ScubaAddict, Google has a good laugh at people checking on its link: operator. Though I knew it was only a sampling, I still used to check it once a while to see which direction things are moving. But that was only until this happened.
One of my sites, a PR 2, went up to PR4. More pages indexed and higher traffic. As usual, I checked the link: operator in Google. It stayed at same number. Even now, after 6 months, still shows the same number.

Robert Charlton




msg:4322384
 6:04 am on Jun 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

...The search below used to list those links:

site:HugeReputableSite.com link:mymainsite.com

ScubaAddict - The syntax of the search you show doesn't really make sense. You can't really combine a site: operator search with a link: operator search.

What appears to be happening is that the search is a site: operator search for HugeReputableSite.com... searching it for pages that contain instances of both of these two terms as text strings appearing on the page...

link

and...

mymainsite.com

While normally link:example.com (with no space after the colon) works as an operator, it appears that, combined with a site: operator search, the colon after the link: operator works as a delimiter, separating the two terms.

It's very possible, if not likely, to have a link from a page on HugeReputableSite.com to your site that will not satisfy this search.

londrum




msg:4322413
 9:07 am on Jun 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

even though the stuff being returned by the link: operator is a lot of nonsense, i still think that backlinks being downgraded are a good explanation for some sites taking a dip after Panda. if google decides that a site is low quality, i dont understand why they would continue to treat their links as high quality.

if an otherwise decent site finds that it has been demoted after Panda, and cant find any real reason why, then surely it is a possibilty that the quality of their backlinks have been downgraded.
that might also partly explain why branded sites are getting a boost, because their backlink profiles are usually so much larger.
a lot of spam sites have large link profiles too.

ScubaAddict




msg:4322574
 6:29 pm on Jun 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Robert Charlton - you are correct, using the link operator with the search operator defaults to site, using 'link' as a search term with mysite.com - guess the sites I've tested have have the word 'link' on the site.

tedster, I did check the links on WMT - and I REALLY hope that is off. They don't show many (most) of my .mil, .gov, and .edu links - in addition to the 'BigReputableSites.com's.

I'm sure I lost traffic (and likely ranking) due to having hundreds to thousands of sites downgraded who link to me. I am just frustrated now because nothing seems to be helping my content get any boost off what it lost. Grasping at straws and shots in the dark is all I have left.

Swanson




msg:4322657
 11:18 pm on Jun 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

londrum, that is what I suggested at the beginning of the Panda updates. I still believe this to be exactly what is happening to a large amount of sites.

Although there is no way to test this - it just makes sense, if you grade a page and/or site as lower quality then the links from those pages and sites MUST be downgraded in quality also. That is the only logical way you would apply the "quality" portion of the algorithm - surely?

We now know pages now have a hidden quality score that acts in addition to the pagerank and other elements - it makes complete sense that Google now uses a "hybrid" score to work out the quality of the page and therefore quality of links from those pages.

There is an interview with Dani Horowitz of Daniweb where she pretty much says that she feels a lot of her links were devalued overnight and that is what contributed to a huge loss of traffic. These links were from the content syndicated from Daniweb to other sites (via RSS etc) - i.e. duplicate and/or shallow content.

All I know is that I have had a site with only unique content that had been destroyed in the Panda update. I have managed to get it back by continuing to build links to it - I have made zero changes to the site itself.

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